I know I said I wouldn't use the kids as a way to raise money but I need to share with you all that I've had another tearful phone call from the eldest (my niece) and I want you to understand that while this whole fundraiser started out about me, it's now become so much more. In fact I'm not even sure it is about me any more. The more I speak to them the more I really want to be able to share this with them. If any 2 younglings deserve to have something to look forward too it's these 2 (I am aware in comparison to many kids throughout the world they are extremely lucky but my goodness they deserve to have something).
When their Mum got to the stage where she was drifting in and out of consciousness the decision was made for the younger 2 to be sent to their Dad. He's an awful man who never thinks about anyone except himself but he is their Dad and as such has a responsibility to them both. I remember the day as if it were yesterday. Seeing their little faces as they left their home (the only home they had ever known) and of course their Mum (who they both loved more than anyone) was just heartbreaking. How they held it together is beyond me for the second they were out of sight I literally broke down. They were so very brave. We left them alone with their Mum to say their goodbyes but at 12 and 9 they should never have had to go through such an experience (they'd only lost their much beloved Grandmother 15 months before - she passed away on Christmas Eve). In the course of 2 years those kids lives were turned upside down. They lost their Mum, their Nan and in a way their Sister (who has a different father so never went with them) along with all the family they had ever known for their sister was older and went to live with her boyfriend (their Dad hates their sister so made it very difficult for them to be together). Their uncle (who is the man which conned them out of their inheritance therefore ensuring they had nothing to help them for their future) was their only other blood relation they spent time with - the minute his sister died he did all he could to take everything from those kids and sadly all their Mum's friends have nothing to do with the kids now either because of their Dad, so they pretty much have nobody. Christmas will never be the same for them again. It's heartbreaking for me to sit here and share it with you. It will be 5 years ago next month that their Mum died and yet it still feels as raw to me now as it did back then. I've got over the anger of her dying but don't think I'm anywhere near close to getting over the anger at the situation she left her kids in. She could have made better provisions for them, although she in her defence she believed they would be well cared for. She was dying for a year so there was plenty of time for her to sort something out for them. Had it not been for the eldest boyfriend having somewhere the eldest one would have been out on the streets. She must be turning in her grave at how the 2 men she had children with have treated their kids.
Before that moment I had never experienced such an anger either. It coursed through my veins, burning as it did so. I wanted them to come and live with me, they wanted to live with me, but thanks to my ex who stitched me up there is no way I could afford to have my own place, so that's why they went to their Dad. He never wanted them but he knew if he didn't take them in they'd be placed in care and he's the kind of man who would not want people to think he was a bad father who left his kids in the care of strangers. I so wish he had been man enough to admit he didn't want them so they had been placed in the care system. It wouldn't have been nice for them but surely it's better to be with strangers who might grow to love you than a father who only allows you to live with him out of a sense of duty and because he doesn't want to lose face with people who know him? His girlfriend at the time (now wife) never wanted them. In fact at one point she split up with him because he had the kids and she didn't want them.
I didn't know until recently that for the first 2 years they lived with their Dad the kids never had a bedroom to sleep in. The girlfriends elder children (both well in their 20's) had a bedroom each in the house, their Dad and the girlfriend/wife had a room and they kept the spare one for her son if he wanted to visit. His kids, these 2 little souls whose whole lives had been ripped from them, were made to sleep on the sofa's in the living room and they could not go to bed until the last adult had gone up. Had I known this at the time I would have called social services and had them taken away but I was lead to believe that while they had to share a room they had beds in it. They never had a bed until they were moved when their Dad and the girlfriend split up. They were also made to do a paper-round so they could pay for their own bits and pieces. I'm all for teaching kids the value of money they have a right to expect a packed lunch made for them to take to school - or the ingredients to make their own; they should NOT have to buy their lunch out of their earnings. As a parent he should provide them with the basics. If they want other things (games, phones etc then yes, let them pay but not for things like lunch or school uniforms).
He did everything he could to palm the kids off on anyone that would have them and when people said they were unable he would then tell the kids it's because we didn't want them. I never got to see them for a year because he said I didn't want them and wouldn't let me see them when in fact he'd been trying to get me to take them at the weekends. When I said I didn't have room and had no money for them pointing out I worked 6/7 days a week too, he did all he could to stop me seeing them. He was angry that an inheritance they should have got was fraudulently denied them from their Uncle - I have no idea how he gets away the things he does for he's definitely committed fraud to get what he's got but the kids Dad never took it any further. I went to a see a lawyer on his behalf to find out what he needed to do or if he even had a case. I went through everything with her; she was so convinced the uncle had committed fraud, that it could be proven and that she would win the case, she was willing to work for free and charge only a miniscule percentage when they won - don't get me wrong even the small amount she asked for would have pocketed her a decent amount for very little effort. I got all the forms he needed to fill in, went through it all with him. I got over a dozen witness statements to back up everything. I found people from the uncles past that he had also defrauded to make statements. Once all the paperwork and statements were filed the kids Dad would then have had something to go to the police with also. It was a no-brainer, an open/shut case. All he had to do was take everything I had gathered for him to the solicitor and have it filed. It had to be him as it was for his kids and he is their guardian. He NEVER bothered to do it, yet continued (even to this day) to bleet about how the uncle took everything from his kids and said that none of us (me and the kids Mums closest friends) have never bothered to do a thing for them. Yes, he is that kind of person. We (I) could have done no more. I even paid for the funeral tribute from the kids to their Mum - that's the kind of thing their father should do.
What started this off again? A conversation with my niece last night. Again she is begging me to take her away from it all. Apparently when they moved (again) this time (like the last 2 times) because one of the wifes elder daughters (in their late 20's now) had a go at the landlord about something so they were evicted, the kids did get a bedroom each (my niece had been sleeping in a dining room prior to the move). She'd been made to get rid of her bed before the move, being given a second hand one once they were in the new house (of which his kids got the box rooms - in fact it's only a 4 bedroom house, my nephews room is a closet). The one she had bought for herself had been a kingsize (this was sold before a move and the money not paid to her). She is now in single and apparently was told over the weekend she needs to buy the dog a new bed - this dog was her Mums and went to live with them when her Mum died. Why my niece needs to buy her one is beyond me when there are 4 adults in the house and they have another dog also. He then said to her "Make sure you get her one the same size or bigger as you wouldn't like to go from a big bed to a small one". That's exactly what she has done. The man is an absolute waste of space.
When I went to pick my nephew up in August last year to take him camping with me for the weekend their Dad decided to get off his fat arse and come out to check I was ok to take him (first time he's spoken to me in over 2 years). He then said to me "see what you can do with him because we can't get him to do anything; he's a right little <insert a very nasty sounding word that begins with C>". I replied "funny, he's always an absolute dream when he's with me but I guess that's because I don't call him names and treat him like the great kid he is". His Dad then answered "Well maybe you should keep him then". I wish I could. When I dropped him home after the weekend (where he behaved impeccably and integrated with the other friends I camp with who all said what a "well behave and polite young man he is" he asked me to wait before driving off. He said he could guarantee by the time he got through the door one of them would be having a go at him. I can't even begin to tell you how disgusted I was when he told me while we were away that if he wants any lunch at school he has to use his own money for it or buy the food himself to make a packed lunch. Surely it is the responsibility of a parent to feed their child? If it wasn't for the fact I know social services would split them up and they desperately want to stay together (they really are all the other one has) then I would have had them taken into care. I have no idea what my nephew will do if his sister gets the seasonal job she is applying for. It will see her in Switzerland for 4 months over the summer. I only hope the mother of my nephews friend continues to let him stay over as often as she does. At least there he know's he's welcome.
Goodness, the sadness of these younglings does cut me deep and causes much ranting. I'm sorry about that, but not sorry at the same time for I wanted you to understand why I want the kids to come with me, how much it would mean to us all and how you could be the one person who makes it happen. I would never have chosen to use the kids in such a way but feel now it's time to maybe explain why I want them there.