This is a story about a five year old bloke named Dave (pronounced da-ve), and how his family, like tens of thousands of others here in America, has been torn apart because of drug abuse. Because this is an ongoing case in Juvenile court, most of the details will be omitted.
My husband and I have 3 sons and a foster daughter, who are now married and have families of their own. We are both in our 50’s, and had begun to enjoy the fruits of our labors, looking forward to our retirement and enjoying our ten grandchildren. We were using every opportunity to do things for and with our family.
In the summer of 1999, we were in the process of planning a large reunion which would have included family members from all over the US and Scandinavia. Suddenly our lives were turned upside-down when we came to the realization that our youngest son and daughter-in-law’s relationship was growing increasingly violent and abusive. They were involved with drugs.
Now, after being in and out of court for the past two and a half years, just when it looks like Dave’s mother will in the end lose her parental rights, the maternal grandmother has jumped into the case seeking custody of Dave. She too is in HER very own little ‘reality’ world of manipulation and lies, and has hired a “high-end” attorney, renowned for his “smoke and mirrors tactics”.
We have lost count of how many times we have already had to appear in court, or before one review panel or another. Our debt has continuously grown, but because she is indigent, Dave’s mother’s attorneys are provided to her by the state..
We have exhausted all of our financial resources; our savings, charged up our credit cards, mortgaged our home to the maximum and still our battle must go on! The State does not give assistance to children placed with family members. They consider it a ‘placement of love’. It truly was done out of love, but the bills are staggering.
To date, our legal fees alone have risen to over $18.000 and if the loss of income and other costs incurred are added to this figure, the amount has risen to well over $150,000″.
Having lived this nightmare and continuing to live it has brought to light the lack of support for the families who are willing to take on a monumental fight like this one. They have nowhere to turn, no one to vent to, to ask advise from or to get the financial aid they desperately need in order to see their fight through to the end.