We soldier on as best we can.
Jasmijn’s new school indeed offers more individualized attention and she works hard to make progress. Nevertheless the school reports that Jasmijn “creates a lot of drama” and “shows hysterical behavior” at school.
Due to the recession I get laid off. A week later I have a new job teaching at another online university but it’s part-time and the pay is inadequate to afford the house in Austin. I rent it out and we move to Taos, New Mexico to save on living expenses by co-parenting with my single momma friend there. Jasmijn has to go on her 6 week summer visit with Dave. He does not allow any skype contact during that 6 week period.
Jasmijn is only a few weeks back from her visit with Dave when my mom in The Netherlands gets sick. She has some kind of memory issue. Since my brothers are not in a situation to deal with it, Jasmijn and I fly to The Netherlands to take care of her. My mom turns out to have a serious neurological condition that has caused brain damage resulting in the memory loss. Sleeping with an oxygen machine helps her to slowly recover over many months.
While in The Netherlands Jasmijn’s behavior exhibits similar aggression compared to other times she returned from visits with her father. This time, however, she breaks down and tells me that her father has been “touching her in the private parts” and that this has been going on since she was 4 years old, during the visitations. When asking why she didn’t tell me this before she tells me that if she told anyone about it her father had said she would not get anything to eat. “And momma, I was growing so much. I was hungry all the time.”
I feel instantly sick. My soul wants to leave my body but it doesn’t know how. The world comes crashing down on me like a tidal wave. I hold Jasmijn tight; I feel terrible that she has been walking around with this secret for so long!
Jasmijn also tells me that Dave takes her to a suburb in San Francisco where he picks up boxes with unlabeled bottles of white powder. At home he cuts up this white powder at the kitchen table and then puts the powder in capsules with some kind of small machine. On several occasions throughout multiple visits he has also offered this powder to her. My entire family is SHOCKED when I inform them.
I contact the police and get referred to the Dutch Child Protective Services. They have Jasmijn physically examined and put her under psychiatric care to help her deal with the depression. I don’t know what to do with my mother being ill, Jasmijn revealing all of this and having to work as well. I decide to wait and see what the investigation by the State Children’s Mental Health Institute GGNet Jeugd will bring forth. Since it is a State facility we have no choice in electing a specific treatment provider. Jasmijn gets assigned to Child Psychiatrist Dr. Zecher in Apeldoorn and a team of 3 Child Psychologists (H. Greutink, G. Anthony, P. Lugtenborg) and a Neurologist (K. Franken).
Eight months of extensive psychiatric testing, investigation and treatment of Jasmijn by this team lead to shocking conclusions of abuse and neglect. Besides mentioning the molestation in exchange for food, the offers of white powder and getting locked up, Jasmijn also reveals to Dr. Zecher that her father slept day and night, had bloody bandages around his arms and left her wandering around town to buy food for herself (at 6 years old). She has developed memory issues due to possible “use of substances in the past” as well. Jasmijn receives treatment to tackle Dissociative Identity Disorder type symptoms she has developed as a result of the “strongly disturbed” relationship with her father (putting on a happy act).
The team of 5 experts from the State Children’s Mental Health Institute GGNet Jeugd releases 6 extensive reports with findings of verbal, non-verbal and neurological tests. Here are two short excerpts:
Nevertheless I make sure Dave and Jasmijn remain in touch via Skype at least once a week. Once the psychiatric test results and recommendations are in I inform him of what has been revealed throughout our stay in The Netherlands. It is impossible for me to return to the US since I do not have the financial means to fight the visitation arrangement.
Free Jasmijn – #freejasmijn