Often in life, people get in bad situations slowly, progressively, something like a boiled frog syndrome. By the time you realize that the situation is very dangerous, you have no energy, no power, and too much emotion to make sound decisions.
After 17 years of marriage, I woke up one day to realize that my life, my children’s lives, are indeed in danger and all those red flags that I kept ignoring are real.
Where do you go? What is the next step? Who can help? The church will pray for you, friends will comfort you, but you need action. How do you start?
A very new acquaintance offered to have a cup of coffee. The discussion was supposed to be strictly business. But the pain in my eyes and in my behavior made my acquaintance ask me why I am in so much pain. I could not resist and told him that my child is “legally kidnapped by the father, I don’t have any access to the child, and really don’t know where to go and what to do.” He offered to postpone our business meeting and told me to drive to Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation.
I was lost and hurt emotionally and physically and this organization was offering guidance.
Because of the COVID-19 I only found the office closed and an announcement on the door with a phone number. Without any hope I just made the call and left a voice message, almost sure no one will ever return my call. How wrong I was. I got the first call. In my world where you have to push hard to achieve anything, I still did not take that phone call seriously and just answered the questions I was asked. Then in a very short time, I received an email. Then another phone call. Nobody was pushy, but they did their job in a very timely manner.
Next thing I know, my application is ready and in spite of COVID-19, I am in front of the Judge over Zoom for a hearing on a temporary protective order. This is when I realized that this organization is really doing something and for me was something very big. I was lost and hurt emotionally and physically and this organization was offering guidance.
Just the thought of confronting in court the person that caused so much harm was bringing a lot of anxiety and pain.
The best gift you can get in a storm is GUIDANCE. Thanks to AVLF’s guidance, I got a bit of confidence now and though I knew the storm is still on, I was confident that someone who is not involved emotionally can help me think clearly.
Different people from their organization reached out, in such a good manner and great timing. After a short time, I was notified that we have another appearance in the court over Zoom. Just the thought of confronting in court the person that caused so much harm was bringing a lot of anxiety and pain. And here again I receive an email from Jamie Perez asking if I want a lawyer, she can try to assign one. I was so happy to hear that. I did not dare to dream of one and already was very grateful for what help was provided. The attorney was assigned on Tuesday, and on Wednesday I had court.
The attorney listened with unbelievable patience and empathy.
I received a phone call from an attorney, Christopher Green, with Fish & Richardson, and we engaged in a conversation about my situation. In situations like mine, the story is always long and with many turns and twists. The attorney listened with unbelievable patience and empathy. He called later to ask for more details. At this moment, I have very low expectations mainly because I was the only one who talked. The court day came and I received an email where my lawyer prepared some instructions for me to follow up. It was of great help. I was still emotional and very scared.
We appeared in front of the Judge. Knowing that my children’s safety is at stake I was an emotional wreck. Only when I saw how my attorney started to represent me in court, the skills and agility in his thinking made me calm down and just let him run the business. I felt in good hands and very well taken care of.
I strongly believe now that this organization has an outstanding value in our society.
The court decision had a very positive outcome and my lawyer requested more than I would’ve thought to ask. Before I entered the court session I had very low expectations but immediately within minutes into it I realized that my lawyer was very skilled, experienced, polished, and simply smart with an amazing heart.
After court, Jamie Perez from AVLF followed up with me asking if there is anything I need and assured me that they are ready to help me. I strongly believe now that this organization has an outstanding value in our society. Every single person that called or emailed me from this organization or affiliated with it showed high professionalism.
A true Lighthouse in the Storm.