Monday, June 23, 2014

Genetic Testing

Here's some information regarding Genetic Testing done by the state of Kansas. Takes 4-6 weeks for results.

Federal regulations require that the Child Support Services (CSS) program has access to a laboratory which can perform legally and medically acceptable genetic tests. The genetic sample can be collected by a LabCorp representative or trained CSS onsite staff. Once collected, the samples are sent to LabCorp for processing. These tests will identify the father or exclude the alleged father.
Genetic Tests can be requested by either the custodial parent (CP) or the noncustodial parent (NCP). The testing uses cells swabbed from inside the mouth, so the process is painless and safe. Tests can be scheduled at many locations, to ensure convenience for all parties. Results are usually received within four to six weeks. 
Genetic Testing is offered at no cost to the CP or NCP.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Parental Alienation: Happy Father's Day?

While I always request a spa/shopping day or a day shut in my room reading or watching movies away from my child on Mother's Day, my husband always wants to spend Father's Day with Joely. I usually attribute this to the fact that I do all the work around here (and let's be honest, that's 50% true), but I'm starting to realize it has to do with appreciating being a father to his son. I realize I have what I term, "mother privilege." No one will ever question my maternity. No one can deny me my son. No one can put someone else's name on his birth certificate or give him a last name different from mine. These are all things I take for granted. Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there fighting for their kids and/or experiencing parental alienation. Keep fighting. We had no idea the impact we had on our daughter's life. We assumed that since we were basically shut out of her life, we weren't important to her. We couldn't be further from the truth. Keep on fighting, warriors!

Parental Alienation: A Stepmother's Point of View

I think most people must think how easy I must have it as a stepmother. I rarely have to see the kid and my husband's focus is on our child together. We don't pay child support either. However, easy could not be further from the truth. Even though I'm not C.C.'s mother and never can replace her, we share a bond like no other. Aside from seeing my husband down on Father's Day and my son miss his big sister, I, too, hurt. I met C.C. just after her fifth birthday at a Pizza Hut in small town, Kansas. I wasn't supposed to meet her that day, but her mother had been gracious enough to let her spend the day with us as we passed through town to pick up a few of Murad's things from C.C.'s grandparents' home (he lived with them when he found out C.C. was his daughter). We brought presents with us to drop off wither her grandparents for her birthday and Christmas. Instead of waiting to open them, she opened them right away. I brought her "Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type," She remarked that she loved to read and was was excited to read it. I also had some photos printed of C.C. and Murad at his dad's wedding that previous June. Murad and I had started dating around that time (May) and I remembered him talking about how excited he was for his daughter to come to New Jersey for his father's wedding. Murad got her some clothes. I remember her remarking about the "bling-bling" on the shirt. From then on, we instantly became fast friends. We played at the park and when we arrived back at her grandparents' home, she only wanted to sit on my lap. She cuddled up under me quite a bit and even blessed me with a fart! When we tried to visit again that following March, her mother wouldn't let us see her because we had taken her to the park unsupervised. From then on, we embarked on an almost year long hiatus from C.C.'s life. It wasn't until the next Christmas that we got to spend time with her. As I recall that moment, I can't help but think that I've failed her many times since then. There were many times when I felt as though we should give up. The back and forth of not seeing C.C. made it difficult. She always had to adjust to our house and our rules, and simple things like showering regularly and eating meals as a family. Even when we had a chance to have her come live with us, she acted as if she was scared of us and then that scared turned to anger, and then to hatred. Once again, we were alienated from her life, but this time it was from C.C. We quickly moved on, and started a family of our own, and when C.C. would let us in her life we would enter, but we were cautious. We didn't allow ourselves to get too close. I think that caused us to miss many signs of her mother's drug use. I remember one Christmas C.C. spent with us at my parents'. JT must've been a year and a half or so. She kept saying that she liked me so much because her mom was really "out there." I blew it off thinking that maybe she was kissing up because she felt sorry for how she treated us before. I asked her what she meant by being "out there," and she was very vague. She just kept saying she was out there and weird. Looking back, I realize she was trying to tell me something, but I was just too angry to hear it. I know a lot of these things are not our fault and are the result of being in a horrible situation, but as a stepmother and now a mother, I can't help but feel as though I failed her. Hopefully, we'll have the chance to make it up to her and to help her share her own story. If you feel like giving up, don't. Even though we felt as though we didn't impact her life, we're learning quite differently.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Hearing: the good, the bad, the ugly

Murad went to court today and was rewarded with: another paternity test! When he arrived, he, C.C.’s mom, & C.C.’s mom’s boyfriend (C.C.’s sister's alleged father) took drug tests. They all three passed (not that we were worried about Murad). C.C.’s mom & C.C.’s mom’s boyfriend celebrated passing the test. The judge looked over all of Murad's documents and told both attorneys that he'd have enough evidence to declare Murad the father. When C.C.’s mom's attorney told her, she immediately said he wasn't the father and her attorney said they'd reject any claims as such. The judge then said a paternity test would have to be done which C.C.’s mom tried to block saying her estranged husband hadn't responded to the paternity summons, and that C.C.’s mom’s boyfriend should be C.C.’s father because she saved her life once when she drowned. However, the county attorney said her estranged husband was given sufficient amount of time to respond and the judge agreed. When C.C.’s mom learned that C.C.’s mom’s boyfriend wasn't going to be able to see C.C.’s sister until a paternity test was done, she quickly changed her tune and said that Murad was C.C.’s father. She said let C.C. see Murad, but judge said it was too late and that the fairest thing to do would be to do the paternity test. The judge handed everything over to Family Services which means now I (Ashlea) have to get approved by them to talk to C.C. and so do all family members. Murad's attorney spent some time explaining how to get a paternity test ordered to the Family Services caseworker. Our attorney told Murad she'd call every day until it's done. The judge put in an expedited order for paternity, so we're hoping it'll be less time than we expected before. So, it feels like we're at a stand-still. Once the paternity tests are done, the child in need of care hearing will occur, at which C.C. may or may not come home with us. If she doesn't, we'll file for custody. We're not absolutely sure how long this all will take, but we're trying not to give up hope for C.C.’s sake. However, it's hard not to do. We know C.C. is having a hard time. She's told everyone that if she doesn't see Murad soon she'll explode. The Family caseworker said that C.C. asks to Skype with me all the time. And of course she misses her ornery little brother. We feel like we've failed her, but we're hoping this period apart is short and worth the wait. Keep praying!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

One Week!

We are one week away from our court date!Please keep Murad in your thoughts and prayers during this week and next as he prepares for court. We are confident, yet cautious. It's hard not to get our hopes up and we know at this point we've done everything we can. We're relying on our attorney to fight the battle and we're remaining optimistic. Since we started this journey a little over two months ago (and for Murad, it really has been more like 10 years), we've realized how many other fathers out there are like him. Even celebrities like Jason Patric have had to endure paternity questioning and parental alienation. Our goal for WHEN CC comes home is to make sure that we keep her safe while still trying to foster a relationship with her mother. We realize we have a long road ahead of us no matter what the outcome is, but we're prepared. In the mean time, if you have any encouraging words for Murad, I'm sure he'd love to hear them. If you'd still like to send CC (and/or her sister) I'm sure she'd appreciate it as well! You can still donate to our cause. You can also share our wonderful image (thanks, Amber Goodvin) on your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account to show your support, especially on Tuesday. Until Tuesday,