Just LOST custody due to nursing my 4yr old - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 10:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello,
I am new to these forums, though not to Mothering. A recent life event has caused me to look for support every where I can think of.

This past week here in Vermont, I received a judges findings in an on going custody dispute with my ex husband. Though we have been separated since mid-2004, I have spent the entire 4 years since in and out of court defending myself and the decisions I have made regarding nursing, co-sleeping, not vaccinating my kids etc.

When married, my ex husband and I educated ourselves and made these choices jointly. Upon filing for divorce 3 years later, these choices were made into points as to why he thought I was an unfit parent.

I never believed that the courts would actually agree. But, they have. This particular judge was appalled that I continued to nurse my child into her fourth year and shared a bed with both my 4 and 6 yr old daughters. She agrees with my ex that the children will likely need counseling as a result.

As you can imagine, I am devastated and in shock. I am looking to find any legal recourse I have, but if you have any suggestions I would greatly appreciate hearing from you. Thanks,
Emily (GoddessArt)
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#2 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 10:25 AM
 
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No suggestions Emily...only lots of I am so very sorry that this has happened to you.

Mom to :...and maybe thinking about one more...
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#3 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 10:29 AM
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I'm sorry, Emily. I have no legal expertise, but perhaps agencies such as API, LLL, and maybe even Dr. Sears from California could help bolster your case. It sounds like you need a really good lawyer!
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#4 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 10:29 AM
 
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Could you try contacting La Leche? Maybe they know of a nursing friendly lawyer who has been through this. There have to be other people who have been through something similar and I wonder if La Leche would be able to help you find resources. See for them, this is a precident, possibly. They would want to get involved and there may even be a lawyer who would take this case a Pro Bono because of the whole setting a precident factor. I can't imagine what this is like for you.
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#5 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 10:30 AM
 
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Oh mama, , that's really awful. I don't have any suggestions about your situation, but you might want to cross post this in the single parents' area as well as the lactivism and breastfeeding beyond infancy areas to get more help.
Melinda
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#6 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 10:31 AM
 
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I couldn't read your post and not respond. I am so sorry.

I cannot believe the judge's decision. It is outrageous that she would feel that nursing and co sleeping with your children will end in the need for counseling. In fact, it's usually quite the opposite. Where is her information coming from? I am devestated and outraged for you. Can I ask about your attorney? Do you feel like you had good representation? Do you have any custody at all? How much?

Have you tried contacting the Le Leche League, the ACLU or any other group?

Please post this in the Activism forum (under Natural Family Living) because I know a lot of other mamas here will be equally saddened and angry for you.

Hang in there!
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#7 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 10:35 AM
 
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I am so sorry you are going through this, and for so long! I have no advice for you, but I wanted to offer you my support !

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#8 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 10:42 AM
 
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I am sorry.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#9 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh my, you all post so fast here, it's hard to keep up. But thank you all so much for your loving support!
I have contacted LLL and am anxious to hear a response.

Yes, I still have time with my children, a little bit more than their father. But he now has the right to choose their doctors and their schooling - which ultimately will be the power to decide where I live.

I will post this in the Activism section, too - (hope I don't bug any one for double posting.)

In the meantime, thanks so much for all your ideas and support.
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#10 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 10:51 AM
 
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Oh, I wish I had some advice for you, but I really don't know much about this. I'll hunt around for other resources for you... what state are you in? I just had to post because I feel so terribly about your situation and I'm shocked that a judge would do this.

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#11 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm in Vermont...liberal Vermont!
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#12 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 10:59 AM
 
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Oh mama! The ladies here have given some great advice! I totally agree about finding a lawyer who is pro-EBF, etc. I think that would be a great help to you.
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#13 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 11:14 AM
 
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I couldnt read and not send you a :

single mommy to identical twin girls (3/06) Non-traditional mama just : through life.
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#14 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Now that I've brought this up in a public fora, I'm completely breaking down and sobbing! I'm wanting to feel empowerment - and I just feel so desperate.

This judge also reprimanded me for not allowing my daughters to have Barbie dolls. She said, "I played with Barbies and I turned out fine."

I am in utter disbelief myself. With a court appointed Guardian Ad Litem and the children's own court appointed attorney on my side, I thought (we ALL thought) it was an ace in the hole. I mean, I have been the children's primary parent, a SAHM for 7 years now. Suddenly, the kids will be gone 6 out of every 14 days.
Sorry to get wrapped up in self pity. I guess I have some mourning to do. I've tried to be Zen about it and ended up sick...and so weak. Now I don't feel sick anymore, but I feel like I could die of sadness.
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#15 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 11:30 AM
 
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#16 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 11:33 AM
 
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omg i am so sorry. that is unbelievable!

what does your lawyer say?

I really cannot believe this judge. what do barbies have to do with anything? i mean that should be irrelevant!
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#17 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 11:33 AM
 
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Ouch! I'm in Vermont too and nursing my 3.2 yo DS. Hope they don't come lookin' for me.

I'm so sorry this is happening to you. Our society is so screwed up when it comes to the natural flow of life. Who put these people in charge? :
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#18 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 11:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoddessArt View Post
This judge also reprimanded me for not allowing my daughters to have Barbie dolls. She said, "I played with Barbies and I turned out fine."
Well *that* is clearly debatable, considering she's unbelievably closeminded.

Hugs to you, mama. I truly hope you find the support you need. You have done right by your kids. Do not give up!
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#19 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 11:35 AM
 
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I'm so so sorry, mama. I have no advice but I hope everything gets straightened out and soon!

Mama to DS (3/7/06)om.gif, DSD  hearts.gif(11/17/02), DD (1/16/08 )energy.gif ,  DS2 (5/30/10) sleepytime.gif and Baby Quinn angel.gif (R.I.P 3/22/13)

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#20 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 11:39 AM
 
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Oh my gosh, mama, they CAN'T do this to you. I hope you are able to get your babies back. I am in tears for you right now.
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#21 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 11:41 AM
 
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Wow. That is so appalling. My jaw just about hit my keyboard.

Please keep us updated on what happens. I am really curious to hear what the LLL says.

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#22 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I couldn't believe the judge brought up Barbie either. That was at the very end of a two day hearing....her last question to me. This is pretty much how it went down.

Judge: "So, do you not allow your children to play with toys at all?"
Me: "Of course I do. It's just I prefer natural toys over plastics."
Judge: "What exactly do you have against Barbies?"
Me: "I just feel that there are more enriching toys for girls to play with."
Judge: "Well, I played with Barbies and came out fine."

Before that, she was stoic through the whole two days, never let any of us know her leanings through subtle expressions or otherwise. When she said that, i knew there was a chance i could lose.
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#23 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 12:35 PM
 
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Aww mama I feel so bad for you your posts made me cry! I just want to give you lots of ::: ::: you are the tree! And to that immature judge!
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#24 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 12:42 PM
 
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It is a terrible shame that the judge didn't bother to educate herself on the benefits of EBF, cosleeping, etc. Please, don't be upset by this question, I DO find the ruling upsetting, but I wonder if it was realistic to expect sole custody? I mean, clearly, you divorced/separated from this man for a reason, so I'm assuming that he has traits that you do not care for and probably don't wish for your children to be around. But maybe, once you finish your mourning, that you can think about the fact that children do benefit from having a father that is active in their lives. Again, don't be mad, but maybe there are a few positives that can come from this unfortunate situation.
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#25 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 12:46 PM
 
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I am just so appalled and sad and shocked...the list goes on...
You sounds like such a wonderful mother and it makes me sick to think that a judge can take away parental rights just like that.
I don't know what to say.
Scary.



milk donation : mother to Ryan (6), AJ (5), Nate (2), Maia (1) all born at home, I have a kid-friendly food & bento blog, : :
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#26 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 12:49 PM
 
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I think its terrible if the judge based her decision on your parenting choices.

That being said, you wrote that the children will be gone six out of 14 days....so, three days each week they will be with their father? Like, a long weekend each week...or am i not understanding? I wouldnt view this as "losing custody", although it sounds like you will no longer have sole primary decision making regarding certain parenting decisions?

I know this has to be hard on you and the children.


Katherine

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#27 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 12:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nichole View Post
I really cannot believe this judge. what do barbies have to do with anything? i mean that should be irrelevant!
:

What kind of judge is this? These things are not illegal! I'm sure LLL will reach out to you. Good luck!
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#28 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 12:51 PM
 
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I'm so sorry you're going through this.
My brother is going through a custody battle right now & I know how heartbreaking & taxing it can be on a person.
I agree with everyone else. Get LLL on your side.
I hope it all works out for you in the end.
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#29 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 12:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by GoddessArt View Post
This judge also reprimanded me for not allowing my daughters to have Barbie dolls. She said, "I played with Barbies and I turned out fine."
Oh I really hope you can appeal, this is not an appropriate basis for a ruling on custody IMO. The judge shouldn't think about herself or at least she should not let that affect her decision at all! Horrible judge. So sorry.

But I guess I'm not understanding either, this sounds like shared custody to me, not like you actually "lost custody." Do you just think they are too young to spend equal time with the father, away from you?

Single mom of 2 boys
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#30 of 81 Old 04-03-2008, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I can live with the new contact schedule, though it will take some adjustment.

That's not the issue.

I'm upset that a judge has based her decision on my choices as a parent. Her claim is that these choices are "irresponsible" and "not in the children's best interest". In short, she characterizes me as a renegade hippie, who balks at all the marvelous offerings of the modern world... like beds, bottles, and barbies. No, my choices are not mainstream, but that doesn't make them wrong. I've also lost any power to make decisions regarding schooling, doctors etc. These are the reasons why I am so upset.
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