My question involves guardianship in the State of: Illinois
I'll try to sum this up as best as I can and as simplified as possible.
Two years ago my father passed away. The events of his death were questionable, but nothing ever came of it. Everyone knows, but no one has solid evidence. You'll figure out where this is going if you keep reading.
My step mother whom mothered the two children in question has been a major drug addict since before my father's death. She has been locked up for bouts of Bi-polar spazz attacks. Again, this was before he died. Now, she is dating a man that beats her constantly in front of the children. Eyewitnesses saw her with this same man weeks before my father's death. She is always covered in bruises. She has lost so much weight... she looks like she would crumble. Meth. Coke. Pot. As if that weren't enough - they are dealing the drugs out of her house.
The kids try to protect her... they just lost their father and they don't want to lose her - but she is already gone. It's hard getting them to open up to me, but they have said things that leave me to believe they are being hurt as well. I have never seen any bruises on them... but I don't get to see them often, because she won't answer the phone or return my calls and when I just show up... the kids are nowhere to be found even on school nights. I know for a fact that she is getting beaten in front of them. So whether or not they are getting beaten is null... they still shouldn't witness it. And just because he hasn't - doesn't mean he won't.
This is just the tip of the ice burg... I could tell you things about this woman that would make your skin crawl. She is vile and evil. When I was 15 and I finally got fed up with her and moved out... she looked at my crying sister and said "your next." And she lived up to it... she pushed all three of us older siblings out. (Yes, there are five of us - three of us are my dad's children from his marrage with my mother... one is hers from a previous one nighter... and the other is his and her biological child.) Why did my father put up with it? Who knows - he was poor in health and he was lonely and he knew we'd all move out someday anyways I guess.
I told you... it's crazy.
I also forgot to mention that my dad told each of us kids that he had an insurance plan out that he just got that would cover his funeral costs and maybe a couple thousand left. It wasn't much, which is why he wanted to be cremated. He wanted me to be the beneficiary because he knew she couldn't handle it. He told me this in her face. She knew full well. But his mistake... all of his information was on his computer and it was wiped clean by the time I made it to his house. So shame on him I guess. Two years later and no insurance money has been paid or heard of... she says there was no insurance. Two years later and his ashes are still at the funeral home. I refused to pay it because I knew she got the insurance check and blew it. Now, because of the long period... they have put the bill on my credit. I will be paying it next month and I will pick the ashes up myself. She will not get them.
Ok, back on subject... she has began to ignore me more and more recently. My 22yr old sister got a little peeved and kept calling until she answered and the crazy woman had the nerve to say we couldn't see the kids anymore. I then tried contacting her and I got the same response. Then, I told her that she'd be seeing me in court.
I am waiting for an apt with my lawyer.
What should I do in the meantime? Do I have a chance? One of this kids shares no blood with me... and he is black. We are a white family. His biological father is an ex-con that didn't even see him until he was over 10yrs old because he was in prison the entire time. He may try to fight me, I guess he could win if he has his stuff in order... but I don't see the courts splitting them up and I know that although he'd fight to stay with his mother... if he had to choose between his dad and I - he would choose me without hesitation. The other sibling... the youngest, she is my sister... we share the same dad. I'm sure I can win with her in the custody battle.
The mother of my step mother is iffy... she knows that what her daughter has done and is currently doing is wrong and she is a Christian person... I'd like to think she'd do the right thing, but blood is blood. She truely seems like she wants to help though.
My step mother cannot keep a job. She lives in the ghetto and lives off the state. She is constantly being arrested for fighting in the bars and other related offenses. Her boyfriend is a 40yr old drug dealer and his grown daughter and her daughter also live there in the tiny apt. The kids aren't doing too well in school and they don't have many rules or structure like it was when my father was alive.
She doesn't deserve those kids... and even more so, the kids deserve BETTER. I am 25, I have two toddlers (3 and 2). I just bought a large house in the country on 4 acres. I work in radio - I've had my job for close to 5 years. My fiance' is an LPN and she has worked steady since she graduated 6+ years ago. Together, we bring in almost 80k a year. The kids would have their own bedrooms at my house. They would get to go and enjoy kid activites... ie, the movies, the zoo, etc etc. They don't do any of that stuff there. She pawns the kids off on her mother and grandmother. No one in her family has anything nice to say about her... but again blood is blood and they can be very two-faced. So I just don't know who I can trust to help me and vouch that she is unfit. It may all be my word against hers.
I do know that DCFS was called by my sister yesterday and they seemed very worried about the kids and the situation. I haven't heard anything yet. As far as anyone else knows - we don't know who called them. They are supposed to be interviewing the kids... but they don't have to call us back or give us any information. So I have no idea what has happened with that. I just have to trust that they are trained for that job and that they can see the kids are trying to protect their mom for whatever reason.
The mom needs to be locked up. She can't even take care of herself.
So I ask again... anything I should have ready for the lawyer? Anything I should know or prepare for? Do I have a chance?
It's time to see if our court system really works...