The day started much like many other mornings the previous several years. I worked 2nd shift and had the Sunday morning off. We had watched a special on Dale Earnhardt that morning, on his life and death. I remember looking at her and asking why she was sitting on the floor, back to wall, crying, she said that the show made her sad. Looking back, this was the first sign of how this day would go. I was naive, ignorant and blind to what would come.
I went to work as normal. Received a random text from “B” around 4pm stating she got her new phone in the mail and this was the phone number. I recall replying confused that she had gotten mail on a Sunday but wrote it off to it must have come the day before and missed in mailbox. Otherwise, there was nothing that set the day off different. She would reply to text and showed no emotion or signs of anything was afoul.
My shift ended at work and I drove 45min home. I got home at about 12:18am.. walked inside. House was dead quiet, as usual since the kids were asleep but often she is waiting up for me. I walk into the kitchen and notice a box of dozen Dunkin’ Donuts on counter. Immediately I thought odd, since she had no car to get donuts. I proceeded upstairs and entered our bedroom and noticed she was not in bed… my stomach knotted as I tried to make sense of it. Maybe in the bathroom and as I walk towards the bathroom. I see into 1 of the children’s room and notice and empty bed also. Now I start to panic and run room to room only to discover that the entire house was empty…
I call and text her and within a few minutes, I get my answer. My worst fears became a reality. She was gone. Out of state, At an airport about to fly across the country with my children to flee to parents house and that she was breaking up and taking the kids with her to California. I immediately hung up and called the police only to discover that there was nothing I could do because we were not married. I had to let her leave and go to court house the next day and file parenting papers and request an Ex parte Order.
I did not see my kids again until Sept for 5 days and not again until the Riverside Child Abduction Unit recovered my kids from her on Feb 18, 2012. What was in between those times were the darkest days and the hardest fight of my life. What I witnessed was a complete abuse and misuse of the court system that heavily favored the mothers, even gave additional support to which only enabled her behavior as the courts condoned and fed into it. I had to fight to prove my innocence and fight for my right to be a father.
That was the day my fight for my fathers rights began. I truly had no idea what I was in for and what it would cost me in the end to earn my right to be a father.