My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Friday, July 15, 2016

Our First Day In Court

Happy Weekend to those who celebrate... for me pretty much every day looks the same other than the fact that Book TV is on CSpan on the weekends and I'm less likely to go into town on the weekend. But I know many of you still look forward to the Freakin' Weekend, so... yay!

Yesterday was Austin's hearing for the "temporary protective order" aka TPO that had been put in place after the chaos that occurred surrounding his last attempt to visit his child. The short story is that it was dismissed because there was no evidence to show that it was necessary. I'll tell you the long version in the part that follows, to the extent that I can.

First thing... we were on the docket for 9am, among many other cases. As we had feared, they brought the baby. With the TPO in place, none of us could legally interact with the baby or her maternal family. That. was. hard. She called out for her dad and he had to just walk away and sat there wiping tears. I asked him if he was ok so many times that he had to tell me to stop asking if he was ok. Baby Girl made eye contact with me and Mawmaw and her mom forcefully turned her head away from us. She knew who we were. The county courthouse is small, as you would imagine for a small town. There was a juvenile case on the docket that required that the courtroom be emptied while it was in progress so we had to sit in the small lobby watching Cosette but not touching her or talking to her. As heart-wrenching as that was I was still glad to see her.

The court schedule ran long. After the juvenile case there was a dramatic bullsh**ing Southern lawyer who tried the last case of the morning. It was pure theater and I would have found it amusing had it not meant that we had to sit through it for an hour or so,  break for lunch and then come back. That's right. Sat at the courthouse from 9 to 12 for no good reason. On the upside... the baby's mother had been avoiding service of the paperwork for the custody case and our attorney was able to get her served while we were there so the clock is ticking for that day in court. It's a process. Baby steps, I guess.

We went home for lunch. I had two antacids and a protein bar. I had a piece of cheese toast for breakfast. I couldn't eat.

Back to the courthouse. Austin won a bet with his lawyer about the previous case so his lawyer gave him $10 when we got back. I told him that was probably the first time in history a lawyer had ever paid a client. But seriously... our lawyer is such an awesome guy. I won't name him here but if you are ever in need of a family attorney in this area, I'll give you his number. He has been such a calming force for us and truly, worth every penny. He teased me a lot yesterday because I wouldn't let him out of sight. I seriously called his office when I couldn't find him for a few minutes. He's straight talking and doesn't hold back on his opinion. He has a good rapport with Austin and really seems to "get him". He did a great job for us yesterday and he was just fun to hang out with. He and Pop bonded over golf, as I knew they would.

Our case was heard when we returned from lunch at 1:30. I really don't feel comfortable sharing the details of the hearing in a public forum and I hope you all understand. We're just still in the process of finding justice for Cosy (justice in that the child has two parents and should be able to have a relationship with both) and I have to be careful not to say anything that might complicate things. The judge found that there was no evidence of Austin harming Cosy or her mother and didn't believe him to be a threat to them. What this means is that there is no legal reason that Austin should not be able to see his daughter. More about that in a minute. We had planned that Austin and myself would testify and of course, Austin has a video of the incident but none of that was necessary. The mother presented her case and she didn't have a case and it was over after that. We were pleased.

In light of the TPO being lifted, I contacted Cosy's mother today and requested that we have her for one hour - ONE HOUR on Tuesday and her mother denied my request. She will allow it only if she "supervises" visitation and that's just not going to happen. My hope was to give Cosy and Austin the opportunity to reunite but also to help ease baby girl into being away from her mother for short periods of time so that it's not traumatic for her once visitation is awarded. I offered to let mother pick the time of day, I offered to have my mom ride in the backseat with Cosy. I offered to bring her back immediately if she was the least bit distressed and she refused. There was a longer conversation involved than what I wanted but I truly hoped that we could find some common ground and avoid another long court process. I hoped that appearing in court without an attorney had embarrassed her enough that she would want to avoid it in the future. I was embarrassed for her, honestly.

Ultimately though, she is unwilling to allow us any time at all with Cosette unless she comes along and honestly, I just don't want to risk any unpleasantness. I mean, really, I would feel like I needed to video the entire visit just in case. She tacked on a little nasty "she is happier without you in her life" at the end so... I had to remind myself not to let someone else's words become my truth. I know that her only weapon is Cosette and I understand that she is disappointed in how things have turned out. But it took two people to create that child and there are two families who love her. We aren't going away. I know that the court is not pleased when parents try to alienate their child against the other parent and I have seen cases where the offending parent loses custody for that reason. I mean, the other grandfather testified under oath yesterday that he wanted to kill Austin. These people have no idea... and part of my hesitation in putting any of this on the internet is that I wouldn't want Cosette to stumble across this some day and know just how ... ridiculous... I'm sorry, I can't come up with another word... her maternal family was during this process.

Yesterday we got home from court around 2:30 and I was asleep not long after. I woke up at 6:30 and saw the tragic news from Nice, France. It's so heartbreaking to see how much hate there is in the world. I am so sad that we are separated from Cosette for a short time but I'm so grateful to God that our separation is temporary and that she is not lost to us forever. I had a few luigi's and facetimed with Oliver (who has learned to wave goodbye and say, "muah" when he kisses me goodbye over facetime!) then I went back to sleep probably within an hour and slept straight through until about 3am this morning. The physical toll on my body from sitting on those hard church pews (there is a thin cushion but not much comfort) yesterday has left me fairly crippled today. I have cursed my back about a dozen times today and shed more tears over back pain than over our sweet baby. I know that she will be back with us. I look forward to watching her grow up. I know that God loves her and will protect her and I know that she will grow up knowing her daddy and knowing that she has two families who love her. I just hope I don't end up in a wheelchair from this process. Too much time sitting in lawyers' office and courtrooms... too much stress on my spine.

So we wait for our next day in court and just try to get through this hot Summer. I'm looking forward to the Republican Convention next week. I "self-identify" more with conservative politics than liberal and I am usually encouraged by the pep rally environment of the political convention. Tim Tebow is speaking and I'm looking forward to that. Oliver's birthday is the 23rd and we'll be going down for his big first birthday party. I bought him a bounce house - I got a great deal on it - and I can't wait to see him in it. And... that's about it, I guess. Time for me to hit the freezer and have my daily dose of Luigi's. Thank you for your love and support. Many of you have messaged me and commented and sent texts and I don't feel like I've thanked you enough. It means the world to me to have your voices drowning out the negativity. Our attorney has told us not to have people out marching out in front of the courthouse with "Cosette's Life Matters" signs (I think I come across as pretty militant about this situation to him....) but I do feel the love and prayers and I'm so grateful! Hope you have a great weekend and I'll update you soon! Love and hugs!


Wendy in Oz said...

Happy to make a sign, to march or to just plain 'take someone out' Liam Neeson style if it would help. Austin is an amazing young father who deserves custody of his daughter because he exudes love and good manners. Something the baby mama knows nothing about! Always in my

Anonymous said...

If I lived closer I'd be out there with a sign.. just sayin'
You'll get your Cozy back, in due time. :)
There is def a little cuckoo nesting in her.. again, just sayin'

Rosie :)

Anonymous said...

You can do this, Heather. I'm praying for you.

monique said...

Once again, I'm so sorry that you guys are having to deal with this.
It appears that the baby mama is happy being a $itch and making everyone
else miserable. She must be an extremely unhappy person.
Sounds like you have decent lawyer. That's a big plus.
Hopefully you can have some down time today and feel better.
Take care, I know this is all so stressful for you and your family.

Anchoredwife said...

That poor baby. What is her mother thinking taking her from her daddy and evil and cruel. She better stop playing these games before SHE loses custody of her.

Anonymous said...

As good as you have been to that baby I don't see how the Mother could hurt you and the baby that way. If someone is good to my child and loves them I treat them good as I can. So much meanness and spite in that Mothers heart. It will come back on her. I am sorry you are going through this,