Well, for better or worse, we did it.

We talked to the kids (the ones that wanted to hear what we had to say anyway) about why we asked the court to look at changing custody.  Rowdy said he wanted to hear our reasons, so we gave LaLa, Buddy and Monkey the option of sitting in on the conversation as well.  We told them it was their choice, that we wouldn’t force them to listen to anything, but we’d be honest and we’d let them ask any questions they wanted to ask.

Only Monkey took us up on the offer – LaLa had no desire to hear our side.  I’m not sure why…I’m not sure if it’s because she already realizes the truth or if she just wants to remain blissfully unaware.  Whatever her reasoning, we respected it.  Buddy told me later that it wasn’t any of his business to sit in on the conversation – he didn’t want Rowdy distracted that he was there.  I told you Buddy was different.

Hun started out the conversation – or at least tried to….he was unsure where to start.  At the beginning seemed like a good place to me.  So Hun started at the beginning….

He talked about when he first left due to Jetsam and him fighting all of the time. 

He talked about how he paid her child support every single week before anything was ever finalized through the courts – because it was the right thing to do to for the sake of his kids.

He talked about how within a month of him moving out, a boyfriend had moved in – one that tried to prevent Hun from seeing his own children while Jetsam allowed the boyfriend to behave that way.

He talked about how the first year they were separated, Jetsam was hauled in front of the Truancy Court for LaLa being late or absent to school over 90 days in first grade (in Texas, it’s required by law for students to attend 180 days of class).

He talked about how he’d call to pick them up and find out that they had moved between visitations.  How the moves were spaced around 6 months apart and moved from district to district. 

He talked about how the absences and tardies weren’t just limited to LaLa, but starting to spill over into their school career too. 

He talked about how their grades were suffering from being moved around so much that LaLa was in jeopardy of being held back a year; how she was testing as learning disabled due to her lack of understanding of the subjects.  He talked about how that the pattern was being repeated with them as well.

He talked about how their Mom was living with a man (different from the original guy mentioned above) that she claimed was doing drugs, drinking heavily and “disciplining” them hard enough to leave bruises.  How he begged her to leave him for the sake of the children – her children and his.  How she agreed that she needed to, but would never go so far as to actually leave the guy.

He talked about how he couldn’t just keep allowing things to continue the way they were going.  How, that no matter how much child support he paid, the money he paid wasn’t going to fix the problems he was seeing in their lives.

He talked about hiring a lawyer, about gathering the facts, about talking to the court-appointed social worker, and about trying to stay positive through it all.

He talked about how the social worker’s opinion on the whole situation with Jetsam, the kids, and Hun is what swayed the court’s opinion in his favor.

Throughout the whole conversation, he would stop and ask the kids if they had any questions.  They didn’t, not at first. 

I tried not to interrupt too much – this was Hun’s conversation to have after all.  And I didn’t.  Not really.  I added some clarifying bits of information here and there and I observed.  I observed how the kids received and processed the information they were hearing. 

It was obvious that a lot of the information was brand new to them. 

It was obvious that a lot of the information was presented in a different way than what they were used to hearing.

And it was obvious by the questions they finally did ask that they were listening to Hun and beginning to form their own opinions about the whole situation.

They asked about child support and Hun explained that he paid Jetsam until the day custody was awarded to him.  He talked about how refusing to sign off on the raised amount of child support that started the custody ball rolling was the one thing he regretted in the whole process – that he should have just paid the higher amount while he was asking the courts for custody.  How, once he had the process in motion, he was advised to see it to the end before changing anything at that point.  And he talked about how when custody was finalized in his favor, he only asked Jetsam to pay the minimum amount allowed by the courts, and how the courts wanted to raise it recently to the state required minimum, but he wouldn’t sign off on it because he knows Jetsam is still struggling.

They asked for more details about the social worker and Hun explained that she talked to EVERYONE involved in the case – witnesses, the schools, and family members – everyone – on both our side and on Jetsam’s side – including their aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

Then they asked to see our court papers.  A tub full of 3” ring binders, packed full of documentation to back up what Hun had just told the kids – just what any kid dreams of!!  I’m surprised it didn’t put them to sleep.

We got half way through the first binder before the kids had enough.  I don’t blame them. 

I don’t think this will be the last conversation we have with them.  They are smart kids and will come up with more questions.

I’m pretty sure that something will be said to Jetsam at some point and I KNOW she’ll insist on her own conversation when that happens.  We will be blamed again for all of the woes in her life and cast as the horrible, evil people that refuse to allow a struggling mother custody of her own children.

As I’ve said before….I’m okay with that.  I am evil after all.

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