Custody Battle: I Lost My Son - EP 50

Unplanned Pregnancy to Fighting for Custody 

Brende had to represent herself in court for two years. Even though her son’s father wanted her to abort him, now he keeps fighting her for custody. She’s trying to fight for her son and be strong, but sometimes it’s so hard.

Here’s her story: About 3 years ago, I had an unplanned pregnancy with two different guys. Both of them wanted me to abort the child. The one who ended up being the biological father wanted me to abort the child. I said, “no” to abortion. He said that I should give him up for adoption and I said, “no”. So, I did everything I could to make sure my son had everything when he was born.

We had texting battles, with him saying he didn’t want anything to do with my son. But then when my son was 8 months old, he took me to court, and he won primary custody of my son.

Why I Lost Custody - I Had No Choice but To Represent Myself in Court

I don’t have a good relationship with my family. I’ve had a really bad history of sexual abuse from my mother and her boyfriend. So, I did not have the best history. They tested me for every drug in the book, but all tests came out negative. They said that I didn’t handle myself properly, because I couldn’t hold my composure in court. I was crying. The thing was I didn’t have a lawyer.

I represented myself for two years.

But the Lord has been so generous every single time. The last time I went back to court, his father tried to take my son away so I could only see him once a month. The judge looked at him in disgust and gave me unsupervised visits from 10am to 6pm on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Another way God has been good to me is I was able to find a church where I live. They have been such a loving church family. I’m involved in the church for me but most importantly to teach my son.

No Daddy’s House

Last year in February, my son started talking more. When I took him back to his father’s house after church, he said, “no daddy’s house”. He doesn’t know exactly how to explain it, but he doesn’t want to go back to daddy’s house. I try not to think negative things, but I have no idea what’s going on over there. His father doesn’t communicate with me at all. Every Sunday and Wednesday my son runs to me. He wants to stay with me. He says, “Mommy can I stay with you a little longer.”

I don’t have the money or knowledge to take him back to court. I feel I’m losing hope that my son will ever come back home. I have to remind myself every day to compose myself when I’m around my son. I tell him, “One day, in Jesus' Name, you’re going to come live with mommy.” I remind him, “Baby, every time you're scared, Jesus is with you.” I don’t know what goes on in that house. I’m not accusing them of doing anything. But something is occurring where my son doesn’t want to go back.

Peer to Peer: Advice and Encouragement for Brende

It’s incredible what Brende’s gone through…stemming from an unintended pregnancy. Even with the opposition from her baby’s dad, and despite all the difficulties, Brende is a single mom pressing through, and standing strong for herself and her son. Here is some encouragement for Brende from some of her peers.

Contact a Christian Legal Clinic in Your Area – Andi

My heart goes out to this young lady more than you could possibly know. I don’t have any great words of wisdom. I have a practical thought. I know in Louisville, KY where I live, we have a Christian legal clinic at several different locations that deal with situations like this. They will walk alongside a person who can’t afford legal help, to provide the legal aid they need. In her area or nearby, they may have a similar organization.

Children’s Services Need to be Called – Paula

The first thought that came to my mind was that children's services needs to be called. My first concern is for her child, going back and forth. The things he is scared of…we don’t know what they are at this point. It won’t do any good for her to call, because they won’t listen to her. She needs a good friend to go with her to her unsupervised visits to witness what the child is saying. And ask him in a non-threatening way, why is he scared to go back. It’s okay to ask these questions to determine if it’s abandonment issues or is there really something going on in that home. If there is an alarm, then children's services need to be called.

The next thought is you need to get yourself stabilized and there’s a lot of unknown here so maybe this is already true. You need to have a part-time job, even if it’s in a laundry mat. You need to get your home clean day in and day out to prove to the system you can get your son back.

God is Your Refuge and Fortress

Also, Psalm 91 comes to my mind. That’s where God protects you. I pray for a hedge of protection around you.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, “You are my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)

Repeatedly Pray the Bible Verse, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.” - Falen

I would like to share with her, she’s not alone. I’ll share some of what I have been through and am still going through. I lost my son. Through years of fighting, he came back home by the grace of God. The devil has still fought me since then. I have another son who’s younger. Last summer I was put through the fire again, but by the grace of God I made it out. Both of my kids are home with me. I have two healthy amazing boys, and I wish someone gave me the advice I’m trying to give to Brende. I don’t know the exact details, but I know it can be the fight of your life. And sometimes you feel like you don’t have any father down that you can do. But I promise you that God isn’t going to abandon you. I hit my knees every night and I repeat the Bible verse, No weapon formed against me shall prosper.” (Isaiah 54:17) If you have to say that a million times a day, whatever you have to do to get through that minute, that second, that hour. You cannot give up hope! Whatever you do, don’t give up hope! Good is always going to prevail!

You Have to Get a Good Lawyer – Rita

“If God is for you, who can be against you.” (Romans 8:31) At the time, I had a 10-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter, and I was the primary custodian. After 6 years of divorce, my ex-husband decided to just keep the children in California. I was the primary custodian, and I had all my court papers, So I flew out to California. I got my daughter, my son wanted to stay. After I flew back to Texas my ex-husband had a lot of money and his family did too, and they had me thrown in jail for federal kidnapping on a $50,000 bond on trumped-up charges. I was only in for a weekend. Satan was really after me. I did not get to see my children for 4 years. My ex-husband filed a restraining order against me in California. I had gone to the judge in Texas, who left the federal kidnapping charges over my head. I was very devastated, like you, but I fought with every ounce of fight I had. You do have to get a good lawyer, because you will get walked on, because you don’t know what you’re doing. Always have a lawyer, no matter what it takes. After all that happened, I did get my children back.

Ask for a Court-Appointed Special Advocate and Court-Appointed Attorney for Your Child – Tina

I’ve spent 15 years of my life in a family court system with two children. It is a whole different language. My advice is when you get a lawyer, ask for a court-appointed special advocate for her child and to ask for a court-appointed attorney for the child. That attorney will represent the child’s interest and not the parents. I had things in place and still got a lot of grief. It’s the devil. I want to encourage her to be led by the Holy Spirit and not her emotions. She needs to be, “wise as a serpent, and gentle as a dove.” (Matthew 10:16)

Did Today’s Episode Get You Thinking? Brende Has a Lot of Fight left!

Brende says, she has a lot of fight left! She can’t do it alone, but with God on her side, she can do it. With God’s strength, she can face the attacks from her son’s father. She does need to follow some of the advice given; including getting a lawyer. It seems so unfair that she had to represent herself, but what courage she’s shown!

If you’ve been through a custody battle and have good, solid advice or relevant resources to share, please give them in the comments below!

More Help and Resources for Custody Battles:

Legal Services Resource:  Christian Legal Aid
Christian Counseling Service (Free Consultation): Focus On The Family 
Need to talk to someone? Chat with a HopeCoach at TheHopeLine.

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