My LifeMy wife fell ill in 2005 and I was left to care for my two young daughters, Claire 5 and Abby 3 while Mom spent most of her time in Hospital. At the onset of her illness, I asked for help from her family and got the cold shoulder.
As time went on, more cold shoulder and more time in the hospital for my wife when finally in 2007 I quit my job to take care of things at home. I started to drink a lot as I was watching my wife slowly die. There was little I could do but try and keep the kids occupied and pick up 'sc
We went to the zoo, the amusement parks, bike rides, the pool, anyhting to keep our minds out of the painful reality that this was not going to end well. In February of 2009 I took my girls to adopt a dog at a local animal shelter. This is when our lives became unraveled.
An individual at the dog shelter called local police to inoform them that I was drunk and at the shelter with my children. I was promply arrested for child endangerment, being at a public place with my children and yes, I was drunk and had no business taking them there and "no good deed goes unpunished".
The child welfare folks got involved a few weeks later and rightly determined that I needed help. The help they offrered was to exile me from the house to a treatment program which was, at the time, not the correct option. My wife was to be in charge of two young girls, 7 and 9 at this time, by herself with no Family support. She is housebound and unable to even care for herself at this point.
In an effort to make this go away, I enetered a treatment program for substance abuse. It was my intention to call every night to make sure all was well at home. This was OK for the first 18 days but then, on Easter Sunday night of 2009, my wife did not answer the phone. In desperation, I called Law Enforcement to make a safety check of my home and my wife had fallen into a low blood sugar coma and required a transfusion.
I could not, on Easter Sunday night find a memeber of her family to come and care for the children and so I was compelled to leave the treatment program to return home so my children did not end up in a foster home.
Upon my return home, I began to drink again. On April 24th, 2009, I put my kids on the bus to school at 7AM and then took my wife to Hospital for an outpatient procedure. I got home, started drinking and decided that around noon that day I was most likely too drunk to be driving.
I called the hospital and, very stupidly told them that I was too drunk to drive and that I would like to find an alternate method of bringing my wife home from hospital. Hospital refised to allow my wife to go home in a cab and stated that "a responsible famity member must pick her up".
I called again to inform the hospital that "my kids are coming home on the bus and it may be some time before we can come to get Mom in a cab".
The hospital worker called the DCFS hotline and told them I was going to pick my children up at school and that I was drunk. At 5:30 that afternoon, the police came and took custody of our children. I had no intention of driving anywhere and the lie that the hospital worker reported to DCFS has been the bain of my existence ever since.
I have no family locally and the in-laws were offfred the opprtunity to take the children in, saving them the nightmare of foster care, but the in-laws refused. My wife and I were offered a deal by DCFS. This deal involved an order of protection against me, exiling me from my wive's and children's live's for two years
Chosing between having the children in foster care or kicking me to the curb was a no brainer. The kids belong at home, and the day my wife and I agreed to the order of protection the children were returned home to the care of their Mother.
I went on to cop a DUI in the following months and spent 2 1/2 months in jail. Upon my release I went to a treatment center and them to a 1/2 way house. Despite the order of protection, my wife and I were in regular contact after I graduated from the treatment center and entering the 1/2 way house.
It was never my or my wife's intent to exile me from my family and she tried ardently to get help in vacating the order of protection. She fell critically ill in March of 2010 and after that I was not able to see or talk to her. My sister in law gained power of attorney and excluded me from seeing my wife during the last days of her life.
5 days after my wife's death I recieved an emergency petition for plenary guardianship of my children, by and through my sister in law's attorney. I had no money to hire my own attorney and so tried, pro se, to fight my way through this. I lost.
I have seen my children twice in the last 3 years and continue to fight off this guardianship. Trouble is, there is about $50,000 in SSI benefits for the children depending on who has custody.
The sister inlaw has never been married, has no chidren of her own and is 58 years old. I think everyone gets the picture now.
My next court date is August 31st in DuPage County, 18th judicial circuit in Wheaton, Illinois, 9AM in courtroom 2009. Join me if you will to stop the abuse of the court system to sepratate Fathers from his Children for financial gain.