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If you think this is about YOU, maybe you should go reconcile with your parent and work to get back your kids instead of continuing to be a jerk. If you think I am you, or similar to you, welcome! :-)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Proceeding Without Evidence, a Key or a Clue

Our friend Naomi is between a rock and a hard place today. For the past week, she's had as her guests her grandchildren, 2 of them under 5, and one of them young school age. Naomi's daughter- you guessed it- left them for the weekend and didn't come back. Naomi has taken 2 sick days and 3 vacation days so far. Naomi's son is in college, and that college is a good 500+ miles away, so any help he might offer is at a premium. 

Naomi's ex-husband and his wife are none too keen on taking on the little brood, and even less help in trying to find Lulabelle. Her daughter's phone rings, but it goes to voice mail. She is frantic about her daughter's safety. 

Naomi is pretty sure she will take the grandkids for now, but if her Lulabelle is just playing her, she wants custody. She knows who is the father of the eldest, but he might still be in prison. She has no idea who fathered the other two, but she thinks it's two separate men.

Here's the thing: Naomi doesn't have some pretty important pieces to the puzzle, and not just the names of the younger children's baby daddies. For starters, she has no paperwork for any of the kids. She isn't sure who provides daycare for the younger ones. She knows where the older one goes to school, but it is one town over from hers. And she knows where her daughter lives, but she doesn't have a key to the place; neither does the eldest child.

Believe it or not, Naomi's first trip needs to be to the apartment complex where her daughter formerly resided, with a squad car and some law enforcement officers. The people in blue can get the door opened and do some digging where Naomi can't. Naomi's daughter has a history of drug and alcohol usage. If it's a crime scene, she won't be able to take anything, but at least she'll know, one way or the other. Hanging outside the complex and calling the manager repeatedly isn't good enough. 

While she's at the cop shop, Naomi can file a missing person's report. Lulabelle is obviously no where to be found. 

Finally, the police can call Lulabelle's cell- repeatedly. They can use GPS to find out if Lulabelle is in the area or if she or someone with evil intent ditched her cell.

As it turned out, Lulabelle was not in her apartment but her cell phone was. The manager, who prior to the intervention of the police couldn't care less, suddenly had an eviction notice for Naomi to give Lulabelle. Naomi asked the manager how long Lulabelle had to move out. He said 30 days from service. Naomi replied she'd take out what was important to the children if it was all right, and did he have a key, as she was- you guessed it- Lulabelle's cosigner, and she had no doubt the owners would soon be chasing her (Naomi) for back rent. The manager turned to the cops, who more or less shrugged. The manager came back with a key for Naomi. The cops took a couple of photos, but there was really nothing out of place, no blood, no missing sheets, no cuts out of the carpet, no strong smell of anything but the garbage left behind in the kitchen garbage can (It didn't help that Lulabelle was 2 months behind on the rent). They know Naomi filed a missing person report, but they don't think Lulabelle is dead or kidnapped.

This afternoon, Naomi has 3 appointments with attorneys. One of them will be with her in court on Monday for an emergency order of custody and protection. As is the law in her state, child protective services has been notified, but the agency is fine with the grandkids going to Naomi, rather than coming into Naomi's home all gangbusters as if she is the perpetrator. 

Her son skipped his Friday classes to drive home and help his mother, proving once again that just because one adult child becomes a negligent loser, the others don't. They will clean out the important things in the apartment this weekend, hoping to find something the police did not. 

Naomi is hoping the eldest grandchild can stay in the school one town over, even if she has to drive him there five days a week, at least until the end of the school year. She hopes to find enough this weekend to go to social services on Tuesday, baby-sitter by Wednesday, and maybe she can be back at work by the following Monday. She contacted HR, and was shocked to find she was covered under the Family Leave and Medical Act, because basically, the middle-aged don't think so much about this sort of situation.

Please say a prayer for Naomi, her grandchildren, and all the grandparents and grandchildren put in this sort of situation. And please say a prayer for this Lulabelle, wherever she is.    

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