Why? Part 1
But she was abused, raped and beaten up by her own family.
Those are my words to those who don’t understand why somebody would do something like I did when I decided to fight for somebody who didn’t share my DNA.
It’s not for me to go into details of somebody else’s story so I will leave that story up to the person who lived it. I can only tell you my side of the story and some of the events and maybe just maybe you can understand my reasoning.
I will tell you that this is a very difficult story to write and its very difficult to even discuss, but it needs to be. Family isn’t just blood. It is those who love you and care about you. Love so much they will sacrifice everything.
I was a very poor Pastor, wife, two kids, child on the way, and I would note overwhelmed by all I was involved in. I was making a little extra money as Refugee Worker in Baltimore in 2001. I had a couple living in my basement to help pay the rent. I had heard stories of their niece who was moving to Baltimore. She was 15 and had given birth to a daughter.
One afternoon, maybe night while handling a very refugee sensitive case I got a call from my wife concerning the girl. I was standing in John Hopkins Hospital helping and being present for my client, one of the daughters of Samual Dokie. My then wife informed me that this girl was walking through one of the most dangerous parks in Baltimore. The baby in her arms with a diaper and blanket. It was snowing hard and it was not a neighborhood she knew well having moved from Louisiana.
I went looking.. and never found her. I went home and there was this child holding a baby sitting in my living room.
The months following would set the stage of what felt like a never ending battle of us vs a very broken system. She was locked up into institution for minors with children (babies) who had committed a crime. But she had never committed a crime. Her crime was running from an abusive family that lived in never ending sexual, physical and emotional abuse. One morning she came in and talk to my wife and I. She told me about the abuses and even offered up some proof in the form of scars. Later, decades later the sexual abuse would come to the surface in regards to other relatives that had known or experienced similar events. Even buried police information would come up.
Her family would use about every tactic to hurt my family, often successful. The social workers assigned to her case would go after me, my family and those associated with us. We would often be the only ones to visit her. She would be put into foster care and run. She end up having to hide in multiple hotels to keep her from being arrested.
I hired several lawyers and none were able to represent my family as I was not “kin” to her. I was just some crazy minister who cared to much. Then we got blessed an attorney who worked for a non profit that represented the homeless agreed to help us. The court appointed attorney for the minor would be fired. She was useless. The attorney I found would work a deal with the attorney for the social services in Baltimore City. In a court hearing she was emancipated from her parents. One of the few times in Maryland it had happened in years. I watched, in fact lots of attorneys watched as those social workers, family members sat in awe and the Judge order the emancipation.
So why talk about this now? It is actually kind of simple. In 2007 in Wayne County Michigan when she moved to stay with me, I made attempts to adopt her as an adult. It was shot down by those working for the courts and the process that actually still remains in place. More about that to come..
To her kids I have been Papa. She has known me as her dad for decades. But I can’t adopt her over other issues that not even the writers of the legislation for Adult Adoption in Michigan ever placed in the law. But somebody in Wayne County did. Who I may never know.
I hope our story has a happy ending. I hope via maybe discussions with the local courts the process gets changed. Maybe we will have to bring a lawsuit in federal court.
But there is something horribly wrong where those who hurt children are defended by the very people put in place to defend them, and courts stop loving families from being legitimate.