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This is a real American Horror story. If it can happen to us, it can happen to anyone.
There was no valid reason to attack us. We have never been convicted of a crime. We are average, hard-working individuals, yet have had our privacy invaded, some of our children have been removed from our home, we have been publicly humiliated, had our lives made an open show, been attacked financially and attacked non-stop; the sole reason being the unusual structure of our family.
I am one of four in a polyfidelitous, FFFM relationship. We have all been together for several years. We have children together. We have intertwined every facet of our lives, just like monogamous couples do. We live our lives just as any other family, with just a mildly unconventional structure.
It's the unconventional structure that made them come after us.
Our relationship is easy to understand. I am legally married to one of the women in our relationship, who considers herself a lesbian. She says that she fell in love with me because of who I am as a person, and not because of my gender. She says that if there were 100 things she wanted in a person, I am 99 of those. The 1 thing I'm not is a woman. Though she says that I am an exception, she's just by and large interested in women, not men, and so much so to the point that she considers herself to basically be a lesbian.
The other two women in our relationship are entirely bisexual, and were dear friends of ours before we ever even considered being in a relationship with one another. We are not polygamists. We are in a 4-way relationship that aside from its basic structure, is no different than any other monogamous relationship (except, maybe, that we are much better at communicating with one another).
Here's a good diagram that explains poly families. We fall into the lavender colored area toward the upper right of the diagram:http://www.obsidianfields.com/lj/nonmonogamy2.5...
We all work. We allow our children to choose what type of education they want (public school, online school or homeschooling). We actively participate in our community. We have a very large circle of friends. We teach our children to be responsible citizens and to always do what is right, even when no one is looking. We even run a charity that helps kids with cancer.
But none of that mattered. First, we were offered an incredible sum of money to leave our significant others. Then, when we turned it down, that money was taken and used to sue us, making false claims of abuse and neglect, and claiming that our family structure alone was impairing to the physical and psychological well-being of our children.
We underwent CPS investigations which ruled out all instances of abuse or neglect. We underwent psychological evaluations that found no evidence of abuse or neglect nor of physical or emotional impairment. And then the storm began.
The far right can be an abominable machine. They began slinging mud like there was no tomorrow. They didn’t care about the well-being of my children; they only cared about destroying me. It made me ashamed that I had ever been a part of them. All that hate under the guise of “love.”
I am far from a perfect man. I’ve made many mistakes. In my 20’s, I was divorced twice. To be fair, I had been raised without my father, under the care of several of my relatives, and my mother was sorely mentally ill. I made poor life choices, and wound up getting a girl from work pregnant. I wound up marrying her, at the advice of a minister, and tried to be the good Christian despite my, “heart that was prone to stray.”
Then, the unthinkable happened. The day after I found out about my wife’s affair, my son was diagnosed with cancer. They told me his Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia would kill him in a matter of days. I held on for dear life as my life was slowly torn in pieces. I wound up a broken man, with nothing, and moved across the country to start over, taking my sons with me. (he survived)
I tried to be peaceful. My two younger daughters stayed with their mother because I felt wrong about taking an infant from her mother, in spite of what she had done to me. I took all the debt. My jeep broke down in the middle of the country on my way south. I left everything I owned.
But my best friend stuck with me. She crossed the country with me. She fought for me and by me and stuck it out while I figured out how to put back together the pieces of me. Somewhere along the way, she fell in love with me, and we married, had kids, and my life started over.
When we got to Texas, we landed there with nothing. There was a church of what seemed to be good people who were at first very loving and compassionate, and seemed to be looking to help us get on our feet. They were far more conservative than anyone I’d ever met, but I figured that maybe I was wrong. Maybe such people were good at heart. Maybe they really did want to love their neighbor.
It was short lived. The help came at a great cost. Long hours worked, with no pay. Free work was expected. Tithes and offerings were required. We were told to abandon friends that didn’t fit the description of what the church thought was good for us. We were told that wealth was the blessing of the Lord and that if you were poor, you must be in sin. We were told that gays, lesbians, bi’s and the transgender were sick, and not capable of serving God or of having a relationship with him. In the end, the excommunication of a man for coming out was the last straw for us, and we left.
That’s when the attacks started. My now wife and I had kept her attraction to women a secret, fearing the actions of our church. I was thrown out of my band (I had been in a Christian hard rock band, the drummer an attendee of my church), and was accused of being a polygamist, hedonist, adulterer and fornicator. No such thing had ever occurred, but then, that didn’t matter to them. Only appearances and the opinions of this particular, religious elite mattered.
That fall we had met our significant others. We were only friends. Our departure from associating with the far right wound up pushing all of us closer, and forcing us to rely on one another more and more. Then, my wife and our friend developed feelings for one another. Then, she and I did as well. It was at that point that we decided to give this weird, polyamory thing a try, after all, we’d been accused of it and ostracized anyway.
And that’s when we found out it worked. It worked better than any relationship we’d ever been in. It was better than any relationship any of us had imagined. It was a few months later that our 4th told us that she loved us too. She already was with us every day, and felt like part of the family, so she came to stay with us. It was soon after that, as well, that we realized that the four of us were a couple of a different kind, and that our lives of communication and mutual love and respect were just what we had all been looking for. We were happy, fulfilled and saving money for our future together. We were considering a move back to Ohio, to be nearer to my other daughters and see them more (but moving to a different city, to be away from my wife’s family).
Then, one night, as we sat down, having a meeting of the four of us to discuss our plans, there was a knock at the door. It was papers from the court. There was a restraining order, keeping us from leaving the city. There was a lawsuit, brought by my in-laws, making crazy, outlandish claims of abuse, neglect, and of being in a cult. I was accused of being some sort of manipulative mastermind with mind-control powers, and of having mentally dominated three, helpless, victim women.
It was an outright lie. There wasn’t an ounce of truth to anything in that suit. It was certainly upsetting, as well, but I was even more upset about their underestimation of my significant others than I was about the lies they told about me. They really didn’t know any of us, at all, it seemed.
So, we took our savings and hired an attorney. CPS came and testified on our behalf. A dozen friends showed up for court to testify on our behalf. The judge, the “Honorable Judge Karen Pozza,” from Bexar County, Texas, in a horrendous case of judicial indiscretion and discrimination, decided that the testimony of my old band-mates, two persons who had not seen our family in 18 months, held more weight than a CPS investigator, a marine and a close family friend who saw us all the time. Despite the complete lack of evidence of abuse or neglect, and despite all the evidence to the contrary of her opinion, Judge Pozza discriminated against our family, stating that our living situation was inherently physically and emotionally impairing to our children, just by virtue of its existence. Without even speaking to my teenaged son, she gave custody of 3 of my children (those I had with my wife), to my in-laws, and this in a state where grandparents have no rights.
And then the onslaught grew. We ran out of money fast. We ended up having to appear pro se, out of necessity, and had to learn everything we could about the law, and quickly. When we started winning rounds in court, my in-laws requested a jury trial for the case. When we went to trial, because of a paperwork error, the vast majority of the witnesses on our behalf were struck from the witness list, including the CPS Investigators, close family friends and even my best friend of 12 years, an honorably discharged soldier who was even living with our family at the time.
What happened next was even more appalling. A so-called, “cult expert,” Dr. Cathleen Mann, after having seen our children twice for two hours, having never met any of the adults in our family, nor interviewed anyone who had been a part of our lives for the previous 3 years, made a scathing report accusing me of being a psychological-mastermind cult-leader who had dominated my family and everyone around me and was a danger to society. It was the biggest crock of horse crap I’d ever heard.
She’s a total quack. She’s never been peer reviewed. She is one of those “experts” that got herself named as an “expert” through a court case, and then rode that pony to fame in order to make money, by exploiting the fears of people. Not an ounce of truth to a thing she said.
Then, there was the parade of “witnesses.” Mind you, these people had not seen nor interacted with our family in 3 to 5 years. The police officer who testified stated that he saw no indication of abuse or neglect, nor of physical or emotional impairment. He then said that the only reason he remembered us was because this was the first time he had ever come across a potential case of, “common law bigamy.” He was incorrect.
The jury noticed the lack of witnesses to the present circumstances of my children, but because of the rules of civil procedure, which are held higher than what is in the best interest of children, that information was kept from them, and they made an uninformed decision, giving custody of those 3 children, and now also of the one born since the start of the suit, to my in-laws. My infant, having never met those people, was given to them.
However, they were given none of the other things they asked for. We drew a stalemate, pro se, against a powerful law firm, and we are now in the appeals process. But, they didn’t stop. They filed a motion, attempting to take away all of our visitation rights. Their motion was denied. They have now paid for my ex to file an illegitimate lawsuit, saying the same things. I received notice today, on a Saturday morning, 6/6/2015, that there is a hearing 1,500 miles away in less than 48 hours. I don’t understand how that’s legal.
They are asking to have my sons taken from me by force and moved to another state, against their objections. (one of them is about to turn 14)
And now we are faced with fighting 2 lawsuits, on opposing sides of the country, when we have never committed a crime, all because people don’t understand that it is possible for humans to love more than one person.
Yes, in this nation you can have your children taken from you, even if you’ve never committed a crime, as long as the opposing party has enough money to throw at the situation.
And that is a real American horror story.
I’ve made a crowdfunding campaign for our legal defense. I plan to fight this all the way to the Supreme Court. Want to make an actual difference in this day and age? Get behind us, spread the word, and rally people to the cause. Every dime will go to our family’s legal defense. If we end up not needing it all, we’ll donate the remainder to the charity we work for.
A relationship is between people who love one another and not whom others think you should be with. Help us fight this one all the way to the top.