I remember packing the last of our suit cases into the trunk of the car and heading to the Poughkeepsie train station to board the Amtrak train to Chicago, IL. My daughter was unaware as to what was going on. She stood there as I loaded our luggage onto the train and off we went, Home. I had had enough. I was terrified of baby girls father. I was terrified of Him violating the protection order again. I was terrified of him finding out where I lived if I moved to another apartment. I was tired of living in fear and losing everything time and time again. In June of 2010 I promised God that if he got me out of that house, out of that city away from Him that I would never go back.
Around June 23, 2010 I held our infant daughter in my arms. I remember looking down at the ground below and thinking "If he beats me again and happens to lock me in the home, how am I going to escape?" I then looked up at the sheet that was used as a curtain. I figured that if I had the time to I could tie baby girl closely to me and fall out of the window back first or something. All I knew is that I didn't want baby girl seeing her mommy being abused the way I saw my mother being abused. My mother waited so long to leave and I didn't want that to be me. I didn't want to be abusing baby girl because of what her dad did to me either.
All of this came rushing back to me spring of 2012. I hoped and prayed that the law would be on my side. I prayed that the judges and workers would understand the level of fear I had of my abuser and concern I had for my daughter. The last thing baby girl needed was instability. I stayed at my mothers home for a few days and then went into the local shelters before I finally got stable in the Womens Primo Shelter on the westside of Chicago, IL. Even though I had my biases against womens shelters, I can honestly say that this one was the best out of all of them.
During our time back home in Chicago, we Lived. And I actually slept a full eight hours at one point. I began working and volunteering at baby girls daycare and man did she have some good times there. I smile at the memory of her running around while her teacher wet the children And parents as we walked by. It was hot that day and at that point I didn't care that her hair was freshly done yet wet from playing in the sprinkler. I didn't care that I had just bathed her only to have her wet and dirty. Baby girl was happy and we were working towards moving into our own place within that month or two.
I knew the court date was on its way and the goal was to get a lawyer so that I we could continue to live in Chicago. There was no involvement from Him and when there was communication it was more like "I am her father, I am not going to support her. You need to just take care of her and let me see her." A list of demands and threats that I reported and still nothing happened. I was sure that the courts had enough experience and would put baby girls stability above anything else just as I had worked to.
I'll never forget that day. May 12, 2012 is when we did the conference call to NY for the court date. "MK, you need the courts permission and that of her fathers to move out of state. What you did was kidnapping and you must return the child to NY state or lose custody to Him/his mother as well." I tried to explain and was shutdown by this judge. I tried to tell her what happened and why I left and figure out how can one kidnap their own child. There was no answer. There was no understanding. There was no advocate. Just demands and threats to separate baby girl and I if I didn't return.
Once I got off of the phone I screamed and yelled. I cried like a baby and felt so got damn hopeless. How could this happen? How does this happen? Why is this allowed to happen? Did they not see through His lies? And why should one who has been abused have to ask their abuser for permission to move? No one ever bothered to explain this to me. I had to educate myself. But on that day, I had to get out the pain and hurt in my soul. My mother came to get her grand daughter along with her aunts and I was taken to speak to a professional. I told them the facts of the situation and told them how I was feeling...
For two days I was monitored and then let go. This was voluntary. I knew baby girl didn't need to be around me while I was sad and crying most of the day. My mother was amazing and even came to visit me. She said to me "Those people aren't taking my grand baby because you are good mom!" For years my mother and I didn't speak but I can honestly say she stepped up. She stood up for me, her daughter and for that I'm no longer mad at her. Baby girl needed to be kept happy and my mom did that and then some.
I left the hospital two days later and when I saw baby girl she looked so freaking happy. Baby girl was was happy as if nothing had happened. This is when I realized yet again that I had to find that strength that got us home to Chicago. I had to pull that strength and keep it despite the pain I felt inside. What the judge told me had to be pushed in the back of my mind because baby girl didn't need to take on what I was going through. I knew the option I was given by the courts and I knew what had to be done. And I knew that as painful as it was going to be, we had to return to NY.
Chicago is Home and there was a little time to spend with family and baby girl before our journey back here to NY. I remember taking baby girl to the Lincoln Park Zoo for the first time. My goodness, we had a blast! Baby girl laughed and giggled like crazy! And let me tell you she was a trooper during her first face painting. Baby girl and I walked around as if there wasn't a care in the world... I didn't have much money but we still had fun...