Time for a Leo update…

leo

Leo came for his 3 hours on Saturday, he was his usual happy bouncy self. he went for a walk around sainsburys to find some free from cakes. He has gluten, soy, dairy and possibly fructose intolerance (we are hoping not though)

He is doing really well at school and enjoying his time there. though he is non verbal at this time he knows how to make himself understood.

We have heard from the council about our complaint, we are complaining about social services and how their continued bad judgement in our case has made our case drag on, meaning Leo is missing out on meaningful time with his family.

Our solicitor has advised us to go for wasted costs against the local authority and we have agreed, because there is no legal aid for family matters any more if we don’t find a way to pay our current fees and our barrister fees we will have to stop our fight.

Our solicitors have decide to go pro bono for us which is an unbelievable miracle but we still have to pay our fees up till the last court hearing.

So that is why we have set up the go fund me page, we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of people, both people we know and ones we don’t.  If anyone from here has donated, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You have no idea what it means to us to have peoples support in fighting for Leo.

We have a new social worker assigned to our case and another new section 7 has been, so there will be at least one more hearing but more likely two, not including the wasted costs hearing against the council.

As you can imagine this is all so stressful for everyone in our family, including grandparents that have still yet to see Leo after 2 and a half years.

But all the heart ache and upset is worth it when we get to see the children and we know the fight for equality for Leo is so important.

Here is our link to our go fund me page.

http://www.gofundme.com/i-am-leos-dad?fb_action_ids=10155483909770008&fb_action_types=og.shares&fb_ref=m_d_ty

If you can give it a read and donate that would be amazing, if you can give it a read and share that would be amazing too, the momentum of our campaign has waned slightly and we are looking in to some fundraising events. Any ideas anyone may have would be so helpful xx

So thats it so far, just waiting for our next section 7 report and next court date. fingers crossed they will both be done soon.

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today….

Today I have to take the littlest to speech therapy, not entirely sure why but hey don’t want to be accused of not looking after the needs of my children 😉

Then I have to pick up my kids from their dads,Andrew has to go to a meeting at Leo’s school (he is dreading having to be in the same room as the EX, but happy he will get to see Leo for a little), then honour is off to nursery and Grace, Gabe and I are off to a dance class for the first time.

Tonight Andrew has contact with Amber and Jasmine and my kids are off to an evening group at a local church, with a friend of theirs.

nice day, a busy day. I should really do some hoovering or something virtuous like that. Have I mentioned yet I really…really hate house work, it is my happiness nemesis.

THE (home ed)FEAR…

I am a member of many home education groups. We get lots of brand new home educators or people that are just about to de- register their children. So we get lots of panicked posts about 2 weeks in to the process.
I didn’t start home edding that long ago but I also had this, it is what I have come to call THE FEAR.
First you have the wonderful excitement that comes from being free from that system, of doing the right thing by your child.
Images of running through fields of wild flowers while you children are dressed in gender neutral colours and building their new log cabin in which they will live and become millionaire youtubers or some other fulfilling non jobbing type of lifestyle.
The reality is that you and they can’t be bothered to get dressed let alone run, you have done a work sheet and a bit of colouring this week and it is raining. That seems to be when THE FEAR  kicks in.

What have I done!
They are never going to get good jobs!
They won’t make friends!
I can’t teach them everything!
I am taking away all their opportunities in life!
Why do they just want to watch tv/play mine craft, don’t they want their log cabin!

I remember a true feeling of panic, I put it all down to social conditioning.
I went to school, I was told without good GCSEs I would not get a good job, I would not have a house and I would fail at life.
I still get these waves of panic, and what ifs. Just like parents who have children in school, what if they fail, what if they are not good at anything, what if they have to work at a travelling fair (actually that would probably be awesome).
Social conditioning Is such a powerful thing. In some ways it is an important tool to keep society on an even keel and in others it removes people’s ability to critically analyse their life choices.
It is at a time like this when the fear is strong that believing certain things help, like deschooling is perfectly acceptable for 6 months.
Children in school only actual learn for about an hour a day.
Children are learning while they play mine craft.
Everyone is happier and a standard education doesn’t give the same opportunities of learning.
Log cabins are cold and actually your kids want a commune, running on renewable energies off the grid, with enough land to be self sustainable.
Now excuse me while we go build our pallet planters and sow some wild flower seeds 😉

Song trapped in my brain…

I have woken up with a song trapped in my head, it isn’t even one I like particularly. Though I think it might be growing on me, Jonny ledgend is like butter. His voice starts and it is literally like sliding in to a bath of butter.
This visual Image has been brought to you by 3 rum and cokes and a toddler walking up way too soon.

Pjammas are a state of mind

One woman’s pjs are another woman’s shopping attire it would seem.
I went to pick up my daughters friend from his house.
His mum and I have been chatting at our home ed group for months, and we have become friends.
I stay in the car and grace jumps out to get her friend. His mum pops to the door and says for some unfathomable reason, “I am still in my pjs”.
“My response was “I wish I still was”.
In actual fact I was, I have a very long old black maxi dress that I was wearing. It is my slob around the house dress. I rarely wear underwear with it and will happily just chuck on my shoes and a cardi to drive somewhere.  Sometimes I don’t take it off when I go to bed and I sleep in it. It is not considered pj’s but in my head they are.
My friend, however was wearing a lovely grey pair of leggings with a lacey vest top. Very pretty and slightly sporty looking.  She could have come round to my house in it, and I wouldn’t have thought for a second they were pj’s.
I also bought just before mothers day what I thought was a really pretty dress only to get it home to find out it is a nighty.
Do I just have a skewed version of what Is night nightwear?
I think I must because usually I sleep in the buff, I don’t actually own any nightwear except for the dress/nighty which I now have a conundrum about whether I can wear it out or just sleep in it.
The pitfalls of modern life and modern clothing. So if you are ever coming to my house feel free to wear your pj’s, it is likely that unless they are bright pink with dogs on them or see through, I won’t even notice. If I do notice I promise I won’t care.

“We Can’t Stop … Having Babies”

No more babies in this house until we meet some grandbabies, but I love this sentiment. 
We came under the same scrutiny when I (surprise) got pregnant with honour.
So much so that it got to the point people were telling me I was stupid for not having an abortion.
I took an absolute beating on a well know mums forum.
“It’s our house we can do what we want”

The other side of it…

I do hate having to explain, but I am forgetting all the times I have told people and the shock on their faces is priceless!
“You have seven kids!”
My eldest is faith and she is 14, so that is another fun shocked face.
“You don’t look old enough to have a 14 yr old”
My response to that one is “I’m not”.

There is also all the lovely people who tell us how well behaved our children are, they ask us advice on how we deal with situations.
I guess they feel when you have such a wide range of children you have dealt with most of the things that children can throw at you.
It is nice to feel that people think you are doing a good job in unconventional circumstances.

It is contact day today with Leo, expect some pictures and thoughts a bit later on today xx

I hate having to explain…

I have 7, yep 7 children. 4 are mine through birth and 3 through marriage. When we go out with them we always get asked, “Are they all yours?”

I always say yes right away, they are all ours, they are ours together. we made them we love them, we put this lovely family together and made it work.

However when I am with friends and family, they feel the need to explain the situations to the random lady on the bus or the nice man at the shop. They explain for me, they say “They didn’t have them all together”, “They only have one together”.

Is it just me this pisses off? I am not sure why they feel the need. They are all my children, they just happen to be someone else’s as well.

2015-04-05 09.55.00

These are all my children, they are my family.

NB, Leo is missing form our Easter pic as he was not allowed to be a part of our day. So here is a random slightly blurry photo of him too.

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Right in with a plug…

On my profile, I talked very briefly about an on going contact battle that we are having with my husbands ex wife.

To say that my husbands relationship with his ex wife is strained would be a massive understatement, but that is what I will say, it is strained.

two and a half years ago my husband started court proceedings against his ex wife for contact. She had stopped contact with all three of the children. So after 2 years in the court system without legal aid, we have been has left emotionally and physically drained, not even mentioning the financial impact it has had on us and our extended family, who have out of kindness and wanting to see justice done have helped fund our fight.

We have had, 3 section 7 reports in this time, all saying there is no reason my husband should not have contact. Occupational therapists giving us the thumbs up and the children’s schools saying it is in the children’s best interest to see their dad regularly. The only person who is not OK about us seeing the children is their mother.

It is such a long story and I have no doubt that I will go in to long and boring detail in other posts but a brief history lesson is;

Contact was stopped and for 3 months Andrew had no contact with any of his children. A court hearing established contact with amber and jasmine for 2 nights a week and every other weekend, this contact has been on going since then. In this order Andrew was also given contact with Leo, but because of the time since he had last seen him, and his additional needs the court decided that it should start out at a day every two weeks and work up from there. This contact never happened, so we have had hearing after hearing and report after report. all in our favour.

Just after Christmas we were finally given a order saying that Leo could come over for 3 hours on a Saturday and his mum could not refuse. we were all so worried he wouldn’t remember us, It had now been 2 years since he had been in our home or seen Honour, silly us

. 2015-04-02 15.49.43

it is like they were never apart, even though she was only 6 months old the last time they saw each other, they fell in love with each other almost instantly. He looks for her the minute he arrives and she cries when he leaves. we hope that when the final hearing happens and he is coming to see us the same amount of time as his big sisters, their relationship will just grow and grow.

Social services have unfortunately let us down and our last hearing fell apart because a social worker was not able to do his job properly. He was a nice man and we liked him, but his personal circumstances and his inexperience with court left him unable to give evidence. This is the third social worker who has been unable to give evidence for varying reasons. These constant delays have bled us dry. We now have another social worker, coming to do another report, that we know will be favourable. His ex will still not like it,  and will still seek to delay the final order because even she knows we will get what we are asking for. It is all so horribly sad and draining :(.

so here is the plug, we are out of money, are family is out of money. we have started a crowd funding page to try and get the remaining fees paid so we don’t have to give up our fight.

Here is the link, if you can’t give could you please share it for us.

http://www.gofundme.com/i-am-leos-dad?fb_action_ids=10155483909770008&fb_action_types=og.shares&fb_ref=m_d_ty

I will share this link on most posts about Leo and the case, please take a read and feel free to ask me any questions you would like xxx