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In 1995 I met The Petitioner/Mother, After a short but very intense period of time together she found out she was pregnant. I sat down with her and we talked for a long time about the options we were faced with. We decided to take our time and not rush into any commitments until we were both confident that we were in love. Within a week The Petitioner was saying that she knew she loved me and that we should get married. Shortly after this I was involved in an automobile accident that was the fault of the other driver. The Petitioner was in the vehicle directly behind me and witnessed the entire event unfold. She said that when she saw the accident she was afraid that her child was going to be born without a father, I did what I could to make sure that the stress The Petitioner was feeling was not going to cause a miscarriage. The accident had caused some back and neck injuries that I was not immediately aware of. The injuries made themselves more apparent over the next few days, and I ended up having to have medical attention to recover from the injuries sustained.

 

Over the next several months before and after we moved in together, her family and friends were telling her that I was no good for her, and would end up leaving her and my child. I told her I would be happy to speak with my accusers with her present and find out why they were saying these things. Of course as with most liars and rumormongers at no time did anyone of them come forward to face me with these accusations.

 

Just before our child was born her parents and friends once again tried to bring a wedge in between us with more of the same accusations. The Petitionerís parents also used the opportunity to tell her that they wanted our child to have their last name and not mine. I told her that I felt the child should have my last name because she would be taking my last name anyway. her parents continued to push the issue with her but would not talk to me about it. I felt they were trying to drive a wedge in between us. The Petitioner told me that she was going to do what her parents wanted but that I could pick the middle name and we could pick the first name together. I told her that I was not happy with that, but she didn't care. Ultimately her parents got their way since the hospital only goes by what the Petitioner of the child wants and does not even consider or set aside the naming of the child if there is an issue to be resolved. My son was given The Petitionerís maiden name without my approval or consent. Just after a month of my sonís birth The Petitioner wanted to return to work. We found that no daycare provider would take a child under one years of age. Because she wanted so much to return to work I began taking care of our son since my schedule was very flexible. It was a difficult task to care for my son while working at the same time but I also found it to be a very rewarding experience.

 

The Petitionerís friends and parents continued to interfere with our relationship, she had even put the wedding on hold because of it. When our Son reached 11 months of age I was growing concerned about his lack of vocalization skills. One afternoon I walked past his room and found him playing with his back to me. I took the opportunity to call out his name in a quick, loud voice. He did not respond at all. He was not even startled from the sudden loud sound, nor did he even realize I was there. I told The Petitioner that we needed to schedule an appointment to have his hearing checked.  Once the tests were complete, the doctor sat down and informed us that our son had a severe hearing loss. I asked if she knew of any programs or organizations that could help us. She said that we should contact the hearing speech and deafness center in Seattle where she knew they had a program for children. We contacted the program and set up a time to go and have them explain their purpose, and how they could help us to better understand the options for our son. They offered classes for parents to learn sign language. They also provided assessments for the child to see how he was progressing and how much he was learning.

 

It was around this time that The Petitioner began talking with her Accomplice/lover on the Internet. This was also when she began fighting me on issues dealing with our son and became more aggressive and demeaning in her relationship with me. We were told early on that parents of deaf children had a lot to deal with and usually this would cause more friction between them. I attributed her aggressive and demeaning acts to the problem of coming to accept our sonís deafness. After all I too was finding it difficult to understand what was happening. I remember how devastated I was that my son could not hear and how I thought it might limit his life and the quality of that life. I also remember thinking to myself that it was so unfair that he could not hear all the sounds that hearing people do. Or how he would never be able to hear me tell him how much I loved him or fall asleep while I sang to him. At this point I had not yet realized that it was not Our Son who I felt sorry for, rather it was me. It took time and a lot of observation to realize that my son had never heard sound and that it did not bother him. He was a very happy well-adjusted child, who had never felt he was lacking in anything, or broken in anyway.

 

The Petitioner continued her newfound relationship with her Accomplice/lover. On one occasion I asked her directly if she wanted to be with me or explore her relationship with him. She told me that she wanted to be with me and not him. I told he she had to tell him this, so she sent an email to him stating that she wanted to be with me and not him. In the morning I woke to find her sending another email to him telling him that she had been forced to send the previous email. The Petitioner ended the email with the words I love you. The Petitioner did not know that I saw her composing the email. I was so hurt by her deception to me I could not even talk to her about it. My head was spinning and I could not understand why she would tell me that she wanted to be with me and then turn around and make sure that he would still be around too.

 

I decided that I must have been doing something wrong so I did what I could to try to strengthen our relationship by trying to do everything as a family.  I made a request for the birth to three program to make a home visit once a week to teach us sign language because of my schedule. They agreed since they knew the importance of communication with children. We asked if it was ok for The Petitionerís parents to attend these home visits as well. We were told that would be fine since it was important that everyone in the childís life should know sign. The Petitionerís parents sporadically showed up for approximately two or three of the home classes before quitting altogether. They used the excuse that the language was to hard to learn, or that it hurt their fingers, or that it was bowling night so they could not make it. I felt that my son was far more important than a bunch of lame excuses or some stupid game, and that there excuses showed their lack of concern and love for their grandchild. Although I did not express my feelings directly to them I did let The Petitioner know how I felt. She agreed that it was not in Our Sonís best interest and that she too was disappointed in her parents.

 

In the evenings after our Son went to bed I had begun teaching myself about the computer I had just purchased. I was trying to use the computer to create the alphabet and the number system so our Son would have an advantage learning visually since he could not do it audibly. I used a childrenís book of the alphabet that had animals displaying their own signs corresponding with their alphabetic significance. (i.e. A is for alligator. Where a picture of an alligator was displaying the appropriate sign for alligator.) I scanned the book into the computer and put them together and get an animated Gif that actually showed the animal performing its own sign, and the corresponding letter of the alphabet. I did this with numbers, and a strictly finger spelled version of the alphabet so our Son could see and then copy the hand shapes made from A to Z. I compiled 3 letter words in the same manner (i.e. cat, dog, car, man, boy, ect.) These animations would spell out the word one letter at a time so our Son would gain an understanding of word structuring as well as association of the words. This proved to be a very successful method in teaching Our Son.

 

By the age 2 he was proficient in his alphabet as well as having the ability to count from 1-22 using the signed numbering system, and a few dozen other words. I was very proud of what Our Son and I had accomplished, as were the people from the birth to three program. The Petitioner continued to be standoffish and kept growing more insulting and degrading toward me. As well she was becoming more aggressive where Our Son was concerned as well. For example when our son would kick she would kick him back hard enough to make him cry out in pain, and he was only 2 years old at the time. This is abuse as defined by WAC 388-15-009(1)(a). Or if Our Son would pinch she would again pinch him back so that he cried out in pain and then put him in time out and verbally tell him not to pinch. One time Our Son who was not even 2 years old at the time had her hand and he bit one of her fingers, he did not do any damage, but he did startle her when he did it. The Petitionerís response was to bite Our Sonís fingers, causing him to cry out in pain and leaving bite marks, but not breaking the skin. Then put him in time out for a couple of minutes without even explaining to him why she had done it. I told her that it was unreasonable for her to use such force and not sign to him, as far as I was concerned it was very abusive.  This of course started yet another argument between us. It had gotten to the point that I was feeling a sense of dread every time I came home and I began to gain quite a bit of weight from my denial to myself that she was not the same person anymore.

 

I would continually tell The Petitioner that she could not use these methods with Our Son and that she needed to sign to him and explain why he was in trouble. That she needed to not hit or kick or bite back but instead use the signs and let him know that it was not a good thing to do because her way was confusing for him. I would ask her how she would feel if someone kicked, pinched, or bit her and gave no explanation as to why.  As time passed The Petitioner would pick arguments with me and then use Our Son by telling me she would take him from me, or she would just pick him up and leave the home telling me she would be back if and when she felt like it. Once Our Son was old enough we found a daycare provider in the area.  Once my schedule was changed making it possible for us to go to Seattle for the signing classes, I asked if it would be ok to allow our daycare provider to attend the classes as well. I was told that it would be fine so we offered the classes to the provider at no cost to her and during the evening where her whole family could attend as well. As with The Petitionerís parents, the daycare provider only showed up for a couple of classes. I felt she was being very short sighted, but The Petitioner didnít care. Instead she would get upset with me for even bringing it up. This showed her neglectful attitude towards her son's needs and is considered abuse pursuant to WAC 388-15-009(5)(b)(c).

 

This was not however only limited to me. The Petitioner also had problems dealing with Our Son. She had a habit of talking to him instead of signing This too is abuse according to WAC 388-15-009(5)(b)(c). When I would call out ďhe cant her youĒ she would yell at me to shut up, she said she knew he could not hear but would claim, ďhe still knows why I am mad at himĒ. I would tell her that he could not know since it was impossible for him to hear her and he could not read lips since he does not know the English language. And even if it were possible for him to spontaneously know how to read lips it was still her responsibility as the parent to make sure he knew by telling him in his language and not hers.

 

On one occasion in October for Halloween we went to her sisters house to go trick or treating. Our Son had a plastic orange pumpkin bucket where his candy was put. As we headed out Our Son would try to run ahead of us and everyone else. I continually had to run after him and tell him to stay close to us. After the third or fourth time of stopping him and telling him not to run ahead I finally told him he was in a time out. The Petitioner became very upset and started to argue with me, telling me I was ruining Halloween. She said that he would be fine and she would watch him. I tried to explain to her that he needed to see we were serious when we told him what we expected. She became increasingly abrasive, so I finally conceded and said fine you can watch him. She took Our Sonís hand and they started to walk away. After about 10 feet Our Son pulled his hand away and started walking on his own. Another 10 ft and he started to run again this time however he tripped on the curb and fell down hitting his nose on the plastic pumpkin and cutting him badly enough to leave a scar that is still present to this day. Here too we see the abuse of the Petitioner pursuant to WAC 388-15-009(5)(b)(c). The Petitioner picked Our Son up and he was crying and bleeding quite a bit. He kept pushing away from The Petitioner so I took him and held him while looking at his wound. I told The Petitioner that we should turn back and get the cut cleaned up but she insisted that he would be fine and all I was trying to do was ruin Halloween for her and Our Son. I used my own clothing to clean up Our Sonís blood and kept holding him until he stopped crying. After the evening was over, The Petitioner took the opportunity to berate me again for the events of the night and I somehow was the one who was responsible for allowing Our Son to trip and hurt himself.

 

This whole time The Petitioner was still calling her Accomplice/lover. Once he called and asked to speak with The Petitioner, I informed him that she was sleeping and to call back later at which point I hung up the phone. Within a few seconds the phone rang again and when I answered it this time he very menacingly informed me that if I ever hung up on him like that again he would come over to the house and ďkick my ass.Ē The Petitioner had arose from her nap and asked what happened. When I told her she immediately called him back and left the room to talk to him in private, never mentioning anything to him about his threat to me. There were several instances where The Petitionerís abuse became more and more predominate. On one occasion in June of 1998 I confronted The Petitioner again about her Accomplice/Lover and she became very upset. I told her that she would have to pick one of us since I was not going to stand for it anymore. And if she did not pick then I would be the one to pick by leaving her. At this she became so upset that she began yelling at me and hitting me on and about my chest and shoulders. I was forced to back peddle into the bedroom before she finally turned away and went into the bathroom slamming the door so hard it broke the molding.

 

Another instance in October or 1998 The Petitioner and I got into another argument about her relationship with her Accomplice/lover. When I told her she was being selfish she started hitting me and yelling at me to shut up. This time I went into the bathroom and shut the door so she could not get in. The Petitioner yelled a profanity at me and threw the door to the bedroom open so hard it hit the closet door, she then pulled on the doorknob in order to slam the door shut, she pulled hard enough to pull the screw out of the top hinge making it so the door could not close properly. Through most of our arguments I had to simply stop talking to her until she calmed down enough for us to speak in a rational manner. There were times when she got upset about me walking away and would ask why I did it. My response was that I would come to a point where I could see that nothing I said or did helped. When I could explain point by point and have you agree with me on each point, and then tell me that none of that mattered and you were still going to think irrationally. it was like beating my head against a brick wall.

 

In June of 1999 I started back to school since I wanted to provide more for Our Son. I had hoped that this would also strengthen my relationship with The Petitioner so she could see how much I wanted to be able to provide for all of her needs as well as the special needs of Our Son. For thanksgiving of 1999 The Petitioner informed me that her parents had invited The Petitioner's Accomplice over for thanksgiving dinner with the family and they wanted The Petitioner and Our Son to come but I was not invited. I was hurt at the openness with which they displayed their animosity toward me. I told The Petitioner that they were a big part of the problems that we had been having as was her Accomplice/lover. I also told her that if she wanted to go I would not stop her but I felt her parents were being complete jerks and just trying to cause more problems so I wanted no part of it. The Petitioner decided to instead have thanksgiving dinner at home just the three of us, or so I thought at the time. When the day finally came though I found out that she had invited her Accomplice/lover as well. At one point The Petitioner's Accomplice became upset with The Petitioner and told her that she needed to tell me how she felt about him. The Petitioner then got upset with her Accomplice/lover and told him that is why she liked me, because I did not bring up private family matters for everyone to hear about. Her Accomplice/lover was clearly upset about this, as was I. I could not believe the audacity she was showing by claiming her Accomplice/lover was part of her family right in front of me. He became very quiet, he was noticeably upset and left shortly afterward.

 

I asked The Petitioner very directly if she had ever had a sexual encounter with her Accomplice/lover. She said that she had, at this point tears welled up in my eyes and I started to cry asking her why she had never told me this before. The Petitioner stated that she did not know for sure how I would take the news and she was not sure about her feelings for me or him at that time so she choose to keep quiet. The Petitioner could see how upset I was at this news, but after the events of the day she knew that she still loved me and still wanted to be with me. The Petitioner told me she was very sorry for what she had done and wanted to make things better for both of us. The Petitioner took this opportunity to propose to me, telling me she wanted to do whatever she could to make up for all that she had done up to now.  We continued living together and I had not heard from her Accomplice/lover in quite awhile. She would take every Wednesday off but she would keep Our Son in daycare claiming she needed time for herself. Of course on my days off, she would say we could not afford to have Our Son in daycare. I did not mind this since I have always enjoyed my time with my son, but it did raise suspicion with me. 

 

In July of 2000 The Petitioner and I were invited to go on a camping trip. The first day of the trip was wonderful and we were getting along again like we did when we first met. As the evening came and The Petitioner spent more time around Mrs.she began to start acting like her. Mrs. is a very overbearing person who is quite abusive with her husband. Even though we had never seen her hit her husband we had observed how verbally abusive she was with her husband degrading him in front of everyone without any concern for what she was doing. This caused The Petitioner to start doing the same types of things with me. She would be verbally abusive and crack jokes about me, especially about how fat I had become. These statements hurt me. so I decided to leave the group and play with Our Son. The Petitioner came down and asked if I wanted to come back. I told her I did not want to go back because she had been insulting me and it had really hurt my feelings. At this point she thought for a second and said that she understood what I meant and she was sorry for what she had done, and she wanted me to tell her if she was starting to do it again throughout the rest of the time we were there. The rest of the time we spent together was filled with this same back and forth attitude with The Petitioner. She would continue to be nice to me while we were alone but when she got around Mrs. she became abusive again. This really concerned me since I could not figure out what she was gaining out of this. Or why she even felt it necessary to treat me in that manner.

 

In October of 1999 we had an appointment with the school district to go determine Our Sonís IEP (Individualized Education Program). When The Petitioner and I went to the meeting we were in agreement that the plan would have to be rejected since there were several matters that we did not agree with. The most important being sign language classes for parents in order to better communicate with our child. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was in support of this but the school districts never wanted to spend the money so they would not do it. They claimed that their interpretation was different than mine, even though they all agreed with me when I went point by point and never could give me a definitive answer on how their interpretation differed from mine. When the meeting was over The Petitioner told me that if I declined the IEP I did so on my own and she would have no part of it. Again this shows the abuse of her son according to WAC 388-15-009(5)(b)(c).

 

Shortly after this another incident occurred. Our Son was outside playing one day and I happened to look outside to see what he was up to. I noticed that he had a stick in his hand and he was walking around the car. I immediately ran outside and took the stick out of his hand. However it was too late to stop the damage he had already done. He had left several long scratches along the driverís side and front of the car. I showed Our Son the damage he had done, and then signed to him that was a bad thing to do. I then sent him to time out. While Our Son was in time out The Petitioner and I discussed the best punishment for Our Son, my response was that Our Son should go without TV for three days and every time he asks for TV he gets taken outside shown the damage to the car and then told thatís why he canít watch TV.  The Petitioner exclaimed that my punishment was too harsh and she did not want to do that. I asked her what she thought would be good for his punishment. Her idea was to never let him play out in the front again. I asked if she was serious and she said that she was. I then asked her how she could possibly think my punishment could be any harsher than hers. The Petitioner told me that she did not think her punishment was as harsh as mine was. I again asked her how it was possible that her punishment of NEVER letting Our Son play outside in the front yard again was less harsh than 3 days of no TV and an explanation to Our Son of why each time he asked to watch TV. At this point she conceded that I was right. Her punishment was far more stringent than mine was but she still believed that hers was the right one to go with. When she said this I got up, told her she had a very twisted since of reality, and walked away from her saying I was going to get Our Son and explain to him again why he was in time out. 

 

In September or October, I was studying in the bedroom while The Petitioner and Our Son were in one of the front rooms. I could hear them making noise but I was not sure if she was mad at him or not so I started to get up and go check when I heard Our Son begin to scream and cry very loudly. I found The Petitioner and Our Son in the kitchen with The Petitioner holding Our Son in her arms and Our Son pushing away from her crying and very upset. When The Petitioner saw me coming she told me ďit was an accident.Ē I asked her what she was talking about, but she did not answer right away. I got to Our Son who reached out for me so I took him in my arms and noticed that he had his hand covering his eye. When he was safely in my arms he continued to cry, burying his face on my shoulder with his hand still covering his eye. I again asked The Petitioner what had happened. This time she told me that she and Our Son were ďplay boxingĒ and she accidentally hit him in the eye. Our Son was still crying and holding his eye, I asked her how hard she had hit him and her response was ďnot very hardĒ, she stated that she barely grazed him. It took several minutes before Our Son stopped crying long enough for me to look at his eye. I saw the beginnings of a bruise on his eye and I asked The Petitioner how she could tell me that she just barely hit him when it was obvious that she had to have connected pretty hard in order to cause bruising that rapidly. She then stated that she could have connected harder than she thought but that she didnít mean to do it. I told The Petitioner that she was a full-grown adult and she had no business hitting a child that hard, so as to give him a black eye. I reminded The Petitioner that she was making a habit of hurting Our Son and I wanted it to stop. Here we see another instance of the Petitioner abusing her child pursuant to WAC 388-15-009(1)(5)(b)(c)

 

The Petitioner told me she would send a note to school with Our Son. The very next day we received a note back from the school asking what happened to Our Son. They said in the note that when they asked Our Son they thought he was telling them that I had done it. I told The Petitioner that this was totally unacceptable and we were both going to go to the school tomorrow where she could tell them what really happened. The Petitioner told me that she would send a note to school with Our Son in the morning. I told her that she said the same thing yesterday. The Petitioner went and got a piece of paper and a pen and started writing a note. When I saw the note I noticed that the story she told me, and the story she was telling the school were not the same. In the note The Petitioner sent to the school she claimed that Our Son and her were wrestling in the living room and that he fell and hit his eye on the corner of the coffee table. 

 

In August or September of 2000 the school had contacted us saying that there was a possible incident involving Our Son and one of the schoolís interpreterís. One of the Petitionerís had made the claim that she witnessed the interpreter hit Our Son in the face. I was concerned about this incident and asked when the earliest time was we could come in and find out more about the incident. The school set up and appointment with us very quickly. Once we got to the school we were welcomed by the principle, and one member each from both of the school districts. While we waited for both the interpreter and the accusing parent to show up the school sat down with us and informed us that they now understood the importance of communication between the parents and children, and that they had decided to start up sign language classes. This news elated me to almost the point of tears. I had to take a moment to regain my composure before thanking them for their insight and helping those of us who only sought the same opportunities for our special needs children, as normal children had.

 

By October of 2000 when it was time to review all the aspects of the IEP. Even though the school was just about to start up the signing classes for the parents, I was very upset with them because as far as I knew we had not gone in throughout the year to review progress reports yet the copy that the school sent us of the IEP clearly showed that these reviews had taken place. I told The Petitioner I would have a statement prepared and that we needed to talk to a lawyer about this since it was a clear violation of The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). When The Petitioner saw that I was very serious about this she informed me that she had gone to these reviews behind my back and had deliberately kept the information from me. I looked at her in disbelief, and began to tell her how she was not looking out for Our Sonís best interests which was abuse according to WAC 388-15-009(5)(b)(c). The Petitioner immediately began to apologize and tell me she knew that it was wrong of her to do that. I chose not to get into another long involved conversation since we had several already and she was clearly not listening to anything I was saying. I was having a hard time understanding why she had deliberately done this. As far as I was concerned if she had a problem with me she should deal with me and not take it out on Our Son. Within just a week and a half into November my entire world came crashing down.

 

 

 

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