Who Is Listening To Ben?
Organized by: Karlina van der Weij
Enjoying time with Ben
July 18, 2016
I looked down at the sweet little 4 month old baby boy sleeping in my arms, thought about the efforts I was making to be with his dad, and knew I couldn’t continue. There was no way I could let him experience what I knew was in store for us. And so that day, my son and I walked away, and created a beautiful life together.
Eight years later, at the hands of an arbitrary judge and the efforts of a dad who’s been barely there and just wanted to hurt me, he’s gone. Taken from me.
And the truth is: this ruling has brought me to my knees, and I just very simply - need your help.
I know that the story of being a single mom isn’t a new one. In fact, even though it’s caused me to have to create my life incredibly different, it’s a choice I made with my whole heart, for this amazing boy.
Ben is now eight. He’s brilliant and bright. He loves video games, board games and Pokemon. And trust me, I’m not one prone to telling stories. I’m way more likely to soldier on, never telling anyone what’s going on, only confiding in a few people, than post my life on the internet.
I can handle most things and carry a lot on my own. And for what's to come, I need help.
Ben is just a boy. He’s been in my care for 8 years. And in one swift ruling, his whole life is now in the balance and in the care of a man who proclaims to care but with every action shows that none of it is about Ben at all.
Things between Ben’s dad and I have never been easy. We were a one night stand, and after discovering I was pregnant and attempting a relationship with him, I walked away knowing there would be continual emotional abuse. I simply could’t let my son have that life, watching me bear that treatment.
And now, eight years later, Ben is thriving. We have an amazing, rare, supportive community. He’s got tons of friends, he’s well rounded, he exceeds expectations in school — all the signs of a happy kid.
I created my work life around Ben’s schedule, working from home, and bringing him to some of the weekend events I coordinated in different cities, as life and school would allow. These were truly some of our happiest times; he loves seeing his friends from around the world and getting to visit places other kids only hear about.
Two years ago, out of the blue, his dad filed for 100% custody. One hundred percent. After being more like an uncle with sporadic visits than a dad, for most of Ben's life, he just decided he wanted Ben completely.
And now — because of his dad who truly only wanted to do something to hurt me, and showed over and over even IN the court room his inconsistency and narcism — Ben’s whole life is changed.
In a court system that I trusted would put the best interests of a child first and hopefully recognize a mother who is present and cares — Ben's father has won all decision rights for education, extracurricular activities, religion, medical, - all of it. Benjamin will be ripped out of the only home he's ever known. He will just disappear from his community and be removed from his school. With his dad having carte blanche decision making rights, where he’ll be going to school or even be living is totally unknown. Ben will most definitely be placed in before and after school care, while I - totally available, will work from home and watch as the clock stikes 3.
With the court's ruling, dad gets to pick 1 weekend he is off to be with Ben and mom gets the leftover 3 weekends. And so essentially, the court has given me a crazy choice: to be a mom or to make an income. Working weekends is no longer possible if I want to see my son at all.
The decision is beyond all understanding and not fair. It’s heartbreaking. And it has as much insanity in it as the case does itself. With the caveat that the courts do not like to remove the child from a home when he is doing well, I really thought that even if I lost, we would get 50/50. It's even what I had offered him before the trial ever began.
I’ve just never felt so powerless at the hands of what feels like a completely insane system, and so I’m asking for your help.
To appeal this crazy ruling.
To hire a lawyer for Ben.
To give my son his life back, but most of all:
to give Ben - a voice.
Please help in giving a child a voice when it matters most. Whether it's $10, $100, $1000 or more, every little bit assist us in this plea to ask the courts to listen to a child when ruling on his very life. (It's in Canadian dollars, so your currency may go further!!)
Whatever you contribute, we are so very grateful for your donation during a time when we need it most. Thank you for your generosity and true kindness.