Archive | April 2013

When Boys Are Silenced

When Boys are Silenced.

Since my younger Sons have moved, its a never ending battle having my “samvær”, visiting time when it should be. The last time I saw them was April 1th, now its April 25th. 2013, and I may not see them until, I don’t know when…They are growing, leaps and bounds, each day, changing !!. Thank god for mobiles and the internet we are interfacing and nothing can stop that. I miss them and they miss me, being there for them: Dad! father, Papi.

Funny how fathers are neatly put in boxes, and placed in the back of a childs mind life; like some old worn out shoe, jacket or sweater, you put in the back of the closet especially when the mothers are awarded kids in custody cases. Like children where a prize, and a materialistic valued possessions. Then they moved the children further away from fathers, for their own agenda and self interest, not taking into consideration the child’s needs, and relationship to their biological fathers…There are many stories out there, and even worse cases than the one I experience.

Its even more amazing when educated woman that study disciples in psychology and become psychologist, are well aware and know all of this from their study in psychology. Work, in the court system and even work closely with child services. Why, you might ask? Well I’ll come back to that later, in another post, if you want a little introduction to the subject see 3.1 & 3.2  Welfare State incentives.

Almost four weeks have passed, and the excuses and the difficulty of having the basic time for father and son time, always seems to be sabotaged. I feel Our time is sacred, as we get to cram in all the lost time to share the learning, fun, and just cozy time together, over a short weekend late Friday to afternoon Sunday. Its not enough this visitation time, they and I feel so rushed and time just flies. I have to go and pick them most of the time. That is an 8 hour round trip, costly and the same time it takes me to travel to The U.S.A., which I have to do twice within weekend. Not that I mind doing so, but I wish we at least could have shared the cost equally, as it should be according to the law, though !!!

My effectiveness and quality of time to be a Dad, has been diminished, financially the money I  use to travel and pick them up can be used to give them a better quality weekend, with a movie at the theater or out to dinner or a surprise. They are by age able to travel alone, age 12 and almost 14 years, and traveling together. The mother will not allow them to travel on the bus or boat alone, and is insisting that this will go on until she decides. There are laws, recommendations and rules in place that will keep them supervised while traveling on Public transportation, as they are minors. The Mother leaves them on the bus when it departs, and me picking them up when they arrive. I try and see the reason behind this but I question it.

Could this be more revenge or just blatant meanness, and the ability to control the boys and use manipulation tactics, to undermine the most important things for them there, growth and development, taking the challenges as young growing boys their age should be doing, as most boys their age? Or could  this it be a conscious effort to misrepresent, my role of importance in their lives?

This move from one town to another has shifted the element of distance, has destabilized the love, contact and situation for the boys. The reality is that they are connected to me, we are together in spite of the unfair visitation and the situation that the boys rights and wishes are being silenced. They have been with me since birth. The mothers decision to move them further away from their father has given them a more stressful life situation.

My two Sons call me every night just before bed or even late after they should have been sleeping. (even after 22.30-23.00) Sometimes simultaneously, we have had this relationship since they moved, for almost two years now. They tell me about their feelings, their day, concerns and what’s to come, and when will they next time come and be with me, and how?

I always try and comfort them with reassurance that they don’t need to worry, and tell them that they should be sleeping, as they have school the next day. My Son of almost 14 tells me, he just wants to hear my voice until he falls asleep. The 12 year old does the same, he reason and say he knows that he should be sleeping and, he says: “Just talk, I want to be with you until I sleep”. I use to tell them bedtime stories and read to them when we lived together.

Its so difficult for them, they are suffering, with the uncertainty of distance and uncompromising situation when their voice are being placated by the power of the main parent in this situation.

My older boy of 14, when he asked his mother to be with his father on days when missed, or days that should be compensated, he gets a “No” from the Mother, no real explanation given. He is doing gymnastics (competing) and sometimes these days come in conflict with the time the visitation agreement gives them to be with their father. He explains his request to see me on unscheduled visitation days, but ends up in an argument and quarrel with the mother; this is what he tells me.

The power of a system that has no concern for the children’s voice or rights when they claim to do so, this is our reality. When child services, courts and judiciaries becomes an institutionalized system where children’s rights are not heard, how can we find justice for our kids, and their fathers voices, when they are being silenced ?

If translation from Norwegian to English is needed, press here:

Advertisements

My Sons move!

In the first week of April 2013, as The Sun continued to make its way to win over that slow  arduous winter. A cold snowy winter that still lingers on this far north, at the edge of the Arctic, in Norway. It snowed again.

The clouds, symmetrically geometric forms, naturally beautiful is synonymous with a typical Norwegian sky this time of the year. Small black yellow beaked birds, perched on the naked birched trees, appeared together in the absent any sign of a budding spring. Another spring and a new year, these reflection that never leaves me.

For the the last 12 years of my four sons life, until about 5 years ago, I was a stay at home Dad while my x studied at University. Trying to earn a living and at the same time being the main caretaker of the household. Through the upbringing of the kids, following them to kindergarten and school, and picking them up afterwards when they were done for the day. Then off home to make dinner.

Spring; evokes reflections of my Sons voices of laughter and play, are one of happiness, but of distant memories.

I fight everyday to ignore these reflections as the sun sets through my window, the light is beautiful. Light, evokes feelings of that, time as children grow and change, the light in my children life, made that difference everyday..

These are the times that I reflect and feel the absence of the love for my Sons. I have to accept the absence and the distance that separates us, since the separation of the mother and I, in 2008.

Its a never ending challenge to tell about this pain, when my love is so great, deep and misunderstood. I am a romantic in a place where I find romance hard to find. Everything is materialistic, absence of love void of feelings.

The absence of everything that means so much to me has been taken away. My Sons the youngest ones are living with the mother in a town almost 3,5 hours away. When they were living in Bergen we had a closer relationship, being only a short bus trip away from each other, although the mother and I had separated.

The calamity of she said I couldn’t win!

The Nightmare of breaking up, in my case meant going to court, and fighting for the kids rights to be with me as their father and my rights to be there for them, just to get visitation rights. The premise of equality, justice, I thought would be there. How wrong I was. I was about learn that there was no way I would find justice or equality in the court of law, of why she said I couldn’t win.

She knew from the very start the ball was in her court, this is her country.

For the cornucopia of why partners split and break up, each story is complex. My story has many proponents to it, that offer questions that has separated me from my four Sons with, and when what is in the best interest for the kids its not about the mother or me, but what is best for the boys.

Twenty some years ago I was in my prime, had a long history of hard work ethics, and the will to advance my education and personal development. Coming from New York City. I had already succeeded in a very competitive industry and becoming one of the few African International Model Actors.

Continuing education was on my agenda, and re-enrolling at SUNY state University of New York mid 90`s. In addition to working at some of the most prestigious restaurants in the Food and Beverage Industry, while studying and auditioning for theater, commercial, tv and film roles, and managed to achieve an entry into a world of acting.

We have an expression in New York. If You Can’t Make It in New York, You Can’t Make It Anywhere. I believed it, and to some extent was the embodiment of that.

New York being a city of eight million people, competitive, tough, and everyone fighting for space at the table to succeed. It became a part of my mantra and a way of life coming from New York City. I was engaged at working hard to achieve my dream, but later decided to abandon it for the reality that I was now a father and needed take my responsibility as a father, and moved.

That would not be easy as my partner, my new family was in Norway. You may ask why did I move, or vice versa?

A Dream

And for some strange reason, I had this strange feeling that one day, I would find my way out, and travel, where the grass was greener on the other side of the fence.

From the upcoming book “The Journey”.

The grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Ancient cliche, but as old as it is; is it necessarily true? We all have a deeply romantic perception of travel, especially international travel. I thought that a little insight to my background could be of interest, to give you a picture of where i come from.

I was the romantic warrior, ready to fly, to explore, to learn, to find that perfect place, that beautiful romantic reality, that elusive perfect world. Yes! I was the dreamer, that dreamt of that place where everything was just perfect, my Shangri La. That, was only someplace in my mind. Though long before it all, all this dreaming, I was on my way in many ways to do just that. I was becoming, though I did not know yet at the time; that I would stumble into a rarified world and become one of the first few Top International black male Models actor, with the famous Wilhelmina Model Agency.

A profession that would give me entry to international travel and to live and see some of the most beautiful countries in the world. Being able to work with some of the most incredibly talented creative photographers, designers and directors in the fashion and model industry, during a very special era, from the late 70`s until the early 90`s.

I was just the young ambitious, curious, struggling and average Black Man from Brooklyn, New York. I was trying to find my way out of my little world of what I knew then, it was a dream of greener grass outside my window, to far, far away somewhere else.

This is a part of that story, some 3-4 decades later, and four beautiful Sons later. I have been fortunate to live and experience the complex challenges, as well as changes, disappointments, triumphs, failures and having been able to get insights from living and experienced the world. As a father, a seasoned mature man, in a far off distant world, a place, unknown; yet known for the Nobel Peace Prize and equality. In this distant outpost, in far North Scandinavia, Norway, a story filled with contrast, controversy, complexity of living in a homogenous society, with textures of different colors that make up a life. Stories; we all have one and this is the beginning of one I would like to share with those of you who wish to join me on this journey.

An excerpt from what would be in the book :

Brooklyn, N.Y.

The hot summer sun would beat down relentlessly, summer after summer. As a young boy, I witnessed the burning sun change, from my third floor window, in this monstrosity complex for the better term. The Projects ! I watched the hot sun from my window, go up and down.

And for some strange reason, I had this strange feeling that one day, I would find my way out, and travel, where the grass was greener on the other side of the fence.

The trees where everything to me. I knew them all, because you see, they were young like me, budding, growing,  changing. Each summer, spring, winter and fall, I watched them flower, go to sleep and come back to life. To me as a innocent young child, nature was magic. I was young, curious and I just wanted to go out and play… Still I was afraid. The idea, of leaving my 3 floor window always posed its challenges, there was always the bullies, that you would meet on your way to the playground or to the basketball court, who would intimidate you and dare you to fight, and take your basketball or football..

This place was the survival for the fittest and if you didn’t learn to defend yourself early, you became a victim of undeniable trepidation of those bad ass wannabes.

But I had a Dream.

Fatherhood !

I wanted to share a heartwarming story about fatherhood. A life changing story. A process that has given me insights to what i never believed was possible. This blog is for those of you who dare to love, when you feel love is lost.

I will tell you about my experience, which I’m writing about and currently trying to fit into a book that i hope to get published, within a year. With this blog i hope to give you people out there, other fathers, sons, grandparents, mothers, families an insight of a world i knew little about, before the mother of my kids took them away from me.

As leap of faith, I took the chance of love, to be a responsible father to my sons. I left behind my family, friends, career and travelled into the unknown world of different; another language, a change of culture and other customs.

Knowing the importance of father to sons relationship, I gave my unconditional love, support and unwavering determination to be there for them. With the sacrifice I have made for the past 2 decades of my life, living in Northern Europe, I have come to realize that there is a story that needs to be told. This is a father’s tale of living in a foreign land and fighting to be allowed to be there for my 4 beautiful sons.

From New York City, to the northern frontier in Scandinavia, to Norway, where children’s rights to be with their fathers in 2013 still becomes controversy, even though this takes places in an area of the world known for its equal and human rights. Known for its nobel peace prize, low unemployment, from women’s rights to child welfare. I quote; she said I couldn’t win, like it was only a competition for her and to show me the power of women, instead of having our sons best interest in mind.

What have I learned and seen through other fathers in this country? Having a tough battle with a system that rewards the mothers, and instead neglect the children best interest and also that of their fathers. Well, I felt a responsibility to get these issues in the open and express that I and my children are just a few of those thousands suffering from these unfair unjust decisions that change their lives forever. As a parent, and a father losing or surrendering my children unwillingly to a system, where in over 80 % percent of the cases that end up in the court system will award the mother custody of the kids, granting a father only visitation rights, 1/3 of a month or even less, the average being 6,9 days a month,  instead of having a shared custody and equal custodial rights from the beginning.

With all due respect for the rule of law and understanding of the social political connotation of Norway`s egalitarian ideal model. Where equal rights and humanity comes in neatly wrapped written phases within its laws, it is certainly questionable when these stories of father disempowerment becomes so forced with oversighted injustices in the best interest of children’s rights in actual court custody cases. Everyday that passes in any kids life without the presence of their father, especially boys, is a tragedy.