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Easter, like other holidays, is the time you should spend with those you love. The only reason we had my stepson for Easter was because we had text messages from him saying he would. I don’t think he appreciated that we shared the text with his Guardian Ad Litem that he did agree to the week prior to seeing us at Easter, but she gave us the green light to get together and have him come to church with us.

My husband picked his son up a little after 9:30 and he came out right away and went to the car without incident. He was very talkative for the most part, but he did ask how long church was going to take. My husband told him that it would probably be the usual amount of time. The first thought was asking if he had something else planned afterwards, but there was no need to cause an issue. At church, he asked to sit up in the balcony where I knew he'd sit with the other teenage boys that he'd become closer with, and my husband said that would be fine.

Though he might have sat upstairs with the other teenagers, what I experienced from below while singing was interesting. He wasn’t really sitting but pacing back and forth on the top row of the balcony. I’ll be honest, how he stared at me felt very cold and very dark, that there were moments I couldn’t sing on stage. Some might say try to look away, but where the tv screen was with the words, he was right behind it.

Church ran a little later because of a baptism and the children's message and ended around 11:45am. He spoke with the teen boys during and after the service but a couple minutes after the service ended, he came down to myself and his dad and when I said, "Happy Easter Ben." He just ignored me and asked if we could go now. At that moment, I couldn’t believe it. It was like he really hated me, and we never got along like he claimed to Family Relations. My husband responded by saying that we just needed to see a few more people and then we could head out. We noticed that during this time, he avoided a group of kids which he used to be close with and were the kids that he was with when the supposed child abuse took place. We believe that this is no coincidence that he no longer wants to associate with them since they didn’t follow the narrative either that abuse did happen while everyone was there.

Upon leaving the church, my husband told him that Grandma and Grandpa had arrived at our house already and were waiting to start preparations for the Easter meal, but since they don't have a key, we would need to stop and let them into the house. He responded by saying that's going way out of the way for us getting back to my mom's. My husband responded by saying that our house is only 2 minutes down the road and it's directly on the way to his mom's. But also, I’m sure he would be happy to see Grandma and Grandpa even if it's for just a minute. He did not respond to any of that. When we got there, my husband’s parents said that it was nice to actually get to see him and my dad then asked his grandson to help grandma bring in a bag of food. He obliged but even though he hadn't been inside for more than 30 seconds, he asked, "Can we go now?" Ben did see one of the cats, but he had no reaction other than to say, can we go now? It didn’t matter that this cat was rubbing up against him. My stepson just kept his eyes locked on the wall by the front door. So, my husband answered yes and then as we started to head to the car, my father-in-law said, "Why don't I join you guys for the ride?" My husband said sure, but my stepson responded "why?" My father-in-law said, "because I want to see you and it gives me a chance to talk to you." So, he came along for the ride, and he asked general questions, and we learned a little bit more about subjects like the DC trip, how his friend lost his roof to the tornado that went through Little Rock Arkansas the other week and about the vacation to Georgia. It was our understanding that based on what my husband’s ex told him months back, that her and their son would be going to Georgia to visit her father's family the week 4/10-4/14. So, one of us asked about his upcoming trip this week and my stepson said that they're not going. I was surprised to say the least and I asked what happened and he just responded, "I don't know. My mom changed her mind." Truthfully, we feel like she changed her mind, just like my stepson did in December because if they went, what would they say if her family started to ask questions? Do they even know what has been happening? We believe they don’t know a single thing that has gone on.

Because of our previous understandings, my husband didn’t even consider asking to set up any additional visits for that week because we were all under the assumption that his son and ex would be in Georgia. Now granted, we do understand that people forget to mention things at times, but things like this have happened many times before so in this case, we believe that it wasn't an accident, especially when my stepson didn’t want to see this part of the family in December either.

Overall, the recurring theme of the visit was how long is this going to take and when I can I get back to my mom's? We believe that this was because someone set a time limit on the visit from the very beginning. And even though the visit went well, there's no reason that he should be concerned about returning home to his mom's house by a certain time. Especially when the need to return to his mom's superseded seeing his grandparents who he used to be very close to.

This was the same type of behavior my parent-in-laws observed when my stepson got his haircut and was enjoying seeing them until his mom showed up in which he became very anxious and just said, "I have to go” and ran out there door so fast as if he was going to get in trouble for talking to them. And sure enough, the next time he was supposed to get a haircut, instead of going to the lady who has always done his hair since he’s had hair, my stepson claimed he no longer wanted to see her, and his mom found someone new. Now, did he really want someone new to cut his hair, or did he get in trouble for visiting his grandparents who live right across the street because his hair cut got done sooner? We will never know unless they finally tell the truth.

Easter was the last day we would see my stepson in person.

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