**Names have been changed for privacy and legal reasons**
Fathers. They are the most under-recognized victims of unethical adoptions. But this reaches far further than just domestic infant adoption. All over the internet you will find hundreds of “Fathers Rights” groups, pages, and resources. You would think that in this day and age it would not be so easy for a woman to systematically eliminate a father from a child’s life. You would be wrong.
Today I will tell you a story. It is the story of a cousin that is more like a brother to me. It’s a sad story and will end even sadder without the help of social media. I am hoping that by sharing we will be able to stop two more unnecessary adoptions.
Wayne and I were born 8 days apart. Our mothers are sisters. We have always been close and lived together on and off for almost half of our childhoods. We’ve both had our issues, in life, in the past. We’ve both made mistakes. We’ve both done things we weren’t proud of, but here we are today, still standing, still fighting, still trying to do right by our children and families.
When Wayne met Theresa he was not in a good spot. Theresa was a close friend of my younger sister and stood up in her wedding. It was at this wedding that their meeting took place. Wayne was living out of his van, had sole custody of his daughter, after her biological mother all but abandoned the child. Throughout his younger years Wayne struggled with issues, as we all do, but was beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Wayne’s mother, Cathy, helped to raise his oldest daughter, Brittany. So, Wayne meets Theresa and feels there is an instant connection.
They begin to date and Theresa is a big influence in giving Wayne hope to help him straighten his life out. They move in together, they get married. Wayne slips up early in the marriage, they have arguments, they make up. Wayne isn’t perfect, like I said. Wayne has never hit Theresa or his children…which Theresa admits. Let’s fast forward 6 years.
Two years after the birth of Wayne and Theresa’s daughter, Theresa begins to record their arguments. She does not record her part in the argument, however. Only his. She then begins to throw the word “divorce” around. One minute she acts totally in love, the next she says, very matter-of-fact, she wants a divorce because she doesn’t love him anymore. She is systematically messing with his mind to instigate a reaction. Granted, everyone is in control over their own actions, but there gets to be a point where it becomes torturous.
Then, one day, the icing on the cake. The straw that broke the camel’s back. Theresa asks for “romantic relations” with Wayne one evening and then the first thing she says the next morning is she wants a divorce. This sent Wayne into a tailspin. So while the kids were at school and daycare he drank two forty ounces of beer (over an 8 hour period), cried, cursed, cried some more, became angrier, and then went to pick the kids up from school. Upon arrival at the school one of Theresa’s friends (in Wayne’s opinion) began to taunt him, while he sat in his car. He screamed at her and drove home, erratically. Which was wrong. He knows this. He was at his breaking point, which is what Theresa wanted and what she had been counting on in her planning and plotting. She had also been in contact with, and advised by, an attorney during all of this time.
Brittany, Wayne’s oldest daughter, becomes frightened and calls Theresa’s parents, who come get the kids from Wayne. Wayne then goes upstairs, calls Theresa and says he’s going to kill himself. And then proceeds to try. Theresa doesn’t call 911 upon receiving this information. Instead she waits a little while and then goes home. She finds Wayne upstairs, having attempted the deed. She calls an ambulance and they come take Wayne away.
As soon as they leave the house Theresa heads to the courthouse and files for a restraining order against Wayne for her and the kids. The way the law works, anyone can file for a restraining order. A judge will later determine if it has basis to stand.
Let’s review the facts.
Wayne was not drunk when he picked up the kids. Wayne stands 6’3″ tall and weighs 250 pounds. Eighty ounces of beer over an eight hour period would not put him at a risk to drive.
Wayne did not attempt to kill himself while the kids were in the home.
Because Wayne was having a “breakdown” over the state of his marriage and the actions of his wife, his oldest daughter is scared. She has never seen her dad cry or yell or act that way.
Wayne DID drive erratically. That was wrong. However, no one was in an accident and the kids were okay.
Where were we?
Theresa secured a temporary restraining order. Wayne was placed on a 72 hour hold in the psych ward of the hospital. Theresa would not take his calls and did not go to visit him. She filed a motion for sole custody of both children and requested supervised visits for one hour a week for two years. In the meantime, while my family is questioning her actions (specifically her lack of concern for the mental well-being and life of my cousin as she waited to do anything about his threats of suicide) she is reassuring us that she is only doing what she thinks is best for the kids, that everyone will still see them, including Wayne, and things just need to settle down first before Wayne goes back to regular visits with them.
(Side note: To this day Wayne says he still loves Theresa)
So, we are all respectful and try to understand. Wayne’s psychiatrist clears him to leave the psych ward citing a momentary breakdown that he is fully recovered from. There are no long-term meds prescribed. Wayne voluntarily goes to see a psychiatrist to prove he is fit for his kids. That psychiatrist clears him and says he is not a danger to them.
Upon release from the hospital, Wayne learns, via my family in messages Theresa had written, that she has put a restraining order in and that if he goes home he will be arrested. Even though Wayne had not yet been served with it, it still existed. Everything he owns is in the house. His wallet, his phone, his clothes, his truck….everything. Theresa agrees to leave everything in his truck and drive it to his father’s house.
Wayne gets his stuff and all his money from his income tax return that was in his bank account is gone. He’s broke. She took it all out so he would have no access to it. He has nothing. He has to start over. He doesn’t even have his kids.
The courts give Theresa what she wants. Supervised visits one hour per week. Our uncle is the designated “supervisor.” He is an upstanding member of his community and is known for the work he does with “at-risk” youth as well as his coaching throughout the years of little league teams. And the court battles rage on, for a year. Theresa tries to have the supervised visits extended to five years. That is still up in the air at the moment. Wayne continues to see his psychiatrist (even though it isn’t needed) and the psychiatrist continues to state he is not a danger to his children and is not suicidal. Wayne has no representation because he has just enough money to start his life over again and find new employment (as his former employer was the church that Theresa’s family has attended their whole lives). He is also paying child support for his children, to Theresa, as he should be. Starting over is hard. Trying to find the money to fight all of this is even harder, almost impossible.
Yesterday, Wayne had court for a new motion Theresa had put in. Our Uncle accompanied him this time. Wayne has been representing himself thus far, ineffectively. The motion was to ban Wayne from asking his children about their home life. It was denied. The new motion wanted to remove our Uncle as the “supervisor” based on another false claim by Theresa. She instead wanted a social worker to supervise the visits. She stated that my Uncle yelled at her and verbally abused her (same claim she used to start all of this with the restraining order – and used those one-sided arguments she recorded to get it). She failed to bring in the police report that existed that proved her claim wrong. Yes, a police report exists because she called the police. My Uncle, however, refused to speak to her until the police got there. The judge was very interested to know why her attorney did not also show the police report. The background check Theresa’s attorney had done on my Uncle also showed the exact opposite as what she was hoping for. Police, school and government officials from his town gave him glowing reviews. That motion was denied. The final motion that she is attempting to push through is to TERMINATE MY COUSIN’S PARENTAL RIGHTS TO HIS CHILDREN.
Remember, his oldest is not even Theresa’s child.
Here’s the catcher. Here is why Theresa brought the police with her the last time she dropped the kids off at my Uncle’s. She has a new boyfriend. According to the kids he frequently sleeps over….think “moving in.” Think “terminate parental rights and he can adopt the kids??” My Uncle, by happenstance, pulled into the gas station, in his hometown, at the exact same moment she was letting the new boyfriend out of the car before she took the kids to their supervised visit at my Uncle’s house. She was caught and thought that lying would work again.
This is my plea. The judicial system, as we all know, is CROOKED. Without representation my cousin is really at risk of losing his rights to his children, unjustly, based on the lies of one woman. While we have the retainer fee for an attorney, he won’t have representation for long with this case without raising more money. I know that money is really tight for everyone. So if you can’t donate I totally understand. I’m not even in a position to do anything right now. But if you can please SHARE this. Share it far and wide.
Save these children from their amended birth certificates, loss of their father, loss of their heritage. Save this father from this travesty.