Friday, May 13, 2011

Illness: So much to Lose

Many of you have probably read this heartbreaking story about a woman who lost her kids in a custody battle because she had stage four breast cancer, even though she was stable.

Here we see an unwillingness to support a person with a serious illness and her family. The article I just linked explains the justifications given for not giving the mother custody: the illness would be hard on the children and that children do better when they're removed from that kind of situation.

Well, why not provide social support to the family? If Mom becomes too ill to give the kids everything they need, why not provide her with some sort of caregiver? Why not provide a therapist to help mom and children cope with the trauma? Oh, right. That costs money.

But I think it's more than that: I think it's implied that her illness makes her an unfit mother. So many with illnesses lose so much, especially socially: many are poor, stigmatized, have inadequate access to the resources they need, etc. How terrible that now one has lost her kids. It's not her fault she's sick. She hasn't done anything wrong. So help her!

And the father doesn't exactly seem like full-custody material. I wish there was more protection for parents with serious illnesses and disabilities. Parenthood shouldn't be conditional upon wellness.

6 comments:

  1. "the father doesn't exactly seem like full-time custody material"?

    I can find no reference online that would back up this statement: on what evidence are you making this claim?

    If you read the facts of the case, such as in the NY Times, http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/12/losing-custody-because-she-has-cancer/ you will note that the mother, as a professional writer/editor is undoubtably well-versed in handling the media, and "getting her story out".

    It could just be that there is more to the story than meets the eye: some of the media reports are pretty one dimensional!

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  2. Thanks for writing. This is why I said he didn't seem like "full custody material.":

    "On her campaign blog, she claimed: 'Because I have a cancer diagnosis, I have spent the last sixteen months in court defending myself from the attacks of my abusive husband who filed a lawsuit against me in Durham County, NC asking for full, permanent custody of our two children using the argument that I have a cancer diagnosis.

    'He then chose to move to the Chicago area to take a job at Sears Holdings, Inc. leaving our children in my sole physical custody since August 2010.'"

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1385143/Alaina-Giordano-loses-custody-children-breast-cancer.html#ixzz1MHePQUoK

    He moved far away, leaving his children; used his wife's cancer against her to get custody, then refused to move closer to the mother, so she could see her kids. He seems like a jerk. But yes, I am going by her quotes and yes, these things can be so one sided, truth twisted. Thanks. I hadn't considered that maybe there was more to it or maybe she was lying.

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  3. Here's a link to the original ruling from the Giordano custody case. http://www.wral.com/asset/news/local/2011/06/01/9672149/custody_order.PDF"

    After reading the judge's decision. It is very clear Ms Giordano has not been truthful with the public over the facts of the case. Namely:

    - The judge determined both were capable parents
    - It is the best interest of the children to remain in a shared custody arrangement
    - Ms Giordano has not encouraged the children's relationship with the father including withholding medication and medical information about the children and denying him his parenting time.
    -Monitored the daughters phone calls and emails to the father
    - Determined that it was in the best interest of the children that the father remain in Chicago where he is gainfully employed and has health insurance which covers the children and Ms Giordano
    - Determined that Ms Giordano has relatively few obstacles in moving to Chicago. Changing doctors is poppycock. Chicago has excellent medical facilities where Ms Giordano could receive equivalent or better medical care.

    Her cancer played a part in the ruling but at the end of the day, the story is more about Ms Giordano not wanting to move. Not her cancer.

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  4. Here is a link to the original ruling by the judge.

    http://www.wral.com/asset/news/local/2011/06/01/9672149/custody_order.PDF

    It paints a very different story what Ms Giordano has spun.

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