Back in September of 2015, I was having such a hard time at home. I decided to take my daughter to stay with her dad. He was working at the time, and I wasn't. I didn't return home. Instead, I decided to stay with a friend at the gym I was helping manage at the time for three months to recover from the incredible stress that I experienced at home. I moved back home in January, but because my oldest brother was still staying with us, my daughter continued to stay with her dad. I felt it was not safe for her to live with me yet. By then, her father had quit his job and was struggling to take care of our daughter. I got my job in December and did my best to help support her, but I remained very distracted by other people in my life. My oldest brother finally moved out in the summer of last year. I didn't want my daughter to stay with me while he was living there, but by the time he left home, my family situation got so much worse. In September of last year, my daughter got taken into foster care. Her school reported her father for an incident on campus. By the time I found out what was actually going on as I struggled to figure things out on my own, it was too late. She was already in someone else's care. There was a lot of deception involved, but my hands were tied, and I began my journey fighting the system to regain custody of my daughter.
My daughter went into foster care at the same time that I did. I was utterly traumatized when I learned that she was gone. Her father's issues have to do with substance abuse and alcohol. Mine have to do with mental illness. We have both gone above and beyond to recover custody. She returned home in May of this year, but because our case remains open, we have until November to continue proving ourselves and keep custody. Her dad and I became way more separated as a result of this situation. I just can't resolve within myself to accept or be understanding of the circumstances that got us all here in the first place. Neither can my family. Especially because her father maintains an attitude of carelessness regarding everything that happened up to her getting removed from the home. I know that if I were more informed or had the correct understanding of how things were working and promptly, she would have never experienced this fiasco. I got sabotaged; therefore, she was too. That is what my family and I cannot overlook.
Since having my daughter back home, I have struggled through mediation with her dad over how much time she spends with each of us. He is my neighbor and lives just one driveway over. He has insisted on equally dividing our time with her by alternating weeks. One week she stays with me, the next with him, and so on. Despite my opposition to that, I have to comply because he legally has full rights to demand that. This arrangement is the easiest we have settled on for now. I feel that he wishes to have this arrangement because he wants to avoid paying child support for the order I have in place. He is going to school full time, and I am working part time. He finally got off of parole for a case that took him eight years to end because he kept going in and out of prison. I began my therapy treatment in October of last year and started medication for depression in April. I have always maintained my confidence in regaining custody of my daughter. No one has looked out for like I have. Court orders are court orders, but I refuse to let the system win.