Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Janet Jenkins pleads for help in finding her daughter

Janet Jenkins is now pleading for help from the public in finding her daughter, Isabella. Jenkins' former civil union partner, Lisa Miller (now claiming to be an ex-gay) was supposed to turn Isabella over to Jenkins after a court ruling. This ruling came about because of Miller's continued refusal to allow Jenkins access to Isabella, whom they were supposed to be raising together. Miller and Isabella have since disappeared and the belief is that Miller has taken Isabella and gone into hiding.

Jenkins' statement came via Lambda Legal:
"I am so worried about Isabella. I do not know where she is or whether she is okay.

Isabella is my daughter. Lisa and I decided together to have a child, and that we would use alternative reproductive technology to do so. We picked out a donor together. I was there with Lisa when she gave birth to Isabella. We gave her both our last names, since we were both her parents. After Isabella was born, Lisa and I cared for her together. We both fed her, played with her, changed her diapers, and loved her.

Eventually, the courts ruled that I was Isabella's parent, but in my heart I've always known that. It was devastating to me, as I'm sure it was to Isabella, when Lisa withheld contact between me and my daughter.

My goal has never been to separate Isabella from Lisa. I just want Isabella to know and love both of her parents. I just want to be with her, like any parent.

Please help me find my child."

Anyone with information regarding Isabella’s and Lisa’s whereabouts should call the Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 or the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office at 540-586-4800.

On the other end of  spectrum, and showing no class whatsoever is Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage. Gallagher offers up her opinion regarding the case but if you ask me, she really should have kept quiet:

"I have sympathy for the pre-eminent claims of natural parents versus legal parents, when the natural mother is a fit parent (which nobody has denied in this case). But we have to be a nation ruled by laws, even when those laws may be unjust.
“Let this act as a warning call: Don't enter civil unions with people if you do not want to give them legal rights over your children. And do not give much faith in the ‘best interest of the child’ standard to protect your child. If the best interest of the child conflicts with fashionable legal norms, courts will not care what is in your child's best interest.

“It cannot be in Lisa's daughter's interest to be forcibly moved to Vermont away from the only mother she has ever known. This case is a tragedy all around. I cannot endorse what Lisa Miller has done, but I understand it, and pity both women and most of all this child. I wish Lisa's partner had the wisdom of Solomon, but I cannot blame her either.

Gallagher totally misrepresents the entire case, perhaps intentionally. Miller and Jenkins agreed to have a child and raise it together after entering the civil union in Vermont. Also, Jenkins was given visitation rights after she and Miller broke up.  The only reason why Jenkins got custody of Isabella is because Miller kept denying her access to their daughter despite court orders.

And this constant need by Gallagher and other members of the religious right to inaccurately term Jenkins as a "stranger" to Isabella is mean spirted. There is no reason for it.  Jenkins is Isabella's legal mother.

Lastly, that part about the "wisdom of Solomon"  is confusing.

For those not familiar with the original Biblical story, King Solomon had to decide just who was the mother of a child which two women were claiming. He ordered the child to be cut in half. The real mother, who had concern for the child, begged Solomon to give it to the other woman. The other woman, who was not the mother, could care less for the child and agreed with the plan to cut it in half.

By these reactions, Solomon knew who the real mother was and gave the child to her.

In his wisdom, Solomon knew that the real mother of the child would do anything to keep her baby from being harmed.

So what did Gallagher mean by her coin of phrase? Is she admitting that Jenkins is Isabella's real mother? Is she saying that Jenkins should give up all claims to the child if she truly loves her?

But  why should Jenkins have to make such a decision? No parent should have to make such a decision.

Or does Gallagher feel there should be special circumstances which would force lgbt parents to make such a decision?

Gallagher wonders why some people call her a bigot. Seems to me that her remarks in this case make the reason pretty obvious.

Related post:

Janet Jenkins/Lisa Miller custody case still not resolved despite judge's orders

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1 comment:

Shawna said...

I hope that little Isabella is okay.