The Pain of Losing Children to Divorce

Stevie Ray Hansen“Let me make this clear,” she said. “We’re not getting back together. I’m going to divorce you. When you get out, you’re not going to see me or the kids.” Months and years had passed serving time in prison, I assumed she had changed her mind about divorcing me or being able to see the children.Luann had known what I was doing floating checks.I realized now that breaking the law wasn’t a problem in her rule book. Getting caught at it was unforgivable.The fact that she was divorcing me was painful. Telling me that I couldn’t see the kids was devastating. If it had been anyone else, I might have hoped that she would relent and let me see them. Unfortunately that never happened until years later…

I sat back on my heels and lifted my tortured face toward the morning sun. I hadn’t just lost my freedom. I hadn’t just lost my marriage. I hadn’t just lost my family.
I’d lost my kids.I pictured their faces and wanted to howl like a wounded animal.

Upon my release from prison my sister Rene helped me get a car and I drove to meet my parole officer, settling into a chair across from his desk. “What’s your plan?” he asked.
“I’m living with my sister and working for my brother,” I said handing him a piece of paper. “Here are their names and addresses.”

“Luann and the kids are still living up north,” he explained. “She divorced you. If you go see your kids, you’ll violate the conditions of your parole and go back to prison.”

Luann had warned me that she would fix it so I couldn’t see the kids and I’d had years to deal with it. Still, the finality of the situation felt like being kicked in the chest again. I’d served the time for my crime. It was cruel to require me to give up my children in order to stay out of prison. That was a life sentence that only a child abuser should suffer.

I’d always heard that the transition from prison to life on the outside could be difficult, although I didn’t think it would be for me. I was wrong about that. Since the day I’d left Henderson for Arizona, I’d been on my own, making my own way. Now, in my 40s, I found myself dependent on my sister and brother-in-law to put a roof over my head. And on my brother for a job. As I struggled with the feelings that dependence brought out in me, I recognized the root of the problem.”Pride”.

I didn’t want to make any of the same mistakes that I’d made before.The need to micromanage life stemmed from fear and the need to control. I’d been there and done that and it wasn’t a strategy for success.I refused to make any decision without waiting on direction from God, I waited 30+ years for God to answer my prayers –so no matter how intense the pressure.

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