Meeting the Guardian Ad Litem
Since Bubba was leaving town right after our first court date, he got to meet with the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) right away and I met with her the following week.
I was so nervous about the meeting that I spent days cleaning an already clean house. This woman was coming into my home and would be judging whether or not I was fit to parent my own children. She was going to decide where my children should live. After all the time I spent devoting my life to my children and watching Bubba throw them away time and time again, my life was up in the air. This stranger had to power to completely destroy our lives if she messed up.
When the GAL arrived, she was carrying a 3 inch, 3-ring binder. I thought, “Wow, I sure hope that is full of procedures and stuff because what could she possibly be bringing with her?” As we talked, I learned that it was “documentation” from Bubba. It was color-coded!
The only tab that was labeled was entitled, “The Affair.” That caught my eye. Bubba had taken photos from Luke’s Facebook page that I’d commented on to “prove” I was having an affair with Luke. I still have no idea what was in that binder. I can’t even imagine what kind of evidence he had. Obviously he’d been collecting it for quite some time because it was highly organized. This isn’t something he threw together right before meeting GAL. I was shocked that the man I’d trusted and loved all those years was so viciously attacking me.
I gave the GAL my documentation. I had approximately 140 pages of documentation of his abuse spanning over 5 years. I’d been a member of a couple of online message boards and I used to talk a bit about my marital struggles, hoping for insight and help to improve my marriage. As I was collecting these posts, I found one interesting one from over two years before I left Bubba.
In my post I’d asked if it was abusive to get angry at someone and then drive like a maniac to show how angry you are. The women on the message board gently but firmly pointed out that not only was this dangerous but that yes, it was abusive, especially with the pattern that had been repeating in my posts. I remember one particularly vocal poster being very blunt about the fact that I was being abused and that I needed to get help for myself and my children. I remember being so angry with her. I remember logging out of the message board and swearing I was never going back because they just didn’t understand Bubba. It took me another two years to accept the fact that the dear woman was right.
We met with the GAL and she arranged to talk to the children separately from each other and from me. While she was there, the children spoke hesitantly to her but they were only telling her small parts of what they experienced. They just weren’t sure whether they could trust her or not.
When the GAL left that day, I had hope that she would hear the children and help keep them safe. Sadly, Bubba was just too good at manipulating everything in order to make himself look like an amazing person. He is a charmer and a master manipulator. Also, apparently, the GAL had received inadequate training about domestic abuse. Over time it became obvious that the GAL had never met anyone like Bubba before.
The GAL became sucked into his web of lies rather quickly, although she was good at hiding her feelings from me. I had believed she would be impartial, but she’d clearly already decided that everything that Bubba said was truth. The next several months were horribly grueling for me and the children.