Edit: Easy donate link here but PayPal will deduct fees: Save Vanessa
What I need:
I need funds in order to get to America to try and claim custody of my daughter (and I have been summoned to court). I require funds for food, accommodation and legal fees. I should just about have enough funds right now to pay for my flight.
Why I need it:
My daughter has reportedly been sexually abused and has been neglected by her mother. On one occasion she was left with a registered sex offender to look after her, and my wife’s current boyfriend reportedly abused a 6 year old when he was in his teens.
When do I need it:
The court case is 17th June 2013 – I do not have much time to arrange things in the United States.
Edit: To clarify, my daughter is a British citizen - she even has a British passport. There would be absolutely no barrier to her moving to the UK, and I have a big family support network to help me. I am still married to my daughters mother - I haven’t yet been able to arrange divorce proceedings due to lack of funds.
For more information, read below.
I do not usually do anything like this, and I have no idea where to start. I guess the only place I can start is the beginning.
First, a little background. A few years ago, I fell in love with an American Citizen (I’m British). We got married, but due to immigration problems we have never been able to live in the same country. During a visit to the UK, she fell pregnant – and my daughter (Vanessa) was born on the 16th November 2010. As it currently stands, I have not seen either my Wife or my daughter since February 2011.
I’m not going to pretend it was a perfect relationship – it wasn’t, on either side. I’m also not going to blame any side for the breakdown, there was a lot on both sides – but unfortunately my wife decided she no longer wanted to be with me. She had met another guy, and started a relationship with him instantly.
After she split up with me, she met him in person for the first time (he had previously attempted to meet her, but had always made excuses – I wasn’t happy with her meeting him then either). A couple of days ago, her boyfriend got kicked out of the house he currently lived in with his Wife and kids. He gave his (soon to be ex) wife his car, and she drove him up to my Wife’s house that she currently lived in with my Mother In Law and my Daughter. She attempted to get her Mother In Law to get him to move in with them (she was living rent free). She (rightly) refused, as she doesn’t know him. This is the point where my wife makes one of the biggest mistakes she has ever made.
(PS: A special thanks to Pahimar and Morvelaira during this time. They both reached out to me with words of advice and comfort, and I am so grateful for it.)
She decided that she wanted to be with him, regardless of the cost. She left the house that day (in April 2013) homeless, with nowhere to go. She wouldn’t let my Mother In Law take my daughter Vanessa, and look after her until she got on her feet. During this point, up until the 5th of May I had no contact with her, as it wasn’t good for my mental health.
On the 5th of May I received an Email from my wife from her boyfriends email account. She asked me to call her, as it was important.
The following information is unverified, as due to recent events I have no reason to trust my Wife, for reasons that will soon become clear.
When I answered the phone, she told me that my daughter had been taken into care (on the 2nd of May), due to suspected abuse. According to my wife, she left my daughter with a baby sitter for a day while she filled out job applications. Apparently while in the baby sitters care, the babysitter noticed something to cause concern. Based on that she called the police. The police saw fit in light of the allegations to get her checked out at the hospital – and take her into care. Apparently, according to the wife there was no sign of abuse.
I asked if her boyfriend had ever been left alone with Vanessa – she said that he had, but that he had take a Lie detector test (which sounded a little fishy to me, but anyway). She asked me if I intended to try and take custody of my daughter. I said that I would have to think about it, and discuss it with my family – considering the nature of the allegations I could not make a split second decision like that. I did state it was unlikely, but that I was keeping my options open. At this point she recommended that I contact her court appointed attorney – and stated that the only reason that she was telling me this was because it was a legal requirement.
She made clear that she did not want me to contact her (my wife’s) mother, because she believed that my mother in law would attempt to take custody of our daughter – and that she would not let either my wife, or me see my daughter. Her boyfriend also spoke down the phone, trying to tell me the same thing – I didn’t want to hear his voice, for understandable reasons.
As requested I contacted her attorney (although I had to chase her for the details, since she wondered why I needed them even after asking that I ring him). However, once I contacted him he said that he couldn’t really tell me anything due to confidentiality (as my wife is his client), and only informed me that I will be getting sent some papers (which my wife neglected to mention). I said I’ll look towards receiving them.
Fast forward about a week (letter dated 5th May – takes a while by air mail, apparently), and I receive the aforementioned papers from the Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio. It was a letter from the Attorney/Guardian of my daughter, basically informing me of the court order that she be appointed temporary legal guardian, and advising me of two court dates. One on 17th June, 2013 which will be a “Settlement Conference”, and one on 12th July for a “Pre-Trial hearing” regarding allegations of neglect. At this point, there is no information as to what the nature of the neglect was. At this point in time, I was still unsure what to do – so I started looking into getting legal advice. However nothing was forthcoming at that time.
Fast forward to the 13th of May and I received an email from my wife, asking if I was to attend the court hearing, as her and her attorney need to know. I replied advising that I cannot yet tell her if I would be attending, I need to look into it further. I also advised that should she want any further contact with me, to message my mother on Facebook. She replied advising me that her attorney has told her that if I travel to the USA for the court date, I will be looked upon as a possible perpetrator of abuse – and that the charges against her are most likely to be dropped.
At this point I decided not to reply – things just didn’t add up. I also could not have been a perpetrator of abuse – I was 2000 miles away in the UK. It became obvious at this point that she was deliberately trying to stop me from going to the court case. I made up my mind that I would go to the court case – something fishy was going on.
Unfortunately, I still wasn’t able to find an attorney to help me at this point – due to my personal circumstances I am currently unemployed, so money is not something I have.
Fast forward again to the 20th of May (letter dated 14th of may) and I receive another letter, this time from the Butler County Court of Common Pleas – in Hamilton, Ohio. The contents of which are shocking to say the least.
The first thing I read is that I am being summoned to court in Ohio. As far as I can ascertain, I have been summoned because my daughter, Vanessa, is classed as my dependant. The wording is rather strong, and seems to state that if I do not attend, I will lose all rights – and part of the other wording states that if parties fail to attend they could be arrested.
Of course, the court is not offering to pay for me to get there.
The allegations to my wife are that she has neglected, and abused my two year old daughter.
As I read on, the revelations got even more troubling. These allegations were based on these “facts” - in order that I read it (and at the time I read this, I was shaking), on the 5th of May the police removed Vanessa from the custody of wherever she was at that time. I will write my comments on my paraphrasing underneath in italics.
Vanessa had been in the care of “various caregivers” from the two weeks preceding the 5th of May. The whereabouts of her mother during this time, was unknown.
This is very troubling to me, that she would leave her own daughter alone with strangers for two weeks.
Vanessa had been cared by a registered sex offender during this time, who is noted to be a Sexual Predator, Tier 2. She reportedly sexually abused a 14 year old child. As a teenager, my wife’s current boyfriend had reportedly sexually abused a 6 year old girl.
This is probably the most shocking revelation in the entire document. It is really sickening that my Wife’s boyfriend has sexually abused a 6 year old – yet my wife still continues this relationship to this day. It is also shocking that she did not bother to look up the persons name who she was leaving my daughter with – with the resources available to us nowadays, even a simple google search turns up a picture of the registered sex offender.
Vanessa was left with non-related caregivers whom the family didn’t know, and my wife didn’t know these peoples lasts names, including the aforementioned sex offender. My wife spent an evening at a hotel, whilst leaving my daughter with strangers.
This to me shows a lack of concern and a lack of thinking by my wife, not to background check the people she is leaving my daughter with. It is also troubling that she would leave my daughter elsewhere, with strangers, while she had a day away with her boyfriend.
Vanessa was made to sleep in the bed of caregivers that she had just met. Law enforcement reported concerns with my wife’s and daughters lack of bonding.
Leaving your child in the care of complete strangers is bad enough – but having her sleep in their bed is a whole other ball game.
Middletown Police reports that Vanessa has out of control behaviours and struggles with being redirected by adult figures. Vanessa has been known to assault others and pull on dog’s tails at caregivers’ home.
Without going into detail as to what the assault actually was, it is the kind of behaviour that is a learned behaviour – e.g. a child wouldn’t decide to do this without having seen it done, or had it done to them first. This greatly disturbs me.
Vanessa’s biological father reportedly lives in Sheffield, England (that’s me). My wife reported that there are no family members available to care for Vanessa.
As it turns out, there was a family member available to care for Vanessa. My mother in law would have happily cared for her – but my wife didn’t even inform my mother in law – my father did. She didn’t want to tell my mother in law, in case that she would try and take Vanessa away from her. That is disturbing, as surely your own daughters care should come first, and you’d prefer your daughter to be in the care of a relative over a complete stranger at a foster home.
My general reaction to all this is wow. I need to claim custody of my daughter. Until this I was happy to let my wife look after my daughter – however it is now clear to me that she can not to be trusted. Not only has she lied to me, she has also endangered my daughter’s physical and mental well-being, and potentially her life.
And this is the point where I ask for your help. As mentioned before, I cannot afford to go to the United States. As of now, I can just about afford to get on a plane due to money I was owed and a kind donation from someone (not sure if he wants to be named!). I do not, however, have enough money for accommodation, food, or legal fees. At the worst case scenario I can get a court appointed attorney I believe, however that is not ideal and I’d really like my own legal council.
You have my word that any money you give me will only be used on the essentials. If I happen to raise more funds than I spend on these essentials, I will use it to try and make sure my daughter has everything ready for her in the UK, in the event that I do get custody. If I get more than that – I will ask for opinions at that time, but my current thinking is that I will donate the remainder to a charity to help children. I am not sure which one yet – ideally it would be one which deals with abuse cases, and helping children. I’d hate for any child to go through what my daughter has gone through.
Many thanks for reading this far. It isn’t an easy story to tell, and I imagine it isn’t an easy story to read. If you cannot give funds – this is fine. All I ask is that you spread the word, because I really am in a bind, and I am at a loss on what to do.
Currently, the only option I have available for donations is paypal. You can send funds to firstname.lastname@example.org - I would add a donate button, but unfortunately paypal would take a cut from any donations received, and that option is made for non profit organisations. If anyone wants to donate by another method, please contact me at email@example.com and I’ll see what I can do.
If you have any questions, please feel free to tweet me @Cloudhunter or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can also be found on IRC at irc.esper.net #computercraft (and about a zillion other channels) under the name Cloudy.
Many thanks again, for bearing with me.