"I want to come and live with you and my dad!" this was announced to me over fish-fingers and chips, by a rather grubby 8 year old, we were at my mother in laws and the grubby child in question was my soon to be step son. My heart was screaming at me to say "yes no problem, lets go now", but I knew it was not going to be as easy as that.
My hubby and I had recently moved to Scotland due to work and were desperately trying to get stepsons mum to allow weekend access for him to come to us at least once a month, we had tried everything, telling her we would fly down and collect him and deliver him back, we would pay for the flights, every obstacle she put in the way we had an answer for, it didn't matter she had made up her mind and that was that, it didn't matter to her that her son and my hubby were suffering because of this,she had the right to stop him coming to us because we had moved so far away. It seemed that the fact they were suffering was just an added bonus.
We had tried solicitors but the answer was always that although legally she couldn't stop us from having access she could cause great difficulty because we were living so far away, (about 400 miles).
As it was we were travelling the 400 miles every other weekend because my hubby was and still is a great dad and would not miss his access, he wanted to see his son, was in fact desperate to see him.
My stepsons mother on the other hand did everything she could to make any access we had to him very difficult,even going as far as to send him with dirty clothes, if she did send any clothes and conveniently forgetting about the times every time we had him. She just seemed to enjoy having a hold over my hubby...even though it had been her that left him!!
After much legal wrangling we actually had stepson come to live with us, mainly through the fact that he was so insistent this was what he wanted to do and the fact that my hubby fought very hard to make sure his son did get what he wanted. I wont pretend it was easy, it was bloody hard and down right disheartening at times, but parents living in two countries can make things work for their child if they chose to do so, it just need them both to be focused on the what in the end is surely the most important thing..your child's welfare. We managed to get all of us working on the same side, working for what was best for stepson. It's not about whether mums or dads are better parents, its about being the best parent you can be for your child, and that may mean you being apart from your child because in some cases they are better off somewhere else.
My stepson is now a strapping nearly 18 year old and we have all stayed amicable throught, we all managed finally to be on the same side and be sensible about things some parents are not so lucky!!
This post is part of the Save one Mammy campaign , mammy want to move with her Englishborn daughter back to their homeland ( a distance of only 135 miles door to door) where she has the support of friends and family that she needs and wants, at the moment this is being made impossible for her due to the ultimately selfish actions of her ex who is doing everything to prevent this, for seemingly egotistical reasons, no matter how badly this affects his child. Parental alienation,unfair hearings and a clear and blatant violation of every EU citizens right to free movement are just a few of the struggles she has had to overcome. Please help us raise awareness, this kind of treatment is a reality for desperate parents every day,you can also read about her struggles here, and please give her some support or some free legal advise if you specialise in Irish family law.