NO MOTHER’S CHILD
By Phyllis Vaughn
The child clung to her neck tightly pressing his sandy brown head under her chin. He couldn’t get close enough to avoid the hands pulling him from her arms. He screamed,” No, No”….to no avail. It was done. He was no longer this woman’s child…and no longer any woman’s child.
None of us would believe this day would ever come…losing Grayson. We had been convinced that no court would remove a child from the only family he has ever known. How many times we had heard those words? The laws, as written, were on our side. We were to learn a very hard lesson….it doesn’t matter how the laws are written. Judges can construe the laws to support any agenda they wish to support.
Ed and I accompanied Jason and Christy to deliver their child, our grandson, to his biological father in Ohio. Not only were they ordered to surrender him, it was prearranged that they must return this precious gift, given freely by his birthmother who chose life for her child, and place him in the hands of a stranger.
A stranger who had chosen not to be a part of this infant’s life before birth and after…a man who had chosen not to give away nights of sleep in order to comfort a frightened or distressed baby…a man who chose not to offer a strong shoulder as a refuge for a sleeping child…a man who chose, much like the irresponsible bird in Dr Seuss’s book Horton Hatches an Egg, to vacation while someone else nurtured his progeny. The egg cared for and protected by a loving Horton, with no genetic link, sacrificing self, enduring days of hardship for something else, something more important than self. This man who had sacrificed nothing of himself except the minimum for creation, and yet he would be given this child…because it was his?
Leaving his brother and sister at home, engaging in their last hug, Grayson nor the other children could comprehend what was happening. Looks of bewilderment dominated Grayson’s sweet face. There were tears from 7 year old Jackson as he clung to his Aunt Christi who comforted him and his twin-like sister, two year old Addison. They looked into Grayson’s eyes for the last time as he peered from the van’s window. A brother no more…
What did Jackson understand? Could he grasp the idea of a biological father and the right to his son?
“Daddy is Grayson’s father. He and Grayson are brothers. God gave him to him. He asked for a brother. Why did the judge take Grayson away? He asked to talk to the judge….. Why did God take Grayson away? He prayed He wouldn’t…but He did.”
The residence, in a small rural Ohio town, lacked warmth with no signs of life, except for the arrival of two local police officers. Beyond the front door balloons covered the floor of a clean room with no feelings of kindness.
The balloons? A diversion from what was about to happen…the transformation of a child… a child of a mother to a motherless child… a child with a brother and a sister to an only child.
A ‘Happy Birthday’ banner hung inappropriately on the wall.
Terror resounds from the child…the transformation must be painful. Where are the soothing arms of a loving parent for this motherless child?
The balloons moving wistfully over the floor afford no relief. The new grandfather sits stoic on a couch, one of two pieces of furniture in the room, hands covering his face, and a grandmother, hands on her hips communicating frustration about the late arrival. Neither move to comfort the child, perhaps not knowing what to do.
A house decorated for a celebration?
Everywhere there are balloons.
Was this a day to celebrate?
One family’s devastation…
One family’s celebration…
One child’s transformation.
Balloons on the floor…
Colors barely suspended.
A child wails for his mother…
He turned three yesterday.
There were balloons in the air.
He was a mother’s child.
Today he is no mother’s child.
Faceless Balloons on the floor
Jason and Christy travelled again to Ohio, each time before, denied any voice to save their child. Today, they will leave Ohio with a gaping hole in each of their hearts. Today, they will leave a part of them in the mind and soul of a little boy they named Grayson…his life tainted by judges to be no mother’s child.
The Ohio Supreme Court ignored the statute that reads “(H) Putative father means …who may be the child’s father and to whom all of the following apply: (1) He is not married to the mother at the time of conception or birth; (2) He has not adopted the child; (3) He has not been determined, prior to the date a petition to adopt the child is filed, to have a parent and child relationship by a court proceeding….;(4) He has not acknowledged paternity of the child…“ The majority stated that logic has to supersede the written law and that the intent of the legislature was obvious. That even though the statute stated paternity had to be established prior to the filing of the adoption petition, a paternity action was sufficient. Paternity was not established until March 2009 and the adoption petition was filed January 2008. The biological father filed a paternity action December 2007. He knew he was the father since Grayson’s conception almost 11 months prior to this filing but took no action to support, communicate or establish paternity.
Three years after the birth of his biological child he has full custody and did not have to demonstrate any responsibility for the child or his birthmother.
Logic, it seems, also deemed the now established ‘legal’ father free of any responsibility to support or communicate with the birthmother during pregnancy or the child. An unmarried legal father, unlike a married legal father, now has all of the parental rights without any parental responsibilities.
Ohio Revised Statutes
In re Adoption G.V. (Supreme Court No. 09-2355)