Organized by: Chloe Bank
This is a very long story, and it is very difficult for me to put out there. It may seem boring, but it would mean so much to me to have people read it and hear about what I am trying to do. When I was 18 years old, I had a daughter with my then-boyfriend. I was in a volatile and abusive relationship that I thought I could make work even with a newborn in the picture. I was very wrong. We constantly fought and one day, we had a fight that escalated with the baby in the house and she was no longer safe due to the yelling and screaming. The fights would sometimes become physical and this was not a situation for her to be in. My parents took Jinger in to make sure that she was safe and would not be in a situation like that any longer. My mom called CYS to get information on how to make sure Jinger was safe not only from the fighting, but from the dangers of a criminal lifestyle that her father had. In a series of miscommunication on all parts including CYS, my daughter was placed in emergency custody at her father's parent's home. This home was unclean, infested with bugs, and a member of the household was a convicted pedophile.
At this point, I was terrified and would have done anything to get my child out of that situation. I turned to my grandmother, who I thought would have mine and my daughter's best interest in mind (as well as the monetary ability to do whatever it took to get her out of the situation). She went to an attorney to establish, what we were under the impression was, temporary custody. I was told, by her, that if I signed the papers, she would be able to get my child out of the situation and I would be able to have her with me all the time with no worry of her father being having rights or her father's parents being involved and she would be out of harm's way. I, as any parent would, signed the papers thinking they were protecting my child and allowing me to have a relationship with her.
The papers allowed my grandmother to immediately get Jinger out of the situation and she brought her back to her home to stay because I was still living with my boyfriend at that time and I still did not think it was a good situation to have a baby in. I was excited that things were going to change, but I did not know that the situation was about to become worse. The papers did not grant my grandmother temporary custody as I was made to believe, but they granted her full custody for essentially as long as she wants. This also allows her the power to make any rules and to have full control over Jinger, which in turn, creates a difficult situation for our family, as well as for Jinger's younger sister Corah. Since the day that my grandma got Jinger from that house, she has spent every minute with Jinger. She will not allow me, her mother, to take care of her or take her any places. She will not allow me to spend any time alone with her, even in her own home. It has been nearly five years since I have had any time alone with my daughter. CYS dropped the case and there is no record of it, I was never deemed "dangerous" or "unfit" and I never put Jinger in harm's way, just a bad situation...which I tried to get her out of. For this, I have been punished as have Jinger and Corah.
Not only have Jinger, Corah, and me been affected by this, but the rest of our family has been too. My parents are not allowed to take care of her or take her places either. They are not allowed to spend time with her alone and are not allowed to do anything that a normal grandparent is able to do. Again, for nearly five years there has not been a single minute in which my daughter has left my grandparents' side. My other grandmother has not seen Jinger since she was 2 months old.
My father has only seen her 3-4 times in her 5 years.
My mother and step father took care of Corah every day for 3 years while I was working, but have only seen Jinger occasionally on weekends or family events- but never without my grandparents.
There is no court order, other than a custody order, but we have all been threatened with law enforcement when we ask to take her- this is something that is not even up for discussion with my grandparents. Some who know them may find this hard to believe- but those who truly know them, will immediately recognize this is the way that they are. Since I have had a second daughter, grown up, and cut their father out of my life- my life has become more stable. Their father is constantly in and out of prison and he is not a threat to their safety or mine. I have had steady employment, a steady place to live, and have had no involvement with their father in over four years- since before Corah was born. I feel that I am a stable person and I am beyond competent in caring for my daughters, together, the way most people would.
Throughout this time, I have briefly talked with several different attorneys who have made it clear that I do not stand a chance because my grandparents make more money, Jinger has been there for as long as she has, and because they have a very good custody attorney. This discouraged me at the beginning and made me simply give up any hope of ever having her back.
I recently found an attorney who is willing to take my case and who thinks we have a very good chance of winning. He thinks I actually stand a chance at getting my daughter back, so that I will be able to have the family my daughters deserve. I want this to be able to happen before Jinger starts kindergarten because I do not want to have to make her switch schools, which puts me at about one year to go through the attorney and court process. Since I just found out about the possibility of it even happening, I do not have time to save up the money for a retainer on this attorney. The retainer is $1,750.
While I understand that this is a lot of money, I know that the chances are fairly good for being able to get my daughter back. I also know that it has been a long time and that they have not spent this time together as sisters would- they see each other more as playmates than as sisters. This breaks my heart on a daily basis and when Jinger asks why she can't stay with me and Corah, it is all I can do not to break down. Despite the mistakes I have made in the past, I owe it to my daughters to be together as a family. I do not think that Jinger is in any danger, I do not think that she is having a hard time or wanting for anything, but I do think that she needs to be with me and her sister- the way that it is supposed to be.
Like many people, I have the means to support two children on a day-to-day basis. I am able to care for them in both material things as well as with love. This is something that will be simple and will not be a financial hardship. It is, however, difficult for me to come up with $1,750 on such short notice. I do not have that kind of extra money and there is no way for me to simply get that money to pay the retainer that the attorney needs. I do not foresee any issues with paying the attorney for each appointment and subsequent fees- I only will have an issue with the retainer. I also do not want to take away money that I use on a day-to-day basis for supporting Corah as well as myself.
I do not believe in begging and I do not believe in handouts. I do not want handouts from any of my family or friends, and I would feel very wrong taking something that I couldn’t give in return. I am asking for donations, but in return for these donations I would be happy to do chores, favors or anything. For even 5 dollars, I would do a chore for you- even up to cleaning an entire house. I am able to do clothing alterations, I am a great cleaner, and one heck of a cook. I can help out with anything you need if you would just consider helping me out with even a small donation. Many people don’t have 5 dollars to spare, but I’m asking if you do, please help me out.
I do not have a lot of friends, and my family (like most people) is not rolling in money to just hand out- but we all are desperate to get Jinger back with me and Corah. I would be forever grateful if anyone would just donate a few dollars toward this to get my child back with me. Even if I do not reach my entire goal on here, it will help toward it and I am confident that I will be able to find the rest of it somehow.
I made a mistake, I am owning up to it, and I am asking for help in fixing that mistake.