Judge Keehan’s Secret Court: Social Workers Take Newborn Just Hours After Birth

Judge Keehan is again at the center of another shocking family court ruling… after imposing a gag order that has lasted for over a month, the truth is finally being revealed about how he has destroyed yet another family.  High Court Judge Michael Joseph Keehan (Photoshot)

 

May 1, 2014: After a secret court hearing, social workers descended on a new mother and stole her newborn baby daughter from her arms just hours after she gave birth. Mother and child were then separated, and allowed only brief supervised visits until the mother was discharged from the hospital on May 2nd.  You can only imagine the horror–there was no warning. The may have been cradling her baby daughter in her arms, taking in her warmth as the child nursed or slept peacefully cuddled against her heart. Perhaps the mother counted the child’s small toes, whispered a prayer in her ear.. dreamed of their life together. The horrific scene of the social workers swarming into the hospital room, the cries of the mother–begging for them to stop, begging for help, don’t take my baby…and those who were supposed to protect were working together in this monstrous conspiracy. You can imagine the tears. The pain, wondering about her precious baby. All the clothes and toys she had bought, the crib remains empty.. The name she picked out for her daughter will not be on the birth certificate; due to the child’s legal status she cannot be named.

 

The mother’s “crime”? The Court felt she was so “mentally ill” that she cannot possibly raise her own child. The mother’s symptoms cannot be managed or treated. The mother doesn’t deserve an opportunity to parent or try to seek help. And maternal relatives also are not qualified to care for the infant. Judge Keehan’s secret court decided ALL of this without allowing the Mother to get legal help, without allowing an evidenciary hearing where medical experts could be called, and with absolutely secrecy due to the gag order the Court imposed.   High Court Judge Michael Joseph Keehan admitted the ruling was “highly exceptional”.

 

Judge Keehan ruled that North Somerset Council wasn’t required to inform the 24 year old heavily pregnant mom that it would move to take away her baby at birth because they felt because she is schizophrenic, and has an IQ of 63, there was a risk the mom could hurt herself or her baby if she knew of the state’s plans. According to Judge Keehan, “The order sought in this case by the local authority is at the extremity of what is permissible under the European Convention (on Human Rights). It is only in an extreme case that such a draconian and highly exceptional course of conduct will be permitted.   I am satisfied that if the mother were to learn of the plan to remove her child at birth there is a very real risk she would harm herself and a very, very real risk that she would cause physical harm to her baby.” Translation: This mom has a disability so the Court felt it could do whatever it wanted and she could not defend herself, nor would she have support to challenge their ruling. In fact, if this mom were to get upset or emotional, her reaction may just reinforce their false accusations that she is unfit!

 

It is unclear what the status of the baby’s father is, but clearly he has rights to his child. 

 

And Judge Keehan issued a gag order on the court proceedings, so that no one could publicly speak about the case or publicly report on the case until AFTER the baby was taken into custody. Which means the first reports were coming out in June 2014. 

 

The unnamed baby is now in foster care. The mom was so distraught about being separated from her daughter that she has required crisis intervention… can you blame her?!?! One imagine I think of when hearing this case… is what it would be like to nurse your baby only a few hours. To have just a few moments of that precious and necessary skin to skin contact, the bonding, the nutritional value of mother’s milk. Imagine what it would feel like to have your milk come in but no baby to feed. Your whole body would cry out for that baby–not only emotionally but physically, the body’s every instinct is to nurture and protect that newborn. And there is no baby. Just an empty crib. The pain in her heart. The pain of not being able to nurse. Pumping milk for a baby who would never drink. The pain of having a stranger care for your baby, a stranger to feed and diaper, a stranger to answer her cries.. when it should be you. And you have not been given a chance to speak or defend yourself. And you don’t know if you will ever see your baby again…

 

The Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services has public objected to the ruling, its President Jean Robinson says, “The secret hearing does not give the mother any opportunity to instruct solicitors to prevent it, or even approach solicitors or even her own family member to create an alternative. There may well have been no alternative, but the problem is that was never explored. The fact that the mother only found out the moment she had given birth, it’s terrible.”

 

NOTE: I have experience working with single mothers in crisis situations and working with people who are mentally ill and disabled. I can honestly say that with proper treatment, and proper support, it is possible to raise a child while dealing with a disability. Sometimes a relative or foster family is called in to offer support, or to provide a home. There are alternatives to try before custody should be taken.

The Court should protect and try to maintain the relationship a child has with it’s birth parents, and explore every option to keep this family intact. Judge Keehan and the Secret Courts will continue to hurt families, and make rulings that destroy families unless we raise a public outcry against this abuse of power. Judges, social workers, and other court officials need to be held accountable when their rulings and actions violate the law or hurt families/children. Our silence protects them, our voices draw attention to the problems and demand change. 

 

For More Info: “Baby girl taken from her mother by a secret court: Family knew nothing of judge’s decision to back social workers” by Sam Marsden, Mail Online, 6/6/2014: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2650787/Social-workers-snatched-mothers-baby-minutes-birth-no-warning-secret-court-ruling.html#ixzz37zn7sRnK 

 

“The Cinderella Law: Government Regulation of Parental Love”, blogged by Family Court Injustice, 06/30/2014. Includes another case from Judge Keehan, who decided a father’s love “is not enough”. Judge Keehan not only took this man’s daughter from him, but ordered the child is to be adopted by maternal relatives and sent to live in America: http://familycourtinjustice.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/cinderella-law/

This Celtic symbol is derived from the ancient book of Kells, and symbolizes a mothers love for her child. The design depicts the developing heart of the unborn child inside the large protective heart of the mother

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‘The Journey’ by Mary Oliver (Poetry, Inspirational Writing)

Emily Court:

“The Journey” is so powerful… had to share… In so many ways you may feel powerless or victimized, remember in every choice is a chance to reclaim our voice, and to take back what was stolen. Some of the most difficult battles begin in ourselves, battling lies, false allegations, negative messages imprinted on our psyche, betrayal.. The power of CHOICE is that you direct your will and your energy to make a change. Or to move your life into a new direction. You don’t have to carry those negative or hurtful messages with you. When you work on healing yourself, you become more authentic, more in touch with your own purpose. By extension, you become more effective in the world, a force to contend with!

Mary Oliver (b. 1935) is an American poet who has won the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize.

Originally posted on A poem for every day:

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice – – –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations – – –
though their melancholy
was terrible. It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.

But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could…

View original 274 more words

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The Children Barbie Didn’t Want: Child Copes with Loss of Mother

A child invites Mom to play dolls with her. Through play, she reveals her feelings about being separated from her Mom due to attempted parental alienation, and an unjust Family Court ruling…  I went for nearly 2 months with no contact with my children because my allegedly abusive ex just decided that is what he is going to do. No phone calls. No visits. We didn’t even celebrate Mother’s Day together.

When I did see my kids, Mr. X didn’t make it easy. I first had to file a police report that he violated our parenting time order. Then I wrote a letter to his attorney, the response was something to the effect of stop writing me because it is costing your ex too much money. Really?!? Well it is costing the children and I alot more than money to be kept apart!

Peter Banning, sleazy attorney from the movie “Hook” reminds me of my ex’s attorney

And finally, on the next visit, Mr. X didn’t arrive on time and kept me waiting while refusing to tell me what the delay was. Mr. X acted like he did not know what was going on. I text Mr. X (he does not answer his phone when I call) several times with no response. I then offered Mr. X that if was having a problem bringing the kids, I could make it easy for him and come pick them up. At which Mr. X did not respond but did drive the kids to the meeting place–nearly an hour later, giving no explanation. This may sound petty to some–but this type of behavior is both controlling and abusive. Mr. X is doing this to show that he has all the control, and I have to subject myself to him to see the kids. Mr. X feels powerless and out of control since I left the abuse, and have continued to live my own life, successfully without him. I stood up against the abuse, and have revealed to the world who he really is. Mr. X is so insecure, that in order to regain control, and feel good about himself he is using the children as a pawns to take care of his own emotional needs. By using the children as a pawn, Mr. X is attempting to control me and get me back into a submissive role he is comfortable with. 

Since Mr. X refuses to communicate, I am left waiting and wondering, anxiety building. And while he is playing these games, the children are also left waiting…missing Mom… their anxiety building…and their relationship to their father becomes one also of power and control as the abuse cycle continues. 

The effect on the kids– Both kids felt guilty, and hurt that they could not see me on Mother’s Day. My daughter was angry for missing out on time with me. My teenage son, took my hand in his, cuddled against my side, and put his head on my shoulder; he just wanted Mom. My son is nearly 5’9 and 160 pounds, he hugs me so tight I can hardly breathe…and yet he is so tender-hearted that it almost like he is a little boy again. The one I tucked into bed at night, we curled up side by side to say our prayers, and talk about how our day went. When my son was a baby, I was still in college. I remember holding him on my lap, with a text book on one knee. We curled up in the covers..in between “Hush a Bye” I read sociological theory. I would stroke his golden hair until he was lulled to sleep, then turn back to my notebooks, my pen scratching across the paper… I was once a stay-at-home mom now I am almost a stranger to my children.  

My daughter had a different way of dealing with her feelings: playing with her dolls. My daughter JJ begged me to play Barbies with her. Since I have 3 children, I try to balance all of their needs. My toddler set up his train tracks in a maze all over the living room floor, he was all excited to take Barbie for a ride! My older son is playing music on YouTube, he wants to show me all his favorite songs. (I do my best to listen to my kid’s music when they are not home so I am familiar with the songs, and have something to share in common with them. This has really helped maintain a bond. And if I know what they are listening to, I can go into Youtube and comment on the video, sending short messages for my kids.)

JJ pulls out her favorite dolls, dressed to impress in glamorous evening gowns with stacked plastic heels. Each doll has her hair carefully styled, my missing binders and clips can all be found in her high curls jutting from her head like a runaway Jack-in-the Box. JJ told me the name of each doll, and who was family. Then JJ solemnly handed me a doll… she had olive skin and green eyes with long lashes made of dark thread. She was nearly bald with painted on brown hair, somewhere there were wigs for her to cover her shame. The doll wore a white cami with a jean jacket, a red silk diaper and a gold lame cape over the diaper. She had a large gold ring on one hand. “You play Kesha!“, my daughter said

 

. Kesha aka Miz Thang is tough, bratty and frankly, my daughter does not like her much. JJ only dresses Kesha in the diaper because she wants to show something is wrong with her, that she dresses too provocatively. And Kesha’s feet are jointed, and bend backwards–which JJ thinks is hilarious because she can smell her own feet!

 

Here you go, Mom. You play Kesha the best.”, JJ says, grinning.

 

Playing Kesha meant I had to use my Valley-Girl voice, be obnoxious and allow JJ to embarrass me from time to time. All  in good fun, because JJ would laugh ’til tears rolled down her face, and I got to play with her. JJ announced Avery–her favorite Barbie–was throwing an exclusive party.

 

My older son cued up the dance music, the Barbies bounced as the music’s booming bass rippled across the floor. Kesha was not on the guest list (no surprise). So it was up to me, to have Kesha climb into a window of the Barbie mansion and crash the party in her red silk diaper and gold lame cape. Kesha almost didn’t get in but the guard said “Gimme $50 bucks and I will let you in.”  What as a girl to do? Of course, Kesha gave him her fabulous gold ring!

 

Once in the party, JJ walks Kesha through the foyer, explaining how luxurious the mansion is. But there on the floor, are all the baby dolls lined up in a row. One next to the other. Their mother dolls thrown in a heap.

 

 

JJ says to Kesha, “Just step on them.”

 

I reply, ” That’s mean! Why would I step on the babies? I’d never step on you or your brothers.”

 

JJ says, “She didn’t want them kids anyways.”

 

I couldn’t contain my reaction. I gasped. Kesha dangled in one hand, her foot spinning like a top. “What do you mean she doesn’t want them? Look at how cute they are!”

 

JJ quickly goes into her defensive mode, which means something really is bothering her. Her eyes grow hard, squinting slightly as if anticipating a fight. She starts to correct herself, talking so fast her words are a blur. She says things that don’t make sense, clearly trying to change her story to hide what she really meant. JJ’s voice rises, she is quick to talk back…and if you say the wrong thing, she will stomp off to her room. I have seen this happen so many times, I know when she needs extra care versus her truly needing discipline. This was a time for extra care.

 

What-eva!“, Kesha says in her Valley Girl voice, ” Time to dance. I’m gonna like cut a rug!

 

My son is telling me about this song I have to hear. Then JJ starts to throw the baby dolls at me. She says Barbie does not want them, you take them home, you adopt them. And in this pink mansion full of dancing dolls, wearing beautiful ball gowns in a rainbow of colors, Barbie is suddenly alone with no children.

 

And I knew what my daughter meant because soon after, JJ was begging to stay overnight..she didn’t want to go to her father’s house.. she wanted to be with Mom. And as the clocked ticked closer to our good-bye, closer to bringing her back to her father, JJ became tough once more. Sassy. Unpopular. Provocative. Just like Kesha.

 

And all those dolls were facets of my beautiful little girl… the beautiful Avery with her make-up applied with perfection, the bouncy curls, the princess gown. Popular, happy. The perfect life. 

 

The baby dolls stepped on by everyone at the party, unwanted, taken from their mother.

 

And the tough Kesha…she was the most vulnerable of all…because if she stopped fighting, she might get hurt. If she let anyone close, they could break her heart. If she was beautiful, she would not have a perfect life, the life she wanted. So she would just be ugly.

And JJ asked me, her Mom, to play with this flawed doll, she directed the doll’s attitude, her feelings..and gave them to my care. Then JJ asked doll with so many scars, someone she did not even like very much, to adopt her babies. Why? Because despite everything that has happened, JJ trusts me–her Mom. She knows that I love her. And that I am strong enough to take her pain, and for a time, the unlovable Kesha is loved. And for a time, she can laugh…and imagine what it would be for Kesha to be more like the perfect life Avery.

 

My daughter begged stay home with me until the moment she saw her father… Then when her father pulled up in his car, JJ put on a fake smile, ran over to the car door, and waved good-bye. I saw my very emotional, hurting child change to a happy, giggly girl in less than a minute. It broke my heart to see my daughter acting as plastic as the Barbies. I wondered how hard she had to pretend that everything was really okay in her father’s home.

 

– Emily Court, July 2014

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Independence Day by Martina McBride: Song About Domestic Violence

Warning- video may be triggering to anyone who has experienced abuse, contains scenes of violence and flashbacks of abuse.

It’s Independence Day! 

Yes, that means YOU!! You don’t have to put up with abuse, disrespect or be treated poorly. You may not have the power to change a corrupt court or hold back the hand of an abuser, but you do have power over your own attitude, actions, and choices…and that is MIGHTY indeed! Your freedom begins the day you say NO! to abuse in any form.

Take back your life. Get help and/or support to safely leave the situation, and rebuild your life. If in fear of safety, contact a battered women’s shelter or abuse organization for safety planning. You don’t have to live in fear of your life. Or work with a boss who mistreats you. Or be a part of a church that shames you. Say NO to abuse in any form, you deserve better!

Take back your mind. Start to read positive affirmations, listen to positive music or watch movies that make you laugh/uplift you. Fill your mind with positive messages and your body will begin to respond, and heal. Join a support group. Start to enjoy the hobbies or activities you once enjoyed but stopped due to the abuse. Seek therapy, counseling or help from an abuse support group.

By seeking help, and taking steps to replace negative messages with positive ones, will increase your self-esteem, and better be able to discern abusive or unsafe people so you can protect yourself.

Surround yourself with positive, support people or find places of support (therapy, support group, DV education, grief group, healing circle, church/spiritual support etc). You have the ability to do so many great things….it all starts with one choice, one step..and then another…and another. I Believe in You!

It’s YOUR Independence Day!

xo Emily Court xo

Some Crisis Numbers That May Help:

Child Help National Child Abuse Hotline: http://www.childhelp.org/pages/hotline-home or  1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)

The National Domestic Violence Hotline: http://www.thehotline.org/ or, 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-899-787-3224

The National Domestic Violence Hotline, Help for Abusive Partners: http://www.thehotline.org/help/for-abusive-partners/

National Runaway Safeline: http://www.1800runaway.org/ or 1-800-786-2929 (Runaway)

Safe Horizon: Moving Victims of Violence from Crisis to Confidence: http://www.safehorizon.org/page/call-our-hotlines-9.html

Safe Horizon’s Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-621-HOPE (4673)

Safe Horizon’s Rape, Sexual Assault & Incest Hotline: 1-212-227-3000

TDD phone number for all hotlines: 1-866-604-5350

A Long Walk Home (Healing Activities for Abuse Survivors) http://www.alongwalkhome.org/resources.php

Independence Day” (1994) is a song written by Gretchen Peters and sung by country music star, Martina McBride.  The video for “Independence Day” ranked #2 in CMT’s 100 Greatest Songs of Country Music. And Gretchen Peters received a CMA award for Song for the Year in 1994 for “Independence Day”.

The highly intense, emotional video for “Independence Day” tells the story of a family dealing with domestic violence from the eyes of an 8 year old little girl. The little girl has taken the role to comfort her Mother after she was beaten, she is so hyper vigilant of abuse that she cannot enjoy normal events (like a parade featured in the video, the site of two clowns play fighting triggers memories of her parents fighting, and she has flashbacks). The family is living in a small town, and everyone is aware of the abuse but does nothing to help.

On Independence Day, the violence in the home escalates.  The Mother cannot take any more abuse and lights the home on fire. Martina says the Mother does not die in the fire, she has just gained her freedom from abuse, the lyrics sing, “Now I ain’t sayin’ it’s right or it’s wrong, But maybe it’s the only way…” The video ends with the home going down in flames and the little girl being taken to the county home. The last scene shown is of Martina leaning against a brick wall with a flag waving, indicating independence from abuse.

Now if the abuser has told everyone you are crazy, an unfit mother and labelled you with all these references to what a terrible person you are…you would think the abuser’s testimony would work to prove the insanity defense for the Mother. ..Maybe be reaching, but just a thought. Would make an interesting thriller/novel!

(This post does not mean it’s okay to take revenge on anyone, or that’s okay to become violent! This is just a commentary on “Independence Day” by Martina McBride. If you need help coping with an abusive relationship, seek professional help. Or, if you are struggling with thoughts of violence, seek professional help immediately. If in immediate danger dial 911.)

Wikipedia (Independence Day, Martina McBride Song): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_Day_(Martina_McBride_song)

Lyrics Independence Day, AZ Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/martinamcbride/independenceday.html

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The Cinderella Law: Government Regulation of Parental Love

Could parents in the UK lose custody of children or be thrown in jail if the government determines that the parent does not love their children enough? This has happened to one father, who has not only lost custody of his daughter but the judge ordered the child will be adopted, and sent to live in the US. And if a controversial new law called “The Cinderella Law” is passed, parents will be subject to the governmental regulation of love and emotion, and if found lacking, parents could be criminally charged with abuse and face up to 10 years in prison; and their children would likely become wards of the state.

 FATHER LOSES CUSTODY BECAUSE LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH

Feb 2014:An immigrant father (not named) from Cameroon, West Africa lost custody of his 7-year old daughter in the Family Division of London and Birmingham because the family court judge felt the father’s “love is not enough”. The child will be adopted by maternal relatives living in the US. Justice Keehan, who heard the case, is quoted as saying, “I do not doubt that in his own way he deeply loves [his daughter]. Most importantly, there is the extent to which this father can meet the emotional needs of this child. He may love her, as he did frequently say he loves her. Sadly, in life that is not enough.”

Justice Keehan, a High Court judge in the family division of London and Birmingham, heard the case of an immigrant father from Cameroon who had a daughter with woman (not named) who recently died. After the relationship ended, the mother retained primary custody of the daughter. The father met another woman, and had a child with her. The father’s second child was born 10 months after his ex partner’s death. When the woman died, the father sought full custody of his daughter so she could live in Manchester with his new family. In a controversial ruling, Justice Keehan denied the father’s petition and ordered the daughter to be adopted by maternal relatives in the US, a plan endorsed by social workers overseeing the case.

This means the loving biological father will be removed from his own daughter’s life–and the child will grow up without a father or any connection to her paternal side of the family, or her cultural identity. The daughter will also lose any connection to her mother, and the life she established. This child will be raised as American, her past erased, and she will be forced to assume a new identity that has nothing to do with her true family of origin and its customs, traditions, spiritual practices. That Justice Keehan feels this is in the best interest of this child, and that she needs to be removed from all influences of her father, and there should be no remedy for reunification or to address any issues of concern, not only suggests the logic of the family division is deeply flawed, but is making a decision based on something other than law, fact and the welfare of this child.

photo

THE PROPOSED CINDERELLA LAW

 In March 2014, the “Cinderella Law” was proposed in the UK. The “Cinderella Law” will jail parents for up to 10 years for “failing to show love to their children”, under a newly proposed “emotional cruelty” law. Under the changes to the law, emotional abuse will be classified as a criminal offense, similar to physical or sexual abuse. Under the “Cinderella Law” it is a crime to intentionally cause harm to a child’s “intellectual, emotional, social or behavioral development”.

Conservative MP Robert Buckland, is the principal Parliamentary campaigner behind the Cinderella law. The law is named for the fairytale “Cinderella” and references that the Wicked Stepmother got away with tormenting Cinderella, and never was punished. Then again, what is to say Prince Charming really loved Cinderella? If Cinderella did not have the magic wand to transform her tattered dress into a beautiful ball gown, would the Prince have paid her any attention? And would love-starved Cinderella be happy being shuttled to another home, with rules and expectations placed on her, and little to no room to explore her life and desires? That is why fairy tales are fantasy—they were never meant to be applied to the real world as we know it!

 

Critics to the Cinderella Law say it gives the government too much power into the private life of families. Existing abuse and neglect laws often do consider emotional abuse in sentencing, there is already a protection for children within the law. However, the Cinderella Law goes further than existing laws. Critics are concerned that the Cinderella Law, will cause innocent parents to be falsely charged of criminal abuse for common occurrences that happen when parenting, and normally are not considered abuse. This could potentially include things like a parent refusing vaccinate a child or the government not approving your method of discipline or the angry allegations of a rebellious teen who shouts things like “You don’t love me anymore!” to  parent who is setting boundaries/enforcing rules. The Cinderella Law gives the government the power to police parenting practices, and to determine what “love” is, effectively voiding the rights of parents.

The “Cinderella Law”, part of the “Serious Crimes Bill”, was included in the Queen’s speech in June to outline proposed laws. The Queen’s speech was 10 minutes long, she wore a crown decked out in jewels , a huge diamond necklace and fur cloak, sat on a golden throne and read in from a notebook, rarely raising her eyes. The speech outlined 11 new proposed laws. As a mother herself, I seriously hope the Queen will reconsider passing the “Cinderella” law.

 Sources: “A Valuable Cinderella Law…or more state meddling?” by Philip Johnston. The Telegraph, 03/31/2014: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/mother-tongue/familyadvice/10734554/A-valuable-Cinderella-Law…-or-more-state-meddling.html

 

Cameroon Language, Customs, Culture & Etiquette: http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/cameroon.html

Countries and their Cultures, Cameroon: http://www.everyculture.com/Bo-Co/Cameroon.html

“Father Told Love is Not Enough in Custody Battle” by Brain Farmer. Irish Examiner, 2/5/2014: http://www.irishexaminer.com/world/father-told-love-is-not-enough-in-custody-battle-257639.html

“High Court Rejects Father’s Custody Bid” by Marilyn Stowe. Stowe Family Law, 2/6/2014: http://www.marilynstowe.co.uk/2014/02/06/high-court-rejects-fathers-custody-bid/

“The Cinderella Law: Emotional Correctness Gone Mad” by Frank Furedi. The Independent, 04/02/2014: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/the-cinderella-law-emotional-correctness-gone-mad-9231233.html

The Queen’s Speech to the Parliament 2014, in full. The Telegraph. 06/04/2014: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/queen-elizabeth-II/10875028/Queens-Speech-to-Parliament-2014-in-full.html

“Welsh MP’s child cruelty law in the Queen’s speech” by BBC News Wales. 06/04/2014: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-27696019

MORE ON THE FATHER FROM CAMEROON WHO LOST CUSTODY BECAUSE THE JUDGE DETERMINED “LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH”

** The father is from Cameroon, West Africa, and living in Manchester on a 6-month family visa. The man was once deported in 2006 but returned to the UK in 2009. The father is said to have lied to social workers about his personal situation, which would be understandable given his history or if he did not have proper legal advise. Immigration issues were not cited as a reason for loss of custody in published reports about this case.

**The father is raising another child, and has established a home with his new partner, which should demonstrate his ability to parent and care for his older daughter. In addition, family relationships–including that with siblings—are important in determining the best interest, and custody arrangements for a child. If this father can provide adequate care for and love one child–then why not another?

Justice Keehan seems to be punishing this father for having another child, which suggests bias. Justice Keehan says, “This child needs to have her emotional needs recognised and met. She needs to be the centre of attention so that her needs are not missed.I regret to find that the father does not begin to evince any understanding of what those needs are nor does he evince any ability to meet them.”

It is normal for a family to have more than one child, and be able to care for all of their children. In Cameroon, children are highly valued; large families are common, with an average of 10 or more children born to a family. From the time of birth, an infant is greeted with abundant love, attention and visits from family and community members. Children are taught by modeling adults, and expected to help care for elders or help care for young siblings. Family is central to social life and individual well-being, extended family are close knit groups. Making one child “the center of attention” may be what Justice Keehan recommends but the law protects the parent’s ability to determine the best way to raise their children, and it is supposed to take into account cultural practices when making child custody rulings.

** There are no reports that father has ever abused or mistreated any of his children. In fact, Mr. Justice Keehan admits this man openly demonstrates love for his daughter, “I do not doubt that in his own way he deeply loves [his daughter]. Most importantly, there is the extent to which this father can meet the emotional needs of this child. He may love her, as he did frequently say he loves her. Sadly, in life that is not enough.”

The Court has an obligation to meet the cultural needs of its litigants including getting an interpreter if necessary, and to take into account cultural practices and beliefs when making a custody determination. The Court also has to consider the child’s unique relationship to her family of origin and its culture. Justice Keehan’s comments suggest bias, predjudice, or a lack of cultural understanding needed to make a fair ruling.

For example: Mr. Justice Keehan said, about his ruling, that the father had given a “heartless” answer to one question. “When I heard him reply in answer to the fact that [the girl] has been through a lot in her short life, I thought it heartless on the part of the father to reply ‘me, too’.”

Clearly, Mr. Justice Keehan is making a ruling based on his own experience and assumptions, not considering the cultural differences or context in which this father has made this remark. In Cameroon, traditional roles for men include that the father is the financial provider of the family, the one who works to support the family and meet their material needs. The mother is the nurturer, who raises children, and supports the father in his work. For the father to say he has been through a lot is not “heartless” it is an acknowledgement that he feels his daughter’s pain because he has also suffered, and that he is willing to do what it takes to provide for her, and give her a better life—as a man and father in Cameroon is expected to do. If the father is not sentimental or showing the expected emotion, that should be understood in the context of his culture—those kinds of demonstrations were common to the female members of the family, it does not make the father any less important, or indicate that he does not care.

And is this one remark enough to justify loss of custody? Again, it causes one to seriously question where Justice Keehan is coming from, especially since the law does not support unsubstantiated concerns but is designed to protect, and defend the right of parents and their right to raise their children in their own customs and culture, and how they see fit.

Parents do have rights over their children, and only in extreme cases with a high degree of evidence or documentation of imminent harm or risk to a child, is a parent’s rights to that child restricted or terminated. According to the Children Act 1989, a ‘welfare checklist’ of issues is to be considered when determining a child’s welfare and custody. It is up to the judge to interpret the law, and determine the best interest of the child—since the judge is the absolute authority, they are rarely punished or held accountable when their bias, misunderstandings, mistakes or failures hurt children and families.

A Few Interesting Facts About Cameroon:

Cameroon is a diverse country made up of 250 ethnic groups that form 5 regional/cultural groups. The capitol city is Yaounde.

The official languages of Cameroon are French and English, as Cameroon was a colony of both England and France in the past (1916-1960). There are also 240 local languages. Kamtok, or Pidgin English, is also spoken.

Ndole is the national dish of Cameroon; it is made with a stew of nuts, a bitter leaves called ndoleh, and meat (fish, beef, shrimp, prawns). Ndole is often served with rice, plantains or cassava.

The social system of Cameroon is based on family relationships. Family obligations guide cultural, religious and social practices. It is common for siblings to care for infants and the elderly in the family. Families employ other family members in their businesses. When you greet someone, you ask about their family. And family success is prized over individual merit.

Childbearing is highly valued in Cameroon, a typical family has 10 or more children. Children are given a great deal of care and attention, infants usually sleep with their mother and as soon as they can hold their head up, siblings help care for the infant. Calling on extended family to help, is also common.

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‘I died that day’: Mother engulfed in grief over baby’s death with video

‘I died that day’: Mother engulfed in grief over baby’s death with video.

Nov. 2013, Warburg (Alberta, Canada) Four-month-old Delonna Sullivan died after just six days in foster care, under suspicious circumstances; family alleges government didn’t have right to take her

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Dv By Proxy From A Kid’s View.

Emily Court:

A heartbreaking video from a child who is being alienated from her parent…she is able to explain the differences in her life before her parents divorced and after, and that after her father remarried her stepmother began to show disapproval of her mother, and would attempt to sabotage her relationship with her mother. She gives details on how she has experienced alienation, and what she wishes were different. A very brave testimony! Sending my love and prayers to this child, so sorry for all you have been through.

Originally posted on Protective Mothers' Alliance International:

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A Must See!
This wonderful articulate young lady explains in detail some of the manipulations used by her Dad and his second wife to keep her from her mom after her parents’ divorce. She also explains how this made her feel and how she was able to realize the manipulations and lies, admitting some children ” buy into the lies”. She also gives great advice stating ” a REAL parent would make sure the kids would keep in contact with the parent”
A must see for all parents and professionals involved in family court. Also for the child victims of DV by Proxy who sadly, bought into the lies.

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