Anxiety

Something I don’t think I’ve posted on here yet is that I have three kids, three beautiful children. They are my world, my shining light in the darkness.

Unfortunately, they’re biological father is not the person I would like him to be. I divorced him a little over a year ago, leaving him a year prior to the divorce when I found out I was pregnant with my youngest. He was abusive and was trapping me in our home, forbidding me from seeing my family amongst other horrid things.

We share joint custody (I have physical custody), but things have gone horribly wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong. We have never been able to get along since the birth of my oldest. Things only progressed downward from there.

He moved out of state recently. The saying goes “possession is 9/10ths of the law”. I believe that firmly after previous experience and, from the past few days, advice from several people. My ex wants to take my children out of state with him for “visitation”. He gave me an ultimatum: he gets to take them for a week (because of his birthday rights, which is only 9am-9pm on his birthDAY) to where he lives, or we go back to the court-ordered visitation, which would require me to pick them up from the state he lives in – something around 10 hours away. I told my ex that I am unable to afford the trip there and back; his reply was something along the lines of “I guess that I’ll be keeping them until you can come and get them then”. (Which, by the way, if he does that is both a felony and a misdemeanor in my state.)

It’s not just the lack of funds that’s keeping me from wanting my children to go with him. He’s not capable of taking care of them by himself; there is always a de facto guardian (a previous one with whom I am friends with is proof enough). When he does take care of them by himself, they are always returned unbathed and incredibly dirty, unfed and unnecessarily hungry with diaper rashes that are so horrible you cannot even begin to imagine; it takes me two days minimum to get the rash to go away. I do not trust him with their care. At all.

There is also the fact that the state he is living in is a “safe haven” state, so-called. If my ex gets my children over the state line, he will not have to hand them over to me. He will have, technical, full custody. Herein comes the “possession is 9/10ths of the law”. I would lose my children. By letting him take them to said state, it is, by de facto, telling him “Yes, I trust you to care for my children when I am not with them; oh sure, take them out of state for an unknown amount of them even though I don’t know exactly where you’re going”, even though none of that is true. Well, it is true that I no idea where he’s going. He’s given me a basic idea of where he lives. That’s it; he kind of keeps switching back and forth.

But he is supposed to be coming later today and picking them up, even though I now have an order telling him that until a court hearing the children are, technically, are not to leave the state. Yes, I know I am more than likely to get a contempt of court. I would rather that than live without my children.

I’m scared though. More scared than I ever have been in my life. Out of everyone in my family, only two people understand, only two people support me. What I went through in the last divorce and custody battle was hell. Literal hell and nobody helped me through it. I was forced to go through it alone. What I went through when I was married to my ex was even worse and I don’t think anybody believed me; definitely not the judge. Everything that I’m going through now is just bringing all of those memories and feelings back threefold.

I know I am not a bad mother. I love my children with all my heart. I want nothing but the best for them. A good home, a good life, care and love, stability. It’s hard to find such things these days. I can provide these things. I know I can. I have been. My children are so loving. They will just come up to me and say “Mom?” I will turn and say “What, honey?” And my baby will just come up to me and kiss my cheek or hug me then give me a sweet little kiss.

It breaks my heart that all of this could be taken away from me in an instant.

It scares me.

I can only hope for the best and pray that the worst stays far, far, FAR away. Otherwise… I don’t know what I’m going to do.

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