Last year, I was asked to write a letter to my children during the custody battle that’s been stretched to nearly now two years now. The woman who wanted it, assigned by the courts, is acting as a go-between of sorts. She said to write a letter that expresses how I feel about being a parent, how I love my kids, what I want for them, etc.
Below is the full text of the two letters I sent to this court “investigator”. Last April, I had written one letter, which she deemed too difficult for my children to understand, so I re-wrote it (even though instructions were not clear from the beginning that it would be read to them or not). I simply wrote the first to share my feelings, not to be read directly.
The letters made my sister and step-mother cry, they told me after reading them.
Following the revised letter is the segment of the investigator’s report that I just got from the court last week, written by the same woman, the part which specifically focuses on my letter(s) to my kids, and you can see, friends and family, that… Well, please read both parts (the original letters I wrote my two children) and the investigator’s report, to judge for yourselves.
This is merely a posting to provide friends and family with actual events so they know what’s going on. There is NO attack here NOR injustice. I’ve intentionally left out names and the current location of where this is all happening, etc. I would love to hear thoughts back from my readers and my friends and family.
———Here is the revised letter I wrote my children and sent the investigator.———
April 9th, 2015
To My Dearest ____ and ____,
I am writing this letter to tell you how I feel about being your daddy, a daddy that has missed you incredibly so this past 15 months, ever since our relationship was changed because of some events and decisions that I cannot explain now.
You both are too young to know why the family structure changed, but one thing has never changed, ____ and ____: My love for you! My love has been the same all along—and it will always be there for you two!
I want you to know that I am here for you—and I have always been here for you—and I always will be if I am given that chance to be a part of your lives! Your daddy deserves to be in your lives, and I want to be there full-time, all the time.
Daddy wants to be with you at every turn if you need me to be, to guide you when you want, and to give you support if and when you take the chance to do things on your own. As your daddy, I am totally willing and wanting to be a part of your lives, all the time.
Your mother once told me, in email, that you “kids are my life”, and I want you to know that. You should already know that. She was so right in saying that. She also wrote me an email that said I am a great father. You know that both messages are correct.
Last year, our relationship was taken away for 189 days. One day I will tell you about those 189 days and what was happening. But now, I want to remind you that I missed you so much during that time. I thought about you ever day. I cried all the time because I missed you so much. For now, it is important to say that… you are my life, that… I love you.
For the last 15 months since our family changed, you have still been my central focus. That means that Daddy has been focused on you two. I have been working so hard to keep you in my life, so that I can be your main provider.
I want you to know, too, that even though our four-person family changed over a year ago, you still have your family, and your family includes me, your daddy! You should know that all families are different. In some countries, families include a large group of people living together. Sometimes, there are big groups of aunts and uncles and grandparents all living in one place! But some families are small. Sometimes, it could just be one parent with one child! All families are different! So with our family, you have your mother’s family, but you also have your Daddy (and his family in __________)! When you, ____ and ____, are with Daddy, we are a family, of course! And when we are separated by time, we are still family.
From the days you both entered the world, my life changed in such a way that people cannot measure. A father’s love for his children is really a powerful thing. I wrote something on my Facebook at the time of _________’s birth, and I wrote the same thing when _________ was born.
I explained that the joy of becoming your daddy was more fun and more important than all of the experiences I’d had traveling around the world for twenty years. I’d seen many famous places and important sights, but seeing you two was more powerful then everything else I’d seen! Even though I’d accomplished so many goals before you came into my life, having you was the best thing ever!
____ and ____, I envision sharing the world with you. You deserve that. There is so much to see in the world, and I want to have that chance to teach you all about it by traveling everywhere together!
My dream of bringing my family up internationally is still important to me, and if I had a choice, you would live in different countries and see many places in your lives. Being that I am an overseas schoolteacher, we could travel the world! I can still dream of what that perfect life for my two kids would be.
____, the schoolyear that you lived in Switzerland is the perfect example of why that lifestyle has so many good things for you both.
____, I took a video of you practicing Italian while living in Lugano in 2010. That video still warms my soul. To learn foreign languages is very important, so I taught you how to count 1-10 in German, Spanish, Korean, and Italian. It was my way of simply opening your eyes to what’s out there in the world, ____, the opportunity for you to live abroad and meet so many people from all over the world was even more special because there was so much to see compared to one place.
To know that you, ____, experienced the people and places of Germany, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Malta, England, France, and Lichtenstein that year still makes me proud of having given that gift to you, and it was all because of me that you experienced it—and I’d love to provide that opportunity for you two for the rest of your childhoods.
When ____ traveled with us to America and Brunei in 2013, it brought me deep satisfaction that that was the lifestyle I could provide you both. I don’t want you to be called “foreigner” like many people here do. I want you to be accepted by people with more open minds that respect you both as just a person.
That’s still an ideal vision. A dream. Yet I have to be realistic.
We’re here. Most likely, we’ll be here for the long-term. Yet I accept that we can make the best out of our situation here in ________, too, for as long as we need to. I can still introduce the world to you, just not as consistently as living around the world, and my hope is that I can still travel with you internationally. You deserve that part of me. Moreover, you surely have the right to see your American relatives back home (the land of my upbringing and culture), to know them as you do your maternal family here. It won’t be fair to have that taken from you, as is planned by others. You have a right to both your parents’ cultures and families.
For example, if you lived with Daddy in the future and we lived in another country, you would still have the right to see your mother’s side of the family, too, so I’d make sure you did! I hope you can see my family, too, if we’re here!
If given the opportunity for custody, which I fully deserve, because I know the truth about all that is good in me, I promise I will try to show you how to open your eyes to other cultures and languages through travel.
There is nothing in the world that I was meant to be more than your daddy.
My thoughts are on you and with you, constantly. I want you in my life all the time. That’s why I cry in front of you on Sunday nights when I am getting you read to go back to your mom’s house. The last time I was bringing you back to your mom’s house, ____ said to me, “I love Baba.” I started to cry. ____ patted me on the shoulder and said, “I love you, Baba.”
I love you two, dearly. When you run to me with open arms every weekend I pick you up, I know that is true. It is love, plain and simply. And it is a love that goes both ways, clearly.
——Here, below, is the translation of the investigator’s report summary of my letter to my children.——
This dimension is about the provision of cognition, thinking, function, for the toddler’s and childrearing, comprehension of their emotions and adaptation. The ability to communicate and support.
Father’s side: The _________’s conclusion comes from the following three areas:
First, considering the current phase of the children’s lives, the investigator asked the parents to write the children a letter, in which they describe or show how they want to educate and rear their children.
In the father’s letter (A Letter to My Children)… the father expressed his full love and feelings towards his children, but he emphasized, also, his dissatisfaction of the marriage and complaints and helplessness in this marriage. He was not able to write and communicate in the manner that the children can understand, and he also lacked the protection over his children’s mental development in this broken marriage (he said too frankly to his children). After the investigator spoke to the father and explained, the father re-wrote the title as “Letter to Kids’ at Kids’ Level”. However, this document has little improvement in terms of protecting the children’s mental development.
——-Here, below, is the second letter to my children.————
To My Dearest ____ and ____,
I am writing this letter to tell you how I feel about being your daddy, a daddy that has missed you incredibly so this past 15 months, ever since our relationship was catapulted into something entirely different than what it was before, torn apart even though emails assured me that you’d never be taken from me, that I am “a great daddy, without a doubt”.
Daddy wants you to know that I am here for you—and I have been—and always will be, to support you, to be with you at every turn if you need me to be, to guide you when you want, and to further encourage you if and when you risk to venture out on your own. As your daddy, I am wholeheartedly willing and wanting to be a part of your lives, consistently.
Naturally, I know, just as your mother emailed to me right after our separation, that you “kids are my life”, and I want you to know that. You should already, but because of what happened last year, our relationship was forced to change, for 189 days. One day I will inform you of the torture I went through during that span, crying regularly, suffering the burden of no contact, no meetings, no knowledge of your lives, but for now, suffice it to say that… you are my life, that… I love you.
I will live every day, for as long as I exist in human form, with that central concept as the underlying foundation of my life. I have used that emotional connection, that complete love for you, both spiritually and psychologically, to get me through the days I’ve endured these past 15 months since you were first taken from me. You both are what have kept me going, hoping to have that chance to maintain a consistent presence in your lives, fighting to not lose you for no valid reason whatsoever, wanting to be your sole provider, with legal and custodial rights to raise you. Undoubtedly, I know, deep in my heart, that your lives will be better off if that is the result of the processes currently underway.
From the day(s) you both entered the world, my life changed in such a way, for that natural, deep-rooted fatherly love entered into my soul with a power that had previously been unknown to me. As I wrote on my Facebook at the time of ______’s birth, and surely repeated when _____ was born, the joys of becoming your daddy surpassed the cumulative pleasures of having seen the likes of the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall, the Eiffel Tower, the ruins of Tikal, and site of Angkor Wat, combined. My former focus was no longer the same, for you were the centering gravity of my existence. Indeed, becoming a father was tantamount to finding my calling, even though I’d accomplished so many worthwhile goals before you came to me. As they say in English, it doesn’t take much to be a father, but to be a daddy takes a lot!
In an ideal world, I envision sharing the globe with you. You deserve that. There is so much out there to live life, fully, to experience, to know.
My dream of bringing my family up internationally changed in 2012 when your mother cancelled our two contracts to teach in Myanmar, and ______ became our long-term residence once more, although I wanted you to be raised abroad, so that you’d benefit from a worldliness and international-mindedness. My dreams shattered, other people’s decisions then changed the course of events—and our lives, forever. Regardless, I can still dream of what my picture-perfect upbringing for my two kids would be, if given that chance to make it reality.
You two would live the lives of third-culture kids, absorbing the cultures and languages around the world, dabbling in various broadminded pursuits, not confined by the provincial boundaries of a single-track existence of living in one place. Being that I am an educator, with such experiences as I have had under my belt, we could travel the world for the years of your development, relishing new places, living a life that many find amazingly exotic.
The academic year that you lived,____________, in Switzerland is the perfect example of why that lifestyle has benefits that are immeasurable.
The video I took of you practicing Italian while living in Lugano in 2010 still warms my soul. Having you learn foreign languages, such as counting 1-10 in German, Spanish, Korean, and Italian was my way of simply opening your eyes to what’s out there, made even more special by the fact that one of your mother’s relatives had called you a “zebra” at a wedding banquet just the year before, back in ______, where people still call you “foreigner”, and have since the day you were born. That mindset, that ignorance, I want to protect you two from!
To know that you,________, experienced the people and places of Germany, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Malta, England, France, and Lichtenstein that year still makes me proud of having given that to you, and it was all because of me that you experienced it—and I’d love to provide that opportunity for you two for the rest of your formative years. When _______ traveled with us to America and Brunei in 2013, it brought me deep satisfaction that that was the lifestyle I could provide you both.
That’s still an ideal vision. A dream. Yet reality brings me back to the practicalities of our current situation, you two.
We’re here. Most likely, we’ll be here for the long-term. Yet I accept that we can make the best out of our situation here in _____, for as long as we need to. I can still introduce the world to you, just not as consistently as living around the world, and my hope is that I can still travel with you internationally. You deserve that part of me. Moreover, you surely have the right to see your _______ relatives back home (the land of my upbringing and culture), to know them as you do your maternal family here. It won’t be fair to have that taken from you, as is planned by others.
If given the opportunity for custody, which I fully deserve, because I know the good in me, the truths of whom I am, I promise I will endeavor to show you how to open your eyes to look outside the confines of one place, one culture, one language—while we are here. You deserve that.
My children, I have long known that my education, my travels, my career choice, my family, etc., were essential to what and whom I am, and I have partaken in such a balanced existence, hitherto, but there is nothing in the world that I was meant to be more than your daddy.
My thoughts are on you and with you, constantly. Undoubtedly, I have sacrificed so much these past 13 months to keep fighting for my rights, natural, custodial and legal, to have you in my life. I need you to know that. You will… one day.
For now, ____ and ____, I leave you with this final thought: I love you. When you run to me with open arms every weekend I see you, I know that is true. It is love, plain and simply. And it is both ways, clearly.