My apologies for not updating you until now; so much has been going on lately that it’s taken its toll on both my health and sanity.
To everyone who have been sending their messages and prayers of support for the well-being of my daughters, I thank you with all my heart; you are the ones whom have held me up and given me hope that things will work out. To those of you who still have faith in the Children Protective Services system, I am happy that your experiences have been so positive; in my case, this situation has come upon me and turned into a nightmare. My biggest mistake was ever giving them the benefit of the doubt. I will post this part of the story when the time is appropriate. Since so many aspects of this investigation are still open and active, I must refrain from discussing them.
My belief is that the CPS system is highly prejudiced. The same day the story was recorded, (but had not yet aired on Global News Edmonton, I was visited (suspiciously, given the timing) by two social workers from CFS. One worker was there to tell me what options were available to me where the girls’ care was concerned and the second social worker is an assessor whom I will refer to as “A,” in order to protect her privacy.
I invite you to please subscribe to this blog via the email box on the right as I am now in the process of writing about how the system is acting in the unilateral interest of one parent, instead of truly looking after what the children need. As I write this, I am not directly criticizing any one person; especially since the children’s assessor (herein known as “A”), has gone beyond her required call of duty to mediate this situation. However, instead of following through with all of the “help and support” they had offered and in a way, “promised” in order to buy time to properly examine the situation as to cause the least amount of trauma and stress on my daughters, all this support was suddenly pulled out from under our feet the instant their father (herein known as “H”), decided to come out of hiding and return to Edmonton.
Based on the speed at which he was able to come return and judging by the offers that were made to bring my parents here to take the children while sorting things out, I believe (and not stating this as a fact in any way) that CFS paid to have him fly back to Canada.
It was as though the children’s guardian and I instantly no longer existed. The moment they heard he was back in town, most of the arrangements that had already started gaining momentum were dropped, despite the fact that those arrangements are/were still required even if he did show up--if they really wanted what was best for the girls.
I had put off writing this post until now, because I've been wading through a sea of bureaucracy and utter confusion. What was once a quest to place my girls in a safe home has now turned into a custody battle which was initiated through the caring attention of CFS. Then, when both the children’s guardian, or I approach them about the matter of their father breaching the parenting order, they tell me, or the guardian that this particular aspect is no longer their problem because they apparently don’t get involved with custody situations—yet a significant amount of tax-payers’ money has now gone to support the very parent who has abused and neglected those girls since they were born. No, they were not constantly beaten up or given bruises (though there have been alleged cases of physical abuse that the children slowly revealed to third parties over the summer and through the fall); the abuse they were forced to endure was much worse: psychological and verbal abuse that doesn't leave visible scratches or broken bones, but affects their very souls and senses of selves as children.
So very-long-story-made-short, despite there being a court order in place regarding visitation three times per week and daily phone access, I have only seen my daughters three times since March 7: the day their father returned. This is only because “A” did the girls and I a tremendous favour by facilitating these visits. The last time I saw or heard from them was on March 29.
There are many circumstances involved, but “H” is using the fact that I requested a restraining order against him (due to legitimate fears for my own safety and mental health from his constant abuse) as an excuse not to bring them to see their mother. There are many ways around this, yet having been presented with at least six-or-so workable options which I passed on to him via CFS, he refused all of them without stating valid reasons for ruling them out. The onus is on him to transport the children to me, so however he chooses to do it, he now needs to figure it out for himself. I’d suggest he get a friend or acquaintance to help him with bringing the girls here, but like most paranoid people, he has no friends or support system to speak of.
The last time I saw my daughters, I couldn't believe the change that had occurred in them in only a few short weeks. It took all my remaining mental energy not to appear upset or to cry in front of them. My older daughter kept telling me over and over again, as though a mantra, how she “couldn't feel anything,” a very strong indicator of depression. The worker who came to pick them up then refused to drive their favorite game 200 meters away to where their father would be waiting, so until this day, they have been unable to play chess. Sadly, the best comparison as to how the girls have changed would be that of a person who just joined a cult. They are no longer the happy and energetic children that were portrayed in the news, they have turned into quasi-zombies who have forgotten how to play or behave as children should behave: carefree and happy.
The common piece of advice constantly offered to me is that I need a lawyer, but unfortunately, despite AISH (disability benefits) being my only current source of income, Legal-Aid has turned me down stating I earned too much money. It seems as though I'm up the proverbial creek without a paddle or a boat.
Thank you once again for all your ongoing prayers and support; the last six weeks have been one nightmare after another. My apologies if this post seems somewhat disjointed; concentration has not been one of my strong points these days.
**Addendum: Please share this post with as many people as you know. Perhaps there is a lawyer out there willing to take on this case pro-bono. If so, the "contact me" box on the left does indeed work, or send me a comment with your email. Don't worry about your email's privacy, I can simply delete the comment, then email you directly. Thanks**