After digesting the report I knew, it was time to change solicitors, the case has been going on for a long time. It was a complete waste of tax payers money. The solicitors were being paid for nothing, the longest the case went on, the more they earned. It had to stop.
I decided to go back to college and speak to Norman Stephens, my English teacher. I needed advice, he had said I could speak to him at anytime.. I met up with him and explained briefly what I was going through and needed advice. He advised me to carry on the fight but to find a new solicitor. He stated he didn’t know much about family law, but there was two solicitors firms he could recommend.
On the Monday morning, I decided to give them both a try, the first solicitor I called was Redferns, they stated that the solicitor I needed was at court but she would return my call on her return.
I tried the other solicitor Eton Hood, However, she was also away at court. I did like the sound of the second firm, they were polite and seem to care and so I exchanged details and waited.
I was not called the same day by either solicitors, I was growing impatient but decided instead of calling back I would wait a few days. That afternoon. Eton Hood solicitors returned my call. I explained what the problem was briefly and was told a solicitor called Jill hood would take the case. An appointment was booked for the Thursday afternoon.
That Thursday, I remember walking up to the building thinking, it was a mistake. The building didn’t look like the other solicitors, it wasn’t posh at all. I opened the door and stepped inside. A tall gentleman welcomed me, he removed a large box of case file from off the chair, and ask me to be seated. I recall the office looked disorganized, there were case files in every corner of the room, “sorry for the clutter,” he said. Jill is a very busy woman.
It almost looked like the firm was changing office. There was clutter everywhere. I wasn’t sure they could help, I was being judgemental. but something told me to stay.
The gentleman said to me. I’m Jill’s assistant solicitor, I will fill out the necessary forms for legal aid and also a transfer form from the previous solicitor. It was all a formality, there were many forms, and I wouldn’t even see the solicitor that day. I was impatient, I asked if I could just fill out the main form, “not more delay” I thought. “It’s ok”, I said I will leave the forms, I don’t want to be late for work. I don’t want to repeat my story again, to another solicitor if they were not the one taking my case. I told the assistant I would make a longer appointment, another day; I didn’t have much time left, my boss was not the easiest and I needed to go back to work. I would make another appointment. However, this conversation was misinterpreted wrongly to the, Jill, solicitor. I cannot recall what was said at this time.
This was noted when I went to see her at the next appointment she was standoffish. I didn’t know what was going on, but the assistant had informed Jill, somehow that I didn’t want her on my case. I had never said this, “how could I?” , so I was naturally upset, more time wasting too as a result the forms were not even completed. “I was never getting my girls back”, I thought, and I had no energy to fight. All I could do was apologize. I got up to leave, I was never someone to argue, plus I was mentally exhausted. I certainly wasn’t going to beg. Pride
Jill was an older white woman, medium build; she didn’t care much about fashion. She was wearing a cream scarf around her neck, a long pale pink shirt that hung over her long brown skirt, and a thick grey cardigan, that hung over the shirt. I noticed she had laced up dark brown boots. She looked fierce. As I got up to walk out the door, Jill said to me, ok, let’s start again. “I’m sorry but there was a misunderstanding ” I really need help” I said.
She said to me. “Right let’s start from the beginning….
“Here we go again”, I thought
During my summary of the case, I told Jill about being taken from Jamaica at age six, , from all I knew and loved, forced into Christianity, the rituals of blood and milk, the old fashioned ideas, left to fend for myself, living on the streets, locked cupboard with no food, child abuse, beatings, the church, the church the church, the abuse from the brothers of the church. I told her that whilst living with mummy, she had gone behind my back and lied to the courts that she did not know my whereabouts, and took my children. “I want them back”, I said.
Jill kept quiet the whole time, as I spoke. She looked at me, and shook her head. The look she gave me was enough. I broke down completely. There was a warmth about Jill, I felt different with her, in comparison to all the other solicitors. The other solicitors had not even returned my call.
“Why did she do that”, she said.
“Revenge”, I said.
“But, she is your mother”. “I know,” I said.
Did you ever ask her why?
“Yes, and she replied. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO FIGHT FOR YOUR OWN CHILD, ITS NICE ISNT IT” Jill just shook her head.
I had broken down, in the solicitors office, in between tears I thought “how embarrassing”. But, i couldn’t stop the tears from falling. I clearly remember, Jill said to me, “None of that!, if you want your girls back, you need to stop crying and start fighting. I want you to do as I say. I’m on your side. She handed me the box of tissue, I was unable to stop crying and I just talked as if I was releasing my feelings for the first time.
After that, Jill sat their in silence as I told her I had done nothing wrong. I recall she put her hand on my shoulder and said. ” I totally, understand. “I became a solicitor because of this very situation that you are in right now”. “I do not like injustice”, she continued.
I filled out the forms to transfer solicitors, and then she said. “Right I hope you have the day off”. I want to write down everything from scratch. She cancelled her next appointment, “I know you have been through this already”, “but I like to do things my way”,
“Bare with me”, she said. “There is a method to my madness”. I felt that my custody battle had finally begun. My eldest daughter was nearly eight years old. Those years could never be replaced. ” if what you are saying is true”, she said, “you have a very strong case, as you were never party to the proceedings, the children were taken unlawfully”. She then said. “Don’t worry! “I am on your side”.
“WHAT”. someone was on my side…
when I walked out of Jills office that day. I remember clearly….
The day seemed brighter, and I smiled for the first time, and really meant it, with this solicitor, who was a no-nonsense woman. I was totally ready for my next court appearance…
But…. a month later……I was shocked to find…