There is a line from the old sitcom Cheers that I remember at times like this. The character Rebecca, played by Kirstie Alley, finally figures some random thing out and she wails with devastation in her voice "I am too stupid to live".
For background, this is what I am talking about. This is what happened next.
See, I believed Jack Ass when he told The Husband that he was going to make every effort to move away from across the street. I was hopeful that he really would and that it would be soon. Why would I believe such a thing? I can't imagine. I used to work for CPS a hundred years ago and I have seen and heard the selfish, destructive things adults will do to children first hand. How a seemingly ordinary, functioning adult can make a series of decisions so bad and so selfish that it critically damages people forever. So I genuinely thought Jack would make a strong effort and come to the right conclusion, to not hurt my daughter and to not hurt my family. Somehow I thought, he just doesn't understand. The Husband explained things to him. Now that he understands, he won't hurt us. What was I thinking?
I received a surprise email from the ex-wife of Jack Ass, Genea's original adoptive mother. She said she had been getting text messages from Jack saying they had no intention of moving away. That she knew he had met with The Husband and told him that but it was not true. Far more disturbing information was coming.
On the school bus, Genea traded a drawing with her friend. Her friend went home and Jack Ass took the drawing. He photographed it and sent copies out, and texted a copy to Exmom and offered to send her the original. Exmom told me she strongly wanted to have something of Genea's but realized it would not be right. He also offered for Exmom to come over to The Skanks home to watch Genea play in our yard from The Skank's front window. She declined.
Is there a word stronger than furious? Livid maybe? I realized that Jack has indeed been stalking Genea. That this all may be a bizarre coincidence but has turned into a serious and dangerous situation. There is a grown man stalking my 6 year old daughter. Not just any grown man but one who used to be her adoptive parent. Not just any parent but a parent who had most certainly caused her many of the problems she has. That caused her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and either caused her Reactive Attachment Disorder or exponentially worsened it. And he is sitting on his unemployed ass across the street from my home watching her through the windows. Oh. My. God.
My head has been spinning for 3 days. I feel like I must be having a traumatic stress reaction of my own. My neck muscles are hard, like plastic hard and I can barely move it. I can't force myself to relax. Even now, typing this I am consciously trying to make my leg muscles relax and as I do it my back tenses up. I have a headache that feels like a brick is strapped to my forehead and wrapped around. My stomach is a nervous knot and at just about any random moment I could puke. I could seriously blow at any second and I find myself interpreting things oddly. I hear every car that goes by on the street, even from the back of my house. Jack Ass drives a loud pick up truck and I am monitoring for that particular sound constantly. I don't have to get up to know if he is coming or going. It occurs to me that this is hypervigilance and someday soon I am going to analyze these moments in terms of Genea's experiences. But not today. This really is unimaginable. All of it, the whole thing. How the fuck did this happen?
I spent probably 10 hours with my face ground into the computer screen doing research on restraining orders. Digging through old reports from prior to our adoption that showed possibly abusive parenting by him. Finding dates and documentation. Yesterday The Husband filed for and was granted a Temporary Restraining Order for Child Abuse against Jack. I highlighted every example of emotional abuse and potential abusive effect of his presence across the street and wrote up a 2 page report to submit with our request. We watched him be served today, early this afternoon. We think. A plain white van turned up in their driveway and a man went to the door with papers, then left. About 15 minutes later I heard Jack's pick up truck fire up and there he goes. Hopefully forever.
So, that's that. We will have a hearing and a judge will decide if this indeed is emotional abuse of a child and whether Genea should be granted a permanent protection order. Which would be "permanent" for 2 years. We are going to have to prove ourselves, and throw in every bit of ugly information we can find.