I'm so sad for my little niece tonight. Well, nieces really, although somewhat fortunately my eighteen month old niece at least has the benefit her age has to offer, in a sort of obliviousness on the matter of things like lawyers, red tape, and divorce.
My other niece, at the perceptive age of six (combined with being one of the most intelligent little girls I have ever met) is not so lucky as to be oblivious.
Everyone has let her down. Her mother's hands are tied into sending her off to stay with her father when she doesn't want to go. She's scared, worrying worries beyond those a six year old should have to.
I'm having a rough time venting about this without getting into the nitty gritty details, so here's the Coles notes. Her 'father', originally a deadbeat who abandoned my sister like a hot potato upon the news of the unexpected teen pregnancy, was unwilling to even meet their sweet little baby until practically forced to when she was six months old, and couldn't have picked her out of a lineup until she was almost four. She spent these years wondering why other kids have daddies and she didn't. My sister made the mistake of thinking a whole family with her biological father would be the best thing for my niece and gave the dummy a second chance, but it turns out deadbeat dads make even worse husbands and fathers after a wedding. He found the girls to be inconvenient and irritating, responsibilities to be tiresome, and his beautiful wife not so much fun when she, their family, and their home came between him and his money and freedom. In the dying days of their short lived marriage he literally chose his beloved Mustang over these sweet girls. Now, spurred by his parents who hold the misguided belief that they cannot have a relationship with their granddaughters if their son decides not to, along with his love of his money and desire not to pay child support, a bitter custody battle has ensued.
My sister has poured her soul into these children, making every decision with their well being in mind. She has spent the last seven years evolving from a nervous young mother into the self sufficient, hard working, confident, intelligent and dedicated mother she is today. As soon as they finally separated she went back to university (something he had scorned so she had given up), but was quickly punished for this. Her lawyer really dropped the ball, misinforming my sister that this was a good move, that she was within her rights to move like this. She wasn't apparently, and the judge at their first court date condemned her for moving the girls without their fathers consent. Seriously? This dumbass sperm donor has been handed the right of parenthood now? After having been given chance after chance to properly earn it and throwing away his chances?
So now the girls must go stay with him for half of their time until this crazy is resolved. This shitty interim of his skuzzy lawyer not cooperating, with-holding information and not returning calls, generally prolonging everything. He has no idea how to care for children. He has no idea about how to accomplish the simple daily logistics (I dare say it would be humorous to be a fly on the wall to witness the laundry, cleaning, and kitchen duties, but then again they probably also will just be neglected), let alone more complex parenting like providing proper nutrition, education, offering stimulating activities, screen time boundaries, active playtime, the importance of schedules and bedtime, reading to your children, providing emotional security and forging bonds with them, being someone they can trust. That knowledge, those skills, comes from EXPERIENCE, and dedication and a desire to be a good parent. He hasn't called the girls in 6 weeks. Not to say good night, I love you, that he cares. My niece has been terrified to go stay with him again since one visit with him where he refused to let her call her mother when she was lonely and scared, claiming it was his night. He's moved on from bullying my sister to bullying this innocent little girl.
My little niece told me tonight she was going to pray that she wouldn't have to go. She has begged to talk to the lawyers herself, saying surely if she could just explain they would understand. She asked her mother if she was scared again and he wouldn't let her call, maybe she could call 911? I wish I could think of someone I could call for her.
It's not fair.