Why U.S. Supreme Court Case Adkins v. Adkins Can Be Key To Family Law Reform

James Carter is a father and stepdad, and a U.S. Army soldier currently deployed in Afghanistan. His post on government profit from child abuse, and his Change.org petition, ran Jan. 28, 2016. Please click and sign now if you haven’t already. Thank you!

Family Law Reform Needs To Happen Now

By James Carter

I feel it’s imperative that not only mothers and fathers but ALL American citizens should support the U.S. Supreme Court Case Adkins v. Adkins, Docket #15-754.  America desperately needs family law reform. The greed and abuse of power in the family court systems is out of control. Children’s lives are being destroyed, and fit parents are routinely being deprived of their fundamental rights by those that we’ve entrusted to protect us.

Since family courts are courts of equity, juries are unavailable and litigants are at the mercy of a single person’s subjective opinion. These courts are supposed to be limited by substantive and procedural rules. However, due to the lack of oversight and no current routes of redress, the courts know they will never be held accountable. So the abuse of judicial discretion often goes beyond constraints set down by legislation, precedent, and the U.S. Constitution.

This unrestrained power has directly resulted in the suffering of hundreds of thousands of innocent American families. Some people think these are arbitrary decisions. However, the fact that these courts NEVER prosecute for perjury and do not require allegations to be proven is direct evidence that they do not base their decisions on the merits of a case. I believe it’s painfully obvious that greed is the motivating factor driving their decisions.

If we expect to remain a free and democratic society we must reform the family law system to be based upon the rule of law. For only through such law does the dignity of the individual retain respect and protection. Without it, individual rights become subject to unrestrained power, and respect for law is destroyed.

From the time I was a kid, I was proud to be an American. I heard amazing stories of courageous men making the ultimate sacrifices to gain the people’s freedom from tyrannical governments. Fighting to protect our innate rights as human beings is the very cornerstone of what our country was founded on. I am disgusted by how the family court system has insulted and made a mockery of all the lives given in the name of freedom. This total disregard of our natural rights has me seriously considering finding a new home country.

As a member of the United States military, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC. Currently I am deployed in Afghanistan and, sadly, I think our family court system is a bigger threat to our freedom, families, and American way of life than what we’re facing overseas. I commend Janet Adkins for her courage and commitment to stand up against this broken system.

The United States Supreme Court stated: “The interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court.”

It’s time for the U.S. Supreme Court to enforce their authority over the states and protect our freedom.

Government Profit From Child Abuse: We’ve Got To Stop This Train Now

This is an important guest post by James Carter, whose wife’s court case is just days away. This is as fine a breakdown of what is happening as I’ve ever seen. There are many vicious, conscience-less people in the legal realm who set outrageous “cases” into motion in just-so channels that ensure it will be difficult if not impossible to stop them once begun. The protective parents and their families and friends can do nothing but file useless motions to stop the train and make those in power listen. Usually these people won’t. They are on the train.  Please read this important post and sign James’s Change.org petition now.

Profiting From Child Abuse: The Government’s Secret Business

by James Carter

I have always considered myself to be a good person with good morals. My whole life I’ve tried to support what’s right without regard to my own bias. But recently I realized that, no matter how good our intentions are, sometimes we unwittingly develop prejudices from the indoctrination of society. Whether we like to admit it or not, this is still predominantly a man’s world, and by virtue of that fact some very serious issues facing the women in our country have been falling on deaf ears. I think that if we are striving to become better men, it is critical for us to question our preconceived notions and start looking at all sides of issues objectively and with open minds.

It’s no secret that America’s family justice system is broken. As far back as I can remember, I have always heard that men do not stand a chance in family court because the courts automatically side with the mother. I’m not trying to depreciate the issue, but contrary to popular belief, this is not the biggest or most common issue. I know that it does happen. I personally experienced it 15 years ago when a judge ignored the child support guidelines and set my obligation way above the limit. I was left with $400 a month, and it caused me major financial problems. I spent most of my 20’s in court-ordered poverty. It took me a very long time to climb out of the hole. But this issue pales in comparison to what the courts are doing to women and children.

I want to make it clear that I’m not saying mothers are entitled to more rights than fathers. Personally, I believe in equal rights for both parents as long as they are good parents. My main purpose here is to expose the fraud, corruption, and abuse of power that has been happening right under our noses.

In the summer of 2014, my wife let her 4-year-old daughter go to Newport, Washington for a few weeks to visit her grandmother. One week before she was supposed to pick her up, my wife got a call from an attorney saying he’d filed a restraining order against her and the court transferred custody over to her ex. As you can imagine, we were in shock. At first we didn’t even think it was true because there weren’t any grounds for a restraining order. Our family is non-violent. We don’t drink or do drugs. We both had good jobs and had a nice four-bedroom house in Colorado. Why would a court–without any notice– take a little girl away from her safe and stable mother who raised her for four years on her own, and give her to a documented abusive father who has never paid child support and has been voluntarily absent for the majority of the child’s life? So my wife called the Spokane County Courthouse and found out that it was true. That very same night, she got on a plane to Washington.

When she got to Washington, she found that there were already two restraining orders against  her. One was an automatic order that is illegal in custody cases, and the other was an ex parte restraining order that is only legal in bona fide emergencies. Both orders violated her due process rights. Her ex had made some false accusations, but they were so transparent, a child could have seen through them. Not one of them constituted an emergency.

In my wife’s attorney’s mind, there were so many obvious constitutional violations, it was abundantly clear the case was nothing more than an attempt to continue harassing her. So we expected the powers that be would easily see reason, and the case would be over quickly. Now it’s been about a year and a half, and my wife is still in Washington fighting to get her daughter back.

During this past year and a half, I studied the law inside and out and found there were literally dozens of blatant local, state, federal and Constitutional violations going on here. So I tried to get help from the agencies that are supposed to protect us. I started with the state bar association. They claimed flat-out there hadn’t been any wrong doing and refused to discuss it any further. Then I tried the commission on judicial conduct. They also denied there’d been any wrong doing. I next wrote to every elected official in Washington and Colorado; the Department of Justice; the FBI; the ACLU; and so many others that I can’t even remember. I either didn’t get a response, or they would say, “We’d like to help you but we can’t intervene with family court decisions.”

At first I thought my wife’s case was unique, but I’ve actually found that it’s happening to families all across the nation. Family courts and child protective agencies have been kidnapping children under “color of law” so they can collect federal incentives. Think about it: Where do you think the money comes from for those shiny new courthouses? These federal incentive programs have created a 50 billion dollar a year industry that is destroying families and the lives of children who cannot protect themselves. Fathers Manifesto groups have discovered a malicious way to take advantage of the billions from fatherhood incentive programs by deliberately prolonging litigation. This scheme involves targeting “high conflict” divorces, then using predatory lawyers and judges who collude to further perpetuate the conflict by intentionally using the children as pawns.

Here’s how it works. Family court judges will use “the best interest of the child” standard as an excuse to shift custody from safe mothers to abusive fathers, because the more conflict they can create, the more profit they will generate. In cases where the mother has allowed the abusive father to be around the child, the judge will say: “If the allegations are true, then I have to question your ability to make good decisions regarding the safety of your child.” In cases where the mother hasn’t allowed the abusive father to be around the child, the judge will say: “You are committing child abuse by alienating the child from her father.” They ensure that, either way, they can shift custody.

The reason for making this custody shift is because fathers who abused the mother are twice as likely to seek sole custody, and good mothers never give up fighting to protect their child(ren). So it creates very long litigation. When mothers seek safety from their abusers, they are routinely prohibited from having even the most basic contact with their children. According to a conservative estimate by experts at the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence, more than 58,000 children a year are taken from safe mothers and ordered into the custody of physically or sexually abusive fathers. A study by the Judges Association states that in domestic violence-related divorces, the perpetrator gets custody 85% of the time even when there is evidence of child sexual assault. Thirty-one states in the U.S. allow rapists to gain custody of children, while a growing number of states enable pedophiles to win custody over safe non-offending mothers. The Office on Violence Against Women 2014 Biennial Report to Congress states that through “paper abuse,” offenders can exert coercive control long after victims terminate the abusive relationship. Victims with children are particularly vulnerable to this type of abuse because offenders routinely use the courts to continue their abuse for years through the secondary abuse by proxy of a system of legal and financial abuse. The courts are not only enabling this abuse, they are profiting off the suffering. These criminal acts are barbaric and inhumane. They’ve been reported by the hundreds of thousands each year and still those on the train continue the ride, going on unchecked and unpunished.

The courts are not only enabling this abuse, they are profiting off the suffering.

The reason this has gone on for so long is due to a long list of co-conspirators, ambiguous laws, and two main loopholes: the doctrine of judicial immunity, and the “best interest of the child” standard. The doctrine of judicial immunity allows judges to ignore laws under the excuse that they are using “their discretion.” This literally makes them untouchable for any act preformed while on the bench, no matter how wrong or malicious it is. The only times that this immunity does not apply is when judges act outside of their jurisdiction, or when they violate constitutional rights. However, these judges have interpreted that the best interest of the child standard allows them to trump constitutional rights. This is treason because fundamental liberty interests are unalienable rights.

Unfortunately, even though this scandal has been carefully documented for over 30 years, most people still don’t believe that it really happens. Prior to seeing it with my own eyes, I didn’t believe it either. Anytime someone claimed the court ignored the law or violated their rights, I automatically assumed that they were bad parents or they were exaggerating and there had to be more to the story. Even worse, I especially ignored claims made by women because it contradicted the gender bias I was led to believe existed and was most certainly at play here. Like most people, I was conditioned to believe that a judge would never do something like this, and that it couldn’t happen because we were protected by the Constitution. Whether you want to believe it or not, it is very real. When it happens to you, you quickly realize you are all alone. The protections you thought you had, you find no one will enforce. Everywhere you turn for help, you will hear: “We can’t interfere with family courts.”

It’s time to wake up and realize that the whole “father’s rights vs. mother’s rights thing needs to stop. The rights of some should not be secured by the denial of rights to others. The cold hard truth is that there really isn’t a gender bias in family courts. Those who suggest this are perpetuating the fraud. The courts only care about one thing, and that is getting the most federal incentives they can from your case. It is an evil, greedy, and corrupt system. The only way to defeat this threat to our democracy is for parents to unite and demand family law reform. We should be supporting each other regardless of gender because any victory against corruption benefits all of us. Please click here to support the U.S. Supreme Court case Docket #s 15-754, (Adkins v. Adkins) a Parental Rights, Children Abduction case.

The only way to defeat this threat to our democracy is for parents to unite and demand family law reform. We should be supporting each other regardless of gender because any victory against corruption benefits all of us.

Are You a Good Parent? Take This Quiz

Do you feel you are a good parent? Unfortunately, if you ever encounter a contentious divorce or–horrors–wind up in family court, chances are the ingredients that go into judging whether you are a fit parent won’t be what you think. Take this short quiz and learn where you might stand.

1. Ever let the laundry pile up in favor of spending some time outside, playing with your kids, stuck on deadline? Ditto with the dishes? (Hint: whether your spouse does the same, or doesn’t help anyway, doesn’t matter.)

2. In a nice restaurant, when the waiter arrives with a wine list, do you accept it and order a glass? (It doesn’t matter if your spouse, or others at the table, do the same.)

3. Have you ever cursed by accident in front of the kids? (It doesn’t matter if you quickly add “Mommy didn’t say that” or “Daddy didn’t say that.”)

4. Have you ever been late taking your kids to school, or picking them up? (It doesn’t matter if you called ahead, or if you have a good reason, or even if you took them to a doctor’s appointment and forgot to email the teacher.)

5. Have you ever had a passing flirtation, or mini-crush on someone other than your spouse? Did anyone–a friend, your spouse, a family member–know about it? (It doesn’t matter whether there was any real relationship or even if acquaintance was made.)

6. Have you ever consulted a therapist, and do you take meds for anxiety or depression?

If the answer to any of these is “yes,” then you will not believe how grave a matter this can become and how quickly turned on its ear when under the legal magnifying glass.

Let’s break it down. If you answered “Yes” to Question 1, if you have a vengeful or conniving soon-to-be-ex, that undone laundry or indeed anything that is undone or messy in any way, can be photographed and circulated widely. And OMG, don’t EVER EVER leave gag gifts from one of those “spice up your love life” home parties where your spouse can access them. Trust me on that one. (Oh, and it doesn’t matter whether your spouse was actually there, and actually received the very same. Or bought them for you. All that matters is that yours were available for photograph.)

If you answered “Yes” to Question 2, you can be called an alcoholic and be photographed with a glass of wine in your hand. (Are her eyes just closed or is she wasted?)

If you answered “Yes” to Question 3, you can be labeled a foul-mouthed parent of poor character. It doesn’t matter that 98 percent of people who actually have heard these words used before, do the same. See what I’m driving at? What is normal human behavior will not be viewed as such if someone is making a case against you.

If you answered “Yes” to Question 4, you can be labeled negligent and your kid’s teacher might be interviewed or deposed. This becomes worse if your child has a medical condition that necessitates frequent absences or tardiness. It doesn’t matter if you have a stack of doctor’s notes. It’s entirely possible you can be labeled a hypochondriac or one of those parents who craves the attention they get from having a sick child.

If you answered “Yes” to Question 5, you might be accused of having “an emotional affair.” And boy, can that be worse than a real one. (Not really–I’m just seeing that headline a lot lately.) But it can be argued that your interest in another person, even if you’re just president of the Don Draper fan club, contributed to the downfall of the marriage.

If you answered “Yes” to Question 6, woe be unto you. Your meds can be photographed, your therapist might be subpoenaed, you can be portrayed as a crazy, unstable person the spouse is afraid of and who is a danger to her or himself–and others, i.e. the kids. This one is easy-peasy. Even though you’d be demonstrating excellent mental health in getting treatment and taking meds that improve your frame of mind.

Yes, this quiz is insane, cruel even. All of the behaviors in it are human, typical, normal. Oh wait–here is one more question:

7. Are you human?

If you answered “Yes” to Question 7, it will not prevent your normal human behaviors from going under the microscope–or behind the camera phone. If you have a vindictive spouse, or he or she has a lawyer out for blood, nothing, absolutely nothing, can keep you from being portrayed exactly as someone wants to portray you. Whatever will make the person or client look better, and you look terrible, will be trotted out.

If you are perfect in every way, they can lie.

My reason for this post is not to depress anyone, it’s to show that regardless of what you’re being accused of, or how you’re portrayed, doesn’t make you a terrible parent. These days, it can be someone’s job, or raison d’etre, to make you look as bad as possible. If you internalize it, or start believing it–which, believe me, is very hard not to do–it can destroy your mental and even physical health.

For many of us, accusations that we are bad parents are killers. They wound deeply. All those years of raising your child as best you can, and this is what you get? Did we really do so poorly, and do we deserve this to be our legacy as parents?

Under most circumstances, no and no. The legal battlefield is what it is. What you’ve done, you’ve done. What they say, they say. What goes unsaid or ignored against your spouse, is. The best you can do is keep your life clean as you can as you go through your divorce or custody battles and hire a lawyer who truly has your best interests and who represents you fairly and in a proactive manner. If yours doesn’t sling back the mud–probably this means your attorney is more professional. Even if it irks you.

If you’ve done some things that are truly negligent, you can learn from it and improve. You cannot go back. I do think most of us fall into the “truly human” category, but we all have things we need to forgive ourselves for.

That, and continue to try to be the best parents we can be. It’s all we can do. And it can’t hurt to find some new surroundings, new interests, even a new bunch of friends if the old ones aren’t supportive. But seeing straight, for what things really are, and not as they appear–because obviously anyone can do that–truly begins with you.

Reading suggestion: The Four Agreements by Manuel Ruiz

“To retaliate in kind would do nothing but intensify the existence of hate in the universe. Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough, and morality enough, to cut off the chain of hate.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

New from Burning Sage: The Worst Interests of the Child by Keith Harmon Snow

“Keith Harmon Snow’s meticulously documented investigation into sex-trafficking of children by American judges is not to be missed. This scandal is one of the most important censored stories in our country today. I might not believe what Mr. Snow has written if I had not independently investigated two dozen cases not discussed in his article, and found ample evidence of the precise dynamics he lays out for us here. Anyone who says they care about child welfare needs to learn what is happening in family courts and take action until it is stopped. Once you start reading this exposé, you won’t be able to put it down.” —Lundy Bancroft, Author of Why Does He Do That? History’s largest-selling book on domestic violence


Burning Sage Publishing House proudly announces international journalist Keith Harmon Snow’s new book, The Worst Interests of the Child: The Trafficking of Children and Parents Through U.S. Family Courts. Reading as much like a horrific mystery/thriller as the meticulously documented work of reporting it is, Snow’s work has gotten wide coverage even pre-release.

The reason for this is simple: It is terrifying, and it is true. And any reader, male or female, can identify with the women that appear in it. Most people would react in the very same way, strive to make the truth known, and be dumbfounded and amazed that a system that is supposed to operate, above all, “in the best interests of the child,” can work so hard to ensure the exact opposite by coldbloodedly removing the very people who would–and do– lay down their lives to protect their children.

“It is a national scandal that family courts systematically fail to protect children from physical and/or sexual abuse by a predatory parent. What is equally scandalous is the silence of the mainstream media to cover the issue… With luck, when reporters like Keith Harmon Snow shine a light on the grave injustices taking place in family courts, Americans will be filled with a sense of responsibility and take action to protect children from family court abuses.”
–Garland Waller
Producer, No Way Out But One

Stay tuned for a free excerpt of one of the most important pieces of work on the state of the family court system to date. Or, buy your copy now, available in print and digital editions. Review copies are available for media. Discounts are available for bulk orders.

KEITH HARMON SNOW is an international award-winning journalist, photographer and writer who has worked in 45 countries. He is the 2009 Regent’s Lecturer in Law & Society at the University of California Santa Barbara, recognized for over a decade of work contesting official narratives on war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Graduating a Bachelor of Science magna cum laude and Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, he worked for GE Aerospace Electronics & Defense Laboratories in classified U.S. government aerospace and defense programs from 1985 to 1989. A former staff writer and photographer for the Japan International Journal, his works appeared in major Japanese newspapers including the Yomiuri Shimbun and Asahi Weekly, and his travel features have regularly appeared in Wingspan, the magazine of All Nippon Airways. In 2000 Mr. Snow worked at the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, and from 2004 to 2007 he worked as a journalist accredited with the United Nations Observers Mission in Congo (MONUC), as a human rights investigator for Genocide Watch, and as genocide investigator for the United Nations in Ethiopia. He has worked as an independent journalist and human rights investigator in Afghanistan (2006) and Mongolia (2008). In 2011 Mr. Snow testified at the International Court of Justice in Spain regarding the war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed by the high officials of the Rwandan Patriotic Front/Army. Mr. Snow has also provided expert testimony in U.S. Department of Homeland Security refugee asylum hearings, and at a special U.S. House of Representatives hearing on genocide and covert operations in Africa. Mr. Snow is persona non grata in Rwanda and Ethiopia, and in 2009 he was banned for life from Smith College, Mt. Holyoke College and Hampshire colleges for questioning a Smith College professor who has advanced the false U.S. state department narratives on genocide and war in Africa. Mr. Snow spent four months investigating corruption and trafficking of children and families in U.S. Family Courts for this book. In 2014 he testified before the Connecticut Task Force to Study Legal Disputes Involving the Care & Custody of Minor Children. Mr. Snow is also a professional tree climber who teaches recreational tree climbing and tree climbing for arborists in Williamsburg, Mass. In 2015 he completed his certification by the Grof Transpersonal Training as a facilitator of Holotropic Breathwork TM.


Royal Secret

Do any of you have something you do, wear, hold, whatever, when you miss a loved one, and need that shot of belief only that loved one could instill? When I was growing up and needed strength, courage or sheer luck, my grandmother would tell me to come over (I lived in the same neighborhood, if I didn’t happen to be upstairs in her house or in her yard anyway) and get a good shot of her Royal Secret perfume.

grannyGranny  in front of her house in Beaufort, S.C., mid-60’s

Royal Secret–or my mind on Royal Secret–has helped me through a multitude–no, a lifetime–of problems, ranging from grade-school exams to piano recitals to silly romantic issues to a high school beauty contest my student government teacher made me be in. (I won 1st runner up–my Scott Joplin piano performance actually went well, but I botched my “question.” Beautiful Charlene Woodard, who brilliantly answered her question, took the crown, but I think she’d have won anyway. I was just glad I lived through it and it was over.)

Obviously, it was not the perfume that helped when worn, it was the person it represented. The person–and that person’s fierce belief–that it invoked.

royal secretA typical bottle of Royal Secret perfume

Some years back, after Granny died, my mom got me a bottle of Royal Secret to have on hand. I reserve it for those days when, in Granny’s absence, none but the scent of her perfume can help. It’s green now, I wear it so seldom, but it still holds the fragrance. This stuff obviously has a shelf life that outlives its wearers.

I was raised in true Southern style, going to Sunday school and reciting Psalm 95 at Thanksgiving and praying at meals, but there’s something mystical about the maternal side of my family too. My scientist grandfather, who was also a gifted writer, believed in positivity before positivity became a thing. He believed, for instance, that if you believed the phone was going to ring, it was more likely to ring than if you did not.

So with this traditional upbringing that included a blend of healthy open-mindedness along with the old-school, I admit I call on Royal Secret, but only those days when none but Royal Secret can help. Maybe it’s a little like Santeria without the strange rituals. (Although I suppose there is something ritualistic about anointing yourself with a heady scent meant to infuse you with a power greater than you.)

To relate this to something possibly worthwhile to the reader, I’m reminded there is no replacement for that person, or people, who believe in you so fiercely that you are able to face the terrible stuff in your life with more courage than you would otherwise. I miss my grandmother–and my grandfather, Riley, too–and I miss that unwavering confidence in me that no one sense seems quite to have had. My mother is still central in my life, and I’m still very fortunate to have her. (Yah, and I did hysterically call her when I received that petition.)

Today I’m sitting in a cloud of the stuff. Granny, wherever you are, I am invoking the power of the Royal Secret. Nobody worry about me, this is merely a Royal Secret moment. Believe me, there is nothing Royal Secret can’t handle.

For anyone with religious inclinations, I respect it, but Royal Secret is not a faith thing. It’s not even a thing. It just is.

Granny and RileyBruce and Riley Gettys, Beaufort, circa 1970.

Abuser: Defined

It can be confusing sometimes when people like me use the term “abuser.” It’s a vague term.

Here at the bottom of this post are the generally accepted synonyms for abuser*.

They’re pretty good. Here is my personal litmus test: Someone who wants to forcefully and without reason take a mother’s children and deny her the ability to parent the children to whom she gave birth, and deny the children of the mother they need, because they want to control, have a vindictive spirit, or merely to banish the ex because she is in the way, with blatant disregard for the well-being of her and her children–is an abuser.

It is as simple as that. I lived this in my own divorce, and am eternally grateful to have had an amazing attorney who insisted the terms of the divorce be laid down more or less fairly. This meant both parents remained in the picture. It was in the best interests of my children.

As in my case, bullying spouses might be control freaks who want to make you pay for wanting the divorce–or simply, “to win.” They delight in taking what means most to you. Most naturally and usually, this is your children.

Textbook, right? You can switch the sex and it would be the same. But many of the protective mothers in these cases (I say mothers because the mothers are presently the ones left in the cold, unprotected legally or otherwise) are not trying to prevent contact with the father. They want simply to parent their children, and in most cases, they are good parents. They don’t want to parent because the children are their property, they want to parent because it is good for their children to have the nurture of their natural mother.

I have no idea why this concept should be so difficult, and turned on its ear with all the experimental double talk and pseudoscience and prejudice of some family court judges. (Hey, I just realized they fit the definition of abuser* too!)

In my divorce, it never occurred to me to try to “take” the children from their father. All I wanted was to be their mother. Mothers are a homogeneous community. Most of the mothers I know and deal with regularly, even if I don’t know them beyond “business,” feel exactly the same way. That’s what makes us mothers. (I wrote about What A Mom Does a while back; it was distributed widely, including on FamilyShare and other national family websites.)

Why is this so hard to understand?

It is the abusers who usually make custody issues an “either/or” situation. In extreme cases, a parent might be trying to protect the children from extreme abuse that goes beyond even this. (See my personal definition of “abuser,” above.) In some recent instances, the courts are throwing this out entirely and refuse to even listen to the testimony the protective parent has gathered and usually has on hand.  They claim that just because a man physically abused his wife, doesn’t mean they will do the same for the children.

Hello?? Is it not abuse to be violent in front of the children?

These legal “judgments” have derailed on a dangerous, crazy path. It is precedent setting, and scary as hell. Then these judges probably go home and tend to their own children–or not–and act as if the parents whom they have legally deprived of parenting their own children are some sub-species of human being. Not like them. Animals who should be left to wander about on their own, alone and without support from their community. (Trust me, they don’t get any.)

Oh, and some will need to work extra jobs to make child support payments when they ultimately lose custody to the abuser.

Just my Saturday morning thoughts, folks, after reading the latest misapplication of a therapy that does not exist: “reunification therapy.” I was crushed to read these children’s mother is barred access to her children for 90 days. (And we all know what probably will happen thereafter.)

Hello? Reunification for what? More abuse? Does this strike anyone as crazy that their version of “reunification” essentially is to take away their mother? Oh, that’s right: she’s in the way.

Somewhere in hell, Richard Gardner is having a good laugh. And this is a really sad day.

*Synonyms for abuser

1. misapply. 2. ill-use, maltreat, injure, harm, hurt. 3. vilify, vituperate, berate, scold; slander, defame, calumniate, traduce. 6. misapplication. 7. slander, aspersion. Abuse, censure, invective all mean strongly expressed disapproval. Abuse implies an outburst of harsh and scathing words against another (often one who is defenseless): abuse directed against an opponent. Censure implies blame, adverse criticism, or hostile condemnation: severe censure of acts showing bad judgment. Invective applies to strong but formal denunciation in speech or print, often in the public interest: invective against graft.

The Daisy

The Daisy

My name is Megan and Saturday, January 24, 2015 marked six years since I have had regular contact with my son, Blake. For most of those six years my time with him has been limited to brief, supervised visits at a parenting facility in Lakewood, Colorado.

This year, for the week leading up to Mother’s Day, I will change my social media profile picture to the image of a daisy. I selected the daisy because it is much like the thousands of mothers who have lost their children in family court and/or to child protective services to unfounded claims that they’re not fit to remain in the lives of their children.

Join the Facebook event here!

The daisy is a symbol of longevity, having first been used in about 2,200 B.C. to adorn the gardens of ancient Egyptian temples. Today, their delicate, yet hearty blooms represent loyal love, simplicity and innocence, much like the mothers who mourn the loss of their children but will never give up hope in being reunited.

I ask that you join me the week leading up to Mother’s Day (May 3-9) and on Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 10) in changing your social media picture to a daisy in a show of unity and support for moms who will spend the day in the absence of their greatest gift: their children. I also ask that this not be used as a promotion of any single agenda or cause; rather as a sign of unity and support.

A Mother’s love is something
that no one can explain,
It is made of deep devotion
and of sacrifice and pain,
It is endless and unselfish
and enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it
or take that love away . . .



Burying Voices No More (written with Robin Karr)


When we set about mapping out The Motherless Child Project–as if–it was more like operating a runaway car that kept careening off the road, stalling and even crashing on occasion. Yet ultimately, we managed to glide safely–albeit somewhat suddenly–into our own space in the Library of Congress. How we managed to arrive with a book as a whole sometimes seems beyond us.

What we always felt certain about, however, was its message. We had it covered–Robin knew the pain of living without one’s children firsthand, and we’d both read and collected so many stories that we felt motherless children were well represented in the book, in Emily Amber’s Motherless Child Project community.

We were wrong. There was a glaring omission. In the midst of our excitement about creating a world in which parents and children might find each other–apart and away from the family court system and greed that separates them–we didn’t consider an essential exception. In other words, we’re talking about children who can no longer be found, embraced or saved.

Suicide among children is an agonizing news subject and we hear reports about it every single day. Depression, bullying, divorce (even when extreme decisions are not made), breakups and loss of friends, can all certainly break the heart of a child who sees only his or her immediate life and can’t imagine things ever changing.

Just a few days ago, we were rocked to the core by the news of a 13-year-old Georgia girl, Jayla, who put a gun to her head on January 25 and ended her own life. We always ask why when we hear of an untimely tragedy like a suicide or a murder, but this is especially true when involving the death of a child.

Except in some cases, we might know at least partly why. We have no insights into Jayla’s short life except the facts we have, and we don’t personally know the parties. In some ways, I’m writing as I did back when I was a crime reporter and had to write about a death or a murder, in carefully separating facts and possibilities.

But also from a reporter’s POV I can state unequivocally that in many instances, a child embodies what it’s like to bear the brunt of cruel, one-sided court rulings. It’s a parents’ fight. It’s about power, control, money and punishment. It’s seldom about the child–at least in terms of how the judgments go. We hear far too often about parents murdering their own children as a means of punishing the other parent–“If I can’t have the child, no one will.” “This is my final act of revenge on her (him).” “I’ll take away the thing she loves most.”

But this is more than revenge. This is about real lives being cut short that shouldn’t have been. It’s just struck us full in the face that some scenarios are playing out even when a vengeful parent isn’t the one doing the killing… but rather enabling the death to occur at the child’s own hands.

By all accounts, Jayla seems to have been a popular and active girl. She was definitely a beautiful girl. She seems to have done everything right. For motherless children though, this shell–however busy and beautiful–is never enough. This disdain for mothers, this disvaluing of their roles, this ripping apart of the lives they literally brought forth–this “Fathers’ Rights” era promoting the utter dispensability of mothers–is a deep evil. Need an example of the implicit dispensability of mothers? Not only was Jayla’s mother not allowed in her life, she apparently wasn’t allowed to be part of her death either. Jayla’s stepmother and her respective family were subbed in as the “maternal family” in the obituary.



An Instagram post Jayla made not long before she took her life.

Facts like these sometimes reveal the spirit of a particularly vengeful custodial parent and the new spouse, and significant others who help them perpetuate the cruelty. This kind of thing happens all the time. We just didn’t realize how often death results until we started paying closer attention and recognizing how many mothers in our own ranks suffer because they lost a child–and the child the chance to realize a full life–as a result of their unnatural separation. Not only that–consider what it’s like for the child to live with the narcissist who heartlessly enforces the rules.

Was this Jayla’s situation? I think all we can say for certain about her parental situation is that she indeed was what can be called a “motherless child.” Whatever the reason her family situation came to be, I hope anyone on any side can admit it had to play a part. Mothers are not so dispensable as we pretend.

photo.php (1)Michael Melinn shot and killed himself on April 27, 2010 – only two weeks after turning 18. He had gone to live with his father at age 17. In his mother’s words: “CPS was called five months prior and told he was threatening suicide. It was known that Michael had access to illegal drugs, alcohol and guns at his father’s home.”

Jayla reached out to her mother before she died. She called her mother on a friend’s cellphone, because she wasn’t allowed any contact–no matter what she wanted or needed. Reports say contact between mother and daughter had been severed for close to two years. The phone call was an unpardonable offense and Jayla knew it.

We thought the best we could accomplish with our book (and the sequels to come) was to facilitate “mother and child reunions.” We were all Paul Simon about it. We’ve read he was actually writing about a Chinese menu item and the death of his dog, but still… Mother and child reunions represent the ultimate good we can envision coming from The Motherless Child Project. We knew it would be tough to foster reunions like this, but we believed–and still believe–in the importance of story. How life sometimes imitates art. How you can speak far more effectively when you tell someone an entertaining and emotionally involving story rather than bash them over the head with carefully-collected statistics and real-life horrors people simply do not want to hear about or see.

Jayla and her mother reportedly had a meeting–a reunion. It doesn’t happen very often in this venue and both undoubtedly knew that. We have no idea how the reunion went of course, but Jayla’s mother likely thought her own life had changed for the better and that Jayla’s life was certainly on the way to improvement.

But change and improvement were not to be. The very next day, Jayla–at 13 remember–put a gun to her head. We’ll never know what else was going on in Jayla’s life, but the sequence of events makes it obvious that her mother missing from her life played a role or Jayla wouldn’t have taken the risk of reaching out to her. Did she miss her that badly? Did she have a message? Was she sharing a problem with her mother, seeking help? Was being in the middle, stuck holding the bag, too much? Did she feel guilty or despise herself for what she might have imagined as putting her parents in pain?

Even our book’s main character, Emily Amber, fleetingly contemplates not going back to the surface of the pool in the very first scene of the book. Although eventually rescued, she thinks twice–she considers whether dying might be better than going back up to the life of lies she realizes she’s led.

Even before then, the weight of the wisdom Emily Amber gained through her Motherless Child Project, coupled with the blow of her father’s (and others’) betrayal are simply too much. She succumbs to an emotional breakdown. She’s not well. Who would be?


Byron, pictured here, died of a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head on August 22, 2013. Police had delivered him into his father’s custody when Byron was 8.  The day he died, he did some homework and chores before turning his father’s gun on himself. He left no suicide letter. Byron’s stepmother, who found his body, called his mother, stated that Byron was dead, and hung up.  

Robin and I thought we’d had our bases covered. We thought–and still do–we were giving a voice to these children. Whether they were like Emily Amber, who doesn’t know what happened to her mother; or Bright, who wants to live with his mother but can’t because his father forces him to remain in his abusive hold; or LanceB, the boy whose mother forbids him to know his father and the paternal side of his family; or the kids whose parents are in jail for disobeying court orders–we had it covered.

But now, we realize we have to give voices to children who are no longer alive to tell their own stories.

Are we glamorizing motherhood? No. Downplaying fatherhood? No! Children need a mother and a father. But as opposed to what the Fathers’ Rights promoters love to peddle (inserting the normal caveat here that we are not talking about loving fathers–for a father who doesn’t want his children to know their mother, when she is a good mother, is no true father, and the reverse holds true as well of course), nothing will ever replace a mother. The bond between mother and child is a sacred one.

Really, there shouldn’t be a need for caveats here. Look at all the men present in our lives and our kids’ lives–and the men and father figures in our book–and any objective mind will see no one is saying fathers aren’t essential. But there is no war being waged against fathers. That is the truth.

The need for a mother is a fundamental need. It is a necessity. Several Motherless Child Project readers, whose mothers died during their growing-up years, have reported that their feelings of loss are just the same as the kids’ in Emily Amber’s community. The Readers’ Favorite reviewer said she suspected Robin or I had lost a mother. Neither of us has, but it’s an interesting remark because as Robin puts it, “losing a child through life”–or losing a mother that way–is remarkably like a death.

So–what about the children? What does it look like to bear the cross of so much unbearable pain? The Motherless Child Project tells the story of what it looks like–a convincing one. We’ve been gratified to hear many comments from readers who identify with the book, even if they’ve not necessarily lived the same battles. But what the book doesn’t tell is the story of the children who did not live through the battles.

Emily Amber’s story, and those all around her, just go on and on and on. As with The Motherless Child Project, we hope the ensuing incarnations of the book will be quite a ride, ever-dangerous but joyful and fresh and sometimes funny – qualities we felt important to instill in the first book.

But for now, we’re mourning the children we will never know, who had voices we will never hear but whose stories we vow to continue to tell.


Jacob had aspergers syndrome. His doctors believed he would not thrive if taken completely from the care of his mother. Ignoring their testimony and advice, the family court judge sent Jacob to live full-time with his father when he was 17, essentially cutting off his mother’s care. A little over 16 months later, on March 27, 2011, Jacob fatally shot himself. His official death date occurred on March 29, when he was taken off life support.

Click here to read Robin’s poem To Lose A Child Through Life

Our guest spot on Holy Hormones Honey! airs tomorrow 1/7 + Free Kindle Promotion!


The show Robin and I pretaped with Leslie Botha on Holy Hormones Honey! airs tomorrow, Wed. Jan. 7! It went so well, we forgot we were being interviewed and were surprised the hour was up in what seemed like a trice!

Plus get a free Kindle version of The Motherless Child Project for two days only, Jan.7-8!

Here’s the promo article as appears on The Liberty Beacon:

Robin Karr & Janie McQueen,
The Motherless Child Project
Holy Hormones Honey!
7pm ET – 4 pm PT
The Liberty Beacon Network


Motherless ChildDid you know that during a divorce mothers lose custody of their children to known abusers – often ex-husbands? What you read here and listen to in this exclusive interview with McQueen and Karr is going to shock and disturb you. But thousands of mother’s and professionals like Mary W Maxwell, PhD, LLB, who recently wrote an article about the Justina Pelletier case states that the judicial system is designed to destroy the mother-child bond.

If you are a mother without custody, know that you are not alone. Approximately 58,000 children are ‘legally’ taken from their mothers each year through the family court system in the U.S. ~ Robin Karr, Mothers Without Custody World

In 2008, Liz Richards with National Alliance for Family Court Justice (NAFCJ wrote an opinion piece in a Parent’s Forum in the Washington Times pointing out the fact that fathers’ rights groups coach men on stalking, harassment and sabotage tactics during custody hearings. By the time a woman who has been abused gets to court she is often emotionally and physically exhausted. And then she is barraged by a set of tactics to sabotage whatever sanity she has left.

Mothers want Justice for their children who deserve a safe and nurtured childhood.  We want the primary attached parent-child bond to remain after separation and divorce. In American Courts, Rules of law are violated and therefore reform is necessary to insure the safety of the child in family and dependency courts. ~ American Mothers of Lost Children 

American Mothers of Lost Children Rally, Wash DC 2010
American Mothers of Lost Children Rally, Wash DC 2010

Stealing children from mothers is nothing new, “Fathers who battered the mother are twice as likely to seek sole custody of their children as are non-violent fathers.”~American Psychological Association ~ Men are being instructed to file for full custody to avoid paying child support.  Angry and abusive men use these unfair and gender bias courts to punish women by stealing the child she gave birth to. Since Parental Rights for fathers are protected and supported through the courts, with federal funds and incentives  fueling a gender war and damaging children,  by violating  rights of mothers making decades of children motherless.  Fact: There is no Motherhood.gov to protect ‘Her’ constitutional rights and provide equal access to justice. ~ by M Barnett // January 3, 2015 American Mothers of Lost Children