Saturday, September 15, 2012
This happened in 2005. I had updated the story later after I had him back.
Our story (Kevin and I, Mother and son, Second time I've had a child taken from me by a father from another country....) in short:
They were to go on vacation to Quito, Ecuador to visit my ex common laws family. They have traveled before and to key west. Within 2 weeks, I get a call from Fernando Lopez, that they are never coming back. there is a huge long story in between all this, but too much to try and fit in here.
He left me with all the debt, 2 cars, 1045.00 month rent with the landlords(they would not let me out of the expensive lease and they knew he took my son. We were not married by law and were both on the lease. They held me to this lease and threatened my good credit if I did not complete the lease. So much more awful stuff over 5 years.
Some of what happened in the first week of the "vacation" they were not to return from.....
When my son was abducted by my ex-common law and taken to Ecuador. I was forced to stay in the duplex by the landlords, due to the lease agreement. The rent was 1045.00 a month and far beyond my means after Fernando (ex-common law) took my son and left all the debt behind for it to snowball on me.
I remember taking my son Kevin (ten years old at the time) and Fernando to the bus that was to take them to the airport. When they drove off in the bus, Kevin and I touched hands through the window, just as in the movies, while blowing kisses and mouthing our goodbyes.
They left August 18th 2005 and were supposed to return September 8th . This is so very ironic, because it reminds me of a song by “Greenday”, “When September Ends”. This song is now imprinted in my mind for the rest of my life.
I received a phone call from Fernando about a week before they were to return. I was standing in my sons room, filled with his drawings on the walls, toys laying still on the floor in the same place he left them before they went on this (so called) vacation.
Fernando stated, quite firmly “This is going to be VERY, VERY, hard” then said, “America is not our home anymore”. I fell to my knees, I begged, said anything “I love you”, but at that point i did not anymore. Affection for each other rotted away over the years. but, Fernando let me believe we were best friends and were working things out.
Fernando seemed to me to be a very cold person, void of much feeling. At least to me that is. We were never really close and he was very secretive. I never felt that I ever really knew him.
He claimed I called him ugly, but this I did not do. He’s not an ugly man. He must have had an audience, or this I assumed. He was repeating much of what I said. So I figured he was not alone when he was telling me all of this.
After he hung up, I was in a panic. I paced around the now empty, very empty apartment. Finally I called a friend, who instructed me to call the police right away. She herself had just gone through a very ugly divorce from a man that was trying to take away her kids.
I did just that. I called the police. When the Officer arrived (from the Pierce County Police Dpt.) he listened patiently to my panicked story and regretfully told me there was nothing they could do, because he was taken by his natural father.
Now how did he get my son out of the country? He had convinced me that Kevin needed to change his last name (the name on his birth certificate) to reflect that of his Ecuadorian grandfathers. This was because (so he told me) Kevin had a trust fund and would not be able to get to it, if his name reflected that of his Ecuadorian grandmother.
Although I was hesitant and distrustful of this, I went with them to the civic center and helped to change his name from Kevin Anthony Matheus-Nelson, to Kevin Anthony Lopez-Nelson. I believed that keeping my name as his very last name would help me with any custody issues.
Wow, was I naive. I was not overly concerned that Fernando was trying to kidnap Kevin at this point, but still cautious, worried, but Fernando was all I knew for the 11 years we were together. We moved constantly, by his request. I would rebel, because I did not like leaving each new apartment, job, friends, community, each time. So, like a fool I trusted he really cared about Kevin and I.
I contacted FBI, Missing and exploited children (who did their best to help. I researched and contacted many lawyers that would do pro bono, in vain. My own boss at the time loaned me his lawyer for a day and he could not help.
Pierce county police could not help (the officer did not even make out a report, said it was because it was the natural father that took him. We were not married and had no decree of custody. Nobody could help me. I did have option to have the father of my son arrested, the person i thought was at the very least my friend, but I did not. I have many reasons for that, that I myself can't completely explain, at least not yet.
I was scared, angry, paranoid, lost, I can only imagine what a freak i appeared to be to anyone who knew me from before.
That's just some of what we went through. We are together again. He's happy and adjusting to life, finally in one spot, not all over the place. .
It sucks, big time the position he put us in, the lies, the keeping us apart, long extended periods, months, no communication, stories told to my son, different told to me. I'm happy a friend of mine saved the Bcc'd copies of a portion of email correspondence that shows much of how it started, which i hope in some way shows proof of the insanity, for the very least to prove my son and I are not insane.
We are most definitely alone in all this and it felt or feels like it's not taken seriously, and that we may be just whining and to move on, if people only knew they pain and trauma it is to be separated from a deeply loving parent, or a mother from a very bonded, loving, happy child, is absolutely devastating and seems to not just "go away". Getting someone that can help to actually look at the whole picture, read everything, it's difficult, and I completely understand.
I never had much interest in finances, probably what gets me into trouble. I was very good at finding work, waitress, hostess, cleaning, etc... then finally got my GED, Then college and 5.5 years of a career and growing. I thought I was on my way and Fernando managed my college loans (I'm an idiot about this stuff he'd been through this many times before and helped others, like his second wife's son get to college, so I believed he knew what he was doing, i just signed what ever he put in front of me, yeah I know, dumb. I trusted.)
He convinced me to start getting credit cards to build credit (so we could buy a house, my FICA score was getting really good and he is the one that taught me about all this) He convinced me to keep getting more cards, that this was necessary to build my FICA score, so I would pay less down on a house, lower interest and lower monthly payments, sounded great to me. And more than willing and was working for it.
Things purchased by me on my credit cards, gas, food, bills, gifts for birthdays and holidays (using one card to pay another, he said this is how it's done, i guessed it was, still not sure, don't have good credit anymore) My huge error (and a close friend pointed this out to me, was that I never learned to manage my own money. I could make it just fine, and i am extremely frugal, I shop, thrift stores, grocery outlets and garage sales, I'd never frivolously spent money, apart from things for the family, holidays, occasions birthdays, stuff like that and even then I would bargain shop (I'm not complaining about that I'm a thrift store junkie:).
My student loans for an Associates degree, from a community college amounting in 26.000 K, How, I did not find this out until after he left, I still don't know. I was on deferment for a few years, but they don't seem to bother me anymore and were always kind to me, they are the same student loan carrier that Fernando uses.
So, He appeared to be helping to build our dreams (whether we were working as a couple or not, he still led me and others around me, that I know of, to believe that we were together and working on things, that money problems, too much work, school and stress takes a toll on a relationship and to at least stay friends and co parent. I know we discussed this in college, but then seemed to flow back into this robotic relationship like we were some big happy family (publicly), but at home separate rooms and no conversation).
I got my son back and I need to get my priorities straight, Health, happiness, bliss, togetherness, and learning the gift of helping others, accepting whats real, and start learning to heal It's not like were starving.
Kevin and I stay strong and believe it or not have found happiness and we are bonded again like never before, but this person took the dreams we'd been working for away (or at least they were my dreams, not sure at all what his were). So, we are trying to rebuild.