In six months, dad, you’re probably going to lose your kids for good. I think you do suspect this, but won’t admit it to yourself. And you don’t want me to tell you why. They’ve been gone a year already, yet you don’t really want to know why.
I can tell this because you make it extremely unpleasant to interact with you. That is what scammers do. When you’re in a situation where you have some power, this may be very effective. It’s called bullying. People want to avoid the conflict, so maybe they get nervous and don’t scrutinize you appropriately, and your bad check or stolen credit card is accepted. Or maybe they give you the refund you want, even without the required receipt, so you’ll go away. But you are not in a one-on-one conflict. Your adversaries are not your equals, and they have very little duty toward you. You are fighting a court and a powerful government agency, backed closely by the police. Your arguments are worth nothing against that. And I’m your only friend in the fight. You shouldn’t want to make me avoid you.
Yet you make it miserable to talk with you, so I do the minimum. I’m just your lawyer; all I have to do is give you adequate legal advice and make sure you don’t get screwed legally. You decide what to do with that. Confronting you with stuff about yourself that you don’t want to hear, well, that goes beyond adequate. I didn’t have the energy or the time yesterday to deal with you arguing and yelling at me for an hour, which is the minimum it would have taken to have even a small chance of getting this through to you. So I’m in that gray area where I know I did my job, butI still feel bad because I know you’ll still fail. I don’t like my clients to lose, even when they’re assholes.
And that is the number one reason why the social worker will not recommend you getting your kids back and the court will follow that recommendation, regardless of what your lawyer argues at trial, regardless of what complaints about the system you have when you take the stand against your lawyer’s advice and ramble on over sustained objections. ( “Motion to strike after ‘Yes.’” “Sustained. SUSTAINED. That means the witness needs to STOP TALKING.” Bailiff approaches menacingly.)
There are a few reasons, and they build on each other to create something we call the totality of circumstances. In summary:
1) You’re a hothead.
2) You’re a hothead who smokes pot.
3) You’re a hothead who smokes pot and has a criminal background, and misses lots of drug tests and skips lots of scheduled visits with your kids because of things that are always someone else’s fault, and is 30 and has never held a job, and has absolutely no shame about telling a social worker that you need your children back so you can get the welfare turned back on. You make this demand to a social worker in your children’s mother’s publicly subsidized Section 8 apartment, where you shamelessly acknowledge that you live illegally because your criminal background precludes you from living there, but there’s no way anyone’s gonna come between you and her. NO WAY! GOT THAT? And during this conversation, your video game station is turned on. Yes, you have a video game system, a newish one, while you are moaning that you have to sell plasma to get by and have no time to do your weekly drug tests and visit your kids AND go to rehab classes three days a week.
If that’s too complicated, I’ll boil it down further: You are the kind of person that taxpaying citizens consider the scum of the earth. When you’re that kind of person, you don’t get to smoke marijuana and parent, even though the voters of California have (graciously! compassionately!) empowered a doctor to defy federal law and grant you a certificate that protects you from criminal conviction for possession (and he/she can do this for virtually any ailment you claim, even if it’s something ridiculous like having eating problems when you’re obviously obese).
And your children are under the control of a system that can, and does, kick parents like that out of their children’s lives permanently. Even when the kids love them and want to go home, like yours do. Under the law, you don’t have to beat your kids to lose them. You just have to be, well, crappy. Legally, it’s called “the nexus,” meaning a connection between substance use and risk of harm to the children. But what the nexus often means is, “you’re crappy, so you don’t get to.”
General crappiness, coupled with almost any illegal activity or use of a mind-altering substance, is enough. That’s the real trouble with medical marijuana. It’s not the bulletproof vest people think it is, not when you have kids. And that’s the problem with you, dad. You either can’t see, or refuse to see, that you’re one of those people whose ice is too thin to stomp around on. I wish I could figure out how to explain it so you’d understand. Lots of crappy people love their kids, and their kids love them back. But the law won’t protect both your family, and your way of life.