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Letter I sent out for help to alot of people while this was happening   Leave a comment

I am writing in a desperate plea for help.  My family is being torn apart.  I have made many mistakes in my life but I love my children and I have never abused them.  My youngest son is in a very abusive situation and I am helpless to do anything about it.  It devastates me to see my son hurting and I cannot do anything to help him.  My story is complicated and I am not very good at the art of communication.  I just pray that you will read this with an open mind and if there is any way you can possible help, I would be grateful.  I am relating the details without omitting any details about me and what has lead up to these circumstances.  I feel as if I don’t have any options left to seek help for my son.  I promised him I would keep trying and the only thing I feel like I can do is to reach out to people and perhaps someone has the ability to help me get me son out of a very bad situation.  I have documents to back up every claim I make in this letter.  If anyone is interested in seeing these documents I will be happy to provide them.

My name is Amy H.  I am 36 and a mother to three children.  I have a 16 year old son, a 13 year old daughter, and a seven year old son.  My story starts in 2000 when I married Shaun H.  I was recently divorced and had my two oldest children from that marriage.  My marriage was not a good marriage.  I didn’t realize how bad it really was until we separated and I got away from my husband.  Shaun was verbally and emotionally abusive to me but during our marriage I made excuses for his behavior.  I did not view myself as an abuse victim because he was mainly emotionally and verbally abusive and it was not often that he was physically abusive to me.  During our marriage I had two miscarriages in 2000 and 2001.  In 2002, I found out I was pregnant again.  I was very cautious and did not drink any caffeine or even take Tylenol because I was afraid of another miscarriage.  During an ultrasound, when I was four months pregnant I received devastating news that the baby had a heart condition called tetrology of fallot, which is a serious heart defect.  I also learned the baby had a cystic kidney.  It was a difficult and stressful pregnancy, I didn’t know what to expect during the delivery.  On September 4 2002, my son Patrick was born.  He was very small and only weighed 5lbs 4ozs.  He was put in the intensive care nursery and had open heart surgery when he was three days old.  It was a stressful and heartbreaking time for me.  My husband was not a good provider so I had to go back to work part-time immediately.  I also had my two older children to take care of and wanted to try and keep a stable environment for them.  I spent much of my time between the hospital, and picking the kids up at my mother’s home.  My mom was able to watch them after school.  I felt like I was not spending enough time with my two older kids but yet I knew Patrick needed me to be at the hospital for him.  I was so torn.  Patrick was in and out of the hospital for the next four months and he required a lot of care.  I had to take him to doctor’s appointments, I worked part-time, I tried to spend as much time as possible with my two older children.  Patrick’s care was very difficult.  He had several medications he had to take at different times.  I had to learn how to insert a feeding tube and work the feeding machine that provided him with nourishment.   Patrick’s heart had to work so hard to support him he had problems gaining weight.  He never weighed over seven and a half pounds.  On December 30, 2002, Patrick lost his fight to live.  He contracted a virus and it was too much for his heart to handle.  He died in my arms that day with my two older children watching.  After his death, I was devastated.  I had a hard time sleeping and had flashbacks of him dying in my arms.  My husband was not supportive at all and pressured me to get pregnant again.  I became pregnant again four months after Patrick died.  I should have not gotten pregnant again and left my husband during that time but I choose to stay telling myself it will get better between us.  I naively thought we just needed counseling and things between us would improve.  My husband accused me of killing Patrick because I didn’t get him to the emergency room in time.  I can’t explain how that comment made me feel.  I took very good care of Patrick.  While I was pregnant my husband hurt his back and quickly became addicted to pain and anxiety medication.  I also found out that he had always been smoking marijuana and drinking and lying to me about it.  He would hide gallon jugs of wine in the baby’s room attic space and lie to me about it.  My daughter and mother found his marijuana hidden in the house.   Because, I was pregnant, I felt trapped and that I should try to make our marriage work for the children’s sake.  I stayed with him and as his drug habit worsened so did his temper.  He would get off work and sleep until about nine or ten at night while I took care of the house and children.  He would wake up while I was going to bed so he could drink and smoke marijuana without me knowing.  I was also a nervous because of the pregnancy.  I was very fearful something would go wrong.  During this time, I focused on working and taking care of the two older children.  On February 26th 2004, my son Peyton was born.  After I realized that he was healthy and nothing went wrong during the delivery, I felt very overwhelmed.  A lot of emotions hit me at once and I was very scared.  I focused so much on everything else during the pregnancy; I forgot to grieve the death of Patrick. It really hit me after Peyton was born.

I started having problems with my health about a year after Peyton was born and the doctors prescribed pain medication.  I was not a person who used any type of substance and I would rarely drink because it had caused so much friction in my marriage.  During this time, Shaun was constantly yelling and demeaning the children and me.  He would tell our friends that I was crazy and bipolar and that I had mental issues.  After years of him doing this I started to believe there must be something wrong with me. It was during this time when I started to take the pain pills.  They numbed my emotional distress and made all of the pain and fears seemingly disappear.  My husband would encourage me to go and seek more medication and would take half my prescription because he would always run out early.  It did not take very long before I was physically addicted to the prescriptions.  I also would search for doctors who would prescribe stronger doses because I did not want to face the problems in my life.  I was able to maintain a job and take care of the children for the first few years but the addiction got worse during the last year.   My husband showed me how to shoot the medication to get higher off the medication.  My habit got out of control and I realized I needed help.  In July of 2008, I checked into a rehab facility.  I was able to detox and get off of the medication during the two weeks I was there but my insurance did not want to pay for me to stay longer.  I had to go home and my husband was still on the prescriptions I had just got off of.  He also was upset about having to take care of the children while I was away.  I reluctantly came home.  When I arrived home the house was in complete disarray.  There was no food for the children.  My oldest son had been taking care of my youngest son who was three at the time.  When I saw all of this I cried.  My husband slept and did not take care of the kids.  It caused me to realize that our relationship was not healthy and I needed to get away.  Shaun and I really fought when I returned home.  He would take the medication in front of me to taunt me.  I had very little support.  I also was let go from my job two days after returning from medical leave.  It wasn’t long before I was taking the prescriptions again.  Even though I relapsed, I was still able to end the relationship.  I realized how out of control my life had become.  I also realized how bad my husband treated me and the children.  I knew I needed to leave him, get off the pills, and clean my life up in order for my children to have a chance at a normal life.

Shaun and I separated in 2008.  He moved back in with his parents while I stayed in the home and tried to take care of the children, pay all of the expenses, and maintain a decent home-life but I was addicted to pain medication.  Shaun never paid any of the household expenses or helped out after he left.  I was always the primary caretaker of the children.  I didn’t feel like I was a good mom.  I was scared because the bills were overwhelming and I knew I needed to do something about the addiction I was facing.   I started to research treatment options.  I looked into rapid detox but it was an expensive treatment option and insurance did not cover it.  I wanted to try it because it had a very high success rate.  I had already tried conventional rehab and had failed.  I wanted to get off the medication and stay off of it.  I was afraid to ask my parents for help because I did not want them to know how bad my addiction was.  In June of 2009, I hit rock bottom.  I falsified a prescription and was arrested.  I was forced to tell my parents how bad everything had gotten and they agreed to help me get treatment.  I received treatment in late June of 2009.  The rapid detox treatment was a life saver for me.  I was able to get clean and stay clean.  I am happy to say that I have been clean since June of 2009.

I thought that my life would get better after treatment and a lot of the problems I experienced because of the addiction would gradually be resolved.  The nightmare for me had just begun.  When Shaun and I separated I did not file for divorce or custody immediately.  I was Peyton’s primary caretaker.  My parents helped out a lot while I went through the treatment process and Shaun had visitation with Peyton.  When I was arrested, Shaun found out about it and he filed for sole custody of Peyton.  Shaun was still addicted to the prescriptions that I had sought treatment for but because I had a pending court case for the charge, he was awarded custody.  He lied about so much in court and I told the truth.  Shaun lives with his parents.  Shaun’s father has a history of domestic abuse.  Shaun has talked frequently about the abuse that he, his sisters, and his mom had to endure growing up.  His dad is a severe alcoholic who is very abusive when irritated by even a slight infraction.  There were times when Peyton was visiting his father that I had to pick Peyton up because Shaun’s father was in a bad mood and taking it out on everyone.  Shaun testified there was no abuse in the house.  Shaun admitted in court to still taking oxycontin and zanax but the judge gave him thirty day custody and said a guardian ad -litem should review the case and we would have another hearing in a month.  This was a year and a half ago and I still do not have unsupervised visitation with my son.  I have passed three hair follicle drug tests showing that I have stayed off of the prescriptions.  Hair follicle test show drugs in your system for the last three months.

Before Shaun filed for sole custody, I had planned to move to Minnesota.  I wanted to get away from the people I knew in Georgia and try to get my life back in order.  Shaun had agreed to let Peyton go to Minnesota and agreed that it would be best for him.  Shaun testified that I had forced him to agree to that and that he didn’t think it was in Peyton’s best interest.  I did move to Minnesota and because of the difficult supervised visitation I have had to travel back and forth to Georgia to have visitation with my son every two weeks, which I have faithfully been doing for the last year and a half.  I promised Peyton that I would keep fighting for him no matter what.  The travel and expense have been enormous.  Because of the traveling back and forth, I have been unable to work a full time job and can only pick up part-time jobs to help support myself.  I have also been doing volunteer work at the church while I wait on how this case is going to play out.

I am not sure why the guardian ad litem has taken so long to write her report on the custody issue.  My son Peyton has been emotionally and verbally abused at his dad’s house.  The guardian ad litem has dismissed the abuse.  The guardian told me that she believed my two older children were coached by me when they reported to her about how Shaun was physically abusive to them.  The guardian ignored reports from my cousin Nicole who had to pick the children up from my house because Shaun was trying to hang himself in the garage with a belt.  She has also ignored reports from my brother and son that Shaun was drinking and taking pills and then driving my son around.  My daughter was distressed by the guardian’s response and sent the guardian a letter without my knowledge pleading with the guardian to help her little brother gets into a safe environment.  The guardian ad litem was very angry that Sydney had sent her that letter and she stated that she “didn’t want to hear anything else from Sydney”.  She said Sydney was being coached and she didn’t want to hear it.  When Sydney wrote the letter to Mrs. Orleck, the guardian, I was in Georgia and did not have any knowledge Sydney was going to do that.  Sydney was completely crushed that she couldn’t help her brother and she was frustrated with the court system and felt like nobody would listen to her.   My mother and brother brought up claims as to Shaun’s extensive drug use that was dismissed.  .  My mom and daughter found marijuana hidden in the house.  Shaun offered my brother marijuana and pills while they were at a football game together.  My son was also present.  My brother and his friend also found a homemade bong that Shaun had hidden under the house.  My older son reported that Shaun was in a fist fight while he was present at a football game where he received a black eye.  Shaun told my son to lie to me about the fight and black eye.

Peyton has also been physically neglected while in his father’s care.   My son had lice for a month.  I had to fight to get him treatment.  I realized he had caught lice from school immediately during our visitation.  When I told his father about it, they took Peyton to the emergency room to see if what I said was true.  The emergency room did not spend much time looking and didn’t see anything.  Shaun refused to treat Peyton.  I had two separate doctors confirm he had head lice but his father still would not treat him because the school nurse did not see the lice.  Peyton was finally treated after I called the board of education nurse and she visited him at his school and inspected his hair.  She was able to view the nits and sent him home until he had proper treatment.  The guardian ad litem was given a copy of the doctor’s report confirming that Peyton had lice but she wouldn’t get him treated.  The guardian stated that the emergency room said he didn’t have lice.  The school sent a letter home in September of 2010 stating that Peyton had failed several eye tests and needed glasses.  I did not know about the letter, however in November I observed Peyton squinting and asked Peyton if he was having problems with his vision.  Peyton told me that the school sent a letter home that he needed glasses.  I asked the guardian ad litem to check into the letter and make sure he got appropriate treatment.  The guardian was asked several times and did not follow up regarding my son’s eyesight so I took Peyton to the eye doctor in April 2011.  Peyton’s eyesight was very bad and the eye doctor said he needed to wear glasses at all times.  In May of 2011, Peyton was on an antibiotic for a tooth abscess.   I noticed that his teeth looked infected with several cavities.  Peyton’s dad had not taken him to a dentist or sought treatment for the abscessed teeth.  I asked the guardian ad litem to make sure that he received treatment.  I knew that an abscessed tooth can cause serious health problems.  The guardian ad litem did not follow up with the teeth even after several request were made to do so.  I took Peyton to the doctor in October of 2011 because his gums were very infected.  He was put on antibiotic and I was told that he needed immediate dental care.  Peyton’s dad did not seek treatment for the abscessed gums and teeth so I reported it as neglect to the department of family and children services.  His dad lied and said that he was getting Peyton treated but I pulled the medical records for the dentist.  Peyton was a new patient and only got treatment after it was reported to the department of family and children services.  I also reported the case of head lice that Peyton had for a month that was untreated and also the fact that his dad did not get his eyesight checked after several failed eye exams.  I also reported that Peyton had made several statements to me and his Sister that he was being physically abused at his dad’s house.

In July of 2011 Peyton was allowed by the guardian ad litem to visit me where I live in Minnesota.  This was the first time he was allowed to visit me.  When I arrived to pick Peyton up from his dad, his dad was yelling at him because Peyton had filled up a squirt gun with toilet water and was squirting it.  Shaun threatened to beat him if Peyton didn’t put the squirt gun down.  This was witnessed by my older son Jacob.  I didn’t want to make a big deal about it so we just left.  During the time I was able to spend with Peyton alone.  Peyton made some very alarming and frightening statements.  Peyton said that the police were called when he and his cousin who is autistic were found alone at the lake with no supervision.  The lady who called the police tried to call Peyton’s dad who was asleep and did not pick up the phone.  She then notified authorities about the incident and had the police escort them home.  The police woke Shaun up who had no idea that Peyton was at the lake.  Peyton was five at the time.  Peyton reported that he was unsupervised frequently while his dad slept.  Peyton also reported that he was slapped frequently by Shaun’s sister Katie, Shaun’s dad, and Shaun’s mom.  Peyton confided to me that he was fearful of consequences if he told anyone about it.  He also told me that when Shaun brought him to the guardian ad litems office that Shaun bought him an expensive gift.  While Peyton was in Minnesota visiting he started to open up to his sister about some of the things that were happening at his father’s house.  He said that his grandfather would yell and break things in the room next to him while he hid under his bed because he was scared.  Peyton did not want to return to his father’s house and said that he was scared to go back.  He said it was a very bad place.  I believed my son when he told me about what was going on.  It broke my heart and I really didn’t know what to do.  I called the department of family and children services in both Minnesota and Georgia and filed reports.  Because there were two states involved they said there was not much that they could do as far as an investigation.  The department of family and children services in Minnesota suggested that I obtain a domestic violence restraining order on Peyton’s behalf against his father.  I went to the family justice center in Hennepin County Minnesota and spoke with an advocate who files orders.  She filed and order on Peyton’s behalf based upon what Peyton and my older son Jacob reported.  A temporary order of protection was issued and a court date was set for two weeks.  Hennepin County was supposed to serve the paperwork to Peyton’s dad in Georgia.  I gave them the information regarding the ongoing custody issues in Georgia at the time the order was filed.  I was not trying to hide any information from the court system.  Shaun called once during that time period.  He refused to get served however a detective calls me from Georgia when Peyton was supposed to return to his dad’s house.  I gave the detective all of the information regarding the order including the case file number.  The detective passed that information and a copy of the order to Carol Orleck and to Peyton’s dad Shaun.

I had tried to call Carol Orleck to speak with her about the claims Peyton was making.  I spoke to her on August 2nd.  She did not listen to anything I had to say and told me that I needed to return Peyton immediately.    Peyton was not supposed to be returned until August 7th.   I did not contact Carol Orleck’s office regarding the TOP after I filed it because she had dismissed my concerns regarding Peyton’s environment and his welfare.  She also dismissed Jacob and Sydney’s concerns they had because of what Peyton was confiding in them that went on at his dad’s house.  Jacob and Sydney were very distressed regarding what Peyton said was happening at his house.  The guardian ad litem also stated that she “was not concerned with Jacob and Sydney’s welfare that she didn’t represent them.”  The protective order was filed on August 4th. I called the Coweta and Fayette County courthouses and sheriff’s departments on August 5th.  I did not want to break the law or do anything illegal.  I asked them if there was anything I needed to do to inform their court of this order.  They said I did not have to do anything.   I received a call from my mother on August 8th.  She said that Rebecca from Carol Orleck’s office called her wanting to see if they could give her number to the Peachtree City Detective’s office.  My mom said no.  On August 8th, Detective Jones called me late that morning and left a message.  I had missed the phone call.  The detective immediately called the person I am in a relationship with, on their cell phone to pass a message along to me to call them.  Carol Orlecks office gave out his confidential number without permission.  Carol Orleck’s office never called me or tried to get in contact with me at all.  I never received a phone call or and email.  I pulled my phone records just to make sure.  I called the Peachtree City Detective back immediately regarding the case and let her know that I had an order of protection.  I gave her the case number and all of the information on it.  She had the order faxed to their department and gave a copy to both the guardian ad litem, Carol Orleck and also Shaun’s attorney.  Shaun called me on August 7th demanding that I return Peyton immediately.  This was the only phone contact I had with Shaun for the following month.

On August 18th, Carol Orleck verbally told me she did not have a copy of the order of protection until after the court session on August 16th.  However Carol Orleck spoke with the GAL assigned to work that day of court before the hearing.  The guardian ad litem Sue Olson, at the hearing was not friendly and she spoke to Peyton for about ten seconds.  She declared that Peyton was coached by me.  I was devastated.  I had no idea what she was talking about and was just devastated.  The judge dismissed the order for jurisdiction.  When Peyton heard this he broke down in sobs and screamed “I was not coached”.  “My mom said to tell the truth and I was telling them the truth.”  Peyton’s outburst was witnessed by several people.  Peyton was crying and fearful of returning to his dad’s house.  I wanted to speak with an attorney here before I returned to Georgia with Peyton and made an appointment to see on two days later on August 18th.

On August 14th and 15th, several people heard me tell Peyton to just tell the truth when he asked about court.  Peyton had been asking questions because he was worried that his dad might be there and he stated that he was scared to talk with his father there.  My daughter also heard this conversation and later told me that Peyton was nervous because his dad would punish him for talking to other people about what happens at the house.  I just told Peyton to tell the truth in court.

On August 18th I met with an attorney hear to see if there was any other options for me to protect my son from the abusive situation.  She did not give me any hope.  Her advice was to return to Georgia and obtain a temporary order of protection there.  During the meeting with the attorney, Carol Orleck was accidently called for information on an order of protection and she told Jen, who was the advocate helping me that I was in contempt of court and that they were going to arrest me.  I found out later online that on August 10th Carol Orleck and Shaun’s attorney jointly filed a contempt of court in Georgia but didn’t have the judge sign off on it until August 18th after the court date dismissing my temporary order for jurisdiction.

Jen the advocate from the domestic abuse center who was helping me spoke with the GAL Sue Olson, who was in court for the August 16th hearing.  I was also told by Jen that Carol Orleck called the GAL before the court appearance and Carol Orleck told that GAL that I have coached my children to say they were abused.  I felt helpless to protect my son from a very bad situation.  The news was devastating to me and I was making plans to return to Georgia with Peyton that weekend.  Shaun and his mother flew up on August 18th after the judge signed the contempt and picked Peyton up.  When the police came to the house Peyton did not want to go with his dad and was very fearful.  Peyton told the police he was scared to go to his dad’s house.  I also have a recording made of Peyton talking about the abuse at his dad’s house.  The recording was made on August 17th after Peyton learned he had to return there.  Peyton says that he gets “slapped” and that it is a “very bad house”.  He states he does not want to go there several times.  Peyton was crying and emotional when this recording was made however, the guardian ad litem says that I coached Peyton on the recording.

We went to court for the contempt hearing on September 1st.  I was found in contempt of court without being able to speak or explain what happened.  The judge referred back to the supervised visitation at my mom’s house every two weeks but gave the guardian ad litem power to use her discretion.  I have seen my son for five days since September.  I am not allowed to have Thanksgiving with him and for some unknown reason the guardian says I can’t have any overnight visits with him because I put things in his head and coach him.  I don’t understand her logic.  I have not seen him in over a month.  When I am able to speak with him on the phone, his dad monitors what he says and tells him not to say certain things.  I have some of these conversations taped with Shaun telling Peyton what to say.

I have tried to get the department of family and children services to investigate however, they work closely and often with the appointed guardian and will not get involved.  Peyton has made statements that Carol Orleck; the guardian told his dad that she wanted his dad to get custody.  Peyton also told me that his dad said that I didn’t love him because I didn’t call him enough.

Shaun currently lives with his parents, his sister Katie, and her autistic son.  Shaun’s mom is addicted to anxiety medications.  Shaun’s dad is an abusive alcoholic.  Shaun’s sister was recently fired from her job for cursing at the customers.  She has a history quickly moving men in with her that she is dating that are usually just out of prison, or have been in prison for a period of time.  Katie also has a history of drug use and was arrested for throwing parties for underage kids at her parents’ house.  Peyton is sharing a room with his autistic cousin.  Rita, who is Shaun’s mom, is the only person living at the house who has a job.  Shaun, Katie, and his dad, Rich do not work.

Thank you for reading this.  I know it is long and complicated.  There are other similar details but I didn’t want to make this too long.  I am so concerned for my child and I promised him I would do everything I could.

Below is a copy of the letter my daughter Sydney had written to the guardian ad litem regarding her little brother’s welfare. This letter made the guardian very angry.

“Mrs. Orleck,

Peyton should stay with us because when Shaun was living with us the nicest thing he did was probaley talk to us nicely.  We were all scared of him right when he was on drugs (real badly) he hurt us physically, emotionally, and verbally.  You have probaley heard this so many times, but I heard you don’t belive it.  I believe you believe Shaun because his back hurts him.  This whole time you think me and Jacob have been coached.  Well we haven’t.  This whole situation hurt and effected on my entire life and my moms.  She been really sad lately because of this situation.  I was in the Hospital.  Please Please listen to me.  I am so so upset you don’t understand.  I wish you could. Why? Why don’t your believe us.  Im so scared Peyton is everything to me.  Do You understand he cried when he left.  We all cried.  This situation is killing me.  Please do not throw this away and say screw her.  I am trying to sincerely write a decent letter to you stating what happening.  I don’t understand you.  We have evidence, proof, witnesses.  Shaun is lying.  Just listen carefully and try to understand his lies.  Yes my mom messed up.  She moved on and found a much better man.  Shes happy , She is off drugs, she doesn’t even smoke.  Not having a brother is a BIG change.  I love Peyton.  Peyton is not supervised.  I don’t what Peyton ending up like me upset and confused over abuse.  Im scared for his life.  I have flashbacks.  Its scarey.  Im afraid Peyton is gonna get hurt.  Peyton said that Shaun met somebody at the beer shop.  Ask Peyton yourself.  This whole letter IS MY IDEA!  I can’t help but shed a tear every single day of my life for Peyton.  Shauns house is very nasty.  Just go over and see.  I remember drugs and alchol being everywhere.  I will always remember Shaun trying to kill himself with a belt.  I feel hurt that you think Im being coached.  I just wish you could open your eyes to the obvious.  Shaun is trying to get attention with his back.  When we went with him to his attourny this summer, he was walking perfectly, almost running.  Rita is on drugs.  Richard was abusive.  Shaun was lying.  Cameron, Shaun, Rita, and Richard are all bad influence.  So is Shauns sister.  No my mom is not right next to me this is all my idea.  Please understand, please please please.  Im so very scared

Please understand