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Monday, September 5, 2016

Long Sad Story...........................

It all began back in July. Truth be told it began when Alex first died so I will begin there. When she died we were all in shock, she died on a winters night following a car accident on snowy roads. There had been a Super Bowl party at Laura Herman's house and during the afternoon a sledding party. Alex took Tristen who was 15 months for his first sledding adventure. They had lots of fun with family and friends. My daughter LauraJane and her husband and Reina were there. Grandpa Dan (LauraJanes ex) Debbie his #2 wife as well as other friends.
Dan and Debbie left early and brought Tristen home it was snowing and roads getting bad. He and Alex were living with me at that time. During the early hours I got a call from Laura H that there had been an accident. The fire dept were cutting Alex out of the car, I could hear her screaming. LauraJane was almost home when she got the call and they went back to the scene and from there to the hospital. I got the call in the early hours that Alex had not made it.
Next day we began to make plans and I was asked to be guardian of Tristen by Dan. I unfortunately asked him to be co-guardian. I thought I was being fair in asking him so that I had input from his side of the family as well as mine.
We went to a lawyer and settled to that arrangement. The long term goal, when we were no longer capable would be that Laura Herman would take over guardianship, this was not written down, was just an idea at that time. LauraJane, his grandmother already had her hands full with Reina who was 4 years old and Raylene who was brain damaged. So she did what she was asked and waived her rights. We were all in shock and not really thinking right. We should have each had a lawyer or someone to think of our rights, but we didn't we trusted them. Meaning Dan. We should have known better but we just did not have time to think.
SO later Laura Herman came in with adoption papers. She thought we would let her adopt him. We said NO. He is fine here with us, that is me and Gerry because he has always lived with us. Alex lived with us since she was 16 because Dan could not handle her.
So the years passed. With long range goals in mind we started to let Tristen spend time with Laura and Todd Herman, every other weekend. Bare in mind this was a courtesy, she had no rights as 2nd cousin. It also gave me a break and worked well for us all. Over time she saw it as her right and was upset on the couple of occasions that we kept him home. That most recently due to his ADHD medication trials. She took that as we were withholding him from her. I was not.
Well she called me one day in July and started asking about legalities and what exactly was I to Tristen. She said that at work they had been talking about Wills and Trusts and so on. She wanted to know when we would be giving him over to her. I told her no time soon, maybe when we could no longer cope with him as he got older, how much older she wanted to know. Much older I said.................
So it was that during the following week I got a letter from her lawyer. I phoned her, she didn't answer. I pm'd her (Facebook) she would not respond. So I called the lawyer and found that she was suing for custody of Tristen.
I talked to him, a nasty man, and found that she was citing some incidents from long ago and currently that she said were endangering him. One was his booster seat that on a couple of occasions we did not use because the booster was with us in the van when Gerry picked up Tristen. We bought another booster after it happend again. Problem solved. The other thing was that she claimed I was using medication alone to deal with his ADHD. Not true, as testified in a letters by his doctor and teacher, his first year at school I tried diet. When he went to Kindergarden his teacher and I would talk, have meetings with the principle and so on. Working with his doctor to get him on track. I got letters from the teacher and doctor to this effect. So that didn't count.
The other thing she said was that I was allowing him to roam the neighbourhood unaccompanied and putting him in danger by who knows, there are sexual predators out there. The answer to that was that after a couple of times going to some friends who lived in our ally, in enclosed yards he was allowed to go on his own when I was outside. This child is almost 7 now by the way. On one occasion he went and I could not hear them playing so went to investigate. He was not there. Long story short I sent Gerry up the road to head him off because I guessed he was going to try to get to a friend on 9th st. He is not allowed to cross the road. Gerry brought him home and he was grounded. Then because of the letter from the lawyer it was made a permanent ban until resolved. This did not set right with Tristen at all.
They sent a lady from Dept Human Services to make a call. She came and I sent her with Tristen up to his room so they had private time to talk. She asked where he wanted to live and he said here with me. Next I took her out and showed her where he had been playing. There is a sign opposite our garden that says "Children playing" and Tristen proudly showed her his friends house. The lady, Stacey, said that it was fully appropriate for a child his age. She could find no fault and would recommend that he stay with us.
So we went to court. The judge said she found no reason to move the child who had lived in a stable home since birth. Then asked if they would drop it, they said no that they had more. Well............the judge set the date for 6th and 7th of February. The date of the accident and death of Alex.I could not bare that. I couldn't even speak.
My lawyer asked me to get as much on Laura H as I could. I had already told her of things that Laura had done with Tristen that were entirely inappropriate. For example taking him tubing on the river and having to be relieved of him because she was so drunk she had to be helped off the river. Taking him on a ferris wheel on a cold windy evening when he already had a cold/temp. They had been to a show and Tristen wanted to go. She could not say no. I could go on. Also with Dan, who even though he spent two years after he divorced Debbie living with us and Tristen, knowing full well what a good home he had with us, and after filling out the annual report stating that he had "excellent" care here, he was on their side. He wanted to get Tristen away from me and LauraJane. The things I could say about him but will not. I wont even go there as to what happened to Alex's money that should have been Tristens. He moved out of our house and into what would become wife #3 house and at that point he really didn't see Tristen much as it was no longer his priority. When I had to see the doctors and teachers and work with them regarding Tristen's ADHD and I asked Dan about it all he could say was "Look at his parents what do you expect" Tristen often asked why he didn't come by anymore and why he could not see Grandma Debbie anymore. LauraJane and I took him to see Debbie.
So after much misery and contemplation I decided that I would give up guardianship. They could sort it out. I could not do that apparently and my lawyer is still working on that.
I wanted Tristen to start school at the new school they chose for him, rather than change mid year, because I knew they would never give in. He has gone to Dan's house. (and #3 Deidre) This weekend they went camping. Tomorrow he will be at Laura Herman's house again for the new school year.
I could not go on as we were. Tristen was very upset, getting angry and belligerent. He knew too much and he heard too much. He was interviewed by DHS and so on, had clearly said he wanted to stay with us but they would not quit. So for his own well being and knowing he would get the best of care we gave up our rights. It was not as though he was going to foster care. They have given him a fun weekend and at 7 he will soon get over all this.It was inevitable at some point as we got older and he got bigger and harder to handle. I don't know what they have told him but I know that truth always wins out. We have had the best 7 years, his baby years. They will get to do all the homework, struggle with his ADHD and doctors and psychologists instead of me. At 70 years old they say I am too old. Well I think anyone who knows us and all the things we have done with Tristen and Reina they can see that's not true yet but............well, I must say it is nice to sleep in on a weekend. The first in forever and to take a shower when I want to. To have some freedom and not have to be home by 2pm to pick him up from school. I will enjoy the rest of the summer and sit back and watch what happens. They have NO idea, none, what it's like to deal with a child with ADHD when he comes down off of his meds. They soon will though.
One big issue for us was money. We have none. They do and could carry on forever. I already have to struggle to pay what I already owe the lawyer, and she has been kind. One thousand dollars already gone and a bill to come. I just could not fight it. My heart would give out. My chest and head are full of unshed tears and that hurts like hell. More so is the betrayal from people I have helped over the years, none who came to stand by me. Those who did were not the closest to me (meaning granddaughters) and I will be forever grateful to them. They say when trouble comes you know who your friends are. I do now. Bless their kindness.
I don't hold grudges and I will get over this but I wont forget.

9 comments:

Merlesworld said...

I have followed your blog for a long time now , I am sorry to hear that this has happened but understand you situation you have given him a wonderful start and you have many happy memories hope it all works out ok.
Merle..........

wordsworthmoore said...

Here for you if you need a chat anytime at all. A very difficult situation. I can see how good you have been to that little lad, and bottom line is he knows also. You have given him a wonderful loving home, you couldn't do more, let us pray something good comes out of this and the little lad adjusts. Be there if you are needed but open your heart to yourself and your life.. ((Big hug for you)) xx

wordsworthmoore said...

Debie Hamill @ wordsworthmoore sorry hubbies account xx

Magic Love Crow said...

Janice, I am so very, very sorry!!!! Please know, I am here for you!! I know Tristen will always love you and never forget you! This must be so hard!!! Sending you much love and many prayers!! Please take care!!!

Magic Love Crow said...

I am very sorry, for the betrayals from the people who you have helped over the years! You are so right, when trouble comes, you know who your friends are!!!

Kay G. said...

Oh Janice, I am just now reading this (we were in England for 2 weeks and I couldn't get to a computer.) I am so sorry to learn of what an upset this would have been for you. I pray for you and for Tristan! I do know what you mean about you find out who your friends are when the chips are down. Please know that I am thinking of you and wishing the best for you. xx

Cindy Adkins said...

Janice, I'm just now reading this - although I've know about it by following what you and LauraJane posted on Facebook. But I didn't know the whole story. I should have reached out before now ... But felt I didn't have the right words. I've admired you so much for all you've done for Tristan. I can't imagine your pain and it was a courageous thing to let him go. I'm just so, so sorry you had to go through this. You're a great lady. Hugs and love, Cindy

laurie said...

Oh Janice,, what a mess,, I am so sorry, what a betrayal,, such a sad sad happening,, thank goodness he had his early years with you and they can never take that away from him,, I also feel so bad for the child,, very very sad,, take care sweet lady,, I cannot for the life of me see how you could have done more, you did such a wonderful job with him,

NanaDiana said...

Janice, Because I was away from blogging for such a long time I had no idea what had happened- I just knew that Tristen was gone---so I went filing back through your blog to see if you had written about what happened. I am so so so sorry that you had to go through all of this. It is heart and gut wrenching. I know you gave it your all for the last 7 years and gave up your early 'retirement' years to take care of this child of a child of a child that you love. God bless you, Janice. You are in my prayers and I hope that there is some peace about the whole thing in the upcoming months and years. Your 'boy' will ALWAYS be 'your boy' because of your bonding with him in his baby years. His heart will come home to roost.

I hope you have blessed week. xo Diana