Something fishy. Something stinky and rotten. Something that is not right. This caseworker is totally biased and I made a big mistake yesterday by trying to talk to her. I feel terrible. DH told me not to talk to her. DS told me not to talk to her. But me, I have to plow ahead and try to do the right thing. Didn’t turn out that way.
Things really went downhill yesterday. It started with the kids not getting breakfast because Mommy had to take Mark to work. I decided I was not going to deal with the social worker. I called DS’s attorney (he has an appointment Monday, by the way) and asked if we should call the GAL to discuss concerns we had about the kids and the attorney said that was exactly what we should do. His attorney said the GAL was going to be in court most of the day and the best bet to reach him would be late afternoon. I wanted to be the one to talk to him because I figured he would be more open to me since I’m the middleman. I called him late yesterday afternoon but still didn’t reach him. Left a voice mail that I had some concerns I’d like to discuss with him.
Yesterday was Scout’s birthday. Little man is eight years old now. DS took the boys to his house and had them pick out some toys and books they wanted to take to Mommy’s. He brought them back around 3:30 so we could have a birthday party. Lots of balloons and gifts and ice cream cake. Scout wanted me to come to his other birthday party he was having that evening and I told him that I couldn’t. I told him I couldn’t because he had so many people who loved him that it would take two parties and we had one and then Mommy and a bunch of other people would have another one for him. I said, “Everyone just loves you to pieces! You’re lucky to have so many people who love you that you have to have two whole parties.” He said, “Yeah, except Newman. He doesn’t love me.” I said, “What? Who’s Newman?” He said, “No, not Newman. You know, that new man. He doesn’t love me. He was kind of mean to me but I think he’s starting to like me. He was kind of nice last night.” I said, “What new man are you talking about, Scout? Do you mean Mark?” He said, “Yeah! That’s his name!” I said, “How is he mean to you?” He said, “He won’t let me play my games. Everytime I try to play my Wii, he won’t let me because he wants to play with it.” I said, “Oh, well you should tell Mommy that he won’t let you play. He doesn’t live with you, does he?” He said, “No, we live with him in his house. It’s not our house. He lives in the upstairs and we live in the downstairs but there’s a door and it’s open and he comes in all the time.” I immediately changed subjects but I was thinking, “Please let the GAL call me back. Please!”
DS left and DIL showed up to pick them up at 5:30. Everything was going fine. She was laughing and hugging the kids and I told her DS had found her mirror but it wouldn’t fit in his car. She asked if I would mind meeting her at his house again so she could pick it up and I told her that would be fine. I told her he had brought over some more odds and ends for her (including her “dishes”) and she asked if she could pick them up later because she wanted to get going. I said that would be fine. She walked away and just before she got back in the “red pickup truck” she turned around and said something to me. I was already on the porch and couldn’t hear her. I walked back out and she said, “I was saying I’ll see you Monday.” I said, “No, today is only Thursday. I’ll see you in the morning when you drop off the kids.” She said, “I’m not bringing them tomorrow. I took a week’s vacation and tomorrow is my last day. He kept my kids from me for six weeks and I’m going to spend my last day of vacation with them tomorrow. I wasn’t going to bring them today and he’s lucky I let him see Scout for his birthday but I’m not bringing them tomorrow.” I said, “Stacy, let’s don’t start this. You know he’s supposed to have them on Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 5:30 for visitation.” She said, “Not on paper. I don’t have to bring them and I’m not.” I said, “You know this is going to upset him. If you wanted to keep them tomorrow, you should have discussed it with me ahead of time and not just thrown it out as you’re leaving. He got Scout some new video games for his birthday and promised him they would play them tomorrow” She started getting really nasty and raising her voice in the front yard and the kids were watching us and trying to figure out what was going on. She said, “He should have thought about that before he took my kids away from me for six weeks. I don’t care if he has plans with them. I’m the one who has custody and I’ll decide where they’re going.” I said, “Stacy, you had them last Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I rearranged the schedule to make it easier for you on Tuesday so he only had them half the day and you had them Wednesday. What you’re doing is not right.” She got really loud and said, “I don’t need you to tell me what’s right. It’s none of your business. I’ll do what I want, when I want, and there’s nothing you can do about it. I don’t need your permission to spend a day with my kids.” I said, “I’m not going to stand out here in the front yard with the kids watching and get into a shouting match with you. I turned around and walked back into the house and she was yelling something after me.”
I was really upset and I told DH I was going to call the caseworker. He said, “No, don’t call her. You know something’s not right there. Wait for the GAL to call you.” I said, “I know! I’m so confused I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to call her but she’s the one who set up the visitation and she needs to know that Stacy’s refusing to bring them tomorrow. I don’t want to call her but I don’t want her to say, “If it was a problem, you should have called me.” I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. I don’t want to deal with her but she needs to know what’s going on. I don’t want to tell DS that she’s not bringing them and get him all upset until I see if the caseworker can tell Stacy she has to bring them for his visitation.” DH said, “I’m telling you. Don’t call her. Something’s not right with her.” God, I hate it when he’s right.
I called her and as soon as I identified myself, she kind of laughed and said, “Oh, Pat.” I said, “Let me guess…Stacy already called you.” She said, “Actually, I’ve got her on my office phone and you on my cell phone.” I said, “Then I guess she told you about her little scene in my front yard and that she’s not bringing the kids over tomorrow?” She said, “Yeah, I’ve heard all about it and you know. that’s her right. She’s has temporary custody and she has the right to make that decision.” I said, “Joy, you’re the one who set up the visitation. You’re the one who set it up for Monday through Friday and I don’t understand why she gets to cancel it at the last minute simply because she wants to. DS has done nothing wrong. I haven’t done anything wrong, and I don’t understand how she has the right to just decide, with no advance warning, that she’s not bringing them tomorrow.” The caseworker said, “This has been really hard for her. Do you realize that her car broke down and she’s been run ragged all week to make sure he got to see them as much as possible? Tomorrow is the last day of her vacation and she could easily drop them off and go out partying all day but she’s choosing to spend quality time with her children. You should be supporting her efforts to be a good mother instead of trying to make it more difficult for her.” I said, “She has not been run ragged all week to make sure that he got to see them everyday. She had them Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. She brought them Monday but we rearranged the schedule to make it easier for her on Tuesday and he only spent half the day with them. I got up at 6:00 so she could drop them off at 6:30 in order to make it easier for her. She had them all day Wednesday and she’s refusing to bring them tomorrow. How can you say she’s been run ragged all week? She only kept to the schedule two days out of the entire week. This is the visitation you set up.” The caseworker said, “Yes, and I can see it’s not going to work out. I had a feeling that this wasn’t going to work out. I set up a visitation but told you both that you would have to work together and be flexible. It hasn’t even been a week and we’ve got a major problem. I don’t have time for this and I can guarantee you the new caseworker won’t have time for it either. If you can’t be flexible and get along, we’ll have to have the judge set visitation and he’ll be lucky to get one day a week and he’ll have to pick them up at another location which is what it sounds like we’re going to have to do.” I said, “Why would he only get them one day a week? He hasn’t done anything wrong. Even when she was high as a kite on drugs, she got to see them three times a week and, when I had temporary custody, I was told that the visitation schedule was set and I had to make sure the kids were ready 30 minutes before each visitation and I had to wait for her up to thirty minutes after the scheduled visitation. Even when she didn’t show up more than half the time, I was told that I had to make sure the kids were available.” The caseworker said, “I can guarantee you, the amount of visitation she’s allowing their father to have is way more than the courts usually order and, if we have to have the judge set visitation, you will not be happy. You’ll be cut out of the picture and he’ll have even less visitation than he has right now.”
I said, “Did she tell you she’s living with a man?” She said, “No, what are you talking about?” I told her what Scout said and she said, “Hold on….let me ask her.” She came back to me and said, “I asked her about it and she’s not living with a man.” I said, “You’re kidding…Do you think she’s going to tell you?” Besides what Scout said, she brought this guy to pick up her stuff on Sunday and introduced him as a “friend from work”. The kids say they didn’t have breakfast this morning because they had to get up early and take him to work. Scout says it’s his house they’re living in.” She said, “You don’t understand the situation. I’ve checked out her apartment. It’s a duplex and the kids probably think the man who lives in the other half is “living” with them. Besides, she’s allowed to have a boyfriend and that has nothing to do with you. I don’t have the time or the energy to devote to dealing with all these little issues that happen between you and Stacy.” I said, “Joy, this is the first time I’ve ever called you about anything and I really didn’t want to call this time but I thought her cancelling visitation at the last minute for no reason and moving the kids into some man’s house was important. I didn’t realize this was a “little issue between Stacy and I”.
The conversation deteriorated even more. She said, “It’s obvious that you do not want her to succeed. This is a woman who had her kids taken away from her in her first marriage. She had her kids taken away from her again with your son. She is doing everything humanly possible to turn her life around and you’ve got a mindset that she can not be a good mother to these children.” I said, “Joy, I didn’t want to call you on this. I had a feeling you were going to see it as me being vindictive toward her. Still, in all honesty, you might want to ask yourself why the courts took her kids away from her not just once but two different times. They devoted a lot of time and investigation into figuring out if she was capable of caring for her children and determined that whe wasn’t. I feel like I can’t even talk to you. I feel like if I don’t say anything, you’ll throw it back at me that “If it was a problem, why didn’t you call” and if I do call you, you think I’m just trying to sabotage her. I honestly don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I won’t call you anymore. I’ll do everything I can to make this work. In spite of what you think, I’d give anything for these kids to have two loving parents who can work out a fair schedule so that their kids get to spend quality time with each of them. I know that you don’t want me to be in this position but I can assure you I will not do anything to sabotage their mother’s relationship with them. I am NOT the evil mother-in-law you seem to think I am. I have been trying to work with Stacy for years to help her be a good mother to her children and I will continue to do everything I can to support her. I will not call you again but will try to be as accommodating as I can. I just wish she would show me the same courtesy.” The caseworker said, “No, Pat, don’t say you won’t call me again. If anything important comes up, I need to know about it but I don’t need to know about all this petty stuff.”
Alrighty then…this is petty stuff. Hello!!! This is the same pattern she’s shown her entire life. She’s moved in with some guy. He’s supporting her, he’s paying all her bills, she’s sacrificing her children’s best interests for her own pleasure. She’ll finally realize her dreams…to be able to suck DS dry on child support, have some guy supporting her, get food stamps and housing assistance, and run around and party. What fun!
We got a recorder for the phone. I would give anything to have recorded the conversation with the mediator last week and the phone conversation yesterday evening. I know you guys probably think I’m making this up or seeing it through rose-colored glasses but I’m not. Something is very rotten in Denmark. Still, I may be slow to accept the fact that this caseworker is absolutely blind and totally biased but, I assure you, I finally get it. I finally GET IT. Now, I have to listen to DS and DH spend the day throwing I-told-you-so’s at me.
11:30 – Yes! Thank you, God! The GAL called and he was wonderfully supportive. He actually remembers me. I didn’t realize he was the GAL we had in the original proceedings four years ago. He was NOT HAPPY when I told him what was going on. He expressed to me that he has some serious reservations about what’s happening. He said he was really surprised when the caseworker told him she was recommending full custody for DIL because he remembers working with the case from before and she had some serious issues. He said he expressed that he would feel more comfortable with recommending temporary custody for me because he remembered me from before and felt that I did an good job with working with the kids and the caseworkers at that time. He said he would not discuss what took place at the meeting last week but that the caseworker, for some reason, was dead set against me being involved because she felt like I was totally biased against the mother. He conveyed to her that I had been impartial and totally dedicated to what was in the best interests of the kids in the past and he felt I would do well in that position again. He was very disturbed to find out that the caseworker is allowing DIL to violate the visitation order that she set up and said that is a big no-no. He said, “Unless your son is doing something to violate the court’s orders, and I don’t see that he is, she should be enforcing the visitation that she set up.” He said he wants me to record conversations and keep written records and documentation of everything that’s going on. He was very disturbed about the situation with the boyfriend and wants to talk to the kids on Monday when DS has visitation without the caseworker or DIL knowing about it. He said the caseworker should not be making me feel like I was being “vindictive” when I bring legitimate concerns to her attention and he considers the boyfriend situation and a violation of the visitation order to be legitimate and serious concerns. He said he has some serious concerns about what’s happening and feels that the caseworker is using her authority to make me feel “threatened” by saying that she was going to take me out of the picture when I haven’t done anything wrong.
OMG! I feel so much better. I’m NOT crazy. I’m NOT imagining this.