I am raising money to cover legal fees associated with getting custody back of my wonderful daugther, Leilani. She has been living with her father since she was three and now she is 13. I have had visitation and she even lived with me for about three months while her father was out of state training for a job with Border Patrol. Her father requested a change of domicile and I did not contest due to the fact that she would be with her father, step-mother and 3 younger siblings. However, shortly after his training began, her father divorced and her step-mother kicked her out of the family home, putting all of her belongings in the driveway. She has suffered many years of emotional abuse at the hands of her father and previous partners. As I get deeper into this process, more issues of abuse are coming to the surface.
After training was complete, Leilani and her father moved to Arizona. They moved into a family members home and Leilani started school. Although she was sad, she did awesome in school (her father would accept nothing less), she made friends and participated in extra cirricular activities. I am very proud of her for taking on this new challenge with such grace. This past October, her 3 siblings ages 1, 2, and 3 came to live with them in AZ. One big happy family right? Well not so much! Leilani is responsibile for watching the kids more than her fair share of time. Her fathers work hours are irregular and he works over an hour away.
When she came to visit me over Christmas break, she told me that she did not want to go back. I do have a court order to send her back however knowing that she would be returned to more mental and emotional abuse, I feel that it is not in her best intrest. If I returned her knowing that he was physically abusive I would be endangering her. Just because the bruises are on the inside and not the outside does not mean that doesn't hurt the same or even more so.
It took a lot of courage and strength for Leilani to tell her father that she did not want to come back. Even though she is a 13 year old child she is very mature for her age, responsible enough to care for her 3 toddler siblings. I have chosen to respect her thoughts and feelings and not send her back to that environment. After she expressed her feelings to her father, he had her cell phone turned off and started posting very hurtful coments of Facebook.
Do to recent events and the time I spent trying to get documents filed and enroll Leilani in school, I missed three hours of work. The kennel I worked at chose to let me go, perfect timimg huh? This is all shaping up to be a charachter building lesson.
I have retained a lawyer, but do to my recent finacial situation it is going to be difficult road to come up with the at least $4000 it is going to take to finalize this. Plus living cost until I find another job, I have an interview tonight. Leilani is worth every cent of that and more.
I plead with everyone that reads this that has children, was a child, especially if you have expereinced emotional abuse, please help. Any amount will help in my fight! All children deserve to feel safe especially in their homes, parents are supposed to be our protectors.