Category Archives: Baby G

"Mommy, Why Does Baby G. Have to Go to Jail?"

“Mommy, why does Baby G. have to go to jail?”

That was the question my 9 year old daughter Betty asked when she saw me crying.  The news had just come that my friends unbelievably and incomprehensibly lost their adoption case.  (You can read my previous posts on this here.)

I struggled to explain the unexplainable to Betty.

“D. and S. love Baby G. very, very much,” I stammered through my tears.  “And they want to keep taking care of her, to be a family.  And, well … there are some people who think she should be with her birthfather, and I don’t know why they think that.”

I had already explained that the birthmother chose D. and S. to raise Baby G. because she knew that they could and would provide a better life for her … but that the birthfather was in prison and didn’t agree with that.

“But he’s in JAIL!  How in the WORLD can he take care of a baby when he is in jail?”

“I don’t know, baby.”

“I want to write a letter,” Betty declared, offering up her solution for everything.

And indeed, that was our collective response and call to action too. When we learned that this was a potential outcome, a campaign was launched by D.’s sister to write letters of support to the Wisconsin judge who alone had the power to grant Baby G. the chance to grow up in the loving arms of the only people she has known as mom and dad for her first 6 months of life, instead of in the foster care system.

The “Save Baby G.” campaign was supported by a Facebook community that, as of yesterday, had grown to over 450 supporters.  Some of us (yours truly included) offered to try and mobilize our media contacts and take this national.  (The lawyers advised against such and in keeping with our friends’ decisions to honor such, we reluctantly didn’t pursue that.)

I don’t know how many letters were received. I do know that more than a few of my blog readers wrote one, and for that I will be forever grateful. (D. wrote and said how touched she was by the letters from my friends, so I know she at least saw them.)

But I don’t know if the judge did. He couldn’t have, because he decided yesterday to dismiss the case and order Baby G. to be returned to Wisconsin and into the foster care system.

Read that sentence again, because trust me – it takes a little while for the magnitude of this to sink in.

A judge in Wisconsin ruled yesterday that a 6-month old baby is better off in the foster-care system instead of with two loving, adoptive parents who can give her a life of promise and potential, of abiding faith, of joyful love.

I don’t know what recourse or appeal options are there, if there are any to begin with.  There’s not much money left to pursue any.

But what I know is this.

A judge in Wisconsin (never mind the damn judicial system itself) horribly failed a little girl yesterday and the parents who desperately want nothing more than to love her.

I know that the heartbreak spilling out via Facebook messages this morning is palpable among our group of friends.

And so is the raw anger and the declarations (mine included) that we hope karma is a bitch.

And the shaken and broken faith in God, in prayer, in everything that we’re taught to believe in.

And the disbelief that we live in a country where this can actually happen.

And the helpless feeling that maybe we could have done more.

And the fear of what Baby G.’s future holds versus all that it could have been.

And the lack of answers to questions about why a 6-month old baby needs to go to jail.

 

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and so, it comes down to this …

and so, it comes down to this …
the holding of a friend close in heart
for tonight, for tomorrow
for always.
in hope and in prayer
for healing, for peace, for strength 
for love remains.
love you, d. and s.
photo taken by me at church, february 14, 2010.

copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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The Sunday Salon: May 1

If you’ve been following my blog posts over the last couple days, you know it has been a tough week.  I am beyond appreciative (more than you know) for the comments of support you’ve all shown about my impending job loss and (more importantly) in the outcome of my friends’ adoption case, which had a heartbreaking verdict this week.  (A Wisconsin jury determined that Baby G. should be returned to her birthfather, who is 21 years old and serving a 5 year sentence in jail.)

So, understandably, my focus has been more on these two fronts – as well as selling our house, which goes on the market tomorrow – instead of reading.  I just returned a pile of unread books to the library yesterday, resigning myself to the fact that I’m not going to be able to read everything I have checked out.  Not even close.

I’m still reading The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff on my Kindle (which is soon to become my new best friend, given the fact that I am returning the library books and have all of my books packed up in the basement).  I will say this: it is a testament to how great of a writer Lauren Groff is by how much her incredibly vivid characters are staying with me, despite longer-than-usual stretches between the time I am able to spend with them.

I’ll tell you this: I miss reading. 

copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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Sky Blue and Black



This photo was taken during last summer’s vacation of cool changes, from the porch of my aunt and uncle’s beach house.  I was sitting here, as I often do doing these visits, and noticed the sky blue and black.  (To quote one of my very favorite songs ever. Love me Jackson Browne.)
This is a six-block long and two-block wide town with a name even people who live within a few miles away don’t know.  And on that July day, half of this tiny slip of an island was under fierce and threatening storm clouds; the other half was bathed in sunlight and blue skies.  I sat on the porch, stared, reflected, snapped photos. 
And so it is here this morning – here, at home, anchored on the mainland.  Last night brought howling and rattling winds, weather and circumstances that tossed me to and fro all night long with worry, with anxiety, with dread. 
Today’s a new one, one that started with gloomy clouds during this morning’s drop off, but one that has transformed into a morning of sunlight streaming through the family room windows.   (And back to gloomy clouds again. These are the types of days that bring rainbows, yes?)
There are possibilities perculating, ones that could hold promise in terms of new work.  This transition might provide me with some time to write more (no excuse now not to finish my novel, right?)
And there is a tiny glimmer of hope in regards to my friends and their horrific adoption case.  The judge has the opportunity to overturn the jury’s verdict during the next hearing in Wisconsin, on May 25.  He says he won’t be inclined to do so, but my friend’s sister has asked us to use the power of our voices and our words, in the form of letters to the judge. I’ll be writing my letter today.  (Instructions on how you can do the same are at the end of this post, following the “Sky Blue and Black” lyrics.)
I’m black and blue this morning, in many different ways.  I’m still worried, still anxious, still angry and sad as hell.
But also optimistic. 
And driven like the driving rain to do whatever I can.
And the heavens were rolling
Like a wheel on a track
And our sky was unfolding
And it’ll never fold back
Sky blue and black
And I’d have fought the world for you
If I thought that you wanted me to
Or put aside what was true or untrue
If I’d known that’s what you needed
What you needed me to do
But the moment has passed by me now
To have put away my pride
And just come through for you somehow
If you ever need holding
Call my name, I’ll be there
If you ever need holding
And no holding back, I’ll see you through
You’re the color of the sky
Reflected in each store-front window pane
You’re the whispering and the sighing
Of my tires in the rain
You’re the hidden cost and the thing that’s lost
In everything I do
Yeah and I’ll never stop looking for you
In the sunlight and the shadows
And the faces on the avenue
That’s the way love is
That’s the way love is
That’s the way love is
Sky blue and black

“Sky Blue and Black” ~ Jackson Browne



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That Sound You Heard? Was the Other Shoe Dropping.







Today was a tough one, you guys.
And I was informed I’ll be losing my job.
I can’t and don’t want to say too much publicly about the job situation,
except that it is a casualty of our decision to move. 
The job thing hurts and I’m very upset over this (I loved this job)
but I know there are – and will be – other opportunities.
When one door closes and things happen for a reason and all that shit.
But my friends and their baby girl?
I can’t say the same about that. 
I.
Just.
Can’t. 
Not tonight.
I’m beyond devastated.
As I wrote to them tonight, there have been only a handful of times in my life
when I thought I could literally feel a piece of my heart breaking off. 
Tonight, thinking of them and that little baby girl?
Is one of those times. 

photo taken by me of “old woman who lived in a shoe” garden decor in my mother’s yard, april 2009.

copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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Waiting




 

I have written before in this space (here and again here) about my friends D. and S.
The ones who, after waiting 15 years, got the call that a birthmother selected them.
The ones who have been parents for the past five months to a beautiful baby girl, who we’ll call Baby G.
The ones who got a call that the birthfather is contesting the adoption from his jail cell where he is serving five years.
The ones who are waiting during a trial (courtesy of the Wisconsin’s taxpayers dollars) which will determine whether the convicted felon ever established a “parental relationship.” 
(Which would mean that Baby G. goes to him.  In jail, I guess. I don’t know how these things work and I don’t want to.)
The ones who tonight, wait for the jury’s verdict.
We have been awaiting word for the past 6 hours.
UPDATE: The verdict was not good.  They lost. 

photo taken by me, Longwood Gardens, May 2010.

copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.
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The Real Victory That’s Needed in Wisconsin

The Super Bowl might be taking place in Dallas, but there’s another game going on back in Wisconsin. 

(If you’re a resident of Wisconsin or know someone who is, you’ll want to pay special attention to this one, because it’s a game that is being played with your hard-earned tax dollars.)

In this game, more is at stake than trophies and rings. 

It’s about this little girl’s future. 

We’ll call her Baby G., a baby who is not quite three months old.

I first told you about Baby G. back in December, a few days before Christmas. As I wrote then, my long-time friends D. and S. have been struggling to have a child for more than 15 years.  They’ve been through infertility treatments and turned to adoption, and they have waited – oh, how they have waited! – for the call.

And in November, the call came.  A birthmother had chosen them.  Baby G. was born in Wisconsin, and after several weeks and putting an ad in the paper (as is standard operating procedure in such cases), my friends joyfully brought her home.

And then, another call.   

A 21 year old birthfather has surfaced in Wisconsin. And he’s contesting the adoption.

From his jail cell. 

Where he’s serving 5 years. 

He’s asked for – and has received – a public defender. 

One that is being paid for on the backs of hard-working Wisconsin taxpayers. 

Oh, make no mistake: his public defender is working hard to earn your money. They’ve requested a jury trial, and a jury trial they will all receive.

While Wisconsin’s taxpayers are footing the bill for this felon’s defense, my friends D. and S. are mounting a defense fund of their own.  Their attorney expects this go-around of this fight for Baby G. to cost upwards of $40,000 (on top of what they have already spent for the adoption thus far).  Family and friends are writing checks, hosting fundraisers and selling raffle tickets, sending emails to Wisconsin’s legislators, using our voices of our blogs to do what we can to make sure that this birth father doesn’t gain custody. 

Because with a 21 year old father doing time, we all know what kind of life Baby G. is looking at if he wins this game, right?  We can’t honestly be expected to believe that this guy has his daughter’s best interests at heart and has the ability to provide for her better than my friends can. 

As fathers go, there could be no starker irony between these two quarterbacks on these opposing teams. 

We’ve already established that the birth father is in jail, doing five years.  Meanwhile, my friend S. (Baby G.’s adoptive father) puts his life on the line every day as a police officer.  This weekend, he stopped a maniacial drunk driver on I-270 in Maryland (some of you may know where that is) who was driving the wrong way, causing other vehicles to swerve dangerously to avoid being hit or killed. 

This is what we’re up against. Someone with complete disregard for others, taking others’ lives recklessly into his hands, making them pawns.
That’s the game that’s being played out on the gridiron of the Wisconsin courts. 

The game that the hardworking Wisconsin taxpayers are funding (for one team, anyway). 

That’s the real victory that’s needed in Wisconsin.

In a game that has the future and the very life of a 3 month old girl at stake.

copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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