Tuesday night the girl who, as a 10-year-old, was taken from her father because her father had missed nine days of court-ordered visitation with her grandparents spent her first night with her father at home in more than three years. Now 13 years old, she is enjoying time with him and is excited about beginning her home school adventure.
Many who followed the case for the last year and the 10-day trial last week wondered if there might not be an uneasy transition. According to her dad, it was “like she left yesterday” and they “picked up where we left off.” He thinks it is a work of God, and I agree, but I think it also has to do with the fact that he talked to her on the phone every day of those three years until the grandparents disallowed it. He wrote to her every day as well, in spite of the fact that the grandparents refused to give her the letters, because the letters discussed “their future together.” The grandparents also withheld the gifts he sent for whatever reason they came up with to refuse them.
Nevertheless, they are once again a family. However, based on a court order issued by the same judge (who has demonstrated a pattern in these matters) after the mother’s death, the grandparents will still have her every second and fourth weekend and for a week in the summer and at holidays. So while some have expressed relief for the father and his daughter that it is now “over,” it is not. It has just moved to the next phase.
Attorneys for the father told me that while it is unlikely that the grandparents would appeal the jury’s decision, they could do so and there is nothing that would keep them from attempting something in the future in order to gain possession of their granddaughter.
Please continue to pray for this father and his daughter during this new time of being a family once again. Pray also that a hearing date would be set soon for consideration of the request of the father that the grandparents pay his legal fees and that the judge would require them to do so.
This whole sordid case is a reminder that parental rights are given lip service in many legal circles and that the need for family law reform in this area is desperately needed because hundreds, if not thousands, of parents in Texas are living through similar nightmares.
THSC PAC will be educating legislative candidates on this need for restoring parental rights in Texas during the upcoming election season and we will endorse those who understand the issue and are committed to helping us in the next legislative session to restore parental rights in Texas. We will also endorse judicial candidates who demonstrate their understanding and support of the fundamental constitutional right of parents to direct the care, control, and upbringing of their children.
Many have asked how they can help us in defraying the legal fees that we have voluntarily assumed to help this fit father. Those who wish to make a tax-deductible contribution may do so here. Simply choose the option for the Parental Rights Litigation Fund. If you have problems, just call THSC toll free at 1-888-200-4903. Current legal fees due are in the $40,000 range and the total spent so far by THSC in support of this cause is approaching $200,000. We are so blessed to live in Texas where the people, if not the courts and the legislature, still believe in the fundamental constitutional right of parents to direct the care, control, and upbringing of their children.