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Missing Children
This is something that I wrote really recently and wasn't necessarily written for this site as its quite personal but at this point not really bothered how exposed it makes me. I've pretty much only just found out about this forum today, I've contacted a number of websites and had nothing back. The advice I've had so far has basically been that I need a couple of thousand.

The first thing I have to say is how hard this is to put into words and how difficult it is to lay out when writing. I should also say that this is long and has a very mixed format. Almost from a letter to a blog to almost like I'm writing my thoughts down, its a bit of a mess.

Around three years ago I split from my fiancé of seven years and mother of my children. Her name is Charlotte and I have a son, Michael and a daughter Ruby with her. We split for a number of reasons and while it was hard for us both we remained close as we were still friends and for our children as it would make them happier. I had been out of work for a year and now out of our family home to live at Wheaton Army Barracks with family, this was extremely difficult. Especially as I wasn't working and had to travel Manchester to sign on and visit Charlotte and the kids. I guess its worth noting at this time that I often slept on sofas, in my car or Charlotte's just to stay in Manchester.

The next points are quite personal but are a large factor in what eventually happened. Some months later I began a relationship with a girl called Sarah who I had known for some time and it was going extremely well. Before this me and Charlotte were still very intimate with each other on many occasions as I would stay over to look after our children while she would be at work. Charlotte for the first time delved into online dating and met someone our aged, named Paul. The problems soon began between me and Charlotte because of this. The problem wasn't that we were both dating, we were just as eager for each other to be happy with each other however it was our moral opinions that caused us to strain and eventually fall out. Charlotte met Paul face to face after only meeting him online three days earlier, something I didn't like for her own safety. Two weeks after ever speaking to him online she wanted to confess in person they were in a relationship. I didn't like the speed of it but said if it made her happy then fine, but it was too early to involve the kids and that he wasn't to come to the house while they were there, this she completely agreed with. The next week, three weeks into there first chat, I found out he'd been staying over night while the children had been there. This completely broke down our friendship. In contrast to there relationship, Mine with Sarah was only introduced to Michael and Ruby after a certain amount of months together and they only knew her as 'Daddy's friend Sarah'. Many many months later my relationship with Sarah ended and some time after that me and Charlotte became friends again after a long chat one night where I supported her through some problems she was having.

At this point I should point out that I had continuously been having Michael and Ruby overnight once a week, midweek and During the day on a weekend. I had also been Working at Aldi for around six months by this point and living in a shared house. The house itself was a major source of mental strain for me as it is best described as filth and somewhere I wouldn't want my worst enemy to live, utterly disgusting but a roof, a bed and all I could afford. When I had the kids they never stepped foot there. They would spend the night with me at my mothers until they were asleep and I would leave them with her. This was the best I could do and was basically agreed with me, Charlotte and my mum.

Charlotte was still with Paul at this point but he lived with his mother, so when he wasn't there she would ask me to come so I could have dinner and enjoy bath and bed times with the kids. I hadn't been able to do it in so long it was fantastic. Unfortunately this was when we slipped up and she cheated on Paul with me twice. This caused a little friction between us and we both began doubting our feelings for each other. However soon after this massive cracks began to form. An ongoing issue I was having with Charlotte was that she would want to have the kids on a Sunday as they would go to Walkden and all stay at Paul's mothers. The problem was that as this was a large family it was easy for her to enjoy herself while the kids played and was just generally easier than being at home and instead of coming home would keep them both off school and stay almost every Monday and Tuesday. The school soon became wise to this and began to warn me. After I explained to them I had no control over the kids while they were with her they agreed and began to chase Charlotte with letters of truancy. Then I was having to deal with problems from either Michael, Ruby or both of them, in regards to Paul. There was seeing Paul and mummy kiss, seeing Paul in his underwear and naked. I'm not petty and I'm not stupid, I know accidents happen and whenever things like this would happen I would speak to Charlotte's mum and stepdad who usually had a word with Charlotte. However the biggest problem came when Michael, six at the time, told me Paul would hurt him. Push him around, pull his hair and be 'nasty to him when mum was at work'. My reaction was to confront Paul as soon as possible but I did my best not to be rash and spoke to Charlotte. Her first reaction was to deny it and not believe Michael. In the end she agreed to sending Paul to his mums for at least a week so she could spend quality time with the kids and speak to them alone about it. This satisfied me just enough. A few days later Charlotte for the first time wouldn't let me see the kids on a day that was meant to be my day with them, a Saturday. She said they didn't want to see my that day and because of the close relationship with I had with them I didn't believe her. She let me speak to Michael who told me they were going swimming but not Ruby. This was basically bribery and while it worked with Michael, Ruby just wanted to see me. Ruby was four, a daddys girl who would not pick swimming when she hasn't seen her dad in days, Michael on the other hand is excited over anything. The worst day followed, I picked them up from school the next Wednesday, where I was met with another complaint from school that they were absent most of the week and the kids themselves were distraught. Both crying telling me they missed me, Ruby telling me she wanted me on the weekend and then both telling me Paul was still hurting Michael and even more so because he told me. Writing this now is harder than I thought because my arms are shaking just reliving it in my head. I should point out that Charlotte and my mother lived on the same street and as I took the kids too my mums I told her boyfriend why the kids were upset and he agreed to watch them while I walked down to Charlottes. I will admit that while for my children I had remained as civil as possible at this point I was furious. Charlotte wasn't home but Paul and his brother were and a confrontation ensued. Later back at my mothers Charlotte phoned and an argument ensued. During the argument she demanded I bring the children back to her and I calmly said no, I would bring them back at seven once we had had a few hours together and she then rang the police. This was the first time we had broken down to the point of using the police. When I told them when I would be bringing them back they agreed that was completely reasonable. When I took them home I was met by two officers who politely asked me to stay outside for a chat. I declined and said we could talk at my mothers when they were ready. I put the kettle on and we sat and had a chat. When I told them what had happened, what the kids had told me about Paul being abusive, that I agreed to let Charlotte deal with it first and the truancy they sided with me completely and said I had showed restraint and would be forwarding a complaint to social services about Paul.

After this they only replies I got from Charlotte the following week were to say she wasn't letting me see the kids until she had spoken to a solicitor to arrange set days of contact. This was a smoke screen as after a couple of days later, while I was making a fool of myself for a charity event at work I spoke to some friends who were my old neighbours, Charlottes neighbours. They asked me what was happening and where Charlotte had gone, when I explained I didn't understand what they meant they explained the night before a van arrived. Charlotte and family packed her belongings, technically my belongings, and left with the kids.

Basically this was an extremely long story explaining that she has disappeared with our Children. I had to include everything I've included as its relevant to the point. As far as I can see, the fact that we had been physically intimate while she was in a relationship and that that information had come out mixed with the truancy and confrontation over her boyfriend possibly harming our children was the reason she fled the area. 

This happened around two years ago give or take a month. I haven't heard from, seen or received a card in two years. I've missed two Christmas', two birthdays each, my birthday, farthers day. My mother, brother sister all missed birthday cards off there nephew, niece, grandchildren. I don't hate Charlotte I just don't understand why she would do this, I've always thought that we were the closest of friends even when things got bad. Other than the reasons I've said, I'm totally against drugs, I drink socially very occasionally, I've never been violent except to protect my family. No criminal record, not even a speeding fine. All I want is access which is my right, I don't want to try and take them from her, I want my evening, my day and sleep over, in babysteps if I have to.

I've had the worst luck in two years. I'm equally ashamed to say I've suffered from depression from my early teens and it hasn't been as severe than it has these past three years. Equally proud that I suffer from it and people I work with don't have a clue about it or this situation because of how detached from it I am and how much of a face I put on for the world. I even hate the word depression as a medical issue, I find it fake and tasteless but I know its all too real. I've lost two jobs in the past two years through no fault of my own, had surgery, had a heart attack, worked so hard that in eight months I've gone from assistant to supervisor to manager. So I work hard, I don't like not working, I broke my elbow over Christmas at work and was told to stay off for two months. Instead I took two weeks off from my own holidays and went back to work even after getting screamed at by a nurse. But loosing my jobs and being in hospital made me eat into any money I saved to go to court. I felt so ashamed to do that, money I had put away for my kids and I used it for food, petrol, insurance. They might all be excuses but every time I work myself stupid or to the point of injury I don't seem to get anywhere. I'm a manager and have been doing it around three to four months and I still get paid £6.70 an hour. Taxed and NI to hell and I don't claim a thing. I live in my own flat now finally and have done for six months and its a world away from the hell hole I was but my god its hard. Its so expensive living alone I don't know how I cope sometimes with the stress of worrying about bills and saving just to be a dad again.

Then there's that, Being a dad. I don't know where to start with this because its such a mess in my head, I genuinely refer to myself as damaged goods. Being a dad to me is the one thing that I am awesome at. I love being a farther, I adore my children and I enjoyed every moment of being with them. But that's where it gets so awful, its past thence. When I started my new job we, the new staff, older staff who where a part of the new store and staff who were just there to help set it up, we would all socialise on our breaks. You get all the groups forming and one of the groups were the parents laughing and telling stories about there kids and I was one of them but I was the only one who knew that I hadn't seen my two in so long. And all I had to go on were old stories, little pieces of my own history. Now all my stories have been used up, I don't have any new stories to tell because I'm not making any. One of the worst feelings for me isn't just that I don't get to see my kids, its that I don't feel like a dad any more. And I don't just mean some form of parent that resembles a sperm donor I mean an actual parent. I have to work or shop or walk past farthers all the time and after so long I just get jealous. I see things Id love to buy Michael or Ruby which is a joke in its self because what would be the point now, I don't know there clothes size, I don't know what there into. Is Ruby still a huge Manchester United fan like daddy and Michael a Manchester City supporter like mummy-unfortunately.

For them I have been strong in my opinion looking back but only as strong as I've had to be for the rest of the world. No one is going to employ a depressive who's constantly blubbering over his lost kids, so I would have no job. And with no job comes no flat, I loose my possessions as little as they are, my security, any chance of saving money to actually see them again. So I'm as strong as I have to be. And I've gotten by on that. My family, In my opinion, useless. I love them but I find it hard to not hate them. With the exception of my mother and brother who are in a similar boat to me financially, well he's a seventeen year old college student so that's a formality. But if my mum could afford to she would have this over and done with. After me she's the one who hurts the most because of this. She loves her grandchildren and she's helped me no end, I wouldn't accept a better mother if one was offered. But my dad, sister, aunts, uncles, if everyone chipped in a little this could have been dealt with years ago and they've all chosen to turn a blind eye. My sister has three gorgeous children, but to most of my family there the only grandchildren or great grandchildren or great nieces and nephews. Michael and Ruby are barley even spoken of. And any of Charlottes family I can speak to don't, wont or cant do anything to help.

The worst for me though was the realisation that its reached two years. Every bit of fight in me has seemingly disappeared. I hate to even acknowledge my feelings but I've slipped into a place that I've never gone too. All disregard for my own health is just absent. I'm terrified by the idea of seeing Michael and Ruby and I think physically seeing them would kill me, the idea makes me shake. The word, the admittance and idea of, suicide makes me sick. Just like I'm opposed to depression, suicide makes me think of weakness and pity. But this last Christmas alone was enough to bring on thoughts and the past month things have just ebbed away at me and I've been battling more thoughts of suicide than I've ever had in my life. Even doubting myself, telling myself that its too late, that my biggest fear of someone else playing daddy to my babies is happening. That I'll never have the two years of there lives back and that every day that goes by is another day that's lost. I recently deleted every picture of them I had off my phone because seeing there faces just tears me into pieces and makes me want to die. I just don't want to live this life any more because its nothing I deserve and I don't see a life without them and a don't see an end to it. And any dark thoughts are snapped away with a swift sternness that your there dad and you don't get to give up that easy, at least I tell myself that. But its just not working anymore. Now my job that I genuinely enjoyed is suffering. My friendships suffer because I'm becoming a recluse. Any passion I've had has spawned from the passion I get from being a farther and that has pretty much all but gone.
Hi James, and a very warm and understanding welcome,

I've just read your post, twice, gone and made coffee, come back and read it again. I know you're not looking for sympathy in posting, but you've got mine. you've posted what you have and that shows you haven't totally given up on things. This in itself shows courage in the face of a very difficult situation. Nothing I say will solve anything, but I just wanted you to know we're here to listen and do what we can.

I can see this has happened over quite some period of time, and wondered if Social Services have been involved?
Sorry for a late response I work stupid hours and my body clock is out again. Thank you for the kind words.
Sympathy isn't something I like but I can accept it over the kids at least but my personal issues never, attention over that depression is something I avoid it was more about being open with myself in writing that. It sort of helped to write things down again if I'm honest with myself.
What you mentioned, giving up, is right. It's less about lonely whaling away at the world that it's over and more like gaps opening up when I do feel that low. They might disperse or I, get a grip, and I can get back to normal but there becoming more frequent and I've described it as having all the fight in me slowly run out.
Then with clarity I just get back into fight mode and like I did staying up all night to write all that, that's as you said in itself not giving up.
Short version, I agree.

Social services and police have been involved a number of times. I have letters from house of commons. My mum decided we'd try using our local mp seeing as they do bugger all else and he did but got nowhere. As she left the borough. But we lived next to Salford City council and the limit of my knowledge with her is that she's moved to a place called little Hulton which ironically is down the road from where I live. But that's as much as I know and any contact I've made with the council was ignored, except paying my council tax, there my best mate when I'm paying that lol

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