Filling in the Blanks

Last week I found out that Brittany was VERY VERY unhappy at her dad's house. She had been cutting, had tried to kill herself, and said that she would do it again if she had to go back. I didn't try to understand it - I really didn't and don't care about the reasons. All I care about is taking care of my daughter and keeping her safe.

I immediately set up an appointment with a psychiatrist for the Thursday morning, which is no small feat considering I didn't find these things out until 5:00pm on Wednesday evening. I also made an appointment with a lawyer to discuss how I was going to keep her safe and alive until we figured out what started all of this. The next 5 days are some of the most difficult days that I have ever faced in my life.

When the police showed up at our house Monday night looking for Brittany because she had not returned to her dad's (yes, he called them), I can honestly say that I felt like it was the end - that we would have to send her back...and I didn't know what would happen. I was afraid of what her dad would do, but mostly, I was afraid of what she would do to herself. I knew she would cut herself, and was more than sure she would try to kill herself. How can a parent put their child through that?

We went to court today - or rather our lawyer did. We were awarded temporary custody pending the outcome of a custody trial. They also issued a restraining order against him. Brittany is going to get the help she needs and will start to heal. We will try to help fix what is broken. We are all walking on egg shells and hoping we are doing the right things.

I have learned a few things here:

Violation of a custody order is a civil offense - it is not a criminal offense and will not result in being arrested.

Non-Forensic Psychiatrists and Psychologists back out faster than an SR-71A Rocket Plane when asked for their opinion on custody or anything related to legal issues.

There is very little experience with cases involving a 17 year old that wants to choose which parent they live with - in which one of their parents refuses to listen to them.

Sometimes you have to step way out of your comfort zone in order to do what is right for your children. Sometimes there are no laws or doctors or advise to guide you. You have to follow what feels right and hope you don't fuck it up too badly.

Lawyers are REALLY REALLY REALLY expensive.

You will never have all of the answers. You are winging it when it comes to doing the right thing for your kids.

Wow - this parenting stuff - it is hard.