“I’m stuck here with no money, no phone and no way to get to Florida! I can’t make it to the court!”
I went to my room and began dialing all the numbers I could remember. Nobody was picking up and I was not very comfortable leaving messages. I called and talked to my youngest daughter who lived with her dad, and called a few friends but did not tell anybody I was being held in the hotel. I was not sure if I would make this matter worse by doing so. I tried to call my dependency case lawyer, but he was not in his office.
I had no idea when my next court date would be. PI said it was going to be the end of June; I guess he knew more than I did.
While I was in the Sea Org, I sent my kids eight letters and called my caseworker many times, all unsuccessfully. I guess she’d already made up her mind about not reunifying my kids with me.
I also sent my kids many presents that I ordered from amazon.com and e-bay, but she never confirmed that she received them. Just before I went to California, I stopped by the office and dropped off bicycles for my kids, and lots of other things that they never received. Last time I spoke to her, she finally admitted she had a tablet that I sent my son for his birthday, but said that she would keep it in her office because she’d lost my charger and so could not check it out to see if there was anything inappropriate on it.
Even after a long discussion about it, she still never gave my kids their presents. Last I spoke to her, she denied ever getting any letters I’d sent for the kids. She would not let me talk to my kids, and that was against our verbal agreement that I would be able to stay in touch with them by phone.
HCO knew I had kids, but they thought they all lived with their father, which is what I wrote in my life history when I joined the Sea Org.
I was actually surprised when the fitness board almost did not let me join when they found out I had kids. “What about your duty as a mom? Your kids are so young. You should not leave them.” That statement had shocked me. I had gotten used to hard sales and hard recruiting methods. I promised the fitness board that I would call my kids often, and stay in touch with them as much as I could.
[‘fitness board’ – panel of Sea Org members empowered to decide on the suitability of a person for continued performance as a Sea Org member]
They would allow me to make phone calls while I was on the EPF to check on my kids, but in over two months my caseworker spoke to me less than five times – even though I was calling her several times a day – often skipping my meals to do so.
I left her many messages, but not of them were returned. It seemed to me that she would not pick up her phone on purpose, seeing my number on her caller ID.
She was the last person who I wanted to talk to, but she was the only one who knew my court date.
This time, to my own surprise, she picked up right away.
“Sorry for not calling you for so long,” I said. “I got robbed and my phone was stolen. Please, don’t call that phone number or send any messages there!”
“But how am I supposed to get in touch with you?” she sounded very aggravated. “I was trying to call you to tell you that your court date was rescheduled. It’s June the 7th. You really need to be there!”
“I can’t be there!” I cried, “It’s already the 4th, and I’m in California, and since you guys are terminating my rights anyway, can’t I just appear by phone? I’m stuck here with no money, no phone and no way to get to Florida! I can’t make it to the court!”
I wondered if I should tell her the truth about the infiltration, but decided it would hurt my case even more. She already thought I was crazy for going to California while Edwin was still in jail.
“We are not terminating your rights on that date yet – it’s not a trial. You will have your trial date later, but if you don’t show up that day, we will terminate them right there – just for not showing up!” she said furiously, and hung up on me.
My jaw dropped.
That was the same caseworker who had told me earlier that my parental rights would be terminated anyway, no matter what I do, and the only reason I should complete my case plan is because it’s the law. I asked her if she honestly thinks I had any chance to get my kids back and she said no, “I would rather place them with their father, and I would if he was not in jail, but it’s not up to me – it’s up to the judge. You still should complete your case plan, though, just to make you feel better – that you at least, tried. All you can do is try.”
That’s exactly what she told me before I went to California, when I came to her, hoping she would say something to talk me out of leaving Florida.
And now she is telling me that I still have a chance? Isn’t that what she just said? Was I making this up? Did our conversation mean she’d already made up her mind, but that she just wanted to make sure I had a fair trial because that’s the law, or did she just say they might not terminate my rights if I came back to Florida? I was asking myself that question over and over, and could not figure out the answer.
I called my (still-legally) husband, Joe. “Can you go to Florida and foster my kids?” I asked. “Please! I’m here being held in a hotel and won’t be able to make it to court!”
“I practically raised your kids,” he said. “I was even going to adopt them, till I realized you are the one who should be trying to get them out. You have your priorities messed up. You can’t just run around the world like some double-O-seven and expect others to raise your kids – I already told you that. You should have never gone to California!”
He hung up on me. I was surprised that he took this opportunity to lecture me about my values at a time like this.
I called him again.
“Sorry, I can’t help you,” he said. “You should have thought about it before you went to play spy. If you’re being held against your will, call the police, I’m not the police. Don’t call me unless you want to talk to your daughter.”
He was right. What was I thinking?
I recalled the face of my oldest son when I told him I was going away, and felt like sh##. “You are ruining my life!” were the last words he told me before I left.
I’d met my first husband, Edwin, while doing my re-entry Sea Org program and paying my freeloader debts. He was a single father with three little kids who’d begun calling me “Mom” as soon as they met me. My plan had been to recruit them all to the Sea Org – into the Cadet Org.
[‘Cadet Org’ – the organization for children who are allowed into the Sea Org as part of the recruitment of a family]
His younger daughter was five, and so I would have to wait a little. While I was waiting, I got pregnant with my own first son, then a second. I paid off all my freeloaders debts and did everything I could to stay on Scientology lines and actively disseminated it to Edwin and his kids. When my first son was three months old, we got married and then had my second son.
[SG note – Edwin is an abusive serial womanizer with sociopathic tendencies. He is currently under sentencing for committing a violent crime in the state of Florida. His relationship with Lia was characterized by manipulation of her expired-visa immigrant status and continuous anonymous calls to police, to keep Lia in enough trouble to compel her continued dependency on him and utilize her services as a housewife to care for his children]
In 2003 Edwin got a divorce behind my back by hiding all my mail so that I wouldn’t find out that he’d filed for divorce and I needed to go to court. A few weeks later I found out that he’d gotten remarried while we were still living together. One day he just took kids to church and when he came back, the kids told me he’d gotten married. My stepdaughter told me she fainted at the wedding. I moved out and went to live with friends who helped me to get a job. He got custody of my sons by lying his butt off, and I was ordered to pay child support. But in just two weeks he brought them back to me, begging me to take care of them because his new wife had left him and had flown back to Argentina, and he had to work and did not have anybody else to watch the kids.
We did not reconcile right away, but after the day my neighbors saved my son from drowning in the apartment complex pool, where he was found alone because his father was not watching him.
I could not take the kids and leave. I was at that time an illegal immigrant with no way to support my family, so I had no choice but to return and take care of my kids.
We ended up having a daughter after that.
In 2006 I met Joseph through an on-line poetry club. We were fiends for a while, until he moved to Florida.
I got an injunction against Edwin based on numerous domestic violence incidents, and the police removed all his kids and placed mine with me and Joe, and the older kids went to live with their mother. Then Joe and I had another child. We got married when our daughter was four months old.
Everything was fine for a while, until I discovered many websites and blogs where former Scientologists were sharing their stories. I got hooked.
I met many people I had known in the church, and turned it into a full-time job locating Scientologists I used to know, and convincing them to leave the church. I was getting messages from all over the world, and tried to be there for everybody. I did not have Internet at home, so I had to go to the library everyday. Joe quit his job to watch my kids, and could not understand why it was so important for me to go to the library all of the time. He thought I was on something or having an affair. In addition to that, Edwin would not leave us alone and would call police on us with the most wild accusations he could think of.
Finally, Joe and I got separated. He took his daughter and went to Michigan.
I lived in a homeless shelter with three kids for a while, then got a job, got an apartment, and for over a year I kept a roof over my kids’ heads all by myself, with no child support or anybody else helping. I was very proud of myself, the kids did well in school, and everything was well.
But then I got Internet service and got hooked on the blogs and forums again, helping people to leave Scientology, and sending them links to read. I was personally responsible for several people who left or did not join the Sea Org, just because I talked them out of it.
Meanwhile however, my kids were becoming more or less neglected. My first wake-up call was when my daughter’s teacher told me that my daughter asked her to adopt her, and then my son told his friends that his mom cared more about Scientologists than her own kids.
I decided to start spending more time with them, and trips to the nearby Sea World and Disney World, became the main opportunities for time we needed to bond. But even then I would not stop my social networking. Sometimes I would take kids to Disney, and let them go on rides while I talked on the phone or sent text messages. I did that everywhere. I also lost two jobs over that, but I thought those people needed me.
[SG – now if you will, picture a “stalker” who is under an injunction against being in physical contact with Lia, but is still driven by a ruthless obsession for regaining control over her by hiding in bushes, making videos of their children for “evidence,” and coordinating anonymous calls to police and family services (obligated to investigate every single anonymous tip alleging “child abuse”) and immigration authorities – all being done at the cost of Florida taxpayers – all told, over a period of several years – easily costing the public over a million dollars!]
Edwin found out where I lived, and began calling police on me everyday, reporting the kids being home alone. He was told many times by police that there was no the law in Florida about how old kids should be to stay alone, but he would not stop calling. I had an injunction against him, but he would violate it over and over, showing up at my door any time he wanted, and seeing the kids while I was at work. He got my oldest son a job at the Dollar Store, due to his connections with the manager, and each time my son would come to work, he knew nobody would be at home watching the younger kids.
When my kids got removed, my previous caseworker planned to return them back to me, and I cooperated toward the reunification.
Then I went to the court-appointed therapist who found out I was a Scientologist, and we spent many counseling sessions arguing about my beliefs. I was trying to prove to her that the cult of Scientology was bad, but that the religion was not as evil as she thought, and finally she discharged me from counseling and made a very unfavorable recommendation, based on the fact that I told her I was planning to go to California.
My new caseworker planned to place kids with Edwin, not taking into consideration his numerous kidnappings and refusing to pay child support for many years. Based on my counselor’s report, it was clear that she had decided my kids would be better off with him.
I then felt I had no choice but to cancel the injunction protecting me from him, so I could see my kids after their father got custody. I went to his house, and decorated the kids’ rooms. We worked out a deal, since he owed me a lot of child support, that I wouldn’t have to pay any to him, and even if my rights were to get terminated, I would still get to come over and see the kids any time I wanted.
I thought I was making an unselfish decision giving up all my rights like I was, just to get them away from the control of the State. Like, instead of cutting the kids in half, the parent who loved them the most should give them to the opposite party. All that State involvement in my kids’ life was not doing them any good. Police had to investigate all reports, false or not, and to put kids through the continued and repeated embarrassment of those investigations. My kids had to live with being bullied at school after numerous visits from the department, when strangers would come to school, calling the kids to the nurse’s office, and removing their clothes to show they don’t have any marks. Police would show up at my home, separate the kids into different rooms, and question them about allegations of abuse. The kids were devastated. They wished their father would stop.
At least, this way, he would stop all this. He would not call the police on himself or kidnap the kids from himself and it would make their life easier, I reasoned.
Edwin knew I was planning on going to California to “infiltrate the cult.” In fact, he was all for it. He even helped me prepare, and drove me to Tampa several times so I could take some courses at the Tampa Ideal Org.
[‘Ideal Org’ – a new invention of Scientology management that calls for a size and structure of church to supposedly service the coming waves of waves of anticipated public ]
Then just a few weeks before reunification, Edwin went to see his girlfriend even though she’d already told him hundreds of times she did not want to see him, and asked him thousands of times to leave her alone.
That night he called me from the hospital telling me he was getting arrested and charged with an attempted murder.
Later I found out from his friends that he stabbed the ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend with a knife, several times.
That was the last straw. I packed my suitcase and left.
And now, when I’m in California,that same caseworker who practically drove me to leaving, was telling me a different story.
Out of desperation I called my friend Jean Marie, my former neighbor who’d always wanted to be my kids’ godmother.
“Listen,” I said as soon as she picked up. “I can’t get out of California right now – I’m in some sort of trouble and I need more time. Call my caseworker and tell her you want to foster my kids, or at least my daughter. You don’t really have to foster them, but it will buy me more time if they temporarily place them with you.”
She said, she would. She sounded sleepy though, as if she’d just gotten out from the night shift in the hospital. I had doubts that she even understood what she just committed to.
I needed a different plan.