10/10/16 – Not Ashamed

This was taken from a post by Time to Put Kids First, at http://timetoputkidsfirst.org/ . Although the words are not originally mine, they read directly from my heart.

“I’m not ashamed of the false allegations made against me, or of the threats, the restraining orders, or even the jail time I served because of my ex. In times of darkness when I feel like a failure as a parent because I am not ALLOWED to parent, those things make me remember what a great father I truly am! Though I can’t be with them, I have done, and will continue to do, everything in my power to be a part of their lives. Not everyone could live through so much.”

These words speak to me, because I have been through everything listed here.  I was once ashamed of all this.  When the false allegations were first made, I was deeply ashamed of them.  When a person is accused of something so heinous, it is difficult not to FEEL guilty, even when you’re innocent.  I had made my share of parenting mistakes, and when the false accusations came, every one of those mistakes seemed magnified 100x.  I condemned myself over and over.  I found myself confessing to the smallest infractions to anyone who would listen, trying to rid myself of the guilty feelings.  I felt like others believed the accusations as well, and I wanted to hide, to just disappear.  I found it difficult to trust anyone, even my closest family and friends.

After that, the guilt of not being able to protect my children from what was happening to them set in.  In my mind, a father should be able to protect his children from anything.  I felt that it was my responsibility to protect them, no matter what the courts or the cops said.  I spent two weeks in jail after trying to see my daughter.  It took months of therapy to finally accept that I had to release myself of the burden of protecting my children, because legally I could not.  I still don’t know if I have fully accepted that this failure is not my fault.  Even though I faced a mountain of lies and legal judgements, with the might of the police force to back them up, I still sometimes ask myself, “What kind of father am I to let some stranger tell me I can’t talk to my children?”.

But I am healing.  I am releasing that responsibility.  I am accepting that I am a good father, and I deserve to see my children, even though I am being prevented from it.  Every day I spend with my daughter proves to me that I am a worthy parent.  And I am no longer ashamed.  I do not own those lies – my ex does.  And I will not hide any longer.  The truth is on my side.  The courts do not know what is in the best interests of my children, I do.  And I will never stop fighting for them, whether they know it or not. family-at-epcot

Seth Romeo Singleton

10/04/16 – Extended family

I’d like to reminisce a little bit today. This weekend I was given a picture that was taken a long time ago. It was Seth’s adoption photo. In it are many people my children will recognize. Starting from the left, they would be familiar with their mother’s parents, Cheryl and Romeo Gil, with their Uncle Steven standing behind them. Then comes Seth, being held by me. He was so small! But even at that size, he had a big personality. Their now adopted sister Haley is standing in front of me. Hard to believe she was once that short; she is as tall as I am now! I suspect she will eventually be taller than me.

Next to Haley is her brother Charles, who we were also fostering at the time. I don’t know how much they would remember of Charles, since he was removed from the home when I was away at Basic Training, shortly after this picture was taken. Jenn accused Charles of some pretty awful things. In light of what happened to Haley and me, I have to wonder if any of those things were true. It seems just as likely now that Jenn simply did not like Charles, and wasn’t able to parent him in the controlling manner she preferred. I suspect she made up those horrible things about Charles, so that he would be removed from our home “for the safety of the family”. I’m sure that would sound familiar to Aiden and Seth. I wonder who will be next?

Then we have Jenn holding Aiden. Aiden was so happy to be gaining a brother! I hope he’s just as happy about it now. I’m glad they are still together, at least. Behind Jenn is the judge who granted Seth’s adoption to myself and Jenn. Standing next to Jenn is my mother, who the kids called “Grandma Jane”. She misses Aiden and Seth as much as I do. She was thrilled to finally be able to talk to Haley again after so much time, and I know she’ll be just as excited to talk to her grandsons one day. Finally behind Grandma Jane is my Aunt Anna, and her daughter Peggy. Haley was finally able to see them this past weekend.

At one time this family was all together. While we lived in different places, there was nothing stopping any of us from picking up a phone and calling, or making a trip to see another part of the family. At the very least, the children had unfettered access to all of their extended family. While Jenn and I separating was going to be difficult and painful no matter what, my intention was that it be as easy as possible on the children. Our marriage may have been broken, but there was no need for the children to lose so many people who loved them. I know I could have swallowed my pride so that they would still have their entire family. It’s hard to believe that one person would want to cause so much unnecessary pain. It is my greatest wish that ALL of my children will be able to see ALL of their family again one day.scott_singleton_aiden_haley_seth

Seth, Haley, and Aiden with their Uncle Scott.  He misses them very much as well.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is an uncomfortable reality, a social taboo. As such, it is the least talked about yet most common form of abuse. It is insidious and subjective in nature….Read more here: Emotional Abuse

Here is a list of some of the behaviors that constitute emotional abuse of children.  I hope my boys take a good hard look at this list, and maybe pinpoint some of the treatment that they have experienced, or that they’ve seen their sister subjected to:

– harsh criticism, belittling, labeling
– name-calling
– yelling, screaming or swearing at children
– humiliation or demeaning jokes
– shunning the child from the family (or parts of the family)
– locking kids out of the home to discipline or punish
– denying medical or health care, and safe, clean environments
– unpredictable, unreasonable or extreme reactions
– hostility among family members
– inconsistent or unreasonable demands placed on a child
– ridiculing or humiliating a child in front of others
– threatening to reveal personal or embarrassing information
– leaving a child alone or unattended for long periods of time
– not permitting a child to interact with other children or maintain friendships
– keeping a child from appropriate social and emotional stimulation
– requiring a child stay indoors/in their room or away from peers
– keeping a child from playing with friends and activities s/he enjoys
– not permitting a child to participate in social activities, parties or group/family events
– excessive or extreme punishment for typical childhood behaviors
– encouraging a child to reject friends or social contact/invitations
– encouraging or rewarding unethical or illegal behavior (stealing, cheating, lying, bullying)
– allowing or encouraging children to engage in behavior that is harmful to them or others.
– having expectations beyond the developmental stage of the child
– using blame, shame, judgment or guilt to condemn child for behavior of others
– unreasonable expectations to perform chores or household duties

Characteristics of Emotionally Abusive Mothers

http://www.wikihow.com/Deal-With-Emotional-Abuse-from-Your-Parents-(for-Adolescents)

9/20/16 – Being Stuck

Well, today I feel stuck. Just absolutely stuck. The pain of missing my children is always there to some degree, but today more than anything I feel completely FRUSTRATED. Helpless. I know where my sons are. I’ve known the address for almost a year. More than anything I want to just jump in my truck and go there. To finally see them, and hug them, and tell them I love them. But knowing their location is not the problem. Getting there is not the problem. There are actually two problems, and they are huge.

The first problem is the law. Restraining orders are handed out like candy, but they are enforced stronger than any law out there. The one issued on me was based on a pack of lies, but getting it removed seems impossible. Everything I’ve done in my life proves I’m not a violent person, but none of that matters. I’ve served my country in the military as a Medic, worked in a prison with ZERO uses of force for nearly ten years, subjected myself to psychological evaluations and taken several classes on parenting. But until the judge says it can come off, I cannot see, speak to, or write to my children, or I will go to jail.

The second problem is their own belief. The last time I spent any time with them, our relationship was great. They wanted to spend time with me. Aiden was sick and still insisted on coming with me. But after the retraining order, their mother started lying to them. Telling them I was dangerous, that I wanted to hurt them, that I’m a bad person, and they’re all better off without me. After years of hearing that, and only that, they believe her. What choice do they have? She’s their mother, and their only source of shelter, food, clothing, and information. When you hold that kind of power over someone, you can make them believe whatever you want, even the complete opposite of the truth.

I wish their mother loved them enough to share them with me. I know that they need their father in their lives, just as I need them in my life. I wish she could see that. I know she hates me, and I can live with that. But to manipulate my children into hating me is not just cruel to me. It’s cruel to them. To separate children from a loving parent is child abuse, pure and simple. And it’s also cruel to their sister, who misses them as much as I do. Aiden and Seth, if you ever get a chance to read this, please know that you mean everything to me, and I will NEVER stop fighting for you.

Aiden-Seth-Haley-Singleton

09/12/2016 – All About Haley

Hi Aiden and Seth, I just wanted to let you know I’m thinking about you.  Last week was particularly difficult, but I’m doing better this week, I guess.  Still miss you guys a lot.  Thought maybe I could tell you some of the things that are going on with your sister, Haley.

First of all, you should know that the things you’ve been told about Haley are not true.  She has no mental or emotional problems, and did not “take over my role as the abuser”.  That’s just nonsense.  Haley lived at Cherokee Estate for a year, and got along just fine with all the other girls, and even earned herself several privileges there.  She came home to live with me  permanently on August 8th (so over a month ago), and has been doing very well.  She is not on any medication, because she never needed to be.  She is attending church and school, and making friends in both places.  She has her own room.  There is no yelling, or angry slamming of doors, or any need to “restrain” anyone.  On the contrary, having her home has been a blessing, both for her and for me.

Now that you know what’s NOT going on, let me tell you what IS happening.  I know that Jenn took you both out to fun places several times and left Haley home, punishing her due to some infraction, whether real or imagined.  Well, she now has an annual pass at Disney, and we’ve been at least three times.  She’s also been to SeaWorld several times.  She decided to cut her hair short, and she looks fantastic with it that way.  She has joined the Air Force JROTC at school and was already made the first commander of her Freshman class.  So far she’s loving it.  She’s also participating in band.  I got her a trumpet a few weeks ago, she’s been practicing, and getting pretty good.  Last weekend we went to a concert at the House of Blues in Disney Springs, because I know the band.  She’s been going back to the church you were all going to before you left Florida, and is planning a sleepover with one of her friends soon.

I don’t tell you this to make you envious, but to tell you that your sister is a good person. She always has been. She misses both of you guys a lot, and I know she wishes you could be with us when we do these things. We almost always talk about you two when we’re out doing things, and even when we’re just at home hanging out. Your sister loves you, and so do I.

walter_and_haley_singleton_ready_to_climb

Dad and Haley ready to climb!

haley_singleton_kayaking

Haley kayaking

haley-lobstersSpecial treat!  Lobsters for dinner tonight!

09/08/2016 – Writing Through the Pain

09/08/2016  Thursday

Well, I’m finally writing again.  I never was good at this journal thing, but I’m trying again. The pain is just too great today, I have to find a way to let it out.  Aiden and Seth, I miss you so much.  I have Haley here with me now, and that is great.  She’s doing fantastic.  She’s doing really well in school, and she’s reunited with her friends from church.  But like me, she misses you both very much.  Sometimes she cries.  Sometimes I do, too.

I would give anything to hug you guys once again.  I miss putting you up on my shoulders.  I know you’re both too big for that now, but I still miss it.  I even miss Seth’s talking non-stop.  I know a little about both of you, from what Haley has told me.  I know Aiden wants to be a pilot, and loves to cook out on the grill.  I know Seth is an amazing singer, and even does opera singing!  I wish so much that I could talk to you about these things.

I’ve missed you both every single day, but for some reason, today it hurts more than it has in a long time.  I try to stay hopeful, but lately it seems like hope is nothing more than a tease for me, a promise that continually goes unfulfilled.  I’ve wanted to cry all day.  I wonder if you guys ever miss me.

Aiden_Seth_Dad

I miss when I used to participate in Seth and Aiden’s Tae Kwon Do class.  I was so proud of both of them, and I loved being a part of their lives!