custody

‘What the heck is going on? Have we been robbed?!’ I walk through an ocean of toys and books. My husband and baby are hidden among thrown sofa cushions. Sheer panic sets in.’

“‘She’s fallen asleep. Should I carry her to bed?’ Lunchtime. My phone pings again. ‘She’s woken up. What should I give her for lunch?’ I tell him she likes the pre-made pouches of baby food in the cupboard. Another text. ‘I can’t find the pouches.’ I can’t wait for Daddy to realize that staying at home isn’t all about box sets and playtime.”

‘Nobody dreams of being a single, middle-aged dad swiping on Tinder. When I entered Single Parent Land, half my brain was sobbing. The other half was thinking, ‘I can run free!’

“As a single parent, every decision takes on a new meaning. If I give my child an applesauce pouch made in China, will my ex bring it up in court? But back to the easy stuff. Remember naps? You know, those times when you could sleep in on a weekend without your ex coming in and yelling at you? There’s a silver lining in all this.”

‘He had filed for divorce without my knowledge, and was granted full custody. Everything was chaos. It was my worst nightmare. I had to drop my 18-month-old daughter off with strangers.’

“I remember panic started to set in. Time went by, and no one showed up. Finally someone answered his phone. My knees buckled. I dropped to the ground. They weren’t coming. They wouldn’t tell me where she was. My daughter cried in the background. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t know if I would ever see her again.”

‘Our daughter has been placed in protective custody,’ my husband said. ‘We will deal with that later,’ I remember replying. Because first, I needed to get high.’

“During a routine traffic stop, my 3-year-old daughter sat unknowingly in the back – so innocent. She cried as I was taken away in handcuffs. I find out I’m pregnant. I’m deep into my addiction – 95 pounds and shooting heroin multiples times a day. I tell my OBGYN. This was a rock bottom plea for help.”

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