Category Archives: Love

NY Has An AntiChild Attitude

.jpg photo of unwed father in new york who have fewer custody rights under a quirk of the law
David Dunbar, 43, an overnight manager at a grocery store, is one of the many unwed fathers who have fewer custody rights in New York under a quirk of the law.

He Didn’t Abuse His Daughter. The State Took Her Anyway.

What does it mean to be a parent?  One man hopes his case will change how a decades-old New York law treats unwed fathers.

For the first five years of his daughter Amanda’s life, Ping N., a restaurant manager in Manhattan, lived with his little girl and her mother.  He tucked her into bed at night and enjoyed spoiling her with her favorite snacks, like fish balls, egg tarts and ramen noodles.

But when child welfare officials found that Amanda’s mother had inflicted excessive corporal punishment on her in 2013, they removed the girl from the home.  Even though court records show that Ping had never committed abuse and was not present when it took place, a judge later decided that he would lose his daughter, too.  Ping could not have custody or any say in her life anymore.

The reason was a quirk of New York State law: He and Amanda’s mother were not married when she was born, making him less of a father in the eyes of the courts.

Lawyers for Ping, an immigrant from China whose surname is being withheld to protect the identity of his children, are now appealing that decision in what they hope will be a test case that changes how the decades-old law treats unwed fathers.
In New York and 11 other states, if a mother is accused of abuse or neglect but the father is not, and he is not married to her, he must prove that he is a parent in his own right — otherwise he will not have a say in whether the child is put up for adoption.  In most of those states, including New York, proof means paying child support — not to the mother but to the government agency that has taken the child.

“This is just blatant discrimination based on stale gender stereotypes — that the only way to be a father is to have a wedding ceremony or else to be a kind of rote financial provider,” said Martin Guggenheim, a law professor at New York University who studies family law and children’s rights.

Defenders of the New York law, which dates to 1980, say it helps children who have been languishing in foster care to get a permanent home sooner by preventing unmarried fathers who do not support their children from using the courts to delay or stop an adoption.

If those fathers had full rights, “we would have to prove by clear and convincing evidence that he abandoned the child … which can take years,” said Ira L. Eras, a New York lawyer who has mostly represented foster care agencies for three decades.

A Family Court judge in Manhattan ended Ping’s parental rights last year, paving the way for Amanda’s adoption by another family.  The judge cited Ping’s status as an unwed father at the time of his daughter’s birth and his failure to pay child support to Catholic Guardian Services, the foster care agency that the city’s child welfare arm, the Administration for Children’s Services, had hired to take custody of the girl.

Ping’s appeal, which was submitted in February and will be argued this fall by lawyers with the Family Defense Clinic at New York University School of Law, contended that he was financially supporting his daughter by giving her clothes, toys, food, gift cards and money, as well as by paying for outings and meals they had together.  Ping said he was never told that he also owed child support to the government and had never received a bill.

His lawyers added that there was no apparent way for fathers to pay child support to New York foster care agencies, a claim echoed by other lawyers in similar cases.

A spokeswoman for the Administration for Children’s Services, Chanel Caraway, and the executive director of Catholic Guardian Services, Craig Longley, both said they could not comment on a specific case.  Ms. Caraway also declined to comment on whether the agency had ever tried to get fathers to pay child support in these situations.

The state does not track how often the law is given as the reason for ending a father’s parental rights.  But a review of Family Court decisions and interviews with foster care lawyers suggests it is routinely cited in those cases.

Last week, David Dunbar, a 43-year-old overnight grocery store manager from the South Bronx, narrowly missed becoming one of them.

After the mother of Mr. Dunbar’s daughter developed severe mental illness in 2014, the children’s services agency deemed her to be an unfit parent and placed the girl, Destiny, then 10, in foster care.  In order for her to be adopted, the agency had to show that Mr. Dunbar was also not a fit parent.

Although court records show that Mr. Dunbar consistently visited Destiny, took parenting classes and passed drug tests, the foster care agency, St. Dominic’s Family Services, argued that his rights should be ended in part because he failed to communicate regularly with officials about his plans for his daughter.

As the years went on, the agency began citing the state’s decades-old law as an alternate reason for ending Mr. Dunbar’s rights, court records show.  But at a hearing in Manhattan on Sept. 18, the agency dropped its petition, largely because Destiny, now 16, had repeatedly stated to the court that she wanted to be with her father.

“I loved my daughter’s mother,” Mr. Dunbar said.  “I wish I could’ve married her.  I wish we could have lived a wonderful life together.  But we didn’t.  That doesn’t mean I’m not a dad.”

Diane Aquino, the chief operating officer of St. Dominic’s Family Services, said that she could not comment on an individual case but that the agency would not try to end a father’s rights if he were “actively planning for his child.”

“Five years in foster care indicates a father who is only intermittently planning,” Dr. Aquino said.

A half-century ago, unwed fathers had even fewer rights.  But a landmark Supreme Court decision in 1972 redefined fatherhood, to an extent.

In that case, the justices found that a state could not deny an unwed father his parental rights without demonstrating that he was unfit.  Over the next decade, legislators in New York and at least nine other states decided that the fitness of these unmarried fathers would be judged by whether they paid child support and maintained some relationship with the child.

When those laws were passed, many policymakers had a particular scenario in mind: a single mother who wanted to give up her child for adoption.  Their goal was to prevent an absentee father from thwarting the mother’s decision without having paid child support.

But they did not take into account adoptions that occurred after a government agency had taken a child from a mother because of abuse or neglect.  In order to satisfy the law, the unwed father would technically have to send payments to the government.

In New York, lawyers for fathers said that making payments to foster care agencies was not even possible.  The agencies do not try to collect the money, they said, and fathers do not know where or to whom to send it.

“I’ve tried to imagine ways of doing it — having my clients get child support orders against themselves, which they can then pay, or offer to pay the agency in cash every time they can, just so it’s in the record that they tried,” said Yusuf El Ashmawy, a lawyer who represents Mr. Dunbar and other fathers.  “It’s mind-bending.”

Since its passage nearly four decades ago, New York’s law has not been updated, even as the culture and the courts have embraced more expansive views of what makes a family . The state’s highest court struck down an earlier provision requiring unwed fathers to be living with their child’s mother in order to have a say in an adoption, but it has not directly ruled on other aspects of the statute.

Ping’s lawyers hope his argument will sway the court.

His daughter Amanda, now 11, was adopted by a white family with whom she has bonded.  She lost her ability to communicate with Ping in Mandarin; he does not speak English. Ping eventually married Amanda’s mother, and they had a son, Owen, now 6. Ping’s wife has since died, and he is raising his son on his own.

Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma

.jpg photo of Child Abuse graphic
Never shake a Baby for any reason, nor raise your voice to one.

SBS/AHT is the leading cause of physical
Child Abuse in the U. S.

OVERVIEW

Shaken baby syndrome — also known as abusive head trauma, shaken impact syndrome, inflicted head injury or whiplash shake syndrome — is a serious brain injury resulting from forcefully shaking an infant or toddler.

Shaken baby syndrome destroys a child’s brain cells and prevents his or her brain from getting enough oxygen.  Shaken baby syndrome is a form of child abuse that can result in permanent brain damage or death.

Shaken baby syndrome is preventable.  Help is available for parents who are at risk of harming a child.  Parents also can educate other caregivers about the dangers of shaken baby syndrome.

SYMPTOMS

Shaken baby syndrome symptoms and signs include:

  • Extreme fussiness or irritability
  • Difficulty staying awake
  • Breathing problems
  • Poor eating
  • Vomiting
  • Pale or bluish skin
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Coma

You may not see any signs of physical injury to the child’s outer body.  Sometimes, the face is bruised.  Injuries that might not be immediately seen include bleeding in the brain and eyes, spinal cord damage, and fractures of the ribs, skull, legs and other bones.  Many children with shaken baby syndrome show signs and symptoms of prior child abuse.

In mild cases of shaken baby syndrome, a child may appear normal after being shaken, but over time he or she may develop health or behavioral problems.

WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR

Seek immediate help if you suspect your child has been injured by violent shaking. Contact your child’s doctor or take your child to the nearest emergency room. Getting medical care right away may save your child’s life or prevent serious health problems.

Health care professionals are legally required to report all suspected cases of child abuse to state authorities.

CAUSES

Babies have weak neck muscles and often struggle to support their heavy heads.  If a baby is forcefully shaken, his or her fragile brain moves back and forth inside the skull.  This causes bruising, swelling and bleeding.

Shaken baby syndrome usually occurs when a parent or caregiver severely shakes a baby or toddler due to frustration or anger — often because the child won’t stop crying.

Shaken baby syndrome isn’t usually caused by bouncing a child on your knee, minor falls or even rough play.

RISK FACTORS

The following things may make parents or caregivers more likely to forcefully shake a baby and cause shaken baby syndrome:

  • Unrealistic expectations of babies
  • Young or single parenthood
  • Stress
  • Domestic violence
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Unstable family situations
    Depression
  • A history of mistreatment as a child

Also, men are more likely to cause shaken baby syndrome than are women.

COMPLICATIONS

Even brief shaking of an infant can cause irreversible brain damage.  Many children affected by shaken baby syndrome die.

Survivors of shaken baby syndrome may require lifelong medical care for conditions such as:

  • Partial or total blindness
  • Developmental delays, learning problems or behavior issues
  • Intellectual disability
  • Seizure disorders
  • Cerebral palsy

PREVENTION

New parent education classes can help parents better understand the dangers of violent shaking and may provide tips to soothe a crying baby and manage stress.

When your crying baby can’t be calmed, you may be tempted to try anything to get the tears to stop — but it’s important to always treat your child gently.  Nothing justifies shaking a child.

If you’re having trouble managing your emotions or the stress of parenthood, seek help.  Your child’s doctor may offer a referral to a counselor or other mental health provider.

If other people help take care of your child — whether a hired caregiver, sibling or grandparent — make sure they know the dangers of shaken baby syndrome.

Source:  Mayo Clinic Staff
https://www.mayoclinic.org

The Empty Chair At The Table

.jpg photo of Arlington National Cemetery where so many are buried that gave their lives for this country
Arlington National Cemetery, where so many are buried that gave their lives for Our Country.

We will never forget

.jpg photo of red poppies to honor those who died trying to protect our country
In the U.S., people wear the red poppy on Memorial Day to honor those who died trying to protect Our Country.

This is for all those that answered the Call of Duty for Our Great Country, America the Beautiful, the Home of the Brave and the Free, who gave all and didn’t get the chance to bring up their children, or grow old with their spouses, or have careers.

The flag shouldn’t stay at half-staff all day

.jpg photo of our flag as we honor the many that gave their lives trying to defend our country
Today we honor the many people that have given their lives defending Our Country.

Federal guidelines say the flag should be displayed at half-staff only until noon, then go up to full-staff until sundown.

A Strong Successful Family

.jpg photo of a good, happy family graphic
Good caring parents teach by example, always remembering that genuine praise, guidance, and understanding are the mark of a good parent.

Building & Maintaining A Good Family

Building a Good Family

There are basic qualities and values needed to have and maintain a good family.   These qualities and values are:

  • Love
  • Honor, always truth and loyalty
  • Mutual Respect
  • Kindness
  • Communication
  • Consideration
  • Duty
  • Responsibility

The Future of this world

Children are the future of this world.  As a good parent it is your responsibility to teach your children from birth, the above qualities and values, as these are handed down from generation-to-generation, and prepares them to be good family members, good friends, good neighbors, good employees, good leaders, and good citizens.

Good caring parents teach by example, always remembering that genuine praise, guidance, and understanding are the mark of a good parent.  As your child grows, regular family quality time strengthens trust and mutual respect, forging a stronger family bond, where communication grows easier, and good memories are more easily made.

Maintaining A Good Family

The five “L’s” of a good, strong, family:

  1. Love is at the heart of the family.  All humans have the need to love and to be loved; the family is normally the place where love is expressed.  Love is the close personal blending of physical and mental togetherness.  It includes privacy, intimacy, sharing, belonging, and caring.  The atmosphere of real love is one of honesty, understanding, patience, and forgiveness.  Such love does not happen automatically; it requires constant daily effort by each family member.  Loving families share activities and express a great deal of gratitude for one another. Love takes time, affection, and a positive attitude.
  2. Learning – Families are where we learn values, skills, and behavior.  Strong families manage and control their learning experiences.  They establish a pattern of home life.  They select appropriate television programs.  They guide their children into the world outside the home.  They do not let social forces rule their family life.  They involve themselves in neighborhood, school, government, church, and business in ways that support their family values.  Strong families teach by example and learn through experience as they explain and execute their values.
  3. Loyalty – Strong families have a sense of loyalty and devotion toward family members.  The family sticks together.  They stand by each other during times of trouble.  They stand up for each other when attacked by someone outside the family.  Loyalty builds through sickness and health, want and good fortune, failure and success, and all the things the family faces.  The family is a place of shelter for individual family members.  In times of personal success or defeat, the family becomes a cheering section or a mourning bench.  They also learn a sense of give and take in the family, which helps prepare them for the necessary negotiations in other relationships.
  4. Laughter is good family medicine.  Humor is an escape valve for family tension. Through laughter we learn to see ourselves honestly and objectively.  Building a strong family is serious business, but if taken too seriously, family life can become very tense.  Laughter balances our efforts and gives us a realistic view of things.  To be helpful, family laughter must be positive in nature.  Laughing together builds up a family.  Laughing at each other divides a family.  Families that learn to use laughter in a positive way can release tensions, gain a clearer view, and bond relationships.
  5. Leadership is essential.  Family members, usually the adults, must assume responsibility for leading the family.  If no one accepts this vital role, the family will weaken.  Each family needs its own special set of rules and guidelines.  These rules are based on the family members’ greatest understanding of one another. The guidelines pass along from the adults to the children by example, with firmness and fairness.  Strong families can work together to establish their way of life, allowing children to have a voice in decision making and enforcing rules. However, in the initial stages and in times of crisis, adult family members must get the family to work together.

Good Bye You Are No Longer Welcome In My Home

.jpg photo of Child Abuse and Abortion graphic
IT IS MURDER

Nearly 50 Hollywood Actors Threaten To Boycott If ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Bill
Becomes Law

“Thank You!!!! We Appreciate You Georgia”
Robert StrongBow

Georgia lawmakers Friday turned aside threats from Hollywood celebrities and gave final legislative approval to a bill that would ban most abortions in the state.

One day after the Writers Guild of America threatened that Georgia would pay a steep fiscal price if the anti-abortion “heartbeat” bill wins final approval, a coalition of Hollywood celebrities joined with Alyssa Milano to warn that they, too, will push for the entertainment industry to flee the state if, as is likely, the bill becomes law.

A letter to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has been signed by nearly 50 stars including Alec Baldwin, Amy Schumer, Gabrielle Union, Rosie O’Donnell, Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, Essence Atkins, Uzo Aduba, Christina Applegate, Ben Stiller, Sean Penn, David Cross, Don Cheadle, Mia Farrow, Colin Hanks, Bradley Whitford and Amber Tamblyn, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

However, if the letter’s goal was to short-circuit the bill, that strategy failed.

On Friday, the Georgia House gave the bill final legislative passage by a 92-78 vote, one vote more than the bare minimum needed to pass.

Last week, Georgia’s Senate approved the law banning most abortions after six weeks from conception, the time at which a baby’s heart starts to beat.  Kemp has indicated he would sign the bill if it cleared the legislature.

But the law has run afoul of what the celebrities will support.

“This dangerous and deeply-flawed bill mimics many others which have already been deemed unconstitutional,” the letter from the Hollywood celebrities read.  “As men who identify as small-government conservatives, we remind you that government is never bigger than when it is inside a woman’s body or in her doctor’s office.

“This bill would remove the possibility of women receiving reproductive healthcare before most even know they are pregnant and force many women to undergo unregulated, hidden procedures at great risk to their health.”

The letter closed with a clear threat.

“We want to stay in Georgia,” it said.  “We want to continue to support the wonderful people, businesses, and communities we have come to love in the Peachtree State.  But we will not do so silently, and we will do everything in our power to move our industry to a safer state for women if H.B. 481 becomes law.  You have a choice, gentlemen.  We pray you make the right one.”

Many on Twitter suggested the actors leave Georgia’s policymaking to Georgians.

Hey @Alyssa_Milano Mother to mother, actress to actress, and as a proud Georgian, I’ve got some things to say to you.  I’m incredibly proud of my home state and @GovKemp for taking a stand in the fight for life amidst backlash and dubious threats. https://t.co/dpwDFn6O70
— Ashley Bratcher (@_AshleyBratcher) March 28, 2019

Georgia is supposed to bow down to Hollywood extortionists?  https://t.co/ebLpbWMvbG
— Wayne Dupree | 🎤 (@WayneDupreeShow) March 29, 2019

Hahahaha …maybe staying out of Georgia would the best thing for Georgia.. this is so ridiculous, Entertainers in their Hollywood BUBBLE thinking they truly could make an impact, an sway the working class majority with their diluted fantasies.. Stick to ENTERTAINMENT! Stupid 👎
— chris (@crbillie) March 29, 2019

Killing babies is bad for all business, ma’am.  We have no interest here in Georgia of taking our 30 pieces of silver in exchange for what Hollywood is peddling, much more interested in standing up for Truth and Life 🙂
— Tom Kuipers (@TomKuipers) March 22, 2019

Republican State Rep. Trey Kelley was not intimidated.

“I think it’s sad that some will try to use the movie industry to stop good legislation in Georgia.  But with any proposal I do — and I know many members of (the Republican) caucus — weigh the merits of the legislation, they don’t pay attention to what special-interest groups have to say about it,” he said, according to The Journal-Constitution.

State Rep. Ed Setzler, who sponsored the bill in the House, said the bill represented what “commonsense Georgians” were about.

“This bill recognizes the fundamental life of the child in the womb is worthy of legal protection and balances that basic right to life with the very different situations women find themselves in pregnancies,” he said.

But many Democrats were siding with Hollywood, including Stacey Abrams, who lost the governor’s race to Kemp last year.

The film industry is now integral to our economy.  Ask the carpenters, hairdressers, caterers, electricians & artists from Senoia to Savannah who rely on these jobs to feed their families.  For them, for us, Georgia isn’t Hollywood – it’s home.  #gapol #HB481IsBadForBusiness
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) March 29, 2019

Mississippi recently passed a similar bill.  “Heartbeat” legislation also has been proposed in Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina and Ohio.