Well perhaps stupid is too strong, but I do feel when peoples grasp of reality is so shaky, that some stupidity is involved.
Recently as I've blogged, Jodie has been a little troubled of late. While we've seen some wonderful improvement in her behaviour and attitude she is still very fixated on her old Friends in Bradford. I've pondered on whether to put something which is personal to so many involved in my blog...but as it is something I feel affects me...and I want to document things that affect me...I'm going to put it here..I will however obfuscate names and locations....but you know who you are if you are reading this.
While it may seem harsh, to her, we've tried to cut back on Jodie's contact with the UK, and encourage her to find new friends and interests here in Holland...When all is said and done she's 14 and we have to do all we can to help her to acclimatize to Holland.
She can moan as much as she likes about it being boring, and school being too hard, and and and...Of course being in Holland has little to do with that, ALL 14yo's hate school and find everything boring. Its important for their development that they learn to embrace the school work and find their own interests and make friends where they are.
But of course she moans....and moans....and moans.
Bina and I for the most part...ignore the moaning and treat it for what it is, a means to get what she wants and try to get her to take more interest in Breda life and work to get good grades and continue her development....
Her Dad....listens....and when there's an ear to bend, Jodie, of course turns up the moan volume. She paints a pretty bad picture if what we hear back is true. Oh my god, what a dark bleak world she's being forced to live in.
And Jodies Dad...believes it!!!
So much so, that when she went AWOL (in his care) last month and she was faced with the retribution for her actions. What does any 14yo do? She turned on the waterworks about how unhappy she is in Holland....and Dad...believed it. (I'm sure you can see the problem with that....what happened to the retribution for a 14yo going awol and spending the day in Bradford with her boyfriend. But lets not bother...we know the answer)
So Dad and his partner...without discussing it with us 1st, decides to offer Jodie the chance to live in the UK. WITHOUT discussing it with us!! (And despite the fact we wanted this option to be available to Jodie before we went to Holland and they refused point blank to consider it)
Without...that’s important. Suddenly Jodie now has everything her heart desires offered to her, a home in the UK, an easier school in the UK, and a chance to finally away from these cruel harsh parents who make her work hard at school and encourage her to find interests in a small Dutch town and give her a huge monthly allowance and factor her into every decision they make ..yes indeed lets escape from that! No need now to care about Holland, Daddy will let her live with him, and that’s a bit closer to Bradford.
Well 14yos are more interested in their short term wants rather than their long term needs of course. But even cruel wicked parents like us want to do what’s best...and frankly at this point Bina was at her wits end after Jodies AWOL adventure. so we listened to what was being proposed.
And could not believe what we were hearing.
It turned out...it wasn't Dad's decision...no it was his partners. At no time was he prepared to make a stand and say he wanted her and would do what was needed to provide her with a home, security, education etc..it was her decision....Ohhhkaaayy!!
Well that’s not right for 1 thing, but in light of Jodies Dad's past inability to accept parental responsibility for his child I guess we had to expect that (lets say the list is a bit too long to print here)
The partner, opened "negotiations"...and I've quoted that for a reason, because basically that’s what the following discussions resulted in, negotiations. By insisting, that she (slightly paraphrasing as I don't have the quote to hand), "reserves the right to send Jodie back to her mother if she make her or her families life intolerable on the grounds that Bina is her mother"
I mean really, what the fuck... reserves the right? RESERVES THE RIGHT!!!!
I mean her Dad is her Dad, but I don't recall ever having the right to send her to him because he his her Dad!! Or indeed more importantly I don't ever recall believing I have such a right.
The rest of the opening negotiations focused, almost exclusively on how much we were prepared to pay them to look after Jodie. I quote
"To help us with the decision it would also be helpful if you and
Brian gave some thought as to how much you can contribute towards
Jodie's monthly upkeep. We currently have no income and so we are
still living off my ever diminishing savings. It would need to be a
reasonably substantial amount as you know first hand how much things
Note...to help us with the decision.
Now, it may seem trite at this point to note that Jodies Dad, has not paid maintenance for Jodie for some time..due to his losing his job a few months back and for....various other reasons...mostly revolving around him not having thought about it at most points in Jodies life, indeed on odd occasions where Bina has had to push the point the CSA threats tended to produce some token amounts.
But trite or not, its true. Dad has been delinquent on his maintenance payments all Jodies life, has failed repeatedly to honour promises to have her stay with him or take her on holidays ever)...but now they want us to pay them!
oohhhkay....well we're not Dad so we're willing to discuss some finances, after all, as has been pointed out by the partner, neither of them are working....and can't afford to pay for a 14yo***(I'll come back to this point later)
Already alarm bells are ringing for us...as I am sure they are for you...Jodie is not a commodity to haggle over, and also its not really the "partners" place to be discussing this...yet Dad refuses to get involved, as he’s on a business trip to Amsterdam....presumably with no access to phones or emails...or indeed the chance to take a few hours out to get on a train to Breda to see Jodie!!!!
Finances really should not be the reasons behind such a decision yet here we are taking about money alone!
We offered what we thought was a fair amount, considerably more than Dad has ever paid per month...and also were willing to continue to pay Jodies monthly allowance of 200euros while she could buy her own clothes and girlie stuff..
This was not enough, indeed they/she wanted more and suggested we reduce Jodies allowance and they would let her get a Saturday job..
It seems this amount was based on the information Jodie provided them about how much we were willing to spend on paying for Jodies education here. This time I do have the quote
"From what Jodie has told me you and Brian have been spending money
on School fees and also Jodie's weekly travel and were prepared to
commit to another year of fees and travel. Therefore if Jodie comes to
live here you and Brian will effectively be saving money"
This indeed is true, but what was not considered was that I was taking on extra freelance work in order to pay for Jodies education, due to the fact she did not want to go to a Dutch school..I'm not too keen on the idea of continuing to take on freelance work so I can give it to them.
Now at this point I had had enough, going back to my *** point earlier. While Jodie has been busy discussing details of how much we are spending to keep her educated in The Netherlands, she's also been telling us a little about Dad and partners spending habits...which seem rather excessive given the fact neither of them currently has an income and are living of the partners "ever diminishing savings".
We can't help but wonder if the need for a "substantial" amount, is to pay for their recent new laptop purchases, or perhaps their high end cars? Perhaps its to pay for some outstanding ironing service bills? Or maybe its to pay for their cleaner, who keeps the house nice and tidy and therefore fit for Jodie to live in "well" (another comment made by the partner), there are a host of other little titbits we've been told...frankly we're getting back to this idea of lack of grasp of reality or stupidity. But perhaps also something more unpleasant.....
In my usual, what the fuck are you on about way, I asked Bina to stop these negotiations and confronted Dad, we asked him why he had not taken responsibly for his child personally at such an important decision point. he still refused to accept it was his decision. indeed going so far as to say when he met his partner he was a single man with no kids and he found it remarkable she was willing to consider taking Jodie on now....
Well...Dad..I don't find it remarkable at all, because you may well have been single, but you are a fool to suggest you had no kids. You have had a child for 14 years.
Now in times gone past I have called Dad a sanctimonious prick, due to his unpleasant and often sanctimonious comments to Bina. Though he seems to disagree. Of course its very easy to be a parent from the grandstands shouting down advice. Its quite another to be the one on the receiving end of a terrible teen.
As such our relationship is not the best, and invariably we end up arguing, usually with me insulting him and he in turn focusing on the insults rather than the relevant points. In this case his daughters well being. He is a sanctimonious prick, and also a coward and a hypocrite, I have no respect at all for the man, were it not for the fact we share a Childs interests I would happily avoid this waste of space.
While still refusing to accept his responsibilities and recent failings (letting her go AWOL) our argument reached enormous proportions and he retired to a bizarre “You are a bully” defence when I pointed out all the failings in their dealings with Jodie.
By now we had realised that Jodie’s interests simply would not be best met by her living with her Dad, Yes we’d have a lot of hassle to deal with, but at least Jodie would not be sent out on a try before you buy basis to someone who seems more interested in how much they can make out of having her and another who refuses to accept that he has responsibilities as a parent.
Jodies is staying with us…while the decision was not popular with her, hopefully we have finally drawn a line and she no longer uses her Dad as an excuse to keep the links with a troubled past open.
Surprisingly once the decision was made and finalised (Partner has decided not to continue with her "kind and generous” offer to have her due to my rude and insulting mails…ha!) Jodie seemed to settle down again and accept things.
She’s attending to her school work, looking forward to a school trip to Spain…and…has noticed a few boys at school… Also we found a Rubgy club in Breda that she can join as she really enjoys girls rugby.
Lets hope the sanctimonious prick and his partner try and support Jodies moves forward this time!!
Perhaps we should start talking to them about their maintenence payments which should be paid unitl Jodie is 16...we can use their estimate of how much is needed!!!