Aug 14, 2004 - 9:34 pm
I need your help. I have a three year old son with brain cancer and a family law judge that has given his abusive father unsupervised visitation with him in the hospital which resulted in the father emotionally the child during visits. The judge has confirmed that the father has engaged in domestic violence and has ordered that the father have only court supervised visitation with our other two children (ages 2 years old and 5 years old). However, the court has left the most vulnerable child with unsupervised visitation. I need as many people as possible to come to a hearing on Monday August 16, 2004 in Oakland, California at 1:30 pm. The hearing is at 1221 Oak Street on the 4th floor in Department 21. You dont have to speak or even take sides we just need to let the judge know that people are paying attention to this case and the fate of this little boy.
In addition to the emotional abuse he has put the three year old through, the father should have supervised visitation with the three year old because:
He is a convicted felon;
Despite all of this the court has allowed the father to have unsupervised visitation in the hospital with my three year old because he says that the hospital guards can prevent the father from abducting the child (which is a major concern). The problem is that the hospital guards cannot keep the father from abducting the child. The father proved this just two weeks ago when he snuck past hospital security to gain entry to the hospital. Strangely, he knew that hospital security would have let him through on that occasion if he had asked because the little boy was in the ICU and was critical so I had informed the father that he should come to the ICU immediately and that security would let him in (I also told him that I would be present for the whole visit because I would not leave his bedside while he was critical). When security asked him how he got past them he refused to tell them.
At a recent unsupervised visit with the three year old, just a week after he almost died from septic shock, the father went into the boys private hospital room, closed the door with the blinds drawn and spent the visit telling the 3 year old that he should be afraid of the maternal grandfather. Before the visit the child was happy go lucky but right after the visit, the child was despondent and the nurse heard him say (and wrote in the medical records) that his father told him that his grandfather was bad. When a child psychologist examined him he revealed that his father told him that his grandfather was bad, that his father told him to be scared of his grandfather. This is particularly upsetting because his grandfather is one of his primary caregivers who has helped to rear him. The child was extremely sad and confused. He does not want to be sacred of his grandfather who helps to take care of him everyday in the hospital but at the same time his father is telling him to be scared. As a now single parent of three I understand that I need all of the children to have faith that they are safe when with their grandparents because I need them to serve as primary caregivers when I go to work, or when I am at the hospital with the 3 year old, or when I am at the house with the other two children.
In just two weeks my son will be given one of the strongest doses of chemotherapy that they give children. It will decimate his immune system and kill all of his bone marrow. Right after that he will have a stem cell transplant. He will be very sick and extremely vulnerable. If his father does this to him again it will be devastating to him as he struggles to recover and receives care from his grandfather.
The judge is not sensitive to the needs of this child. He does not understand the impact of emotional abuse and will not accept that security at the hospital is inadequate to prevent abduction.
In order to serve the needs of the father the judge has ordered that I cannot be at my sons bedside during his fathers visitation time even if my son is dying. The judge has given me full physical and legal custody of all of the children and there have been no allegations that I am an unfit parent in any way. But the Court believes that it is important to allow the father to have this time alone with his son even if it means that he uses the time to hurt the child while he fights for his life. All along I have encouraged the father to engage in supervised visitation with the children. He voluntarily refused to visit them for over three months. I have never kept him from the childs bedside when he was critical and have allowed him to have far more time with the child in the ICU than the restraining order allows for. Despite this, at the hearing the father will be requesting increased unsupervised visitation with the three year old which will only give him more time to do harm. Having people at the hearing will make the judge take notice and pay attention to the needs of the child.
Please come to the hearing if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area or if you know someone in the Bay Area please ask them to come.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org