One day you find yourself in circumstances that could be harmful to you and your children. You have done your best to provide a loving and nurturing environment but, things have gotten out of control.
Your husband is mentally unstable and your fear what he might do as he is showing signs of paranoia, jealousy and anger. You petition the courts to Baker Act you husband as your fear for your safety. Your petition is denied.
Nobody believes your side of the story. Nobody believes it can happen to them. You try to get help and nobody will listen. Every way you turn people pass judgment and look for reasons that you might be guilty for the predicament you find yourself in. You feel helpless and hopeless.
Then the unbelievable happens and your children are taken away by an agency that thinks they are acting in the best interest of the children by removing them from the situation. They come in unannounced and in search of the children not to investigate your current circumstances our living environment. They do not come to question the children and ask if they feel safe. They come to take them away.
It happens so quickly and seems surreal. Desperation and fear are in the children’s eyes as they do not want to leave with strangers and do not understand what is happening.
For months I was in a trance, confused and in disbelief. My efforts to get my children returned were futile. The courts told me I should have filed an injunction against my husband. What good would a piece of paper do? Many woman following the advice of the courts to file an injunction are later found dead along with their children.
I did everything I could think of including contacting lawyers, educating myself, and extensive research in hopes of getting my children back. Those that you think would help and assist won’t. The lawyers I contacted would not take on my case. I lost everything. I lost my marriage, my job, my bank account, my home, and much more fighting for the return of my children.
If my husband could have gotten the help he needed with severe bipolar disorder and schizophrenia when I first requested help, our family would not have been so traumatized. Now I live in constant fear that because they children were removed once that they may be again.
The system is not set up to help those who are trying to protect their children and themselves. Once the children are taken, it is not about creating healthy and stable environments and returning them to their mother. Instead you find yourself fighting with everything you have, sleepless nights, in constant tears, and with the fear that you will not see them again. The turmoil and anguish is constant and unrelenting.
It took a little under a year to get my children back. Unfortunately during that time, we all were severely traumatized. Several years have passed and we still bear the emotional scars this caused. Having my children back under my roof and in my care means the world to me.
– R. J., Florida
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