Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Custody of Lynsey and Kelsea

Well Chris and I recieved our letter from our attorney about the new court date.

As you know Lynsey and Kelsea came to live with us at the end of August. Well we were awarded Temporary Custody at that time. When we go back to court at the end of May we will find out if it will be permanent. I hope all goes well.
I try to go over in my mind the reasons the girls ended up with us in the first place. Then I try to see what Debi has done to change these things. After looking at this I really believe that we will be able to keep the girls.

Before I started this blog every once in awhile I would sent out an email with detailed information in it. Well I found my email about the custody and here is what it said: ( I swear I could write a book)

Yesterday was the day of the court hearing.
We showed up for our pretrial meeting at 8am on Thursday morning. That meeting didn’t go so well. Chris just couldn’t concentrate. The lawyer was getting very upset with him. He was having a hard time following the questions. Well, he pulled himself together on the way to the court house. I didn’t get to stay in the court room when they questioned him. I had to go in the hallway. I was out there with the ex-wife’s husband, and the girls.
We were all to testify.
I was called into the courtroom. I have to say when I walked into the room it was like this calmness just came over me. When I stood there to take the oath I looked the woman right in the eye and as she said ‘do you swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth’ I was thinking good or bad I am going to tell the truth. So, our lawyer started questioning me about how Chris was as a father, and husband. Then she started questions about if they lived with us where would they go to school, help with homework, extra activities, the school bus, our support system, our hours of work, and on and on. The questions that were strange to me at the time were.
Echo has your husband ever hit you? I said no Echo has your husband ever abused the children? I said no Echo is there any reason at this time for you to be afraid? I said no (and had to hold in a chuckle) (me afraid of my husband yeah right I would totally take him.)
The last question she asked me was
Echo do you think your husband has issues with anger? (Had to hold in a chuckle) I said its all bark.
The lawyer said excuse me what did you say? I said it is just all bark.
The other side didn’t have any questions for me.
Then Debi the girl’s mom took the stand.
She lied to make herself look better. She tried to say bad things about Chris but really couldn’t. He has really changed over the years and she just doesn’t talk to him at all so she had nothing.
Then Charles Debi’s husband took the stand.
He ended up contradicting some of what Debi had said.
Then the judge took each of the girls into chambers to speak with them privately.
He talked to the 14 year old the longest.
Then the judge came in and asked the lawyers if they had anything to say in closing.
Our lawyer said ‘Well I just think the evidence speaks for itself’
Her lawyer said ‘We just want you to know that our concerns are about Mr. Kirkland’s anger. You saw today that he started to talk back to me.’
When we left the judge said he would make his decision and conference call the lawyers that afternoon.
So we went home to wait…..
My husband paid me a very nice complement when we got home. He said that when I walked into the courtroom he thought I looked confidant. He said that when I was taking the oath he just couldn’t see me anymore. He couldn’t believe how humble I was. How the humbleness was just radiating off of me. He said that is why the other side didn’t ask any questions of me. He said they knew my answers would only hurt them.
He asked my honest opinion about what I thought. I flat out said the girls are coming to live with us.
He said he just didn’t know.
About 4:00 he got the call.
Ms. Harrison said well John congratulations you have won custody of both girls.
You will transition them this weekend, enroll them in school, and get medical insurance for them. You must call Debi and arrange the transition.
He called me, his mother beeped in, I told his mom, and then the race was on to see who could call who first with the wonderful news. Well it was a race for them. For me I knew no one would call my sister so I didn’t have to call her first. I called my sister in law Amanda first. She started screaming with delight. I started crying and laughing. It was truly a wonderful moment in my life and I am so grateful that I could share it with her.

So the girls move in today. They will have regular visits with their Mom on weekends and holidays. The girls are really excited but upset at the same time. It is really hard for them to see their mom so upset. Kelsea said that Mama was setting in the middle of the bed just squalling. I haven’t been able to shake this image, and I don’t think the girls will be able to either. Debi told Lynsey to just go pack.
How sad.
I just want to say that I really do think that this is the best thing for the girls.
To everyone that wanted to stay out of the custody thing let me just say we didn’t go into this lightly. We really believe that we could raise them better.
I think when it comes to custody people already have an opinion before they even hear the facts. They base their opinion on what their history dictates and not the circumstances of each individual case.

This is what I told the girls in the hallway-- Listen, I know that both of you are really nervous about what is going to happen today. However, I want you to know that I really believe that God has a plan for each person. I believe that whichever house you are suppose to be in that Heavenly Father will make sure that you are in that house. I grew up in Pennsylvania and Georgia was a place I never thought about. However, as I am setting here talking to you I know that I am exactly where Heavenly Father wants me to be. I don’t know what the judge will decide today, but I do know that Heavenly Father will take care of each of us. I love you both.
That was all I said to them. The rest of the time we talked about Bethany and Noah and what was going on the last couple of days with them. We talked about skateboarding, and dance. And we laughed. I really wanted to keep it light. They are so stressed.


gigi said...

Echo, I just can't see them going back to live with Debi. They seem so settled and happy. You are the best thing to ever come into all their lives. Thank you for being so strong and so good to them all. I love you and I will keep you all in my prayers for the right outcome.

Elizabeth said...

Echo.....those girls could NEVER ask for a better step-Meme than you!! YOU ROCK!!! Most women would be looking for ways to avoid the children, but not you. You love them like they came out of you. That is so awesome!!!

Amanda said...

I'm so glad you have a copy of that email. That is why journals are so great. It takes you back to those feelings when they were so fresh.
I think those girls will see, when they are much older, what you have done for them. When they do I think they will have a greater love for you than we can imagine.
I love you and hope that things continue to go the way you want them to.

GoodyGang said...

Good luck with the girls. You are a cool mom.