I like to view this blog as a means to defend myself. It’s my voice. It’s part of my right to Freedom of Speech. When it comes to You-Know-Who, he likes to exercise his right to free speech by slandering my name, painting this picture that I’m some horrible person and mother. For years I have remained silent and let the barrage of insults slide off me. I knew it wasn’t true so why engage with him? However, he likes to paint these images of me in court, with lawyers, with government officials, with both our families, and finally, our son. I can’t abide by this anymore.
Refuting everything he says will take time, organization, and lots of words, so there may be several “Parts” to my Refutations.
Admittedly, You-Know-Who is skilled in word subterfuge. He’s good at looking at parts of the issue and making a big deal rather than looking at the whole picture, because that small part suits him.
What I plan on refuting is the first response to my motion for modification that You-Know-Who filed January 31, 2018. I briefly touched on some of his fallacies in this blog.
I think it’s interesting how he thinks. I had my 2nd son October 2010. At the end of that year, my then fiancé and I, with Zander and Killian, moved into our own rental home. We couldn’t afford that house in Pennsylvania, but we were promised by an in-law that we would be financially helped. That proved to be false. The house used to be a crack-house, something which was not disclosed to us by said in-law (who happened to be into real estate and worked closely with the landlord). The basement would flood easily. The gas pipes were leaking, unbeknownst to us so our bills were $400+ a month. Financially, we were at our lowest. The house was only heated by propane, and we couldn’t pay the bill. I remember heating the downstairs with the oven by opening the door. I saved money by exclusively nursing my infant son and cloth diapering. I literally could not afford to buy formula or diapers anyway.
It was during this time that I took advantage of my perfect credit and opened up tons of credit cards just to get by. Peebles to buy clothes for the kids. Target to get a wider variety of needs. JCPenney for when I needed more clothes for the kids but Peebles was maxed out.
Before I knew it, I was thousands of dollars in debt and had nothing to show for it. Even though I did not have to and had no obligation to share, I shared with You-Know-Who my “difficulties” as he puts it. For years he belittled me that all he wants to be is friends. He continues to mock me during Skype calls with Zander that “if only mommy can be nice, we can be friends”, yet that is exactly what I have always struggled to be, especially in those early years.
I shared with him things you only share with friends. I shared with him very personal and revealing family situations. I gave him exact monetary figures on WHY we were struggling. He didn’t care. He wanted what he wanted. So in his own words, “Following years of limited access due to reported ‘difficulties’ by the mother to allow things like; video conferencing, skype and limited photos”. I could not afford a decent computer. I could not afford a decent phone. I had an old used blackberry phone that had seen better days and was nowhere near the technology smartphones have today. I couldn’t afford internet. Heck, I couldn’t even afford my cell phone bill, but I was locked in a contract. You-Know-Who showed very little understanding and harassed me on a monthly basis. I received emails like this: “If you really want to make me happy do the following; a) Send at least 10-15 new pictures a month, b) Any smartphone on the market as far as I know allows sending e-mails not just replying so at least one update a week would be good, c) I know you have expenses and what not and sorry you are struggling but you need to get a phone or internet, this is unacceptable. If you do these 3 things THEN I will be VERY happy and not just happy. Apart from that your sympathy of the situation and apologies, do very little to make me happy. You wanted the cake now eat it. You got your divorce, now respect my right to my son, actively.”
Let me requote something: “You wanted the cake now eat it. You got your divorce”
It always ended up right back to that point. Anger over me divorcing him. It didn’t matter that he lived on a different continent and couldn’t see Zander. It was my fault. It didn’t matter that Zander was only 2 and 3 and couldn’t talk, let alone reciprocate on the phone, it was my fault. He spoke to my mother every week, which she openly shared all the updates I gave her to give to him. We frequently visited my mom, and she would talk to him and he was happy with hearing Zander in the background. Zander had autism and didn’t interact to us, let alone him. That was just the way of it. I did not deny access. Our parental agreement stated that I was to encourage communication between father and son. Not once did it say I was required to have webcam, which I couldn’t afford at the time anyway, but I facilitated all that I could with what I had. Which is more than most mothers are willing to do in that situation. I did my best. Yet to this day, nearly a decade after our separation and subsequent divorce, he is still bringing up every single fault that he feels I committed!
Next quote: “The mother withheld the minor child in breach of the signed agreement, effectively denying and rejecting visitation for the minor with his father in Malta for the years 2012 and 2013. The argument was on the basis of diagnoses for ‘autism’, which the father was excluded from until the evaluations and reports were prepared.”
Okay, I’ll be honest. This is partly true. However, in 2012, I was not legally obligated to send Zander that summer. We had a verbal agreement between us where I stated if he visited his son frequently in the United States then I would feel comfortable sending Zander to Malta a summer early. I did not do this because he did not visit Zander more than 3 days in a 3 year period. I was not legally in the wrong for this. He filed for access with the Hague accusing me of denying him any access to Zander. Then when they did nothing (because I wasn’t in the wrong), he filed contempt of court charges against me. During the course of getting served, I had hired an attorney who advised me not to send Zander to Malta for the summer of 2013 based on his autism diagnosis. Because I had professionals telling me this could harm Zander. His diagnosis was fairly new, and I was still learning how to help him. His psychologist, Mrs. Hatcher, felt he should not be removed from my care for more than 6 weeks. We went to court. The psychologist was involved. She gave her recommendations. You-Know-Who and his attorney objected to the 6 week offer at an attempt to mediate for the first summer. This is why mediation with You-Know-Who is pointless; it’s his way or no way. Always has been; always will be. Although court proceedings occurred so we could work everything out, You-Know-Who had to hire psychologists in Malta to help him, I did send him. Now the statement, “which the father was excluded from until the evaluations and reports were prepared.”
I told him exactly what I was doing. He told me not to. What did he expect me to do? Pay for his airline ticket and go together in person? How was I supposed to include a man on a different continent!? I informed this man of everything I did. I believe what he expected from me was his permission, which I did not have. I proceeded to have Zander diagnosed with autism despite his wishes. I then sent him the forms once I received them. That’s really all I’m legally obligated to do. I wasn’t going to medically neglect my child simply because the father didn’t want me to have him evaluated for something he didn’t agree with. #SorryNotSorry
And I just want to add, eventually You-Know-Who bought a laptop for the sole purpose of Skyping with webcam. The explicit rule was that I was not allowed to be involved or touch the laptop or have it in my possession. So this left my mom, who is technologically illiterate (not to say this to be disrespectful; I love my mom) to deal with setting these calls up so he could see Zander. It was very stressful on my mom. Zander wouldn’t hold still, but once successful, those moments would last 45+minutes. We tried to do them twice a month. Less than 6 months after purchasing the laptop and having long calls with Zander, You-Know-Who stopped requesting them. That was when he went behind my back and started Skyping with teachers at Zander’s school. And he wants to talk about exclusion? I guess it only counts if he thinks I’m violating the court agreement because he’s immune.
In here, he basically talks about what I talked about above. He filed again for “Denial of Access”, which really at that time, just equated to him throwing a hissy fit because I put my foot down. Notice how he puts condition in quotations. He’s mocking it. I just want to point out how he likes to talk about me being “rebuked” by the courts, but I didn’t get a contempt charge. Judge Hicks had his hands tied. He understood where I was coming from, but being a small town judge, he didn’t understand international law. He felt that because we had concurrently entered a child custody agreement with both the United States and Malta, he couldn’t modify the existing order to validate the sudden changes in circumstances – that being the autism diagnosis. What You-Know-Who fails to specify in his response to the court when he points out something the judge wrote, “any filing in modification would also need to be filed in Malta, if not primarily Malta.” is the fact that the judge ordered You-Know-Who to take my attempts at modification and ask the courts in Malta if they wanted to hear the case. February 5, 2015, the result came back and ultimately, the Malta Court declined to accept jurisdiction of the matter and further ruled that jurisdiction lies with the American Courts. This is because the Courts in Malta understood how jurisdiction worked. I could have filed for modification if only Judge Hicks had allowed me. But in the beginning, my fear was because of Zander’s autism. I had very real founded worries, not including the fear that my child would not be returned. In this excerpt, he word plays to make himself look good. And me bad. I’m used to it. It’s funny that he brings up Dr. Elena Tanti Burlo, who assisted in Zander’s transition, because he had Zander “retested” for autism. They ruled that Zander did not have “autism”, he had “Aspergers”. Which is autism….The only reason it was called something different in America is because they changed their DSM. The psychologist who diagnosed Zander said if it weren’t for the fact they were changing everything around, she would have diagnosed him as Aspergers. I don’t see how me claiming repeatedly that Zander had high functioning autism was “inflating the condition of the minor”. The only thing I can gather is in their culture, calling anyone with “autism” is calling them mentally handicapped or disabled. Also for whatever prejudiced reason, You-Know-Who had a cousin who was included and allowed in that report to speak on his opinions. All my perceived “wrongdoings” were blasted in front of all professionals to paint me in a negative picture. On my end, I never spoke badly about You-Know-Who; I simply informed all parties that he was European and didn’t live in America. That was it.
Then in point “m” You-Know-Who states “Following the Summer visit in 2014, in Malta, with the father, the minor was lauded of his improvement in school and overall ability. The mother following some time further sought action to attempt a modification order and in addition further taxed and restrained communication between the minor and the father in retaliation of the improved father and son relationship the minor and father share.”
Okay, what exactly are you saying that I’m doing? Because this isn’t clear at all. This makes no sense to me. (I also want to add that I paid my attorney at that time to file for modification. This happened right before Zander left. He did not file an emergency hearing as I asked…then I heard nothing more from said attorney. I didn’t even know he had filed. No clue. Had no clue until I received an email from You-Know-Who. I couldn’t do anything because I had just given birth. I didn’t even realize anything had come of those hearings. Not until Zander’s abduction and I had to file for all transcripts from that time.)
Zander’s last school he went to, I had no idea that You-Know-Who had been communicating with certain people. I’m sure you all can take a gander on what exactly was talked about besides Zander. How horrible of a person I was and how I never let him talk to his son….yep. This is the time period that You-Know-Who purchased a laptop. My mom wrote down all the dates that they talked and the length of time. For half the school year, we worked out times for them to Skype. He sent me a rather nasty email during this period which states, “Stop being a pain in the ass!! I bought a laptop for your mother so i could see Zander every 2 weeks on skype and have some form of communication.” This is just a small piece of that email. During this time, I had a newborn. I had complications during my 3rd C-section which resulted in me walking around with a foley catheter for 10 weeks. I was unable to drive during this time period. During that time, I only managed one visit to my mom’s house in order for them to Skype. By October, we were able to coordinate more times. He continues to berate me, “By right it should be YOU to do this, but we have both agreed that you are incapable and immature to carry out this responsibility, so leave it to the adults. When i said BOTH i meant you and me. As far as i am concerned you confirm and admit to be irresponsible and immature by the way you act and behave . Myself i say you are that because i have yet to see a genuine act of where you meet me HALF way on anything to make this easier for me and Zander.” Remember, above I mentioned that when he purchased the laptop, I was forbidden from having any access to it. Despite the fact that he had 1-2 Skype calls with Zander for 45+minutes at a time, You-Know-Who went behind my back and began Skyping in school. This went on for months. The only reason I even knew was because Zander was coming home on certain days complaining he was hungry or didn’t get to play recess. I would ask him why and the response I got back was “Because I had to Skype with [You-Know-Who].” Yes, I was upset. Yes, I called the school and tried to stop it. I even explained, this is something that is to be done between us both. We were facilitating contact outside of school whenever he asked. My mom was getting the hang of it. I told the principal to please stop because it was affecting Zander’s routine, and he was coming home stressed on those days. If Zander didn’t have autism, I doubt I ever would have found out. I told the principal that he bought my mom a computer for just those reasons. My mother and I discussed amongst ourselves, why in the world would he choose 5-10 minute Skype sessions in school as opposed to nearly hour long sessions with my mom? We debated the issue. Finally, we both realized…he wanted to make me look bad. Poor him, deprived of his only child because his evil ex wife refuses to allow him the most meager of access.
He had been systematically destroying my image for years. This was no different. It was all for one end-game. Complete ownership and control over Zander. “The mother had issues with this access being granted to the father and felt it did not help her on-going agenda to further limit and alienate the minor from his father.” That’s not how I felt. It’s amazing how he just “gets” my feelings so readily. No, not really. When I read this stuff, the only thing I can really do is just laugh. He sounds like a broken record on my alienating tactics. This is his favorite example. My mom wrote an affidavit for the Maltese Hague trial describing in great detail how often You-Know-Who had access to Zander, whether it was phone calls every weekend or Skype calls when my mom was able to do so. When it came to the laptop and Skyping, I had forcibly been removed from that equation. He can’t hold me responsible for that.
I wish that You-Know-Who could have a real sit-down conversation with any one of the left-behind fathers that I know and have deep love and affectionate friendships with. Let them explain to him what real alienation and lack of contact is with your child and children.
Because he has no flippin’ clue!
To be continued….