Why can’t we just drop everything we’ve said?

All I want is a peaceful night in bed… 

Without these bizarre thoughts all runnin’ through my head

Sometimes you make me wish I was dead…

I Know It Is Hard” describes the experience of Domestic Violence by Proxy/Alienation from the broken heart of a teen.

The powerful words of the rap song “I Know It Is Hard” were written and performed by a teen who has been physically alienated from a parent and used as a weapon since the age of 14.

The video was posted online after being sent to a targeted parent in 2012.

 

(Note: I am writing this from a mother’s perspective because I am a mother.. but this could apply to anyone, male or female, who is grieving the loss of a child)

“Finding Dory” (2016, Pixar) is a touching animated movie about a fish named Dory who gets separated from her parents at a young age, and goes on a journey in search of them. Guiding Dory are the memories she has held onto all of her life. Since Dory suffers from “short term remembery loss” she is guided by only glimpses of her past, and along with it, the sense of home, and feeling of belonging.

Years pass. Dory meets new friends, including a quirky fish named Nemo, that become like family. One day, Dory’s memory gets triggered, and she is compelled to find her lost family.When Dory was young, her parents set out a trail of purple shells to teach her how to find her way back home, she follows it.  So Dory sets off on an epic journey to find her parents.

 

Dory’s parents spent years forming trails for her to follow – up and down valleys, across distances and through the dark currents of the ocean, in the hopes that she would eventually find them.

“Finding Dory” offers a powerful message for Protective Parents separated from their children that is familiar to those who have experienced this particular kind of pain, grief and loss.  

And for children separated from their mothers, what Dory felt may also be familiar – missing family, fear of rejection and the emotional experience of trying to piece together memories.

The purple shells are what connect Dory to her parents, and trigger the memories that eventually lead her home. The tiny shells are unremarkable in the vastness of the ocean. At times the sandy floor washes over them, and they disappear. But Dory is not alone, with the support of her friends, she finds her way.

 

What are your purple shells? Each parent and child has something special or shares something that links them together. It could be a physical or emotional reminder. A trinket, photograph, a prayer or special song, a drawing or toy etc

You can also create “purple shells” to honor your parent/child or to preserve special memories. Some ideas: scrap booking, releasing balloons on special occasions, lighting a candle, spiritual celebration, talking with friends/family, writing a letter etc.

Create a Path in the ways you can. Find creative ways to connect to or reach out to your parent/child if possible. Use your shells to bridge the distance. Seek support to help cope with the loss or grief.

Another message in “Finding Dory” is that Dory, and her parents, never gave up hope.The love they have for each other is unconditional. For those mothers/children who are estranged from each other, and have no contact or communication, there is a value in hope. And value in holding onto the love you share. Through love, we maintain our “purple shells”, our connection to our family – and it does not diminish with time or distance.

Also, when Dory was separated from her parents she found other ways to express her energy and love, and was able to channel her loss in a positive direction. You see that especially in her unique optimism, and her loyalty to friends. Though a loss of a parent/child can never be replaced, we can channel the expression of our love, and what that person meant to us, in other areas of our life. Or use that love to make a positive difference in the world. Some ideas: volunteer, be a friend, participate in community groups/activities, do something in memory of your loved one, fight for a cause, raise awareness, join a prayer chain etc

Final message – Never give up!

~ EJ, © 2016.

Another Perspective:  

Mother, Carrie Goldman, shares her thoughts after watching “Finding Dory” with her family. Carrie’s teen daughter was profoundly moved by the movie. Carrie shares insights from her perspective of “Finding Dory” and on her daughter’s reaction to it. Finding Dory: Why It Made My Seventh Grader Cry by Carrie Goldman

 

Commentary on Botched 60 Minutes Child Rescue Also Says Alot About Abusive, and Alienating Parents. 

Amy Stockwell’s commentary offers background information about the non-custodial kidnapping of the el-Amien children and offers deeper insight into parents who use children as a pawn in custody disputes. 

“But here’s the thing: Even if you disagree with your ex-partner about how to raise your kids, you don’t get to steal them.

You don’t get to arrange an access visit and keep them.

You do not get to use the misogynistic laws of another country to get around the fact that you’re not entitled to permanent custody of your children.

You do not get to keep your ex-partner in prison in order to get the child custody you want.

You do not own your kids…”

Commentary written by Amy Stockwell: 60 Minutes: Ali el-Amine now has everything he wants. Because this case was all about him.

Abusive and alienating parents will lie, manipulate, triangulate and create havoc because their feelings of entitlement or feelings of being right are placed higher than the well-being of their own children.

Children should NOT be used as a pawn, or as a weapon, to wield against a former partner or to be used to further one parent’s agenda or interests.

BACKGROUND: MOTHER SALLY FAULKNER ATTEMPTS TO RESCUE KIDNAPPED CHILDREN IN LEBANON

Sally Faulkner and Children. Source: News Talk ZB http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz

April 2016: Australian mother, Sally Faulkner, was given sole custody of her two children (6 year old Lahela and 3 year old Noah) by an Australian court. Their Lebanese-born father, Ali el-Amien, took the children to a holiday in his home country and never returned – that is kidnapping. However, Lebanon is not a signatory to The Hague Convention, so it does not have to enforce or acknowledge  the Court’s orders to return the children to Australia.

Ali el-Amien took the children because he was jealous that Faulkner had moved on from their relationship, and was dating another man.

In a desperate attempt to get her children back, Faulkner and a four-member crew from 60 Minutes went to Beirut to attempt to rescue the children, and were arrested in the process.  They faced up to a 20 year sentence in jail.

60 Minutes Team. Clockwise from top left: Tara Brown, David “Tangles” Ballment, Stephen Rice and Ben Williamson. Source: Facebook Source: Sydney Morning Herald. http://www.smh.com.au

Ali el-Amien’s family has strong political connections in Lebanon’s parliament, and was given custody of the children by a religious court.

After being detained, a deal was struck where no criminal charges would be filed if Faulkner were to relinquish custody of the children, and co-operate in obtaining a religious divorce from el-Amien. The deal was struck after a closed-doors meeting between lawyers representing the parties and the judge.

Faulkner was pregnant at the time, likely agreed to the deal in order to save her unborn child. 

Everybody is happy,” said Nine Network lawyer, Kamal Aboudaher. It is hard to imagine a mother being “happy” to lose custody of her children who will be raised in another country by the father who kidnapped them, and now has total control over both the children and is restricting her access to them.

Channel Nine will also pay a financial settlement, of an undisclosed amount, as a settlement to el-Amien to drop his civil claim. News Corp reports the settlement may be as high as several million dollars. el-Amien says he did not receive financial compensation, and he may be willing to allow a visit between the children and their mother at some time in the future; however he will not allow the children to return to Australia because he is afraid they will not come home (the custody order would be enforced).

Faulkner’s legal rights in Australia mean nothing in Lebanon. Faulkner’s Lebanese lawyer Ghassan Moghabghab said El-Amien will get everything he wants because he has the legal rights in Lebanon. 

Faulkner was allowed a short visit with her children before leaving Lebanon. Her daughter gave her mother a Barbie ring “so you won’t forget me”.  Faulkner reports that she is overwhelmed with grief due to the loss of her children, and has not had any contact with them. 

Ali el-Amien admitted that the children ask to return to their mother. 

Read More: 

60 Minutes crew face jail term over attempted child ’rescue’ in Lebanon by Janet Fife-Yeomans

60 Minutes: Sally Faulkner’s estranged husband admits children want to be with mum by Latika Bourke, Ruth Pollard and Suzan Haidamous

Deal struck in 60 Minutes ‘child-abduction’ case by Latika Bourke

The heartbreaking moment Sally Faulkner had to say goodbye to her now estranged children by Holly Byrnes, with staff writers News Corp Australia Network

‘I call this injustice’: Adam Whittington refused bail with three other men accused over 60 Minutes botched child abduction attempt by Daily Mail

(Marietta. Cobb County, Georgia – June 9, 2016) Monte Tnarg Grant is charged with misdemeanor child abandonment after he abandoned his 5 year old son, La’Monte, at the DFACS office.

Facebook posts suggest that Grant may have abandoned his son because he was tired of being a father: (Feb 10. 2015) “All I want is for my son(LaMonte) to know who his mother is…who knew that it would be a problem? I took care of him 4 years straight, now it’s K— turn. No matter what anybody else got to say/want to say I’m always going to do for my children. I’ve been doing it since #Day1. So all y’all outside folks that got shit to say can #EatAD–   s/o to A— & LaMonte Grant” Grant also said he was tired of paying child support, and tired of fighting with his ex-girlfriend. 

Public Domain: http://www.clker.com

Grant left La’Monte at the door to DFACS with a note that read “Hi, my name is La’Monte Grant and my mother said she doesn’t want me anymore!!!”. Grant says that he is “not a child beater” but the cruelty of his actions have definitely inflicted a blow to this child at a deep level. La’Monte was found by county employees, who tried to contact his father. La’Monte told the employees that his father had left him there.  After no response from Grant, little La’Monte was taken into protective custody. His mother says that Grant has sole custody of the boy.

What took so long for the state to take La’Monte into protective custody? There are many indicators the child was at risk in his father’s care – Grant has a lengthy criminal record and admits to using drugs and smoking weed. He has also threatened violence against his ex-girlfriend. 

Grant has been previously arrested on charges of aggravated assault, criminal trespass, loitering, drug charges and probation violation.

Just a cursory glance at Grant’s facebook page shows several concerning items that indicate the children are not safe in his care. 

In a video, Grant is driving down the road with 3 young kids in the car who are not buckled into car seats. Grants is ranting about his ex-girlfriend, swearing, and making derogatory comments with the children present (who can be heard screaming in the background) for 10 minutes. Not once did Grant check on the children to see why they are crying, instead his voice gets louder to drown them out. It is painful to hear the anger in Grant’s voice, and hear his nasty comments, and know that 3 innocent children are listening to all of this.

Grant’s facebook refers to women in two ways – in vulgar comments about sex, other comments have to do with fights and escalating tension between his ex-girlfriend. Grant posted this threatening remark about his ex-girlfriend in Jan 2013 to Facebook: I got love for ya cause you gave them birth,but I dnt like you though b/c you stay talking shit&never back it up all them bitches nd hoes you were calling me were uncalled for cause ppl that knw me well can tell ya I’ve NEVER been that. Since ya mouth wanna be fly you done fucked up now&unleashed the demons in me all I see is Darkness. Just knw when I see you…PREPARE TO GET SPIT ON #B—

Monte Grant threatens ex-girlfriend. His children have witnessed many of Grant's tirades against the mother, and heard his derogatory comments.

Monte Grant threatens ex-girlfriend. His children have witnessed many of Grant’s tirades against the mother, and heard his derogatory comments.

Studies consistently have proven that violence perpetrated against a mother in a relationship creates a high risk for abuse against a child. “Multiple studies have demonstrated the dramatically elevated rate of child physical abuse (review in McGee, 2000) and child sexual abuse (e.g. McCloskey, Figueredo, & Koss, 1995; Sirles & Franke, 1989; Paveza, 1988) by batterers. This risk may increase post-separation from the mother’s inability to monitor the batterer’s parenting and from the retaliatory tendencies of many batterers.” (Bancroft and Silverman)

Grant has not only making negative comments about the ex-girlfriend to his 5 year old son, but also encouraged the child to disrespect, and talk bad about his mother – which is emotional abuse. Grant referred to his ex-girlfriend as “the bitch” and the “f– mama ” in front of his children. He also made graphic comments about having sex with his ex-girlfriend in front of the children.

On Jan. 29 2013, Grant posted: “I told La’Monte when u get of age & your mom try to talk to u…. Throw a SACK OF BOONKIE DOONKIE in her face, when she ask “Why u do that?” Say “B/c u use to treat me like SHIT!”

There are also many pictures (and video) of Grant smoking weed posted to his facebook timeline. Grant brags that he is “always toasted”, and proudly wears a shirt with a marijuana leaf on the front. More from facebook:

Monte Grant refers to himself as a "pothead" and says he is "forever blowing herbs".

Monte Grant refers to himself as a “pothead” and says he is “forever blowing herbs”.

Harding working father of the year making his money

Harding working father of the year making his money

Other pictures where Grant is posing with bottles of booze, and bragging about getting drunk and high.

Monte Grant gets drunk and high (facebook)

Monte Grant gets drunk and high

 

Others in which Grant is throwing up gang signs (no I will not post that nonsense!)

 

Monte Grant says his ex girlfriend is a bad mom, and then abandons his own son at a county office (facebook)

Monte Grant says his ex girlfriend is a bad mom, and then abandons his own son at a county office

There has been an outpouring of public support and sympathy for La’Monte. I hope and pray that he is happy, and well-cared for. This child has been through alot and deserves to have a chance at experiencing a normal childhood.

 

Add’l Sources:

Cops: Father drops off 5-year-old son at county DFACS office, leaves/

ASSESSING RISK TO CHILDREN FROM BATTERERS – Lundy Bancroft & Jay G Silverman

In 2004, Genevieve Kelley, along with her second husband, Scott Kelley, and daughter 8 year old Mary Nunes, went into hiding in Central America. Genevieve claims her daughter was being sexually abused by her ex-husband, Mark Nunes, and that she fled with her daughter in order to protect her.

Genevieve Kelly (US Marshals)

Wayne Rioux, who was then the police chief of Whitefield, New Hampshire claims Genevieve was brainwashing her daughter to believe abuse had occurred. There were concerns over a video Genevieve made, questioning Mary about the alleged abuse. Genevieve says a therapist told her to make the video, that her intentions were to help not to harm. Guardian ad litem on the case, Abbie Teachout, says Genevieve was alienating Mary from her father, “She (Genevieve) appeared to be really, almost obsessed in her concern over Mary and that Mark had done something to harm the child…Out of all the families I’ve worked with, this was a case where parent alienation was 100 percent evident – that Genevieve was doing everything she could to alienate this child from her father, from the beginning.

In 2004, the Kelley family moved to Colorado. The child custody order said that Genevieve was not to remove Mary from the state, and in 2005 the court would award Mark sole custody. By then, the family had fled the country.

In Colorado, Mary was evaluated by two doctors, one who diagnosed trauma in the child but did not state what caused it. The family also sought help from a noted attorney. Attorney Alan Rosenfeld specializes in child advocacy and domestic violence cases, says that Genevieve had no other option than to run away with her daughter, after a court-appointed guardian and social service agencies didn’t believe the abuse allegations.

The abuse allegations against Mark Nunes were investigated then dismissed, no charges were filed due to lack of evidence. It is worth noting that before their divorce, Genevieve filed for, and received, a restraining order against Mark (who claims he never abused her).

(March 2015) In a recent court motion, Mary states that she was being abused by her father, and that she begged her mother and step-father to protect her, ” “and I asked them to do it.” Mary also refers to herself as a “rape victim” and her father as the perpetrator.

Now the family is back in the United States, with both Genevieve and Scott Kelly facing criminal charges in Coos County Superior Court for noncustodial kidnapping and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Scott Kelly (wanted poster)

The Kelley family emerged from hiding when U.S. Marshals were alerted by officials at the U.S. embassy in Costa Rica that Mary, Scott and their attorney, Alan Rosenfeld, had asked the embassy to help them get US passports.

In November 2014, Genevieve returned to the US to seek medical treatment for a son born to her and Scott, while in hiding. She refused to reveal the whereabouts of Scott and Mary when arrested in Lancaster, New Hampshire. Genevieve has since been released on bail and is barred from having any contact with either Scott or Mary.

In April 2015, Scott was told that he could come back into the US without facing charges, a lie. So Scott and step-daughter Mary boarded a plane for the US, not knowing they were being tricked in order to get them to return to US soil.

On April 14, 2015 Scott was taken into custody as soon as he stepped off the plane at Atlanta International Airport. Scott was arrested on a kidnapping warrant. Mary was questioned then released.

Father, Mark Nunes, has expressed that he is concerned about Mary, and wishes to reunite with her. Markhad hired a private investigator to find Mary but had not been successful. Mr. Nunes says (The Associated Press): “It’s very hard for us to reconcile our mental image of her as a 7-year-old girl with the reality that she’s a gawky, beautiful, 18-year-old teenager that we could pass on the street and might not even recognize. We love Mary and are overjoyed that she is alive and back in the U.S. Our hearts and home are open to her, and we will do everything we can to insure she remains safe and healthy. We look forward to the day our family is finally reunited.”

Mary Nunes is expected to testify on behalf of her mother, and shows no indication of wanting to reconnect with her father.

Sources:

For updated related to Genevieve Kelley: “Friends of Genevieve Kelley” https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-Genevieve-Kelly/370039133164287

“Missing girl taken by mom in custody battle found after 11 years; stepdad arrested” by Dave Solomon, New Hampshire Union Leader, 4/15/2015: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20150415/NEWS03/150419409/1006/NEWS03&template=mobileart

“Search for girl reveals bitter family split” by Associated Press, AZ Central, 5/10/2009: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/05/10/20090510mary.html

“Scott Kelley, fugitive featured on ‘The Hunt’ surrenders” by Stephanie Gallman and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN, 4/15/2015:

  • http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/15/us/hunt-fugitive-scott-kelley-arrested/
  • “Teen in high profile custody case pleads for her mom – Mary Nunes breaks an 11 year silence as mom faces trial” by Newser Editors and Wire Services, 4/28/2015: http://www.newser.com/story/206053/teen-in-high-profile-custody-case-pleads-for-her-mom.html