Minnesota: Proposed Bill Requires Guardian ad Litem to Protect Address of Abuse Survivors

Minnesota: Proposed bill would protect the physical address of participants enrolled in the Safe at Home program from being released or disclosed by Guardian ad Litems in family court or CPS proceedings.

The bill, introduced in the Senate as SF3198 and in the House as HF3551, would change the laws regarding “Safe at Home” program to require that Guardian ad Litems (GAL) must accept the program address as the address of the participant, and  must not disclose their home address, work address or school address unless given consent to do so.

Follow the bill online at: HF 3551 Status in the House for the 90th Legislature (2017 – 2018)

Note: GALs are required to visit with parents and children as part of their job, which often includes an in home visit. In some cases, family visits could be occur in a public location or other place. Should a home visit occur, a GAL would need the home address of the participant, the bill allows for this under Section 5B.05 (a) – see below. However, GALs are still required to keep the physical address of the participant confidential.

Why I Support This Bill: Abuse Survivor Loses Custody of Children Because GAL Says Participation in Safe at Home Program Means She Cannot Co-Parent with Identified Abuser

Hennepin County Family Justice Center

I support this bill SF 3198 and HF 3551, as a mother and survivor of domestic abuse, who has been involved in family court and was punished by the GAL for being enrolled in the Safe at Home program. The GAL felt having a confidential address was quote “keeping secrets” from my identified abuser, Martin, meaning I couldn’t co-parent. As a result, I lost custody of my two children, who continued to be subjected to mental, emotional and physical harm.

I will never forget Martin telling me that he needs to know where I live so “when something happens to you, I can come get the children”. When I reported this to Hennepin County Guardian ad Litem, Jamie L. Manning, she sympathized with Martin and told me I am wrong for being concerned about my own safety. This coming from a person who physically attacked me, causing my two children and I to become homeless. My 6 year old son got a black eye after Martin forced entry to our home, slamming the brass door knob into his face. My son suffered from severe anxiety and PTSD as a result of the attack, saying he hated himself because he was unable to protect me from his violent father. In the months following the incident, Martin stalked and harassed me until I entered the shelter system and he could not locate me. The Safe at Home program has provided a confidential address that has helped to not only maintain my safety but has been an important part of rebuilding my life.

I support this bill SF3198 and HF3551 because I have heard other stories of abuse survivors enrolled in the Safe at Home program being forced to disclose their address in family court, under the threat that failure to do so would result in the loss of custody of children.  There is a real need to 1) educate program managers and staff as well as GALs about the Safe at Home program and 2) protect participants from being forced to disclose their home address in court proceedings and/or coercing participants to disclose their home address against their will. This law is an important step in ensuring GALs abide by the laws and rules governing the Safe at Home program, and working toward continued reforms in family court.

What is the Safe At Home Program?

“Safe at Home” is a program that helps people who fear for their safety maintain a confidential address. Safe at Home gives participants a substitute address (usually a post office box) to use in place of their physical address; this address can legally be used whenever an address is required by public agencies, and can also be used on a driver’s license. The participant can be reached through the substitute address, mail received at that address is forwarded to the participant’s actual address.

Program participants include anyone who fears for their safety including survivors of domestic abuse, stalking, sexual assault or human trafficking; other participants may include professions such as law enforcement. Minor children of participants can also be enrolled in the program.

Safety planning and additional measures are often required to ensure the participant’s safety and to keep their address confidential.

“Safe at Home” has been implemented in 39 states (for a list please visit Address Confidentiality Programs)

Safe at Home was established in Minnesota in 2007, governed under Statute 5B – Data Protection for Victims of Violence and operated through the Office of the Secretary of State.

Learn More:

Minnesota: How Safe at Home Works

Domestic Violence: “Safe at Home” Program – Important Facts Every Judge Should Know (14-23)

Safe at Home: Best Practices for Law Enforcement

Proposed Bill Requires that Guardian ad Litems Protect the Address of Participants in the Safe at Home Program

SF 3198 – “A bill for an act relating to the Safe at Home program; modifying program requirements; making clarifying and technical changes; amending Minnesota Statutes 2016, sections 5B.02; 5B.03; 5B.05; 5B.07, subdivision 1.

“(a) When a program participant presents the address designated by the secretary of state to any person, that address must be accepted as the address of the program participant.

The person may not require the program participant to submit any address that could be used to physically locate the participant either as a substitute or in addition to the designated address, or as a condition of receiving a service or benefit, unless the service or benefit would be impossible to provide without knowledge of the program participant’s physical location.

Notwithstanding a person’s or entity’s knowledge of a program participant’s physical location, the person or entity must use the program participant’s designated address for all mail correspondence with the program participant.

(d) If a program participant has notified a person in writing, on a form prescribed by the program, that the individual is a program participant and of the requirements of this section, the person must not knowingly disclose the program participant’s name, home address, work
address, or school address, unless the person to whom the address is disclosed also lives, works, or goes to school at the address disclosed, or the participant has provided written consent
to disclosure of the participant’s name, home address, work address, or school address for the purpose for which the disclosure will be made.

This paragraph applies to the actions and reports of guardians ad litem, except that guardians ad litem may disclose the program participant’s name…”

 

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Rae Carruth Hired Hitman to Kill Pregnant Girlfriend Now Wants Custody of the Son that Survived

Pregnant Cherica Adams. Source Find A Grave: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/7535541/cherica-louvenia-adams. Added by Chariot Franco.

(Clinton, North Carolina: 2/20/2018) Rae Carruth, former Carolina Panthers wide receiver, has spent the past 17 years in a North Carolina prison for conspiracy to murder his pregnant girlfriend, Cherica Adams. Now Carruth is facing release he says he will seek custody of the son, who miraculously survived as his mother was shot five times  – a son he also tried to kill. 

In 1999, Carruth hired a hitman to kill Cherica and the baby because he didn’t want to pay child support. Only Van Brett Watkins, the gunman who shot Cherica five times, couldn’t bring himself to kill the baby. Cherica died a month after the shooting, her son Chancellor Lee Adams, who was born prematurely, survived. Chancellor was born with cerebral palsy as a result of being deprived of oxygen when his mother was shot. Chancellor, now age 18, is thriving, and doing well under the care of his grandmother.

Carruth will be released from prison in October 2018 and is claims that he wants custody of Chancellor. Grandmother, Saundra Adams, says that won’t ever happen…

READ FULL STORY HERE: 

Ex-Carolina Panther Rae Carruth won’t ever get custody of son he wanted dead, grandma says

Rae Carruth apologizes for death of pregnant girlfriend, seeks custody of 18-year-old son

Cherica Adams Would Have Been 40 Years Old Today

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Police Tackle, Take Boy Into State Custody By Force Because He Being Is Home Schooled

“We love our son dearly. He’s always come first. He’s our only child… We’re a close family. We’re all about family…” ~ Terese Kristiansen, mother 

(As, Norway: February 14, 2018) A shocking video has gone viral around the world showing a Norweigan police officer chasing a 12-year old boy who is then tackled into the snow, and screaming desperately, as he is dragged off into state care by Barnevernet agents (Norway’s CPS) and police. The boy was taken from his loving parents, Leif and Terese Kristiansen. simply because they chose to home school him in order to protect him from bullying at school.

Leif and Terese Kristiansen felt they had no choice but to remove their son from school after he had received death threats, and the school was unable to protect him. The parents were looking for another school at the time he was taken from their care by Barnevernet.

Leif and Terese have been allowed only one weekly supervised two-hour visit with their son. They are being supported by the Home School Legal Defense Association in their efforts to regain custody, and bring their son home.

Home School Legal Defense Association has launched a petition drive to call upon Norwegian authorities to return Kai to his family. Click here to sign it. 

**UPDATE CHILD RETURNED TO KRISTIANSEN FAMILY***

February 22, 2018 – Leif and Terese Kristiansen announced on Wednesday that their son, Kai, is has returned to their home in Ås.

“We are very pleased to announce that Kai is back in his home with his family. We’re very happy to see him again,” Leif Kristiansen wrote in a Facebook post. “We couldn’t have done this without international support from others who have contributed to us getting him back home. We are forever grateful.”

READ FULL STORY:

HSLDA – Free Kai (Kristiansen Family Story)

Homeschooled Boy Tackled by Police

Norwegian Boy Chased, Taken Into Custody by Authorities for Being Homeschooled

‘A big state versus a poor family’: Canadian’s son forcibly removed in Norway

Norway Returns 12-Y-O Son to Homeschool Parents After They Agree to Surrender Passports

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Kendra Stocks, Mother, Jailed by Family Court Judge for Baptizing Daughter

Family Court judge takes authority over child’s custody not only on Earth but in eternity as well… 

Public Domain Image: http://weclipart.com

(Charlotte, North Carolina: February 15, 2018): Judge Sean Smith sentenced mother, Kendra Stocks, to serve 7 days in jail for violating a family court order by baptizing her daughter.  The baptism occurred just one day after Judge Smith granted father, Paul Schaaf, full custody, ‘specifically including decisions concerning religion.’

Stocks was the primary caregiver of the child since birth. Judge Smith changed custody to the father because he determined Stocks was unable to co-parent.

Stock said about sentence to The Charlotte Observer, “I don’t regret having her baptized. That was in her best interest… I don’t see how this is in the best interest of the family. Her father is sending her mother to jail…”

Read Full Story: 

Charlotte mom who ignored judge and had daughter baptized begins week behind bars

Charlotte woman reports to jail for baptizing daughter By: Glenn Counts

 

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“Family Court Orientation” with Don Rufty Exposes the Family Court Racket

“I will be presiding over the destruction of your family, which is why we call it ‘family court’..”

“Family Court Orientation” by Don Rufty is a powerful video to raise awareness of the injustices of the family court system.

The video is narrated by “Judge Roy Bing” who symbolizes the corrupt judges of family court. “Judge Bing” reveals common ways family court proceedings violate the law, and Constitutional rights of parents; and the “big business” of removing children from the custody of parents.

 

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“She is my heart…” Bryce Cook, Father, Fighting to Gain Custody of Premie Daughter

Bryce Cook and his premie daughter, Bryelle. Go Fund Me: https://www.gofundme.com/help-bring-bryelle-home

(Idaho Falls, Idaho: January 2018)  Bryce Cook is fighting to gain custody of his premie daughter, Bryelle, who was placed in foster care after he reported the child’s mother for alleged drug use. Cook says he reported the drug use because, “I want my daughter to be safe and home at least a fair chance in life…” 

Bryelle is a miracle baby, born at 25 weeks weighing a little more than one pound. Cook decorated a nursery for Bryelle; the place where a baby is supposed to sleep has become a place to reflect on his pain,”I sleep in the nursery so I can look out, instead of being out looking into an empty nursery, it kills me inside. I cry, I cry just thinking about when she’s 18 and has to leave the house again.” 

Cook wrote a desperate plea for help on GoFundMe:

First if all I hate doing this I’m not a begger but I need help.

My daughter Bryelle was born 1 lb 12 oz cps was called because I was worried about her safety do to situation. Despite facts they have lied made false accusations and appointed me a criminal defense lawyer honestly I don’t know how I got involved. It wasn’t my case felt i did right thing. I was the only person to see Bryelle everyday sometimes two three times working a full time job and two part time one a payback I have two kids that mean the world to me. I have not failed any uranalysis I got on chantix for respitory issues due to the early birth.

Im finding resources to take care of her special needs likeeating even though they should’ve offered I got a nicer place and a nursery set up she is my heart and they have used everything against me even when I planned it out discredited there concerns and didn’t have a fair chance to receive the basic training I worked hard for my family and I hated doing this but thought it was worth a try.

I want my daughter to be safe and home at least a fair chance in life I appreciate anyone’s concern and I’m sorry I’m asking I just have don’t have money due to baby needs cps is breaking laws and I have tried everything I can do

God bless and if you wanna check out my story check out timeline God bless this girl is special and I feel hopeless. Thank you and share if you want I just want my daughter to be ok. I also have a son who misses his sister. I’m a good man and have a good heart. Anything helps Bryce Cook if u wanna check it out and share.”

Cook shared his story in support groups for parents of premature children on Facebook and has recently been featured in a local news report: Local father fighting for custody of premature daughter (Local News 8)

Also visit Cook’s GoFund me atHelp bring Bryelle home

 

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Response: “The Business of Divorce is Broken. It No Longer Works for Anyone…”

The evidence that the family court system is failing is overwhelming… an attorney shares her thoughts on common concerns, and encourages family law professionals to be part of the solution. As a parent involved in family court, I offer my thoughts as well. 

As a child, Michelle Crosby vividly recalled the pain of her parents’ divorce, which later became the catalyst for her to enter law school. Crosby has since dedicated her life to helping families involved in divorce or custody proceedings reach resolution without getting stuck in the legal system. She is the founder and CEO of Wevorce a company that offers an innovative approach to deal with divorce more amicably that is customized to the individual needs of each family, and is settlement focused.

In the article Family Law Is Broken. Let’s Fix It. Crosby, says that family law or “the business of divorce” is broken and does not work for anyone – not couples, not children, and not even the judges, attorneys and professionals driving the  system. 

Crosby shares some common problems facing the family court system:

** The family court system is designed to work for society as a whole and not designed to individually address each family’s problems.  Crosby says that in order to meet the demands of a large group of people,  family courts seek a traditional or “cookie cutter” approach to cases and expect all families to comply no matter how complex or unique their needs are.

** The family courts are underfunded and ill-equipped to handle complex cases that require more time and resources to reach a resolution.

**Couples entering family court have no idea of what they are getting into when litigation begins but the courts do, attorneys do. Many litigants do not understand the court process. When seeking help, the complexity of what is involved as well as the variety of services makes it hard to be an “informed consumer” when getting the right professional help for your situation. (In my opinion, this creates an imbalance of power which makes litigants/parents more vulnerable. — Especially when that litigant/parent cannot afford legal help and is forced to represent themselves pro se.)

** Finally, Crosby says divorce is looked at as a legal issue alone and that emotional issues must also be considered when seeking resolution for families. She warns, “Until we change this mindset that divorce equals law (and therefore lawyers, big legal bills, fighting, courtrooms, and so on), we don’t have a chance to change how divorce is done…

Crosby is optimistic that the family court process can be improved, and that families will fare better if law professionals work together to seek solutions. She encourages professional involvement (mediators, therapist, community orgs, etc) so that families become more empowered, and are given more choices to resolve their own divorce in a more personalized way that does not overly rely on the court. Crosby also advises that litigants/parents “ take ownership of their divorce and what their family’s unique situation requires…

** RESPONSE **

Family court is, itself, is trapped in it’s own messy divorce with the families who come under it’s jurisdiction. 

The family court system is broken and failing miserably and that is clear.

Some would say family court is corrupt. Or that family court operates like a business, a “court-oration” that profits off keeping families in the system. Others place the fault at pro se litigants, claiming those who do not have attorneys clog up the system by filing frivolous motions or creating conflict. Or simply excuse complaints about the court system as coming from “disgruntled” litigants.

Whatever you believe the evidence of the failings of family court are overwhelming – most families leave court in a worse position than when litigation began.

Common complaints about family court include: 

Domestic abuse survivors are pressured or threatened to stop reporting abuse by judges, GALs and other court professionals; and punished when trying to protect children from harm. 

Children are court ordered into the custody and care of abusive, unfit parents at alarming rates. Many of these children are re-abused, some are even murdered. 

When abusive, dysfunctional parents gain custody (and it is usually sole custody) they continue to abuse their ex partner, and children and are more likely to sabotage the child’s relationship with the other parent.

Laws are routinely broken in family court, and the Constitutional rights of parents/litigants violated.

Family Courts easily remove children from the custody of parents and do so by stripping parents of their legal rights, and denying due process. 

Litigant/parents have little or no recourse while judges, GALs and other court professionals receive immunity.

And justice is denied.

CC0 Public Domain Image: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net

So now you have families dealing with the challenges of divorce and/or child custody, grappling with various issues that are both material and emotional, entering a court system that is itself abusive, dysfunctional and chaotic. Litigants enter the system seeking resolution for their family’s own problems and ultimately find themselves in a tug-of-war for their children, their finances, their assets, their reputations and even their freedoms against the court itself.

The children involved in these cases spend their whole childhood involved in litigation; subjected to invasive interventions from the court’s cottage industry of professionals that disrupt their lives. Parents who once made decisions for their children are now being overruled by complete strangers working in the system who know what is “best” and often make assertions without having the proper credentials to do so. Even the relationship between the parent and child is subject to revision through use of aggressive demands, as well as psychological treatment placed on parent and child by court order.  In a large number of cases fit, loving parents lose custody of children and/or visitation is severely limited while abusive, dysfunctional parents are given sole custody (and preferential treatment). Some parents become permanently estranged from children, and lose all contact. All of this, supposedly, in the “best interest” of children.

The result, predictably, is more pain, stress and strife for families – many who find themselves trapped in the legal system for years and years, and leave family court traumatized, their lives totally devastated at every level.  

I appreciate the insights Michelle Crosby has shared. And applaud her willingness to seek solutions by reaching out to all involved in proceedings – family law professionals, community providers and parents. I agree with Crosby that solutions to “fix” family law should involve not only addressing the systemic problems but also assisting families to seek solutions privately, keeping the role of the court minimal.

But at the same time, the injustices happening in family court cannot and should not be ignored. There needs to be more transparency in the court system, and more accountability overall. Litigants/parents should be given effective means to file complaints and have them heard. Judges, GALs and court professionals should face real discipline when they act outside their mandated duties, or when they break the law.

The court system also needs to develop better practices when allegations of domestic abuse or child abuse are raised. Victims should be protected – not punished.

Fix family law.. alot of work needs to be done! What are your ideas? Please post below – together let’s be part of the solution. 

~ “Emily Court”

Read More: 

Wevorce CEO Michelle Crosby is shaking up the adversarial divorce process

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Child’s Drawing: “Daddy in Jail, He Hit Me..” (Family Court Awards Custody to Abuser)

Family Court Injustice Hennepin County, Minnesota

(Hennepin County, Minnesota: 2006-2018) Mother discovers child’s drawings in a lost notebook, a voice silenced by family court speaks out about abuse…

“Daddy red touch – jail with lock. He hit me.” DJ then slaps himself in the head, hard, to show what happened. 

This picture of “Daddy” is drawn in red crayon to represent “red touches”. The words above I wrote based on what my child, “DJ”, then age 7, reported to me.

DJ has suffered severe PTSD and behavioral problems, which therapists noted are consistent with witnessing or being a victim of domestic abuse. As a result of recalling this troubling memory, DJ would become upset and later have a meltdown. “Meltdown” meaning he would fall to the floor crying and screaming. At times, during a meltdown, he would repeat swear words he heard from “Daddy” or become aggressive. Therapists noted in records that DJ told them “I learned my tantrum from Dad” and “I want to be the boss like Dad“. 

“DJ”read the “Red Flag, Green Flag People” book in a domestic abuse support group for children and learned about personal safety.  “Red Flag, Green Flag” follows the good touch/bad touch teaching pattern, with green flag touches being safe and appropriate touches and red flag touches being inappropriate, uncomfortable, or hurtful touches.

Background: 

In April 2006, I was physically assaulted by my abusive ex, Martin and forced to flee the home to seek safety for myself and my children. My son “DJ” was injured during the incident when Martin forced entry into the home, slamming him in the face with the door, causing a black eye. Being homeless, and living on the streets or couch surfing, was actually safer than staying in an abusive relationship with Martin. But nothing could compare to the nightmare that awaited us in the Hennepin County Family Injustice Center.

Martin sought sole custody of the children telling me that he “wanted me to know how it felt to be hurt“. Martin also told me that if he could not gain custody of the children that he would “call a social worker and have the children put into foster care” just so they would not be in my care.

When litigation began, in June 2006, I naively believed that the family court would listen when I reported the abuse, and investigate the various evidence I submitted showing that abuse did happen, and would work to protect the children.

I thought the Guardian ad Litem, first Christine Davis and then Jamie L. Manning, would listen to the children when they reported abuse, and showed fear of their father, and do something to protect them. Just the opposite happened – my children were pressured and coerced by the court and GAL Manning to recant abuse, and forced into a relationship with their father despite tears and cries for help. When my children reported abuse to the Guardian ad Litem, and court appointed therapist they were told “it happened in the past” and if there wasn’t bruises on their body, they could not prove abuse happened. And when bruises and other marks as a result of abuse or neglect did happen, the court and GAL continued to make excuses for the abuser and deny that my children were endangered. 

I was unjustly removed from my children’s lives by court order and told that reporting abuse meant I was unable to co-parent. And also told that I am “keeping secrets” because I entered an address confidentiality program for victims of domestic abuse (and that meant I am an unfit parent). All of these obscene reasons were used to illegally strip me of parental rights and forcibly remove my children from the safe, loving home I provided. I now am allowed just one visit a month with my children, and the court order states I must ask Martin – the abuser – for permission before being given any additional parenting time.

As a result of proceedings, my children have been forced to live in an abusive and dysfunctional environment. The children have been physically and mentally re-abused and emotionally neglected after Martin gained custody. By court order, the children have been  forcibly estranged from their mother, and any connection to their maternal family including their sibling, other family members and friends and their cultural and religious heritage.

I am still involved in family court proceedings, fighting to regain rights and visitation to my children, and working to keep them safe.

~ “Emily Court” © 2018

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Disciplinary Hearing set for Family Court Judge Rena Hughes Who Threatened Child With Jail

Judge Rena Hughes

(Las Vegas, Nevada: February 2, 2018) Family Court Judge Rena Hughes soon will be judged in a disciplinary hearing after a complaint was filed due to her conduct in a custody hearing that included threatening a weeping 12 year old child with jail if she did not immediately go into the custody of her allegedly abusive father.

The mother, Welthy Silva, was then slapped with a no contact order prohibiting any contact with her daughter, and has fought to regain parental rights. 

A video of the hearing captured the 12-year old girl’s terror at Judge Hughes actions towards her

Annie (Crying, Pleading) “Please no, I want to be with my mama. Please. I don’t want to be with him.”
Judge Hughes: “I’ve made my decision. I’ve already told you that.”
Annie: “I beg of you.”
Judge: “You don’t need to beg.  I’ve made the decision for your best interest.”
Annie: “How do you know my best interest? You don’t know me.”
Judge: “Because I told you, I’m a grown-up, and you’re a child.”
Annie: “Please, please, please, please, please.”

Silva says about the video footage of the hearing that it is too painful for her to watch. She also says,”I wasn’t thrilled about having my daughter exposed like this, but if it can get some justice, if it can save future children from this kind of abuse of power, then so be it. Judge Hughes sealed the case soon after the court video surfaced on You Tube.

Since the airing of this video, more mothers have come forward to complain about the behavior of Judge Hughes on their cases, who has been described as a “bully on the bench”. According to Action News 13,”More mothers are coming forward to Contact 13 saying a Family Court judge is a bully on the bench, accusing her of ripping families apart, failing to enforce child support orders and leaving children as collateral damage.. CONTACT 13: More moms come forward to say Family Court judge is bully on bench (Darcy Spears)

 

Update from the Las Vegas Review Journal,A disciplinary hearing has been set for Family Court Judge Rena Hughes to address allegations that she improperly held a mother in contempt of court during a custody battle.

At a hearing in June 2016, Hughes awarded a girl’s father temporary custody, then threatened to send the girl, who cried during the court proceeding, to Child Haven, a shelter for abused and neglected children, if she refused to go with her father, according to a formal statement of charges from the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline…

Source: Las Vegas Review Journal: Disciplinary hearing set for Family Court judge/

Also read the previous FCI post on the Silva case: UPDATE On Silva Case – Child Berated By Judge, Threatened With Jail After Refusing to Visit Abusive Father

 

Posted in Child Abuse, Children Stolen by the Government, Family Court Injustice, Family Court News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Reader Question: How Do You Cope with Loss of Alienated Child with Family, Siblings?

Public Domain – Pinterest Wall Paper

The FCI blog received a reader question regarding coping with the loss of an alienated child, and addressing the issue with a sibling child and other family members.

Readers please leave your thoughts, tips and advice to support this parent, and all parents going through this very painful loss. You can post as comment to chime in or if you want, contact the FCI blog at djfund @ live dot com

Thank-You!

______________

Deanna writes:Once you have a child that is alienated from an entire family

How do you propose the family deal with the loss?

And how do we help our younger children deal with the loss of a sibling?”

________________

FCI Response:

Hello Deanna,

The loss of a child due to alienation is just as painful as if the child has died, and in my experience, you go through the very same grieving process. This type of loss is called “Ambiguous Loss” mean it is a loss that happens suddenly, and without explanation, and remains unresolved or there is no opportunity for closure.

Every person, and family, deals with the loss differently. There is no right or wrong way. What is most important is finding ways to offer you support, and assist in your grief in a way that is meaningful for you.

Tips on Dealing with Ambiguous Loss:

Coping with an Unknown Outcome: Ambiguous Loss

Coping With Ambiguous Loss: Resiliency Not Recovery

When dealing with the loss of my children, it also helped tremendously to find a way to honor my children, and keep them a part of my life even though they are not with me. I did alot of volunteering because it gave me a way to use my mothering, and express what I valued most about being with family, in another setting. For example when working at a clubhouse for disabled adults I enjoyed cooking meals for potlucks or playing games with clients. Church was also really helpful for me because it offered messages of hope, and stories of people overcoming incredible challenges.. and gave me a strength I did not have inside of my self. So be open to trying new outlets to channel what is meaningful to you about your child or your role as a parent. Or be open to find support in creative places.

One tip – you do NOT have to tell anyone your story if you do not feel comfortable, and it may even make you vulnerable to do so. It’s ok to keep your story private and use generic expressions when asking for help such as “I’m going through a loss” or “I have experienced grief” or “I’m needing support for a challenging I’m going through”. Also many community support groups are anonymous, and it’s ok to use a nickname or anonymous name if you feel more comfortable.

As far as younger children, what I did when my son was grieving the loss of his siblings is find books or movies to tell him what is going on in a kid friendly way, and let him know I understood his feelings.

The best movie I found was “Elmo in Grouchland”. The villain in the story, Huxley, steals Elmo’s blanket, and takes it to another world and away from Elmo. Elmo grieves the loss of his blanket. And then goes on an epic adventure to get it back.

It felt easier to talk about the loss of my son’s siblings when comparing it to the loss of Elmo’s blanket. That Huxley had problems sharing so he took the blanket away, and that made Elmo sad. I said that my ex also had problems with sharing so he wasn’t letting us see your siblings, and we also feel sad. But just like Elmo worked hard to get his blanket back, mommy was also working hard to be able to spend more time with your siblings. And that might not happen right away but your brother and sister love you, and know we love them.

Another book that is really helpful is “The Kissing Hand”. The book is about a young raccoon that misses his mother when he goes to school so the Mother raccoon gives him reassurance by kissing his paw, and placing the paw on his face to remember her love.

At night, I would read my son the book and then we’d kiss our hand, and through it out the window imagining that it would reach his brother and sister. It comforted my son to know he could do something, and that somewhere his siblings were getting his kiss.

Anyone else have any tips for dealing with a child that is alienated from the family? Please post in comments.

 

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