What's the point of it all?
We are now under a temporary court order where BM gets 48 hours visitation every three weeks (still no idea when the date is for the arbitration). This was the one where the judge "threatened" BM that if she no-showed she'd get less visitation, so now there's not much chance of that happening until after the next court date, when I have no doubt it will start all over again.
SS8 returned Sunday night, as usual, exhausted, hungry and filthy. Also as usual, he was apparently ignored almost all weekend except when he was being told that he was stupid and rude, and that DH and I are vile and malicious. His activities when visiting consist of being allowed to either watch TV or a DVD with whomever is currently staying over there and/or BM, or going outside, by himself, into the shadeless area around her trailer. He has no toys, games, books, clothes, room or even bed of his own up there because there is "no room" for any of those things. So the only things he has to play with are what he brings from here, and he won't bring his favorites because he is always worried he'll forget them and they'll get "lost" or broken (it's happened repeatedly before.)
He was allowed to stay up until after midnight (until 2:00 AM Saturday!); he has said that she yells at him when he gets up in the morning around 8:30 or 9:00 because she wakes him up, so presumably this is in the hopes that he will sleep in until noon or something.
He's been going to see a counselor who has been helping him work on speaking up for himself. That apparently has been a mixed-blessing - he is indeed speaking up for himself by all accounts, but then BM starts yelling at him when he does. This was confirmed by the fact that during one of his five calls home during the 48 hours he was there, he called in tears because BM was screaming at him. In the background I could hear a relative's boyfriend saying "She's your mom, she's allowed to yell at you." DH has said that while they were married she screamed at SS17 as well - except DH was there then to stop it. And SS8 is a very good, very bright, well-behaved little boy - not some kind of brat who doesn't listen unless voices are raised.
SS just seemed so angry and disgusted. He said his mother was a "liar, liar, pants on fire", pointed out several discrepancies in her various stories, and said again how he wished he didn't have to go. He asked again about his going to court. He knows that the arbitration is coming up because DH had to explain to him why visitation was suddenly switched with almost no notice. He asked us then if he could talk to the judge. When we asked why he said that he wanted BM to not be able to yell at him or to say bad things about the two of us in front of him, which really upsets him. We gently told him that these were both things that could probably get put into the agreement (it's kind of hard to refuse to agree not to yell at your own child) but that if she violated it it would have to be him, my eight year old stepson, who would have to go to court to testify against his own mother, and, according to the attorney, probably in open court. His only concern was that when, not if, she violated it and he went to "talk to the judge", what would happen if his mother started screaming at him in court? We explained that the judge would not tolerate that, and now SS is adamant that this is what he wants.
I don't know why she wants him there at all, ever. He's made comments before about how it seems like she doesn't even like him. Supposedly in my state everything is about the "best interests of the child" yet this has been going on for almost his entire life, and I don't see any end in sight unless and until the poor kid goes to court to "talk to the judge", and possibly not even then. At least when she had her random every other month visitations she was sometimes half-decent; now that she cannot miss without the fear of all visitation being cut off it seems to be even worse than it was.
I'm sorry for the long rant. I am just so frustrated, angry and tired of having to send this very sweet little boy off to be tormented and not being able to do anything to prevent it. I wish that there was some way for there to be a visitation schedule where he got to decide; that way if BM was behaving civilly he could go to see her if he wanted, but would be protected from having to go through this the rest of the time.