Imagine. You’re on vacation with your family at the beach. You walk into the water to cool off from the feel of the hot sun on your skin. You turn around just in time to see someone grab your child and disappear.
Imagine your fear, anger, desperation and helplessness.
You give the police and anyone who will listen a detailed description of what you can recall.
Your child was taken Sunday March 22, 2015 at 4:22 pm. She has long blond hair, blue eyes, is approximately 5’2” and 110 pounds. She goes by the name “Kaitie” and is 16-years-old.
Days turn into weeks. Weeks turn into months.
You go without sleep. You go without food. You hesitantly return to work, but your mind is always on your child. You become a drone. You struggle to get through the day.
You are consumed with getting your child back.
You will stop at nothing.
You empty bank accounts, hire the best attorneys, seek out anyone who can help you in your despair.
In your quiet hours, you recall the last conversations, the last hug, the last smile. You wonder if you will ever see your child again.
Your child returns. There are no words to describe your relief. You are overjoyed, elated. You disregard the change in behavior. You know your child has been through a lot and it will get better in time.
You enter the courtroom, confident. You have spent hundreds of hours collecting any shred of information you deem relevant:
The abductor lives on Bee Creek Road and drives a gray 2016 Ford Focus.
The abductor kept your child from you for 1,210 days.
The abductor took your child to 16 doctor’s appointments and 21 counseling sessions without your knowledge.
In the past 10 years, the abductor has had 6 addresses, 17 jobs and taken money from 5 churches and 3 charities under false pretenses.
Your case is cut and dry. The abductor took your child and returned her in a form you do not recognize. This child has low self-esteem, wears masks, lies about things that don’t matter and keeps secrets. You constantly feel you are living with a stranger.
You tell the court you cannot put your finger on it, but there are days you’re unsure if it’s actually your child. The innocence seems lost.
The abductor is a narcissistic liar.
The clear cut, open and shut case becomes anything but.
People start questioning your credibility.
You are the outsider in your own home. You become paranoid, unsure, and suspicious. Everything you once knew to be the truth, you suddenly question. Did I just overhear a conversation with the abductor? Was that last text message to the abductor?
You wonder if you’re living with a spy.
Your circle becomes smaller. Trusting people becomes harder.
Still, you are unrelenting. You tell the court repeatedly that your child is not the same child. There are bizarre accusations and bursts of anger seemingly out of nowhere.
You have no proof. The court doesn’t care.
The court tells you that you and the abductor will now share custody of your child. You are required to pay the abductor a monthly stipend.
You are outraged.
You are now court ordered to include the abductor in all decisions big or small including medical appointments, school activities and visitation times.
The abductor refuses to comply with the rules, keeps the child from you and continually plays games. You tell the court. The court doesn’t care.
The abductor faces zero consequences.
You have no money.
You have no peace.
You give up.
You hope someday your child- the one you remember on that beach- returns to you.
Congratulations! You have just experienced a day in the life of parental alienation.