Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Trying to move on

Moving on is easier said then done. Have I moved on? Yes, but it isn't easy. I struggle everyday with so many emotions. I struggle with birthday's, holidays and Mothers Day. I struggle to answer questions from people when they ask “do you have kids?” I struggle with the answer sometimes. Do I say no? If I do I will feel so guilty. If I say yes, but.....that's hard. Then I have to explain why, or what happen. Then comes the looks, the speculation. It's just plane hard to explain sometimes. And sometimes I just don't want too.

Last fall, I lost a dear friend that I have known since kindergarten, because she couldn't get past the fact that what happen to me, wasn't all my fault. She also said some horrible things to me. “How could you just give up your kids?” She asked me. I simply told her what I have told in my story, but she was having none of it. She said “I don't think I can remain friends with you since you gave up your kids.” It was her loss really. It's easy for her to sit back and point the finger at me, but never walked a mile in my shoes. She was getting upset with me because I was posting on FB that I was going to Florida for the weekend, or that I made a trip to New York. She questioned me, “how is it that you an afford to make all these trips and not pay to fight for your kids?” I told her I did fight for my kids, as hard as I possibly could. But she didn't want to hear it. She had her mind made up that I only did it because I wanted freedom to travel, and have money in my pocket. Little does she know that I am still paying on a $9000 credit card from the last attorney. That the trips we go on are small weekend getaways. New York, I accompanied my grandma who was 83 so she didn't have to travel alone. Not to mention I was the only one available to make the trip with her. I thought her reasons for terminating our long time friendship was inconsiderate, and hurtful. I haven't spoken to her in over a year.

People like her are not worth my time. They are unhappy with their lives and with themselves. I believe they are jealous. But they have no reason to be. If anything, I should be jealous of them, they still have their kids. But I am not jealous. There is reasons why this happened to me. Maybe God is preparing me for better and bigger things. I can hope, dream and expect, can't I?

I experienced what some parents go through when they loose a child to death. When I got home, I kept the door to their room closed. I couldn't walk in there, it was to hard to see. It was left the that way for a while. Then I needed to make that move and open the door. It was hard. Their beds still unmade, clothes in the closet, favorite stuffed animals on the beds. Their shoes, belts, socks. The TV, games and books. It was all once alive and now it's all dead. I laid on one of the beds and held a stuffed animal that one of then slept with. I smelled it, hoping to get a scent of them. I looked around the room and it was silent. No more sounds of them playing, singing or yelling. No more smelly socks, dirty clothes or lost shoes. The life they had, what we had was gone. I didn't want to touch anything, but knew I had to make the first move to healing. I packed up all their favorite things, and put them in boxes and placed them in the attic. The last pair of shoes they wore, I kept those. I kept the skateboards and bikes. The beds are down and gone. I needed to get rid of what I could, to let go. I kept what I thought was most important to them, and now it's so important to me. It helps that I don't have to look at it everyday. The room is now filled with a bookshelf, filled with pictures and albums. I had to let it all go. But it was part of the healing process for me. It still saddens me to walk in there sometimes, knowing it once was their room. Where they slept. Where I found Austin sleeping on the floor the morning I took them home. The last morning I would wake up my kids.

Soon after I relinquished my rights, I started receiving motions in the mail from T's attorney. These would come almost weekly for then next 4 months. Each one more heartbreaking then the next.
The first one I received, was the final copies of the termination. Two sets of signatures, mine and his. What a sad thing to see. They also stated, that until the finalization of the adoption, the boys were now wards of the state. I was confused, sad and angry. How can they be wards of the state if T was still their legal father? I didn't understand and I didn't want to find out what my kids were going through, it was to painful. So I tried to block it all out. It was out of my hands, I was done. He got what he wanted. I just wanted to be left alone. I needed to heal.
But the motions just kept coming. Finally after about the 4th one, I sent a letter to his attorney asking him to please stop send me an update on all the progress of the termination and the adoption. I told him that I just wanted to be left alone. I felt that this was deliberately done just to harass me and torture me.
I received 2 more after I sent that letter asking him to please stop. The one I received on November 2, 2008 sent me over the edge. In it, it stated that they have changed the boys names. As I read that line, tears started falling. I was shaking so hard I couldn't focus on what I was reading. My eyes pouring with tears I. feel to the ground and on my knees, I screamed WHHHHHYYYYY?????? I was devastated. He just wasn't going to stop....what next I thought, total blood transfusions to suck all the life of me out of them? He had lost his ever lasting mind.

I was home alone when I got the letter. After I read it, I immediately called Brian, who was on his way home from a race. I was crying, so he didn't understand what I was saying, he said “calm down, what does it say?” I told him one by one what their new “middle” names would be.

Cody James ” will now be changed too “ Cody James Robert”
Brandon Timothy ” will now be changed too “ Brandon Timothy Sven ”
Austin Jeffery” will now be changed too “Austin Richard William”
Dalton Jon ” will now be changed too “Dalton Jon Anthony”

I don't understand his reasons for changing their names. But it hurt me so bad that he did. The worst part about it was that my son Austin, had my dads name for his middle name. They totally removed my dads name from his entire name altogether. It was like T was trying to erase everything that was associated with me and my family out of the boys lives. I felt this was the lowest of the low for him. He took away his identity, who he was. Austin knew he was names after my dad, his pa-pa, and now he was this totally other person by name.
After I was over the shock of this information, my mind starting racing. OK, I thought, he's changing their names to get new identity’s. They had too get new SS# 's this was so I couldn't have access to those. Is this why he did it? Can you change your SS# ? I guess he has been able to do everything else illegally, why not this right? Then I immediately thought, he's going to drain the DNA out of them so they can't have my blood flowing through their veins. Was this possible? Could someone actually do this?

Then I pictured T and his wife sitting down with the kids and reprogramming them one by one with their new names. I heard each name being told and programmed into their heads, “Austin, you will now be known as “Austin Richard William” no more will you carry the name of “Jeffery” you don't remember who that person was, or why you had that name.....”
I don't know how or if they even knew of the change. But how do you explain, to a then, 10 year old that your new name is now.......” A name that he carried with him for 10 years. Why would you want to do that to your child? T was worse then I thought. Bastard! “Oh ya and by the way, V is your new mom now too, welcome to your new world!!”

In my heart, I knew who they were. They knew who they were, I hoped. Brian just kept telling me it was just a piece of paper. They may have changed their names, but they are just names. Deep down I knew he was right, but I was just so pissed that they changed Austin's name totally. They took away my dad's name. When I told my parents what T had done now to the kids, it infuriated them. My dad's emotional anyway, so this made his eyes fill with tears. He cried, I cried. It just hurt so bad.

On November 5, 2008 the adoption was made final, and they were one big happy family. All with new names, new identity’s and no more recollection of who they were. Where they came from, or who their REAL mom was.

The last motion I received in the mail was the final adoption papers. After that, I didn't hear from them again. Thank God too, I didn't know how much more I could handle.

Things were starting to look up for me. I made a trip to California with my friend Michele in September which for me was such a nice relaxing getaway that I needed. I was able to just let go of everything for a few days and not think about anything. It felt good to let loose and enjoy life. I was able to see a friend that I hadn't seen in over 22 years. So to finally see her and meet her kids was so wonderful. I felt like I was finally able to live life. I wasn't afraid anymore. I was free!

In October of 2008 I was hired on as a full time phlebotomist making a lot more then $9.00 hour. My dad called to congratulate me. He was happy to know that I had finally got a full time job. Although it was nice, it was a little late don't you think? I was thankful nonetheless. That's the way it goes right?

November was a hard month for me. It was Cody's 16th birthday and the twins would be turning 11. I didn't know how I was going to exactly handle that. But, I made it through. Since my nieces birthday was November 5, I decided that I would have my family over for a celebration. I bought a cake and ice cream and we sang happy birthday to Hannah, Cody, Austin and Dalton. If felt good to sing to them. I took pictures of the cake so when I am able to see them again, I would show them that we celebrated their birthday. Every year I have set balloons off with a note attached. It's just something I do to help me celebrated with them.

I also had a plan for my son's birthday. I was going to call him on his 16th birthday. I still had his cell number from when Tony gave it to me and I held on to it until the morning of his birthday.
On my way to work that day, I called him, he picked up. “Cody, it's mom!” “MOM!” he said with surprise, shock and excitement. He said “oh my God, is it really you?” I said yes, baby, it's mama, happy 16th birthday!” “Thanks mom!” He called me felt so good to hear that word. He remembered me, he didn't get brainwashed to much, he didn't forget me, who I was.

We were both so happy to talk to each other we were at a loss for words.....he was at school so I knew I had to make it short. He told me that he had his permit, and would be getting his license sometime in March. I told him that I was so happy to hear his voice.
I told him that if we can keep this quiet, we can keep talking to each other. I quickly explained to him that I was so sorry for they had been through. He said he understood. That gave me piece of mind. I asked him if he knew that his middle name was changed? He said “no, to what?” I told him and he was just as shocked as I was.

I told him that I would buy him a cell phone if he wanted me too, and he said yes, that would be cool. I told him that I would have to send it to a friend, and she will meet you at school with it. I told him he will have to keep it at school at all times. But by the time I sent the phone to him, he had already been busted out on our phone calls. I don't know if he just got scared, or if he got caught and they took his phone away. But later he and my sister would exchange texts, and from what I read, he was caught. I believe that it wasn't him talking to my sister. I believe that it was his step mom. The texts were very hurtful. If they were from him, then he was being told what to say. One of them said “Ange had an attorney, why didn't she help her?” Another one said, “I will see you when I am 18.” and “She isn't my mom anymore, V is.”

But I told my sister that I believed that it was his step mom texting that information to my sister. Cody wasn't being cold with me when we talked. He was nice to me, and didn't say anything hurtful to me. So I believe that it was his step mom who was saying all the ugly things.
After that, I didn't hear another thing from Cody. My friend sent back the cell phone, and I returned it.
I was sad, but knew it was to good to be true. I also understood, he was scared too. I didn't want to put him in a position where he would be in serious trouble. But at least I tried.

Around Christmas time 2008, I had a knock on the door. When I answered it, I noticed it was a police officer through my window. When I answered, he asked “are you Angela Kadow?” I said “yes.” He said “well I have this restraining order for you, just make sure you read everything that is in it.” I said “OK, thank you.” I said thank you? I knew what it was. I immediately opened up the envelope it was in and started to read it. It was your typical restraining order, even though I had never received one before, it had all the legal jargon on it....bla bla bla!!!! Basically it said that I have to stay away from their home, schools and place of business. “Really, ummm if they hadn't noticed, I live 700 miles away.” I can't have any contact with the boys until they turn the age of 18, or until the restraining order is no longer valid, which ever comes first...bla bla bla....and it expires in January of 2011. It was for two years.

It was all because I called Cody and talked to him a few times back on his birthday. “Give me a freakin' break!” But then I thought, “hey, Cody turns 18 in November of 2010, does this effect that?” I wasn't going to worry about it at that time, but started counting down the days. I put that restraining order away with all the other crap I had accumulated over the last 8 years with them.

I carried on with my life as usual. I started doing research and writing letters and sending them to over 100 different attorney's in Illinois. I wanted to get some answers as to why this happened to me and my kids. Since it was close to the Holiday's, I didn't hear from anyone. I continued on after the first of the year. This time, I was trying to contact the media. I sent letters to Dr. Phil, Oprah, The View, 20/20 and Dateline. Hoping someone would pick up on my story and want to hear more. But I had no luck. So I kept on sending them. I also started writing to People Magazine, and Readers Digest. Still nothing.

Then one day in March of 2009, a breakthrough. An attorney from Chicago, received my letter and was interested about knowing more about my story. I gave him a brief summary of what I had been through, and that I ended up relinquishing my rights. He was floored when I told him this. He asked me what county was it in, and what judge? I told him. He was shocked to hear that it was Kane County. He was in a lawsuit as we spoke trying to get that same judge off the bench for unfair rulings. I was so happy to hear this from him. He gave me so much hope and a sliver of possibility. But I also knew, not to get my hopes up either.
He spoke to me several times, evening sending me emails of other attorney's that would also be willing to help me out. But none of them contacted me back. After 6 months, I never heard another word from that guy again. I wasn't surprised though, it was typical. I was up front and honest with him and told him that he has to be willing to help me pro-bone, because I wasn't going to spend another dime on an attorney that is not going to go the extra mile for me. Since I told him that, he never called or send another email. I checked him off my list.

Back to square one!

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