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How to Protect Your Parental Rights If You are Picked up by ICE

Authored By: Steptoe and Johnson LLP
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How to Protect Your Parental Rights if You are Picked up by ICE

Authored by: Steptoe & Johnson LLP, with assistance from AYUDA, the Children's Law Center, and the Capital Area Immigrants Rights Coalition

You can find Part 1 here, and download the entire guide here.

Purpose of this Guide

If you are an immigrant parent living in the District of Columbia, this guide was written for you.  Its purpose is to give you an understanding of the immigration and child welfare systems, and to help you plan so you do not lose rights over your children if you are apprehended by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The best thing you can do to make sure your family stays together is to have information and be prepared!

This guide is designed to help you do this.  It was prepared by a small group of volunteer lawyers, advocates, and family law and immigration experts.  Generally speaking, you do NOT need to hire an attorney to follow the planning described in this guide.  However, we recommend that you consult with an experienced immigration lawyer a family law attorney to best understand your individual options, especially if the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA), DC's child protection agency, has been involved with your family in the past, or if you have been arrested, charged, or convicted of an offense.  You can find a list of local legal services organizations that provide immigration assistance and organizations that provide family law assistance in Part 3 of this guide. The information presented in this guide is designed to help YOU understand the system and plan for your family, but does not provide legal advice.

Part 1 talked about steps to take NOW to prevent your children from being taken into the custody of the District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) in case you are picked up by ICE. Part 2 is about what to do if you ACTUALLY are picked up by ICE, separated from your children, and facing time in detention with the possibility of deportation. In Part 2, we talk about protecting your parental rights. These are your rights as a parent to make decisions about the care and wellbeing of your children, including who they live with. Even though the government mav be trying to deport you, YOU still have the right to make these decisions for your children, whether your children are US citizens or not. YOU must always advocate strongly for yourself as their parent. Start now by gathering information and being prepared for the worst circumstances.

In this Part, you will learn about the three main parts of the detention and deportation process, and how to advocate for your family during the process: apprehension by ICE; detention and the Immigration Court process; and deportation.

 

Apprehension

I've Been Picked Up By ICE, Now What Should I Do?

Most people are apprehended by ICE very unexpectedly. You may be pulled over for a traffic violation or may have an ICE officer show up at your workplace or home. Tell ICE that you have children, that they do not need to detain you, and you will comply with their requirements if they release you. If they do detain you, continue to tell this to every ICE officer you meet.

If your children are with you when ICE shows up, you are in the best position to convince the officers that you must make a phone call immediately; you need to tell them that you have to call someone who can come take care of your children so they will not be left alone and be taken into the custody of the Child and Family Service Agency CFSA.

If your children are not with you at the time you are picked up by ICE, tell the ICE officer immediately that you have children, and that you need to make a phone call to ensure they are safe and taken care of.

ICE should let you make a telephone call to your caretaker or emergency contact shortly after you are arrested so you can tell her that you are in custody, and that they should follow the emergency plans you have in place for your children. If you are told that you can't make a telephone call because of security reasons, be sure to say again and again that you need to make a call to make plans for your children so that they are not taken into custody by CFSA.

What Is An "A Number"?

After you are apprehended, ICE will assign you an alien registration number or A Number. This is the identification number for your immigration case and will follow you through your whole immigration process. It is very important to write down this number and give it to your designated caretaker, relatives, and close friends -­ either over the telephone or by writing them a letter. Generally, the only way your designated caretaker and others will be able to get information about where you are detained and about your case is if they have your A Number.

What Happens If I'm Not Released And No One Picks Up My Children?

If, at the time you are picked up by ICE, you are unable to notify either your designated caretaker or some other trusted relative or friend who is willing and able to take your children right away, the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) will take custody of your children.

However, if your designated caretaker contacts CFSA within a day or two and presents a Custodial Power of Attorney (CPOA), it is unlikely that CFSA will require anything more from the caretaker, and CFSA probably will not get involved in the arrangements for the care of your children. The care of your children will remain a private matter between you and your designated caregiver.

If you don't have a designated caregiver with a CPOA, but you do have a trusted relative or friend willing to care for your children, and that person contacts CFSA within a day or two after you are apprehended, CFSA is also likely to release your children to her. However, CFSA may first conduct a background check of every person over 18 years old who lives in her home to see if they have a criminal record or if they have ever been investigated for child abuse or neglect.

What Can I Do To Get Released Right Away?

It is likely that you will spend at least a few days in an ICE facility during which time you may not have access to family members. This is sometimes referred to as being in holding, and happens while ICE decides what to do about your case. Your access to a telephone may be very limited, and you may be told very little or nothing about what will happen to you.

ICE officers have discretion to handle your release as they see fit under the circumstances. ICE may decide to release you to the community on your own recognizance (which means that you promise to come to court on the date you are given) or with low money bond if there is evidence that you have strong ties to the United States (like US citizen children), and that you are not a danger to the community or a flight risk. Therefore, it is extremely important that you keep photocopies of documents. Never give the government any original documents! Give ICE photocopies of documents that show your strong ties to the US, such as:

  • birth certificates for your children born in the US
  • evidence that your children have lawful status in the US, such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), if that is the case
  • school records for your children
  • your children's medical records -- especially if your children have any medical conditions that need ongoing medical care
  • any and all evidence that you have been in the US for a long time, like tax records, bills, bank account records, medical records, car payments, rental agreements, utility bills, etc.
  • letters from family and friends that can vouch for your good character and how long you have been in the US

You should have any documents that are not in English translated into English by a certified translator. Include a Certificate of Translation issued by the translator for each translated document. A sample Certificate of Translation can be found in Part 3 of this guide.

You should be sure to keep an organized set of photocopies of ALL of these documents in a safe place in your home, as well as an electronic copy if possible, in case you are detained. Make sure a trusted person knows where they are so she can bring them to the ICE office where you are being held. Again, never give original documents to ICE.

If you are released, you will be given paperwork with the date and place where you must show up for a hearing in Immigration Court. You must not miss this hearing. If you don't yet have a lawyer, you can ask the Immigration Court Judge for more time to find a lawyer. If you miss this hearing, the Immigration Court Judge can order you deported for failing to appear.

Detention

What If I Am Not Released?

If you are not released, you will be taken to an immigration detention center for further processing, and to await an Immigration Court hearing. While it is still possible ICE may release you, it is less likely at this point, and you are probably facing days or possibly many weeks in detention. ICE may also set a bond for your release and tell you the amount you need to pay. If ICE does not set a bond amount, you can ask the Immigration Court Judge to set a bond for your release when you have your first hearing. The same documents you showed ICE (listed above) can be submitted to the Immigration Court Judge to request a bond (more on bonds later).

If I Am Not Released, What Happens If No One Comes to Pick Up My Children?

If you are not released quickly and no designated caretaker, family member, or friend contacts CFSA, CFSA will take custody of your children and start working to identify a relative or family friend willing to take care of your children.

If you think your children are not with a friend or family member and that they might be in CFSA custody, you should talk to your Deportation Officer and ask to contact CFSA right away. CFSA has a 24 hour. toll-free Hotline 202-671- SAFE (202-671-7233). Be calm but assertive, and explain that you want to do whatever you can to make sure your children are safe.

When you call:

  • Give your full name and identify yourself as the parent. Give your children's full names and dates of birth. Explain that you are in immigration detention and believe that your children are in CFSA custody. Be VERY clear that you cannot receive calls in detention, that this is an emergency situation, and that you need to know if CFSA has an open case.
  • Give the name and contact information for your designated caretaker, if you have one or, if you do not have a one, then the name and contact information for another trusted individual who you think will be willing and able to take care of your children.
  • Give your A Number and the name and address of the detention center where you are located.
  • The Hotline worker will communicate this information to CFSA.
If you cannot call the Hotline, your designated caretaker or a relative or friend should call on your behalf and provide all the same information, described above, that you would give yourself if you were able to call the Hotline. The caller may be asked to provide her information, so it's best that it be a person with legal immigration status. The Hotline will not provide information about your children to anyone who is not a parent, but the Hotline worker will communicate the information provided by the caller to CFSA.

If CFSA takes custody of your children, CFSA is required by law to file a petition, called a Neglect Petition, in Family Court in DC, within 72 hours. If you do have a designated caretaker, it is important that this person communicate with CFSA before the Neglect Petition is filed. Once a petition is filed, you and your children will become part of a Family Court case called a neglect proceeding, and will need to go through court proceedings before your children can be returned to you, or to your designated caretaker or some other family member or friend.

A neglect proceeding will give the Family Court authority over your children, including who they spend time with and whom they live with. Although one of the primary goals of a neglect case is to reunify children with their parents, it can be a complicated process that could last for several years, and could ultimately result in you losing your rights to parent your children. Again, this is why it is critical to plan ahead.

If CFSA cannot identify someone to care for your children, they may be sent to live with a foster parent. A foster parent is someone who has been trained and is licensed to care for children if their parent is unable to care for them. Older children may be placed in a group home -- a residence where several older children, whose parents are unable to care for them, live together with one or more trained adults who supervise and care for them.

Will I Have A Lawyer To Help Me Keep My Children?

If a Neglect Petition is filed, you will be appointed a family law attorney to represent you in the neglect proceeding, regardless of whether or not you have lawful immigration status. The family law attorney will be paid for by the District of Columbia- you do not have to pay this lawyer. Your family law attorney should speak your language. It is the job of this lawyer to explain the neglect process to you, keep you up to date about your case, and protect your rights as a parent.

Who Else Is Involved In The Neglect Proceeding?

In addition to your family law attorney, the Family Court Judge will appoint a lawyer, also paid for by the District of Columbia with no cost to you, to represent your children. It is the job of this lawyer, called a Guardian ad Litem (GAL), to protect your children's best interests. The GAL will make recommendations to the Family Court Judge about who should care for your children and about visitation with you or other members of your family. It is crucial that you do everything possible to stay very involved in your children's lives. You are allowed to make decisions about any major medical, psychiatric, or educational matters that may arise for your children during these proceedings. Make sure the GAL and your family law lawyer know that you want to be reunified with your children, and are willing to do anything you can to make that happen.

Always be calm and patient when you talk with the GAL. If the GAL doesn't answer when you call, ALWAYS leave a message so she knows you are staying as involved as best as you can. Always write down the date and time that you called and if you left a message. It is your job to make sure the GAL knows it's in your children's best interests to be with you as soon as it is possible.

CFSA will also assign a caseworker to your case. The caseworker will report to the Family Court Judge what you and your children tell her, and will make recommendations about who should care for your children and about visitation. You and your children can ask to have a caseworker who speaks your language if you have trouble communicating in English. The caseworker may also suggest services for you and for your children, depending on the circumstances. It is important to communicate with her regularly and clearly. If you are unable to connect with the caseworker, call her supervisor and tell her, or leave a message, and say same things you would tell the caseworker. The supervisor's name and phone number should be stated on the caseworker's voicemail.

And like with the GAL, it is crucial you do everything possible to make sure the caseworker knows you want to stay involved and be reunified with your children, and you are willing to do anything you can to make that happen. Also always be calm and patient when you talk with her. If the caseworker doesn't answer when you call, ALWAYS leave a message so she knows you are staying involved with your children's case as best as you can. Always write down the date and time that you make phone calls to the caseworker, and if you left a message.

The only person who represents your interests in this case is your family law attorney. The caseworker and GAL may not necessarily be your allies and may think it is best for your children to be with someone other than you. For this reason, it is important that you keep a record of all your communications with the GAL and caseworker, and share this information with your family law lawyer.

How Can You Find A Person Who Has Been Detained By ICE?

There are at least five detention facilities in the DC-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) area. You will probably be detained in a detention center in Maryland or Virginia, but you can be placed in any detention center in the United States, or moved between detention centers. You can find a list in Part 3 of this guide of the detention centers where Washington, DC residents are typically taken.

There is also a webpage that allows you to look for people detained by ICE called the "ICE detainee locator" https://locator.ice.gov/odls/homePage.do. To use this website, you must have the exact spelling of the person's name as it was spelled by ICE (even if it was spelled incorrectly) and the persons' date of birth and country of origin, or the person's A number, which is the person's immigration identification number. This is one way that family members may be able to locate you if you are detained by ICE.

What Is The Role Of The Deportation Officer?

You will be assigned a Deportation Officer. You should tell your Deportation Officer right away about your children and your concerns about who will take care of them if you are not released. Your Deportation Officer works for ICE and is in charge of you while you are in detention. This officer should meet with you regularly while you are in detention. The officer's role is to process your deportation. Because she works for ICE, you should not trust your Deportation Officer to give you helpful advice about your immigration case.

How Do I Find An Immigration Attorney?

Because you are being apprehended by ICE under civil law and not criminal law, the government will not provide you with an immigration attorney. If you cannot afford an immigration attorney, you may be able to get an immigration attorney from a nonprofit legal aid organization for free. A list of nonprofit legal aid organizations can be found in Part 3 of this guide. Unfortunately, there are many more people who need immigration attorneys than there are legal aid attorneys to help them. If you are unable to get a free attorney, you will have to hire and pay for a private attorney, or have your family hire and pay for one for you. However, if you are unable to get an attorney, you will not be alone. Most people in immigration detention end up fighting their cases without an immigration attorney.

Be aware of fraud or misrepresentations by immigration attorneys. There are many good immigration attorneys. Unfortunately, there are others who take advantage of people in detention. Some immigration attorneys will take your money even, if there is little they can do to help you under the law. If you or a member of your family is going to hire a private immigration attorney to represent you, do your homework and ask the immigration attorney for a few references you can call to find out about the quality of their services.

Also, do not hire a "notario" to be your lawyer or legal representative. In the United States, a "notario" is not necessarily a qualified attorney. In certain Latin American countries, a "notario" is the term for someone who does actually have legal training and experience. But in the US, a "notario" is not a lawyer; a "notario" is simply a "notary public" (someone who notarizes, or authenticates, the signature on a document). The requirements to become a "notario" or "notary public" in DC are that the person is over 18 years old, lives in DC, can read, write, and speak English, and has no felony convictions- no legal training is required.

Might I Be Able To Get A Bond After I'm Detained?

You may still have a chance to pay a money bond to be released after you have been detained. Not everyone is eligible for a bond, so you should ask your Deportation Office or immigration attorney if a bond has been set for you. This will allow you to continue to care for your children yourself while you await your Immigration Court hearing.

The lowest possible bond ICE or the Immigration Court will give you is typically $1,500, and most people without a criminal record receive bonds between $3,000 and $7,500. You will need to pay the full amount of the bond at one time in order to be released. As part of making a plan in case you're picked up by ICE, you should think about how you or your family members may be able to pay a bond if you are detained. You might consider saving up money so you can pay cash for your bond. It is also possible to finance your bond through a bail bond company, but be careful if you use a bail bond company, as these companies sometimes require you to pay large amounts of interest or to wear an ankle shackle once you are released.

How Do I Request A Bond Hearing?

If you aren't sure if a bond has already been set for you, you should ask the Immigration Court Judge for a bond hearing. Be sure to tell the Immigration Court Judge about your children and your need to be released to take care of them and keep custody of them.

At the hearing, you should present photocopies of documents talked about previously to show you are not a danger to the community or a flight risk, such as:

  • birth certificates for your children born in the US
  • evidence that your children have lawful status in the US, such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), if that is the case
  • school records for your children
  • your children's medical records - especially if your children have any medical conditions that need ongoing medical care
  • any and all evidence that you have been in the US for a long time, like tax records, bills, bank account records, medical records, car payments, rental agreements, utility bills, etc.
  • letters from family and friends that can vouch for your good character and how long you have been in the US

As stated before, you should have any documents that are not in English translated into English by a certified translator. Include a Certificate of Translation issued by the translator for each translated document. A sample Certificate of Translation can be found in Part 3 of this guide.

Are There Other Ways I Can Be Released From Detention?

Humanitarian Parole and Prosecutorial Discretion are requests to be released from detention based on your case not being a high priority for ICE and because you are not the kind of person they should detain -that you do not have a criminal record and you do have children you need to take care of in the US. You should tell your Deportation Officer and the Immigration Court Judge that you want to ask for Humanitarian Parole and Prosecutorial Discretion to be released from detention, or to have the case against you dismissed.

You can use the same documents (listed above) to request Humanitarian Parole and Prosecutorial Discretion as you use to request bond. Again, make sure to only give photocopies of these documents to your Deportation Office or to the Immigration Court Judge, and keep the originals in a safe place.

What If I Am Told To Sign For My Deportation?

From the time you are detained by ICE, officers may present you with paperwork to sign. This paperwork may be presented to you multiple times, and by different officers. You may be told that you have no case; that you must sign for your deportation; that you will face years in jail if you don't sign right away; and that you will never see your children again. An officer may even try to physically force you to sign the paperwork. Many parents report pressure to sign paperwork without understanding what it IS.

If you sign these documents and accept deportation, it will be virtually impossible for you to come back to the US and then fight to get your children back. It is very important to stay strong and be clear that you will NOT sign any document accepting deportation. You have this absolute right. This may be a difficult decision, as it will mean accepting additional time in detention, but it's the only way to ensure your right to present your case to an Immigration Court Judge.

However, if you are presented with a document that says that you will be released on your own recognizance (which means that you promise to come to court on the date you are given), you should sign that so you can be released. But before you sign it, you must make sure it is explained to you in your native language if you have trouble communicating in English!

How Does The Immigration Court Process Work And How Do I Fight My Case?

You may be detained for weeks before you have your first appearance before an Immigration Court Judge, which is called a Master Calendar Hearing. There will be other immigrants like you at this hearing, and you may be called individually or as a group to speak with the Immigrant Court Judge. You will be asked what language you prefer to have your hearing in. An interpreter will be available at this hearing for you if you speak Spanish. If you speak another language, including an indigenous language, the Immigration Court Judge will use an interpreter by telephone. If you cannot understand the interpreter, it is very important to tell this to the Immigration Court Judge, and to make sure the interpreter is changed to someone you can speak clearly with.

If you don't have an immigration attorney, the Immigration Court Judge will probably ask you at this first hearing if you want more time to find one. It is a good idea to ask for more time to find an immigration attorney, especially if you haven't been able to speak to your family, or if you think you may be able to pay a bond that has already been set, or if you are trying to get a bond hearing, or if you may get an immigration attorney.

After this first hearing, you will be scheduled for at least one more Master Calendar Hearing, where the Immigration Court Judge will ask you if you are applying for any form of legal relief or filing an application with the Immigration Court seeking to stay in the US. All of these phrases will refer to whether you are going to fight your deportation in Immigration Court. If you have hired a private immigration attorney or have a legal aid immigration attorney, you will get more information about whether you have a basis under the law to fight your deportation in Immigration Court. If you fight your deportation in Immigration Court, you will probably have a Merits Hearing or Individual Hearing, which is where you will present your case to the Immigration Court Judge through evidence, witnesses, and your own testimony.

Every case is different, but people can be detained for many months as they go through this Immigration Court process. This may seem very daunting and even impossible for you to accept, especially since you are separated from your children this whole time. But it is very important to understand that this will be your ONLY chance to fight your deportation. If you accept deportation at a Master Calendar Hearing or with the Deportation Officer, it will be virtually impossible for you to come back to the US later to fight to get your children back (though you may be able to bring your children to your home country after your deportation - more on that later).

What Can I Do From Detention To Try To Keep My Kids?

You should stay as involved with your children as much as possible. You should write letters to them. You are allowed to receive letters and pictures from them even in detention. Take notes on everything you send to your children and receive from them, and save everything you receive. You can also ask to see your children's report cards and ask the caseworker to provide you with regular updates about things like any health problems, if your children have had to change schools, and activities they are involved in.

Though unlikely, it might be possible to obtain the phone number of the foster parent from the CFSA caseworker so you can call your children from detention. Or you can call your child when the caseworker is present. Your Deportation Officer should help you make arrangements for these calls. Every time you call, write down the time, the date, and a little about what you talked about.

You should participate in all neglect case hearings. While you are detained, you have the right to participate in neglect hearings by telephone. This is called a telephonic appearance. Make sure your family law attorney knows you want to participate. This can be set up by coordinating with your Deportation Officer and your family law attorney. ICE will provide you with a room to make the free telephone call so you can participate in the neglect proceeding.

Your family law lawyer may also ask the Family Court Judge to require that ICE transport you to the Family Court for a hearing, by filing a motion or making a written request with the Family Court Judge, who must approve it. If this is possible, it is preferable to participate in person.

It is very important to update everyone, especially your family law attorney, about your immigration case and when your next immigration hearings are. They will be eager to know when your immigration case will end and when you may be released from detention.

If you are not able to participate in the hearing, you should write to your family law attorney, the GAL, and most important of all, the caseworker, to explain why, and the efforts you have made with ICE to put these arrangements in place.

The Family Court Judge may issue an Order directing you to do certain things, such as take part in services recommended by the caseworker. You should do everything in your power to comply with this Order, and if you are unable to, make sure that you communicate that to your family law attorney, the GAL, and the caseworker, and tell them what you have done to try to comply with the Order.

Will My Children Be Able To Visit Me In Detention?

Whether or not your children visit you in the detention facility will be up to the Family Court Judge, based on what that Judge believes is in your children's best interests. For some children, seeing a parent in a detention facility can be traumatic. If you want your children to visit you, you should tell your family law attorney, the GAL, and the caseworker.

Your family law attorney can file a motion asking the Family Court Judge to order visitation.

If the Family Court Judge orders visitation, then the caseworker, or another approved adult, such as a foster parent or one of your relatives, can bring your children to the detention facility. ICE will permit minor children to visit even without a Social Security number and regardless of their citizenship status. Adults may have to provide their date of birth and Social Security number, and be approved by ICE prior to the visit. It is important that the adults accompanying your children have legal status in the United States-- otherwise they can be detained by ICE at the detention center, even if they are only there to visit you.

Visits with your children will be "non-contact." This means you will see your children through a window and will be able to speak with them by phone, but you will not be able to hug or hold your children. You will also not be able to give them anything or receive anything from them, but they can show you pictures through the window. These visits are not private; other people may have visits at the same time and you may be able to hear their conversations and they will be able to hear yours. These visits may be very sad, but are an important part of maintaining your involvement as a parent and in the Family Court case.

Deportation

Can I Take My Children With Me If I Am Deported?

If you are ordered deported, you will NOT be allowed to take your children with you at the time of your deportation, and you will not be given time to make arrangements for your children. This is why it is so important to plan and think through your options prior to deportation. If you are from Mexico, you will likely be sent back on the same day you are ordered deported, whether you voluntarily sign for your deportation or whether an Immigration Court Judge orders you to be deported.

If you have the opportunity to talk with your Consulate, you should inform them about your children, and ask for assistance in making travel arrangements for your children if you want them to relocate with you. The Consulate can assist with travel arrangements if your children are with your designated caretaker or with relatives or friends, but NOT if your children are in foster care. Contact information for the Consulate offices in DC is included in Part 3 of this guide.

What Happens If My Kids Are In Foster Care And I'm Deported?

You should explain to your family law attorney, the caseworker, the GAL, and the Family Court Judge that you would like to regain custody of your children even if you are deported. However, once CFSA opens a neglect case, the case will continue even after you are deported, and your children will not be able to travel to reunite with you while the case is pending. Ultimately, the Family Court Judge will make a decision about whether your children can be sent to live with you in your home country.

You should provide the Family Court Judge, the caseworker, the GAL, and your family law attorney with the approximate date you may be deported and a forwarding address in your home country if you have one. You should also provide them with the contact information of a trusted relative or friend in the US so the friend or relative can serve as a point of contact with you.

Your children will need a passport in order to travel outside of the United States. In addition, if your children do not have a passport and they are a United States Citizen, it is important to help your children get a passport NOW, because getting a passport for them is very difficult if you are no longer in the United States. If both parents are in contact with the child, both must consent to the issuance of the passport for a child under the age of 16. The parents must submit an application form, along with the child's birth certificate and proof of their legal relationship to the child. The process must be completed in person. For more information, you should contact the US State Department.

If you are deported to Mexico, the Consulate can arrange for your children to visit at a prearranged border location. If your child is in foster care, the caseworker must obtain permission for the children to visit and then contact the Consulate.

At times, you may feel sad, lonely, or depressed when thinking about your children. This is normal. Write down your feelings and thoughts, make drawings, read a book, do some crafts, write a poem, or do something that makes you feel good to save for the day when you will be with them again. Write your children a letter, if you can do so without making them worry about you. You may even want to write your children a letter to tell them how you are feeling, but save the letter to give to them in the future. For your children's sake, be cheerful, let them know how much they mean to you, and that they should stay healthy and happy.

Keep on fighting for your children and stay in touch with them. Don't give up! Your children and your family will be proud that you did not give up hope.