Category Archives: mississippi child custody law

Dare You To Read … 



I have some horrific news to share. Yesterday, I learned about a 13 year old girl who took her own life. I know her family.. Look at this beautiful girl. Look at those eyes… She was involved in extracurricular actives at her middle school as a Cheerleader and Goal Keeper for the Co-Ed Soccer Team. She was also active in Gymnastics and was a member of the Competition Cheerleading Team. What would prompt a beautiful girl with her whole life ahead of her to take her own life? Why was she so tortured?

I’ll tell you why… Her father (a police officer) managed to gain full custody of her and he completely cut her mother out of her life. This precious girl was deprived of her own mother like my children and so many other children have been, so many mothers and children who are now coming forward with their own personal stories and experiences. 

If your heart is not already broken for the mother of this beautiful young girl who took her life, it will be after I tell you what happened the day before she took her life. This child wanted desperately to see her mom again, so she called her using a friend’s cell phone and asked if she’d meet her somewhere (on the sly of course since her father would never allow her to be with her mother at all). They met and were able to finally spend some time together. This mother and her family thought their prayers had been answered. How could they know what would happen next? This young girl took her own life the very next day. Can you imagine how her mother must have felt? Can you imagine how this precious child must have felt just before she pulled the trigger that ended her life? There is nothing in this life more horrific -more traumatic- than forcing a child to live with no contact with their own mother.

If there were any doubts about how cruel this father was before his child took her life, there are no doubts now. He buried this baby girl (and “baby” is what I call a 13 year old) without allowing her own mother -the women who carried her and gave birth to her and cared for her until she “lost” custody of her- to come to the funeral or burial. He even left her mother out of the obituary as if she didn’t exist. If evil has a face, it’s the face of this dead child’s father.

Not long after I read this post, Janie and I teamed up and decided to use our knowledge of the inner workings of the corrupt family court system and our writing talents to do -to create- something that would make a difference. Something that would give a voice to those who are harmed the most – the children. After working on numerous blog posts together, we began working on The Motherless Child Project which was released just before Christmas 2014. This book is only the first in a series. Sadly, our nation is truly becoming a nation of motherless children more and more with each passing day. While mothers have some small voice, children have no voice. Ember -our book’s main character- is a much needed voice for all the motherless children. You can read more about The Motherless Child Project at http://www.themotherlesschildproject.com

Depriving children of a relationship with their own mother is completely traumatic. It’s known that childhood trauma is linked to many adverse and long-term health and social consequences. The more traumatic events a child experiences, the more tragic the consequences will be. You can read more about how childhood trauma negatively impacts a child’s life here http://acestudy.org/ What’s makes the results of the ACE Study even more troubling is the fact that this nation’s family court judges (those charged with upholding the law of the land), family court lawyers, GAL’s (lawyer who are charged with representing the best interest of the child), court appointed social workers and psychologists intentionally place children in dangerous, abusive, traumatic situations.

To get a glimpse of what a “motherless” child endures -feels-, read “When a Mother Disappears: The Words from a Stolen Child” http://mothersoflostchildren.org/2015/01/when-a-mother-disappears-the-words-from-a-stolen-child/ 

Following is a heart-wrenching excerpt “I grew up thinking this could not have happened to anyone else. No one else’s mother disappears, which had made me feel deeply ashamed, though I hadn’t named that; I had just felt it somewhere beneath the surface of my heart, because children always assume it is their fault when a parent leaves. I had known my father had something to do with it though. And perhaps my mother had done something bad, something that made him furious.  I knew it wasn’t only my fault.”

Of course, trauma impacts the mothers of “lost” children experiencing trauma they can’t do anything about. Losing a child “through life” is the most horrific way to lose a child. Until a couple of decades ago, nobody had ever lost a child in this way– at least not in mass numbers. And, children didn’t go missing “legally”.

No mother should ever have to lose a child through life. It’s not normal. It’s not natural. There is no closure. There is no end to the gut wrenching pain. The wound does not ever heal. In fact, it never even forms a scab toward healing. It remains perpetually open… The taking of living children from living mothers is something so terrible, so evil, that there is no way to really describe such a loss. I wrote a poem about losing a child through life here http://motherswithoutcustodyworld.com/to_lose_a_child_through_life The mother of this 13 year old lost a child through life and then through death too. I don’t know how to even begin to describe that kind of loss….

This story -this suicide- has hit me really really hard. I’m also thinking of other mothers I’ve met who hatheir children to abusive fathers and then suicide – mothers like Maria Bauer Melinn. Maria’s son Michael took his life in the same way… I wonder how many children commit suicide because of being deprived of their mothers. God never intended for the sacred bond between mother and child to be broken. Laura was only eleven months old and Matthew was only twenty-three months old when they were taken from me in November 1998. I do not know my own children. And they do not know their own mother. They have grown up entirely motherless. There are hundreds of thousands of motherless children in the United States (and beyond) who have loving mothers, but are not allowed to see them or even know them in many cases.

Janie McQueen wrote a blog post a while back called “A Nation of Motherless Children” where she asked the question “Do you know the spiritual Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child? All these sad, one-winner cases make me wonder if we’re heading toward a nation of motherless children.” http://janiemcqueen.com/a-nation-of-motherless-children/

{it’s} past time to get serious about stopping this intentional maternal deprivation. Please, let’s all work together to stop this. Speak out loudly about the racketeering going on in the family court system. http://motherswithoutcustodyworld.com/family_court_a_criminal_enterprise

Most important of all though, let’s continually pray for our children to be delivered from evil.

(For more details, additional information, please see The Motherless Child Project) 

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Top Down or Bottoms Up … City, County, State, Federal Government Reform: Where We Start Matters Little As Long As We Begin

As convinced as I am that the Fed’s are abusing their powers, I am just as convinced, and urge others to explore solutions BESIDES AND/OR in addition to just giving MORE power to abuse to the many crooked STATE, COUNTY, and CITY politicians. All levels of government are corrupted from the lowest to the highest.  Those of us who have experienced family court abuse know firsthand how the judiciary fails our children, and state bar associations and review boards, investigative committees (IF your state even has oversight and investigative committees … many do NOT) look the other way or are so overwhelmed and incompetent they are waiting for HELP from higher authorities.  As it  stands, it really is the wild-wild-west, city, county, state and federal.  We must overhaul the system, bottom-up or top-down but it REQUIRES a complete overhaul.

I am convinced that is why change has not yet happened … we must organize, report, investigate, punish  and hold accountable and replace those who are corrupt.

WE (ARE) THE PEOPLE ….

No WONDER we’re all losing our children down here – A Mother, Still, In Mississippi

From, Writing For My Life (2013):  Mailouts

Please store the copy/paste headline/information in your database, if you think useful …  this info routed from the AG’s justice site.  The Feds have been aware of,  investigating why so many parents/children are sent by the Chancery Courts to DHS program (in Mississippi) for the purposes of “supervised”, limited, restricted visits together …. meaning, not even impoverished and/or welfare families but average, middle to upper middle class families as well.  This inquiry stemmed from budgeting, accounting, of course…. the State paying too many employees overtime for these strange, weekend hours and it started to show in the budget/accounting, up throughout the levels of Government until it reached the Federal level?  I suppose money IS THE ONLY WAY to get the Feds attention, perhaps question WHY so many parents are placed under such harsh restrictions, supervised visitation, and, having to pay for this supervision by private means, or, having the taxpayers pay for government “supervision”.  And all this with a great majority of these parents having no explainable, legal reason for being placed under such restrictions.

At any rate, I was startled that so many high-up people in government, and legal professionals etc. were not even aware of these inquiries, investigations, ongoing lawsuits, etc.

And THESE are the people in charge?  No WONDER we’re all losing our children down here – A Mother, Still, In Mississippi

Random Thoughts: Can’t We All Just Get Along? Mothers, Fathers, to Unite and Snuff Out The Real Terrorists Who Are Profiting From Our Losses, Our Children ….

They (the money-grubbers in the “system”) have sat back, content in the knowledge that there is so much “gender” animosity, in-fighting, mothers vs. fathers, when we ALL know this began as a slow, gradual movement, where surely fathers suffered greatly in the early 70’s & the 80’s, until fathers began to unite, rebel, as they should have, invested money and called much attention to their plight.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to get a grasp on how that movement shifted into shared parenting, with the scales tipped (FOR THE MOST PART!) in favor of fathers … much sympathy was duly earned but now we have entered into a realm of in-fighting that has only helped the most disgusting corrupt of the corrupt content to line their pockets while egging on the conflicts in court, giving no thought whatsoever to the real victims … the CHILDREN.

It’s obvious that with the shift came the influx of the most corrupt of corrupt … the attorneys, the court appointed “professionals”, as the balance shifted, in most areas, to where fit and loving mothers began to lose children, horribly, inexplicably.  No real human being wishes to cause this pain on anyone, any loving, protective parent.

I am saddened by what I perceive to be the biggest obstacle, this division between which gender has or is suffering the most … there are sadists, narcissists, crazies in both genders … it’s easy enough to tell who loves their children selflessly.  We are ALL OVER THESE BLOGS, WRITINGS FOR OUR LIVES as I call it.  It’s heartbreaking and I fear it won’t end until we find ways to unite, pull together, in order to attack the REAL ENEMY .. those who are encouraging the sociopath ex’s (of either gender) to wage war in court in order to punish an ex-spouse by using the children.

It is my most fervent hope and prayer that we all soon unite, one with another, alienated, abused, mistreated, robbed, scandalized, broken, suffering mothers AND fathers, moms and dads, PARENTS!… IN ORDER THAT WE SNUFF OUT, EXPOSE, REPORT, HOLD ACCOUNTIBLE, PUNISH AND REMOVE FOREVER, ALL THOSE WHO HAVE BROKEN THE GREATEST TRUST OF THEIR PROFESSIONS WHILE THEY CONTINUE TO PROFIT FROM OUR, AND MORE IMPORTANT, OUR CHILDRENS, DISTRESS.

 

CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG AND UNITE FOR THE CAUSE?  WARRIORS, MOTHERS, FATHERS, PARENTS, WHO MUST RECLAIM OUR RIGHTS, OUR CHILDREN?  OUR FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT.

 

 

“Maternal Deprivation is inflicting abuse by severing the mother-child bond…” from research, Sept. 2011 (BEFORE fated gal appointment!)

Unethical treatment of women and children in family court & Maternal Deprivation:

Maternal Deprivation is inflicting abuse by severing the mother-child bond. It is a form of abuse that men inflict on both the mother and children, especially men who claim they are “parentally alienated” from their children when there are complaints of abusive treatment by the father.

Maternal Deprivation occurs when men seek to keep their children from being raised by their mothers who are the children’s natural caretakers,
seek to sever the maternal bonds by making false allegations of fictitious psychological syndromes in a deliberate effort to change custody and/or keep the child from having contact with their mother when there are legal proceedings.

In seeking to define this form of abuse certain common elements are found in the Maternal Deprivation scenario as follows:

History of domestic abuse that could be physical, psychological, sexual,  and/or social abuse occurring on or off again, occasionally, or          chronically which could be mild, moderate, or severe, including  homicidal and/or suicidal threats; Legal proceedings relating to abuse;
Hiring of “Fathers Rights” attorney; Use of “Hired Gun” mental health  professionals to make accusations of psychological disorder against the  mother and children in deliberate effort to excuse abuse and change  custody or grant visitation that is contrary to safety concerns (Another  name for these unethical professionals are “Whores of the  Courts“); Raising claims of “psychological disorders” against the mother  such as “Parental Alienation Syndrome” (PAS), Munchausen by Proxy  Syndrome, Malicious Mother Syndrome, Lying Litigant Syndrome,  Hostile Aggressive Parenting or any other mother-blaming  psychological disorder that can be used by the unethical professional to  re-victimize the victims; Infliction of “Legal Abuse” by continually and  excessively filing motions so that the mother continually has to defend  herself and her child(ren) causing financial and emotional devastation.  Can occur in response to child support legal proceedings as retaliation;

The intent of “Maternal Deprivation” is to punish the mother and the child for revealing the abuse and to falsely claim that they are not abusive. This very commonly occurs as there are more and more “abuse-excuse” parental alienation accusing professionals who use this scientifically invalid theory over and over to achieve specific goals of the person paying them.

Maternal Deprivation can also occur in response to child support legal proceedings. When occurring in this manner, Maternal Deprivation is a response to the financial demands as retaliation. Suddenly the father who had little prior involvement wants to take the kids half the time to avoid child support obligations, etc.

When the men are really abusive, they ask for sole custody and demand the mother of the child pay them. Although some people call this “Maternal Alienation”, a distinction needs to be made as the pro-pedophilia “Parental Alienation Syndrome” and the use of the word “Alienation” are most often used AGAINST battered women and abused children. There needs to be a distinction between the phony psychological syndrome and the intentional infliction of abuse on a mother and child by intentionally severing their natural bond. This distinction can best be made by NOT using the label of “Alienation” which will always be associated with the pro-pedophilia monster Doctor Richard Gardner.

Some of the characteristics of the especially heinous abusers who inflict Maternal Deprivation include but are not limited to the following:
*Angry; *Abusive;
*Violent; *Coercive;
*Controlling; *Threatening; *Intimidating; *Demanding; *Domineering;
*Harassing;
*Stalking;
*Tyrannical;
*Oppressive;
*Forceful;
*Manipulative;
*Deceptive;
*Unethical;
*Un-empathetic(Lacks Empathy);
*Entitled;
*Immature;
*Self-centered;
*Neglectful;
*Guilt inducing;
*Pushy;
*Intentionally tries to humiliate mother and/or child;
….

 

A MOTHER’S LAMENT, by B. R. Hardin, Attorney, Father, and Grandfather

(The following is a letter written by a mother who lost custody of her two children, reminiscing of the times they spent together, their life in Ocean Springs.  Because her ex-husband could afford the children a larger home, and her inability to recover from her loss when Katrina swept the gulf coast, she lost custody of her children, and was limited to visits on an every other weekend basis, but only to the tri-county area of Rankin, Madison and Hinds, and no over night visitation, I suppose for fear she would remove the children from the jurisdiction of the court.  She spent her life’s savings, over $45,000 dollars in attorney fees and the fees of Guardian Ad :Litems appointed by the court to investigate and report their findings to the court for the purpose of assisting the court in determining the best interest of the children and which parent would be more suitable for their care.  The first Guardian Ad Litem gave her a favorable report and recommended to the Court that the children be placed in her custody, but the second Guardian Ad Litem, for some reason, chose her ex-husband over her, and the Court favored this last report and her ex-husband one out, mainly because, in her opinions, he had a large, lovely home in Madison County and had the funds to raise the children, whereas, due to her circumstances, she did not.  That was seven years ago and she has been fighting to recover their custody since that time.  This is a lament of her efforts and the pain that she has suffered in that pursuit. It is addressed to a dear friend and to her older daughter by a previous marriage.   It begins with the ending of one of her visits with her young, twelve year old daughter.)

“Tonight, as I drove Miranda back to Madison, stroking her hair as her head lay over the armrest, stretching toward me as close as her seatbelt would allow like she always does on those drives ‘after the visit is over’, I vowed to begin writing, again.  It is one of a few passions of mine for which I have slowly turned away from.  My other favorites were put away much more abruptly.  My present demeanor may be disheveled, at times, but my memory is as sharp as a tack, like it has always been.  I recount my life events by dates, sometimes even down to the hour and minute, of ‘before’ and ‘after’ events.  Fishing, which always included some form of beach walking and nature exploration (which meant cardio exercise and fresh air as a bonus), ended the last time I went with my youngest daughter Miranda.  I haven’t allowed myself to recreate that particular memory down to the time and date, but I know it was with her, and I know that it ended as abruptly as the day we were separated by a court order that wrenched us apart in November 28th, 2011.  Listening to music, especially bayou-zydeco and country-western, old gospel hymns, and really old country ho-down music that I was tickled to hear my kids sing to as well.  I had amassed quite of collection of downloads, cd’s, and 2 great stereo’s that I wired together … my talent for setting up surround-sound and wiring “outdoor” speakers in nooks and crannies along the outside of our home was acknowledged and admired by even the most manly men of neighbors and teenaged boys with jack-up trucks and booming sound systems (my kids were quite proud of their mom’s sound-wiring skills), and every night, summer, spring, winter or fall, we enjoyed sitting outside by a fire …. for just a few minutes to a few hours, listening to, and singing along to “our” songs.  We always seemed to have extra’s, company, whether invited or not … the kids friends, their friends of friends, their parents, our neighbors…. somehow, our music and outside supper’s became an international “welcome” sign in our yard and drew wanderer’s in like magnets.  The kids loved it and I never minded.  It was a peaceful, simple time and I take some comfort knowing with all certainty that I made mental notes all of the time to “stop, and ENJOY them”.  I am grateful for that.  My love of music listening, as well as my infamous “singalongs” was severely restricted after my 12 year old son, Philip, went missing, or, for a better term, was “parentally abducted and never returned”, June 4, 2010.  I continued to enjoy some music with my young daughter, Miranda, after that date, but it was limited to music that would NOT remind me of Philip.  It was difficult, but I made it work for the next 17 months, and Miranda and I found our “own” music that we belted out every day.  The music ended completely, November 28, 2011, the date my daughter was taken from me as well.  I have not been able to bring myself to listen, or sing, since then.  The world became very dark, and very quiet, and remains that way.  Music brought me great joy.  Yard work, and gardening, of which I spent a great deal of time enjoying in all seasons and was quite talented in and for which I took great pride in, ended when I boxed up my belongings with the help of my oldest daughter Jessica, this past April 2012 when the decision was made to end the burdensome, tiring 5 months of travel that had been unavoidable since the day Miranda and I were separated and she was ordered to live with her father in Madison Mississippi.  I struggled valiantly to keep up our home in Ocean Springs, waiting day to day, week to week, turning into month to month, chasing the “15-day reversal of opinion” I’d been assured was certain to happen due to the many errors and fraudulent claims made in court that led to the removal of both of my minor children, Philip and Miranda, from my lifelong care and into the care of their father.  As the days and weeks turned into months, and the certain “presentation of the real facts” and the “testimony of real witnesses that would at the very least show his contempt of court and have the judge make good on his promise to reverse his opinion and return the children to me failed to come forward, and with these failures, my dreams for keeping our home, our very lives as we knew it, began to dissipate.  In addition to the near-weekly frantic drives I made those first few months to Jackson to be near my youngest child due to her very real, very serious medical, emotional, and/or legal emergencies surrounding our case, it slowly became clear to me that I could not continue to “stay home” and keep house while driving to and fro.175 miles each way.  Looking back, that is one of several things that astound me… that I even managed to hang on to the dream for as long as I did. Yes, the gardening was a great loss to my spirit and my body… but, the real joy in it ended the same time the music ended, November 2011.  I continued to manicure my lawn, and fret over it’s condition after my daughters disappearance from our home in November 2011, but my heart was no longer in it and I gave it up completely when I boxed up our life and closed the door for good in early April 2012.  Crocheting, which I recently picked back up due to the odd timing of a double urging and suggestion of two important people in my life who have never even met one another, yet who each brought up the topic within the same 24 hour period leading up to this past Christmas Eve.  The urging was by a friend who coaxed me into attending a small Christmas gathering at her home the night before Christmas Eve, and the suggestion was made by my oldest daughter, Jessica, who mused about my ability to “create” the newest craze of baby beanie hats that is so popular and in demand among all her co-workers and friends.  I have been a longtime believer of there-is-no-such-thing-as-coincidence so I paid heed to the sign before me and picked up my crochet needle, junk yarn from the back of my truck, and, with some help from Google, proceeded to crochet intently throughout this very difficult time of year… Christmas without my children.  Christmas without my closest friends.  Christmas away from home.  Homesick, Heartsick, and … Christmas without my children.  Thank you, Arlette, and Thank You, Jessica.  Your blessing and gift to me put an idea and a desire in my mind that thankfully I did not turn away from.  It helped me survive the most hearbreaking Christmas of my life.  Little Blessings…. count them one by one:)”

Me (A Mother, Still, In Mississippi)

 

 

 

Miranda’s Mom — excerpt: Meanwhile, Miranda continues to be invisible. If left up to the powers that be she would remain that way.

Miranda’s Mom

July 2013

Twelve year old Miranda Grace was born August 10, 2000, and was taken November 28, 2011.  Miranda was bright, and beautiful, and remarkably talented.  She was artistic and creative.  Miranda wrote with insight, depth and a clarity that would give Robert Frost pause.  In the 4th grade, Miranda wrote a school paper on Robert Frost.  She wrote in the preface that she picked Robert Frost “because her mom liked him” and, because she liked the title for “road less traveled”, oh, and, because his name reminded her of “Jack Frost and Christmas”.

Miranda loved her Ocean Springs hometown and the simple life she lived there with her mother.  She loved her school, her teachers, and hometown football games on Friday nights.  She loved running the neighborhood at dark.  She really loved the few occasions that she and her friend managed to sneak away and walk to the harbor close to her home in Gulf Park Estates.  Her Mom did not find out about those times till much later, too much later to get on to Miranda.  Too much later to even care that Miranda broke that rule.  Way too much later for her Mom to even care than she broke the rule.  In fact, by the time Miranda’s Mom did find out about those times that Miranda and her friend had sneaked away to walk to the harbor with their fishing poles and cast net, Miranda’s Mom was not angry at Miranda … she was proud.  She cried at the image in her mind and thanked God that Miranda had gotten to do something so innocent, something she loved so much, something her Mom knew she would have never let Miranda do on her own in regular life.  She was glad to know Miranda had a chance to sneak away to the harbor and fish and hangout with a friend on a hot summer afternoon.  Kids don’t get to do things like that much anymore, her Mother thinks to herself, smiling and crying at the memory, picturing Miranda, her long hair flying as she runs, laughing and acting silly, goofing off at the harbor.  Her mom can hear in her mind the sounds of kids laughter and shouts, the sound of the water lapping against the harbor posts and shoreline,  the humming of small engines from the boats out in the distance … all those sounds separate and mixed together to play a melody in her mind.  Smells fade, pictures fade, the little details of people you love fade in your mind and dim more and more over  time, but these daydream memories haven’t faded, yet, and they both play them separately in their heads each passing day as seasons change and as the days and weeks and months just come and go.

Miranda had many friends and loved to comb the beaches, fish, swim, and, more than anything, she loved those frequent backyard gatherings at her own home, the kind that invariably drew friends and neighbors of all ages in to their backyard like fireflies on a Mississippi early summer night.  On these nights, a fire was always started and music was always playing in the background, at a neighbor-friendly pitch of course.  Ensuring plentiful graham crackers, marshmallows, Hershey’s chocolate bars and firewood was always the main focus of every single one of these evenings yet it never got tiring.  Each time was a new adventure.  Firewood was never much concern because of an abundance of lots throughout her large neighborhood, dotted throughout her large neighborhood, thanks to Hurricane Katrina.  In fact, gathering the wood was one of the best parts.  Miranda would never end the night until the fire did.  Sometimes, Miranda’s Mom would have to urge the fire out a little earlier than it wished just so she could coax Miranda inside.

Miranda Grace was taken, November 28, 2011, from her Mother, and her home, and friends, schoolmates, neighbors, so abruptly she never even got to say goodbye.  She never even finished wrapping the Christmas presents she worked so hard to purchase and had been keeping so secretive.  They lay half-hidden near the foot of her bed along with strings of ribbon and scatterings of bows, and wrapping paper, along with a pair of school scissors, tape, and all manner of artsy supplies that she kept stockpiled in her newly decorated Jungle-Themed room.  Miranda just simply left one morning and never came back.

Miranda never did get to unpacked her book bag from her 5th grade class Thanksgiving party..  Her book bag still holds evidence of that party and those happy 5th grade days that were cut so short.  There are still crumbs and sticky juice stains to see and it’s still cluttered with her artwork all crinkled and folded over.

Miranda was taken so fast she never even got a chance to put her tennis shoes on.

Miranda has been missing, in plain sight for nearly two years.  She is only 200 miles away from home but has not seen her room, yard, her friends, her neighbors, her beloved Ocean Springs beach and the Gulf of Mexico waters last she loved so much.   Miranda has been crying for home for 20 months.  She used to count the days but she quit at 465.  She wrote letters to teachers and counselors in the beginning.  She left notes in trees that she hoped would get back to the right people, people who could help her.  Some notes actually were found by people but they didn’t know what to do so they did nothing.  Miranda even called the police, once, but, would never do something that foolish again.  She suffered too much when the police left her where she was, without being able to help her more.  As soon as they found out Miranda had a court-appointed guardian ad litem their investigation was over.  Miranda couldn’t really blame them.  That’s what a guardian ad litem, and, also, a court appointed psychologist, was supposed to do for a kid.  No one tried to find out more about a scared girl that literally moved in overnight, who acted weird and was treated even weirder.  They all assumed the guardian ad litem was doing her job.  No one asked.

Anyway, none of this was anything like on tv when there were heroes who always helped kids and were the boss of everybody.  In real life the grownups acted confused but afraid to ask questions, or, they acted like the kid WAS the trouble.  Miranda learned this quick and vowed never to tell them anything again.  Even the teachers were different at this new place.  She was put in this school so quick … at her old school her teachers and the kids would at least ask a kid what was going on with them.   Here it was like they did not care.  That hurt almost as much as everything else.  Being nothing, to nobody.  Miranda could tell some of the teachers cared but just did not know what to do.  These hinted, at least, and they acted a little nicer to her than they did the other, “regular” kids.  They watched her cry, they watched her quit. They watched her go from scared and quiet to fighting all the time and quitting learning altogether.   

Miranda remembers the ones that were kind to her.  She’s never forgotten the ones who were not.  

Miranda knows it has to be the right person before she ever tries to ask for help anymore.  She wonders if God hears her prayers and she wonders why this is happening to her?

As Miranda’s Mom, I had a really hard time comprehending that I had been eliminated from her life.  It took months for me to try to understand and sort advice of those other parents.  I am still fighting to regain what I want more than anything on earth –  my place back in my daughter’s life.

With each passing day, week, month, it became more real and dreadful.  I began to accept things all I’d heard but rejected in horror.  Every single crazy, radical, outrageous thing those other parent had said has come true and my world has tilted on its axis.  I just wish everyone else’s would tilt a little bit too because I never dreamed these things could happen to someone like me, in our free and blessed Country.  That’s not sarcasm, I really mean it.  I love my country.  I love Mississippi.  I love country music and old gospel hymns and I’m a mutt, a mixed breed of at least 3 generations of Mississippians.  My father is a city boy from Richton, MS, my mother a cotton-farmer’s daughter from Lena, MS.  I grew up trolling through country cemeteries on Sunday afternoons with my parents, looking for our “ancestors”.  I loved that kind of thing.  I loved my upbringing and my heritage.  If I was naive and unaware these things could and do happen right here under our noses then I can give the rest of the Country the benefit of the doubt!  This is very real, and it really happens, and there are a whole lot more suffering, “invisible” kids, with suffering “helpless” parents out there than any of us would like to believe.  And they are hurting in plain sight.  It’s agony and torture and the grief is indescribable.  To have a child who suffers is horrible.  To watch them suffer and be totally unable to help them is worse than death.  I know because I am living it.

My 80 year old father also serves as my attorney now for the obvious reason – I am broke.  He and I both faced jail last week for gal fees and court sanctions.  We dodged a bullet that day, 07-15-13, but only for 30 days, recently extended to, 60 days and it’s soon pay or jail-time for me.  Yes, our county jails are often used for unpaid guardian ad litem fees.  

Meanwhile, Miranda continues to be invisible.  If left up to the powers that be she would remain that way.  

Miranda’s Mom did nothing wrong, nothing more than become impoverished over the 8 years since her divorce in Rankin County.  In that time, court costs, attorney fees, other guardian ad litem appointments, all cost her over $40,000 and is still adding up.  The judge even recently commented that if I “the mother” was too poor to afford the costs then I “the mother” have no business being in his courtroom”. 

Miranda’s Mom is not an addict, or a criminal, nor is she mentally ill, or unfit morally or ethically.  She has never been any of those things.  Miranda’s father has been all of those things.  Miranda’s father has a family with lots of money.

The modification hearing was cancelled because Miranda’s mom had not paid her portion of the guardian ad litem fees …. $6K plus some (and counting) used to be nothing to Miranda’s mother but it is now.  That’s about the same as asking a million.  It’s impossible.  Miranda’s mother didn’t even agree to the fees in the first place … the opposing attorney recommended this guardian ad litem, and, who told Miranda’s Mom and her attorney that his client would pay the gal expenses.  After all, it was only right as it was his client that was the reason for which this appointment was necessary.  His client had the parties back in court almost every year and sometimes twice a year since their divorce was granted some eight years prior.  Miranda’s mom reminded the gal of this fee arrangement very recently while she had a chance.  To her surprise, the guardian ad litem acknowledged this arrangement and then said to Miranda’s Mom, “too bad it wasn’t on record”.

This guardian ad litem has left a trail of horrified parents and damaged kids in our small-town county in central Mississippi, perhaps other counties as well.  I know these people may be well-known.  I am guessing that is why no one has been able to help Miranda, or me, her Mom, these past two years.  I have read much lately that has been publicized regarding government corruption and children’s rights, and I have seen that, sometimes, people speak up and help, for truth and justice.  I’m not asking anyone to take me at my word alone.  I am asking for an opportunity to present documentation to support the truth because I can.  I am asking for help putting a face to just one little girl’s name. A face to the name of one, young girl who has been kept silent far too long and maybe to one, very, battle-fatigued mom.

I am speaking up for Miranda, my now 12-year old daughter who was removed from my custody on November 28, 2011, for absolutely no reason at all.   My daughter lost the right to have a mother and I lost the right to mother the child I gave birth to. Miranda’s has fought so valiantly and for so long.  Her hope has dimmed but it still burns.  She continues to do everything she possibly can to help herself.  Doesn’t she deserve some chance to be heard?

Some part of Miranda still believes in heroes, in the good guys, and that help will soon come riding out of the hills to chase away the bad guys. Miranda’s only 12 years old. Another year or two and she may not believe in tales any longer.  That’s what I’m afraid of. 

I’m not sure but I’m wondering – are you the right person for Miranda to tell?

Sincerely Yours,

Miranda’s Mom

 

 

Where’s this Money? … “”Funding for Legal representation provided for Rankin, Adams, Harrison, Forrest Counties”….

“Mississippi is one of only two states that do not provide free representation to …. ???  {article & url below}.  I personally would like to know where all this “funding” went, or is going?!, ie. where’s the money?, as referenced in the headline …. “Funding for Legal representation provided for Rankin, Adams, Harrison, Forrest Counties” …. I certainly don’t know, and I personally have not found in any of my research anyone who has received assistance for this program, and for the purposes outlined.  My children and I were denied, twice, for assistance to receive any representation by Mission First, several times by Mississippi Legal Services, and, the Mississippi Bar Association has kept re-routing me back to steps A and B .. the black hole of despair and the never-ending cycle meant to make you dizzy or chase your tail until you cry “uncle” and quit or die trying!

Over the past two years I’ve inquired, applied with Southern Poverty, ACLU, …. no funding available for me or my children, whether for reasons of race, gender, nationality, jurisdiction, location, etc. I was not allowed not know, ALL AGENCIES I’ve spoken with, even Children’s Rights, regrettably informed me that my children and I fall into category of  “high conflict divorce” which eliminates many families.  This is quite frustrating, unfair, and unjust as, in many cases, certainly in mine, my divorce was finalized years ago (mine, March 2006) …. how can that be labeled “high conflict?.  These agencies shy away from any cases in which domestic violence or child abuse is inferred, alluded, and, as in our case, very easily documented.  I suppose they have good reasons for this … but I would certainly like to know what they are.  I exhausted my savings, over $45,000, by last count, in the first six years, defending myself and my children, and I was successful …. until my savings was depleted.  Coincedentally, I was unable to protect my children when my money was gone, spent, fed into the system.

 

 

Article re: funding for Mississippi, legal representation below:

February 25, 2013:  Youth Courts in Adams, Forrest, Harrison and Rankin counties are participating in a pilot program which provides free legal representation for low-income parents in Youth Court hearings in which allegations of abuse or neglect could result in court-ordered removal of children from parents’ custody. 

Rankin County Youth Court Judge Thomas Broome said …., Harrison County Youth Court Judge Margaret Alfonso said, “The hope is that parent representation will result in better outcomes for children and families. It will provide parents with a better understanding of the procedures and what is necessary to be reunited with their children.”   

Providing a legal advocate for the parent will curb unnecessary removal of children from parents, Judge Alfonso said. “Ultimately the goal is to prevent removal if possible. If appropriate services can be provided to prevent removal, we are obligated to attempt to provide services that prevent or eliminate the need to separate the child and the family.” 

Mississippi is one of only two states that do not provide free representation to low income parents in Youth Court proceedings which may result in loss of custody of children.

Adams County Youth Court Judge John Hudson said, “The fact that government can come in and take a person’s children away and that person has to walk into a courtroom where everyone else is represented by attorneys and that person does not have an attorney — I can’t think of anything worse than that.  “But if they had committed a misdemeanor (that could result in jail time), they could get a (court appointed) lawyer,” Judge Hudson said.  Providing attorney representation for low income people provides fairness, Judge Hudson said. Judges dealing with unrepresented litigants are put in the untenable position of trying to assure fairness without crossing the line into advocacy, he said. While judges can explain the proceedings, they can’t advise and help the unrepresented party.

Forrest County Youth Court Judge Michael McPhail said that before the pilot program began, the Department of Human Services, the prosecutor and the court administrator might explain proceedings before a hearing, then he would explain the person’s rights and the process from the bench. “These people were hearing everything about their case and their rights from somebody who does not represent them,” Judge McPhail said. “They may lose because they didn’t know what to do.”

Having an attorney representing parents also creates another level of accountability, Judge Hudson said. When the court sets conditions for reunification, parents may procrastinate to meet those conditions. An attorney will push the client to comply with the court’s orders.  Having an attorney available to represent the parents will speed up the process so that proceedings don’t drag on. “It’s going to speed the process tremendously,” said Judge Hudson.  Quicker resolution of cases will save public dollars, Judge Hudson said. “It will save money by getting them out of the foster care system quicker.”

Part of the funding for the pilot program comes from a $100,000 grant from Seattle based Casey Family Programs, the nation’s largest private foundation focused on foster care and improving the child welfare system. The foundation works to reduce the need for foster care by helping the child welfare system to prevent family crises that lead to separation and foster care.

H. Lien Bragg, Casey Family Programs Senior Director of Strategic Consulting, said, “Casey Family Programs is pleased to support Mississippi’s efforts to establish parent representation for families involved in the child welfare system. We believe timely, adequate and competent legal representation is a critical driver in expediting permanency and well-being outcomes for children involved in dependency court proceedings.”

 Harrison County, which has the largest number of cases, received $50,000 in Casey Family Programs grant funding for a full-time attorney. Adams and Forrest counties each received $25,000 in grants to pay for attorney representation. The Administrative Office of Courts provided $45,000 through a Court Improvement Program grant to fund the Rankin County program.

The arrangements differ among the four pilot counties. A full-time attorney on the staff of the Mississippi Center for Legal Services will begin representing low income Harrison County parents on March 1. Parents in Rankin County since October 2012 have had access to an attorney who works for Mission First Legal Aid Office. Mission First Legal Aid is a partnership between Mississippi College School of Law and Mission First, a neighborhood outreach ministry. Forrest County uses two part-time contract attorneys who started representing clients in October 2012. Adams County in December began appointing a local attorney who takes cases in a part-time contractual arrangement.

Judge Broome said that he does not order parents to contact Mission First Legal Aid Office, but makes them aware of the availability of legal representation there.  Mission First Legal Aid has opened 16 cases for parent representation since last October, said Director Patti Gandy. Mission First attorney Carlyn Hicks, who handles

Rankin County parental representation, is there “to be that voice for that parent who may be so distraught that they may not be able to coherently tell the court their side of the story and what’s really going on,” Gandy said.

“What we are trying to do is shorten the period of time, if that child has to be taken from that home, and to determine if it is really necessary for that child to be taken from the home. Sometimes it’s not necessary for the child to be removed from the home,” Gandy said. “Studies have shown if you can get an attorney involved for parents at the beginning of the proceeding, it shortens the time the child is away from home or separated from parents.  It’s all about making sure the child does not stay in the system any longer than is necessary,” 

 

Found on link:  https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/1/?ui=2&ik=4bb2674b6d&view=att&th=140c588a5768064f&attid=0.1&disp=inline&realattid=1444626868951857644-1&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P8HWWUfo58erssemNaUU0Rp&sadet=1377707912573&sads=lSl4GznVy71-BY_MjrQtv9um-2E

 

Wouldn’t Know Your Own Child If You Saw Him/Her On The Street? — Alienated, Separated, Too Long (In Memory of My Son)

Excerpt:  …. If writing of this helps avoid another loving mother {parent}, from marking a day in their own diary of life, as the day in which they do not, could not, and likely will continue not to be able to recognize their own child in a photo … then, somehow it may all be worth some of the pain that went into sharing this.

{In Memory of My Son, who was taken against custody, by his father, June 4, 2010, and never returned}

03-08-14:  Yesterday someone dear to me send me a sweet photo of what I thought to be a picture of this person’s son and his prom date. I took a moment to admire the photo, and sent a reply text remark of what a sweet, handsome couple these two young people were. After a brief pause, I received what I am sure was a difficult reply … that the handsome young man in the photo was my own son, Philip. Philip will be 16 years old next month. He was taken from me, from home, June 4, 2010, against custody, never to return. Philip and I have had no assistance during this time, by family court professionals, despite the fact that we had a guardian ad litem and psychologist appointed by the courts to see to my children’s “best interest”.


I have only recently begun to speak up, publicly, to get any attention to our cause, and our case. I have, in fact, spent most of my time, energy, and resources battling to avoid going to jail for unpaid fees for the “unprofessional” professionals in charge of seeing to the best interest of my children, instead of fighting for my children, which has been extremely dispiriting but necessary and very critical. I am sad, and ashamed, that I couldn’t do more for them when they needed me the most and it has been, IS, extremely dispiriting but necessary and critical … you have to remain alive, and out of prison, of course, before you can fight to help your children. 


All the most critical matters, addressing rights of parents, rights of children, reform, and oversight, laws, ethics, etc. all took backseat to issues of fees, and, sadly, as in other cases, children “age out” before any wrongs are ever identified, addressed, much less righted. That, and the fact that so many community leaders, and those “in charge” are uncomfortable getting involved. From all I have learned, these are the primary reasons for which these issues, this silent epidemic, has been allowed to continue for so very long.

Yesterday, the realization of accepting that I was not even able to recognize my own child in a photo washed over me in a slow and steady crush. I haven’t spent any time with, had any visitation with my son since May of 2012.

Writing has been my lifelong habit, mostly a joy, and has surely been some positive exercise for me during times when I could not speak of the unspeakable, the inexplicable. During these past months I have written, and, slowly, lately, I am learning to actually SPEAK up and out more than in the past. I confess that I recognize my writings can be too much, too overwhelming to those who read or hear …. I try always to remain mindful of that but do recognize that I often fail. The things of which I write and speak eek a pain and suffering on such levels that wears on the spirit of the reader, the listener and my words, our story, has not yet had victories, redemption, which we all need to have in order to be inspired.

I share these things with the hope that all we have experienced, all the time and effort I have put into research, all that we have sacrificed and lost may not be in vain. I am learning to try to accept that going back is impossible (very hard, for a mother, for any loving parent …  I will not wake up to be back in our happy home in Ocean Springs, with my busy, active, sweet, spiritual, loving 12 year old son and 9 year old daughter, with ever-revolving doors of friends, laughter, music, clutter, activities, dinner-time, and chatter … all the joyful noise, and choas, that makes up a busy, loving home. All I know to do at this point is recognize that we did indeed have this, it was no dream, and, nightmares have to end, one way or another.

I ask you to pray for my children, and for me. If writing of this helps avoid another loving mother, parent, from marking a day in their own diary of life, as the day in which they do not, could not, and likely will continue not to be able to recognize their own child in a photo … then, somehow it may all be worth some of the pain that went into sharing this.

{In Memory of My Son, Philip, who was taken against custody, by his father, June 4, 2010, and never returned}

March 8, 2014, by Bobbie R. Hardin

 

 

Mothers are forced into excessive and abusive court proceedings … see full article

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-503985?ref=feeds%2Flatest

Mothers are forced into excessive and abusive court proceedings where they are drained financially and emotionally. They are bullied into submitting to ongoing evaluations, mediation and therapy, so that they will be deemed difficult and uncooperative and therefore unfit to parent their children.

Originally devised as the means to cover up evidence of child sexual abuse when the father is the perpetrator, the PAS legal strategy calls for the involvement of custody evaluators, attorneys for children, “special masters” (mediators with quasi-judicial authority), supervision monitors and other court-appointees operating in the guise of family “conciliation court”. Who collaborate to shift blame to mothers trying to maintain custody a protect their children. PAS calls for institutionalizing children to convince them that they were not really abused by their father, but that their mothers are crazy.

Through illegally crafted orders, phony custody reports and improper “ex-parte” (emergency unnoticed) proceedings, court appointees rig the outcomes of cases in favor of abusive men. By labeling mothers “alienators”, blaming them for denying fathers “access” to the children and prosecuting mothers for custodial interference” or similar “crimes”, the family court works with the District Attorney to criminalize mothers’ attempts to escape abuse and protect their children. If mother flees with the children, the FBI gets involved, treating the matter as a “parental abduction” ( a federal crime). Which is used as further proof that she doesn’t deserve to have custody.
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