A Letter to My Children, Whom I’ve Not Been Allowed to See in 150 Days

My ex-wife committed a 189-day parental abduction of the kids, so I wrote here in June of 2014 to express myself (here).

June 17, 2014

Dearest Children:

You, my children, are on my mind tonight more than ever.  Admittedly, that isn’t much different than the average evening these past 5-plus months, but tonight, my emotional state is decidedly, profoundly worse: Simply put, I am angry.  Angry with all that has been done to you, angry with all that has been done to me.  As a matter of fact, I’m irate.  For that reason, I turned to my keyboard to express myself, for I desperately needed to get so much off my chest.  My emotions are suffocating me as if a Volkswagon camper van backed over me and came to a rest on my sternum.

An outlet, writing this will help alleviate that pure, deeply frustrating bitterness and resentment.  Being pissed isn’t going to help anything; thus, I need to get this all out in the open.

150 days, today.

Unbearable.

Indeed, there are multitudes of “un-words” that help describe all that has transpired.  Unfair.  Unethical.  Unfounded.  Unfathomable.  Undoubtedly… there are more.  Suffice it to say, this is all un-fucking-believable.

To focus on you, it must first be said that you have a right to see your daddy.  You have a right, yet that right has been crumpled up hastily like a scrap piece of paper that’s being used to toss into the wastebasket repeatedly by some bored-to-death office peon.  Without apparently much thought to what you would choose, it has been dictated and scripted so much so that your rights mean nothing in this process.  Someone else has decided that for you.  With all of my heart, I know that you two didn’t decide what’s now being said, what’s being input into your thoughts, into your heads (and hopefully not into your hearts).

However, you may not even be aware that you have a right to decide for yourselves to see your father, for you are so young, for the people in your life right now have ignored and neglected your rights, shaping you to think otherwise.  At this point, that isn’t even a possibility as I’d, hitherto, thought.  It has to be a fact that they are guiding you, coaching you, brainwashing you. What was revealed in the first family-court negotiations (March 17th) surely implies that you have been or are being led to believe something different about your daddy than you’d have ever thought on your own.  I know you wouldn’t think such things or feel that way.  Guaranteed.

You are only five and two years of age, respectively.  With that said, I know you are old enough to know one thing for certain: You love your daddy.  Nobody should say otherwise to make you feel any different about me.  In my heart, I know that one truism.  You love your daddy.

From the rooftops of the world, you would shout, if given the chance and ability, to scream just that.

My children, I love you, more than anything in this world.  Far and away, you surpass anything that has ever mattered to me, hitherto.  My erstwhile dreams and aspirations, experiences and successes, all rolled into one, don’t compare to the importance of you two, my babies.

How can that be known?  How can that be shown?  At this point, there is no outlet for it, no chance of spreading this knowledge more than I have so far.

All of that emotion, however, turned sour from time to time–and more readily day by day.  Normally, as I’ve done for the 150 days since you were taken out of my life, since your mother decided to aim for my jugular, which, undoubtedly, hurts you two, I get through my days in a numb state.  I am surviving, but that entails getting through the steps of every day… just barely.

My pain and sorrow result in a profound loneliness, a debilitating emptiness.  There have been countless days when I have wanted to give up; not give up on you, for that WILL NOT HAPPEN, but give up because the pain is intolerable.

I cannot count the number of times I’ve cried.  I cried in front of the administration at work.  I cried twice during the thirty minutes we chatted about you, one of those days the day after I’d learned what I’d learned in court.

That cry was a heavy, I-need-to-unload-my-angst type of cry. Yet on a daily basis I tear up, too.  Small triggers set me off, the sight of a child on the street, a glimpse of something of yours in my house, a photo on my computer.  Recently, I passed a man on the sidewalk who was strolling while holding hands with his two-ish-year-old son, triggering a flood of tears down my cheeks.  And  yesterday while cleaning my apartment, I again got misty eyed when Arrested Development’s Mr. Wendel came on my iTunes.  Imagine that!  A 90’s hip-hop song?  Impossible!

To be honest, anything can cause my grief to manifest itself at the oddest of moments.

Because you, my son, loved dancing to that track last year in your crib, images of you bopping back and forth sprung into my mind simultaneously as it started to play on my MacBook.  I cannot escape those sentimental moments of what we shared, those yearnings to be with you two again.

Today, it just became so bottled up that I got angry.  Pissed off, really.  Enough so that I wanted to go off on your mother and her family via text, email, or even a phone call.  However, I refrained from doing so, and I later turned to this journal entry to vent a bit.  I needed to.

On a Sunday in April, having worked a full day, I asked my carpooling co-worker to drop me off as close to a main city thoroughfare as she could, and she pulled over near the playground in one of the largest parks in that part of town, a place where we three (or even as a family of four) used to visit on occasion.  It was packed.  Families galore were there.  When I stepped out of the car and witnessed all of the love, all of the familial camaraderie, hearing children and parents giggling, my heart sunk instantly.

My day at work that day had been busy enough to get my mind off of such emotional hardships—for the most part, though forgetting the nightmare that I’ve been living is never completely possible.  Honestly, you two enter my thoughts consistently, no matter what I’m doing, no matter where I go.  It is an incessant undertaking, but more akin to the natural blinking of one’s eyes than deliberate thought.  It just happens that you’re perpetually there at the forefront of thought.

Embarking on a stroll through the park to go get my rental scooter, which I’d left on the side of the road the night before because of the heavy downpour that inundated the streets on my way home around 10pm, I couldn’t escape the notion that it is simply not fair that I cannot be with you; that you cannot be with me.  It is unjust.  It is unreal.

For the first three months of this separation period from your mother, during this pending-divorce phase, my Sundays were spent with you from 12-7pm. So to witness such beauty at the park on a Sunday, the simple beauty of quality family time being enjoyed by all in my view at that moment, prompted pitfalls of emotional darkness to arrest my mood, wresting any sense of emotional stability that having kept busy at work provided.  Immediately, I was thrown into a state of despair.

Instead of succumb to a sense of gloomy downtrodden doldrums, as is normally, consistently the case, this time I couldn’t help but mutter from my lips, when I saw the families there, “&$%@ you, you vindictive *(#+%!!!!  &%$@ you.”

How dare your family here take you away from your daddy!  How dare they deny you access to someone that loves you!  Through the mouth of their lawyer on March 17th, for they didn’t have the respect to show up in court for the first of the negotiations for child visitation (that I submitted a petition to), how dare they state, “Your children don’t want to see you because they are afraid of you!”

How could they?

It was clear then that they weren’t willing to negotiate what is in the best interest of the children.

When your mommy’s lawyer revealed this latest false claim, my heart sank.  No, actually, it didn’t.  That’s a misstatement.  In fact, my heart shattered as if it was pulled from my chest and hurled vigorously at the wall.  Of course, if it were a real heart that landed against the wall, it would probably splatter, maybe even bounce.  But in my mind’s eye, mine shattered into innumerable shards.

How the hell could they make such an absurd accusation?  How could they go to such depths of deceit?  Without any doubt whatsoever, this surpassed all that she’d done to date, and she’d done plenty that had previously topped the cake.

To the world I promise this:  There is no reason that you would feel that way, absolutely… no reason.  I know in my heart and in the deepest recesses of my soul what the truth is.  And the truth this is NOT.

Cold, hurtful fabrication.  Vengeful hate.  Unparalleled untruth is all that it is.

If you were given the chance, children… if you were capable of voicing your own truths about life, you would never make such a statement.  I know that.

That is all that I am holding onto right now, for neither of you would ever say that, ever feel that.

Yet, if her lawyer is now making such statements, and as you have been forced from me for so damn long, it, naturally, makes me wonder what you have been told to think or to feel.

By the way, in January, your mother explained in an email that one of you sometimes talked about things I bought him or for you two.  She claimed that I had brainwashed you two!  How absurd!  If he mentioned something to her, like a toy I’d gotten him or the blankets I bought you both from IKEA, he did so on his own.  In response, I responded that I NEVER thought anything of the sort when you came to my house, explaining that their grandma and grandpa had bought something for them, that mommy had picked something out for them.  Why would I have considered that!?  One can easily, and should, chalk it up to casual fact or conversation from a two-year old.

Now, five months-plus later, I wonder how brainwashing is manifesting itself on that end, but instead of it being an utterly ridiculous accusation (like my son saying, “Baba bought car,” to his mother) this time it seems inevitable that she and her parents are, themselves, partaking in such ghastly mind games with an innocent five- and a two-year old.  Games of YOUR minds, my children.

How could this be?

Perhaps a little background is necessary here to even attempt to grasp at some level of understanding.  Honestly, it just doesn’t make sense.  There seems to be no reason to resort to such tactics, for the reality is that keeping you from your baba is, without question, one of the worst things they could perpetuate.  Trying to understand it myself–and to answer the great number of queries that have come my way about why she’s doing this, I’ll reveal the background events that led up to this most-horrific chapter in the book of my life.

First and foremost, as has been revealed in quite a number of emails, your mother falsely accuses me of threatening to take you two out of the country.  On the contrary, I have stated just the opposite.  This fear of hers that I am going flee abroad if given the chance, to me, seems to be the underlying motive for her actions, actions that are undoubtedly over the top—and increasingly so.

Once, in a face-to-face meeting in late October (the only one we’ve had since my moving out on October 5th), I stated again that I’d wanted joint custody to be able to be an ongoing part of your lives (and I’ve written her quite a few times that I’d wanted joint custody from the start).  Without joint custody, I will not have legal rights to make decisions about your lives here.  And I even stated that I was worried that if she got sole custody, which she has demanded all along, that I may not have power to do anything if something happened to your mom.  Moreover, I mentioned that having joint custody could allow me to have a parental visa, which means I could stay here longer in this country and not be dependent on a work visa only, which would give me more flexibility.  Moreover, I stated that because one never knows what will happen, I would like joint custody, and at the café we were at that day, I pointed to a man nearby to help explain.

“What happens if that man has a mid-life crisis and he decides he cannot be a dad any more? If he had sole custody, the wife would have no legal rights to intervene,” I offered.

I then pointed out a woman nearby and explained, “What would happen if that woman had a mental breakdown?  What would happen to the kids if she had sole custody?  Could the father do something to get involved?” (Though I have a recording of this entire conversation, which she knows of and agreed to, I am not writing verbatim dialogue here–yet I am NOT embellishing at all!)

My examples were logical and rational.  My having joint custody could assure me that if something happened to your mom, I’d have some say—and not just the grandparents having control, if that’s what the law allows as one lawyer detailed.

Remember, I am in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language, where the courts operate with some innate bias, where my lawyer doesn’t have the same approach as a lawyer from my country would.  I am afraid of her by-default power, so joint custody at least assures me of me not losing totally out on raising my kids.

I even added, “What happens if you got hit by a bus crossing the street?  What would happen if you had sole custody?  What power would I have here?”

Instead of understanding my point, your mother got overly reactionary.  Her voice quivered, and she demanded, “What are you saying?  Are you saying I won’t be a fit mother? Are you saying you’re going to take my children from me?”

She actually started to cry.

Incredulous I was that she didn’t see my point.  I’d not threatened to take you kids.  (A few people with whom I’ve talked about that scenario totally see my point–and they expressed incredulity that she got that way.)

In fact, I have a lengthy text message from October/November that states the opposite, that I’d have no right to take you kids from your mother, for that wouldn’t be fair to you!

I explained that one day, if there was ever a need to, I could have the flexibility to make decisions if need be that could require leaving the country.  No way was that a threat, and there is NO plan and no intent to do so if given joint custody.  What I wrote via text in a lengthy message was the truth.

The kids had a right to be with their mommy.

Now look what she’s doing in reverse!  She’s taken you from me; me, from you!  I suppose fairness doesn’t enter the equation for her and your grandparents.  No way; no how have they considered fairness.  Nor have they kept your best interests in mind.  Not at all.

I have no qualms to prevent me from saying this, but they’ve trodden all over your best interests as frenetically-paced businessmen and women trample a bubble gum wrapper on a Wall Street sidewalk.

That fear of hers is just one of many things that has prompted some routinely inaccurate accusations and irrational decisions.

Throughout this separation, she’s also stated repeatedly that I stole your one set of passports from the family (the passports from my country), yet I am your father and I legally have the right to maintain your documents just as much as she does.  You are minors.  I have that right.  It isn’t stealing.  I am your family, too.  A number of lawyers have assured me of that.  Additionally, I didn’t decide to keep all of your passports.  That wouldn’t have been right.  However, near-countless emails of hers demand I return the passports because they belong to the family, and “you aren’t family any more,” she callously has claimed.

Also, as stated in earlier emails from October until January, your mother accused me of leaving the family for another woman.  Untrue.  Utterly untrue.  A fabrication that is, one that perhaps (and I am not a psychologist) gives her a sense that I must have had other reasons than her yelling, “Get out, move out, get a lawyer, get a visa!” back in September to actually leave.  Perhaps it allows her some sense of having done no wrong since it was, indeed, her, that finally prompted me to decide our relationship was not going to work out.    That’s another story for another time.  We simply couldn’t work things out, both with our own faults, but nothing like she is claiming now.

She is the one who shouted, aggressively, “Get out.  Move out.  Get a lawyer!  And get a visa!”

Moreover, your mother accused me of having a personal relationship at my new job in October.  Unfounded and absurd.  Yet years ago, she pointed her finger at me, for she felt I was having an affair at my old job; three years later, she further accused me of more romantic wrongdoings with another former co-worker.  So for her to allege something was going on with a new coworker at this new place of employment, though absurdly, preposterously inaccurate, shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise as it did.  She had a history of doing the same thing, making similar claims.  For no reason.

Additionally, she claimed that I’d not paid the family anything for the first few months after moving out (and that of course will only get worse now that she hasn’t responded to a single email or text message since two days after she took you, some of which mentioned how I can get some clothes to the kids or how to set up an account for them, which would require both parent signatures).  However, such claims of me “not helping” are inaccurate and unfounded.  She held our joint bank accounts, dictating I couldn’t access my money, sending in six months of rent up front from our joint savings to the landlord, i.e., I did pay for the rent for half a year.  She still has access to my money; I don’t.  She also stated she was using that money to pay bills once.  She continues to claim I don’t pay anything.

Another wrongdoing of mine (according to her) is supposedly abandoning you children.  Simply not true.  From day one of moving out, I wanted to spend time with you two.  I took care of you three nights a week and on Sundays, and after the first month of separation, when I got a new apartment with two bedrooms, you slept at mine three nights a week (whereas the first month of being out of the house at a rinky-dink efficiency still saw me going home to yours three nights a week to put you to bed, staying there until 10pm until your mommy came home).  How was that abandoning you!?

Those three night/eves were also spent going on outings, going for dinner, walking about, exploring the city by subway, etc.  Sundays for seven hours were spent doing all sorts of fun things, too.  How was that abandonment?  My renting a two-bedroom flat was for you, also.  I could have had a one-bedroom for myself if I just wanted to be a single guy–as she stated.  Having you for those evenings/nights meant I was also paying for you, that I had my own expenses, and lawyers have also reassured me that my having you at my house, by default, through extrapolation, meant I was paying for you anyway!  I never abandoned you.  Never.  I wanted and, naturally, still want you consistently, forever, in my life.

After she had called the police in January and wrested my car from my possession (that’s another blog), and after she lied blatantly to the police at the station, in front of my lawyer, too, I eventually asked to have my bicycle back from the basement.  She wrote back, “No, I am selling it.  You didn’t pay the family anything, so I have to sell it.” (See the above about how she took the bank funds and used our joint money.)

Once, she threatened that she’d call my boss last fall over something absurd.  She did.

Another time, she used you, my son, as a pawn for childcare issues and scheduling time with you separately.

She withdrew you, my daughter, from school, completely against my will and against my request.  Even though you’d succeeded in transitioning to a new school (my school) over the previous two months, she yanked you out, just to have you spend more time with her and your grandparents, an incredibly selfish decision!  That, too, is another story.

And the list goes on…

I–more than once–asked for my professional documents at the house so that I can apply for my teaching license renewal, yet she said, “Sue me.”  When I requested them again, explaining that she was hurting me by holding them, she responded, “You should have thought about that when you hurt your family by abandoning them!”  Then when I sent her a copy of the legal code that explains my professional documents cannot be held by the other party during a separation/divorce, she wrote, “Like I said, sue me!”

However, all the events and absurdities that had transpired before January 18th, the last day I saw you, were tantamount to a kid kicking sand on me at the beach to get my attention.  On the 18th of January, things changed.

Her email then detailed how she felt I put my social life in front of you two children.

Preposterous!

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, when I picked you up after school from your grandmother’s house, with you both running into my arms, giving cuddles as soon as you saw me, well… those were the days I looked forward to the most of every week!  My commute those days back into the city provided a energetic lift to my spirits each day, for I knew I was going to see you guys.  I’d pick you up, and then we’d go places together, totally enjoying our outings, wherever they were.

Those evenings were dedicated to you both, of course.  After going home (after whatever outing we’d gone on), and I comfortably used the term home, for you DID have a home with me, too, we’d play a bit, get you guys ready for bed, and then read together, often resulting in my falling asleep with you two around 830pm!  Three nights a week, you WERE my life.  How I put my social life in front of you is beyond my logical understanding.  Moreover, each Sunday from 12-7pm was dedicated for our three-person family time.  How someone could claim otherwise is astonishingly mind blowing.

Not only was this accusation of my social life taking precedence over you kids flatly wrong but it was also her claim that I hurt you by taking you out TWICE with females in four months that went way beyond logical thinking.  That I was wrong and a bad father as she claimed by bringing you out on a three-hour tour with a woman from Couchsurfing.com back in December still leaves me incredulous.  And in January when I brought you out with a friend of 18 years (who’d come to visit Kaohsiung for a few days) on a tour to a sightseeing area for 4-5 hours, she responded with her “return the car by Tuesday” demand.

“You cannot take women out in the family car!”

In the same email, she said I hurt you two kids by involving you in my “affairs”.  She said I had no sense.  That actually hurt me.

They were ALL ridiculous accusations once again, for there were NO affairs, but this time she apparently meant business, for two days later is when she called the police on me, claiming I never paid for the car during a 3-4 hour stint in the police station.

Around 10 days later is when the email came to explain I couldn’t take you two out anymore.

January 18th is the last I saw you two.  I dropped you that morning at your mom’s complex, with a taxi since I was no longer mobile (after she’d wrested the car from me), hugging you as I always did, kissing both of you, stating, “See you guys tomorrow.”

I never did.

Saying that kills me.  Experiencing that was much worse.

It is clear from all of the above that she has been playing hardball, which is something I never wanted.  I wanted a fair split of our assets.  I wanted joint custody.   I wanted something peaceful.

Before things went so over the top, before all went out-of-control wild (with the car fiasco, first, and then with her essentially abducting you kids), I’d wanted to have one of those divorced-couple relationships where we’d bump into each other at birthday parties, where we could even attend the same parties for you two kids.  That was honestly my hope.

However, that she took you from me, that she and her parents have done this to you, well, that leaves me with another mindset altogether.

Her lawyer claims I’ve not gone to see the kids since January 18th.  I have emails and text messages on a near-daily basis that contradict that claim.

I delivered small gifts to you two three separate times.  On my fourth attempt, the security guard at your complex told me, “Your wife has said you cannot deliver things any more.”  The fifth attempt resulted in the same rejection.

Now, her lawyer is saying you are afraid of me.  That they are so unethical and so immoral in doing this still leaves my jaw agog, for it does affect you.  You deserve to have your father in your life and vice-versa.  There is NO reason for her/their accusations.

You’d never felt that about me before.  Nothing would have prompted that.

My jugular is their aim, and, sadly, you two children are standing in the way of their goal.  Being that you’re both so small, perhaps they feel they can just step over you and strive to stop me from being a part of your lives.  Maybe they didn’t realize they’re stepping on you instead.

Your needs, in their eyes, don’t matter.  Your rights are nothing.

How dare they.

As I muttered upon seeing the kids playing in the park on Sunday afternoon, I’d like to say the same thing now, yet I refrain.

Instead, I say this, my children…

I love you.  And my heart won’t shatter completely because I know you love me.

What is next in this sordid process is beyond me.  If they’ve started these negotiations by not showing up, first of all, and then by creating such fabrications and falsities, then what will they do next?

(I have updated this periodically since first writing it back in February.  Since then, the court documentation and her tirades in court have stated I am a party guy and that I had parties at my house the nights I had my kids over–which meant the kids were uncomfortable and couldn’t sleep, so they would complain to mommy the next morning.  That is an outright lie.  She said I was irresponsible.  Wrong.  She told my family in a PDF file that she supported me financially the years we were together–but how could that be with my full-time positions and paying for her when we lived in Europe? She states so many false accusations.  It is a ridiculous game on her part. The list reads on and on and on.  All is BS.  I’ve even cut up my son’s USA passport and my daughter’s–even though hers expired after her 5th birthday, yet they now claim I’ll take the kids to a different city if I see them.)

I am not daunted by what they could claim if based on legitimate reasons and fair, ethical decisions; however, I am admittedly concerned about their unethical nature, which they’ve already revealed and established.

How dare they.

With all my love,

Daddy

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