Sunday, May 30, 2010

2nd Annual
Freedom Bike Treck

2nd Annual Freedom Bike Trek 4 Families Rally and Sendoff Event
July 18, 2010 at Peoples Park at Independence Hall in Philadelphia 10:00 am. Promoting Equal Rights for Fathers in Family Court

May 30, 2010

Robin Gilchrist

Bill Gibbons

Several Riders with courage and commitment to the cause of equality in the family court system of Pennsylvania will be riding their bicycles from Philadelphia, PA to Washington, D.C. in protest to the numerous injustices perpetrated against Fathers and their children in the Family Court System.

Along their route they will be stopping in Harrisburg, PA on July 21st to Lobby the support of several pieces of introduced Legislation to correct these inequalities and to protect a Fathers relationship with his children after separation or divorce.

Upon their arrival in Washington, they will make an address to the thousands of attendees from states across the nation at the
4th Annual Family Preservation Festival in Washington, D.C.

The proposed pieces of Legislation are:

PA House Bill 463
Which provides for Presumptive Equal Custody of children provided that in those cases children would not be put at risk.

Please see for more details about the bill, hearings, and movement to bring fathers back to their kids in the Commonwealth of PA.

PA House Bill 1639
Provides for contempt for Custodial Parents denying court ordered visitation and or custody and provides for Grandparents rights.

PA House Bill 418
Provides for disciplinary actions against Judges, Masters, and court officers for misconduct.

PA House Bill 90
Provides for prevention of child abduction in cases involving custody disputes.

State Rep. Robert E. Belfanti, Jr.

"The state's current 'best interest of the child' standard is too often based on outdated, inaccurate or stereotypical views of parenting in our society and the relationship that each parent has with a child," Belfanti said. "Under my legislation, the goal in every child custody case would still be finding an arrangement that represents the best interest of the child, but we would start from a presumption that joint custody represents that best interest and work from there, not the other way around."

Belfanti stressed that the legislation does not mandate joint custody or any other type of custody arrangement, nor any specific division of physical custody. Courts would still have wide discretion in deciding final custody arrangements.

"This joint custody presumption is a guide, a starting point, but not a straitjacket," he said. "It does not require shared parenting, nor does it reduce or eliminate protections against unfit or violent parents. It simply instructs the courts, when possible and appropriate, to maximize exposure of the child to each parent and to recognize that fit parents who have a desire and ability to share responsibility for custody and care of their child after a separation or divorce have the right to do so." More than 30 other states already have some form of a joint custody rebuttal provision in place, he said.

"The impact that a single-parent household has on a child can be startling," he said. "For instance, about 63 percent of teen suicides, 90 percent of homeless or runaway children, 71 percent of high school dropouts and 85 percent of youth in prison come from fatherless homes," Belfanti said. "Both mothers and fathers are an important part of a child's life. In cases where both are willing – and able – to provide custody and care for a child after a separation or divorce, that is the position from which the courts should start, as well."
Bill would introduce joint custody presumption in Pa. child custody law

For More Information Contact Event Coordinators:
Bill Gibbons
Robin Gilchrist

Event Sponsors/Supporters:
Families' & Childrens' Equality (FACE)
PA FACE - Every Child Deserves Two Parents
Families' & Childrens' Equality (FACE)
P O Box 1062
Newtown, PA 18940

Fathers 4 Justice

American Coalition for

The Fathers Rights Network

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Recognize insecurity & put it in it's place!

We made initial contact by E-mail, through a 3rd party. At first I was skeptical of who it was I was talking with. We e-mailed personal questions&answers back and forth
until the both of us were satisfied that it was indeed mom and son talking.
That's when insecurity stepped in!

What if he doesn't really want to reunite, but instead just wants the chance to tell me how much he hates me?
What if he tells me that he never wants to see me again?
Will he be embarrassed of the mom he barely remembers, once we go to video cam?
What if he doesn't believe anything I say to him?

Those were just a few of the questions nagging at me, when we first began our reunification process.

In spite of my worries, our conversations went well.
"Skype!" He suggested.
He patiently explained how to download the Skype program.
After ten years of searching, there my older son was, sitting right before my eyes!
I didn't have a cam set up at first, so he could not see the tears as I traced my fingers across the computer screen.

For about a week we met up on Skype just about every night.
We asked each other questions. I heard "Do you remember?" about a million times.
We played songs for each other. We sent funny video links back and forth. I 'introduced' him to his little brother. We took many pictures of each other on Skype...
All of these activities helped fill in gaps, when we were lost at what to say next.
Then as easily as he reappeared in my life, he was gone!

Did I say something wrong? I was honest with his questions.
(Even the uncomfortable ones) Should I have lied to him instead?
Maybe he really did hate me, and just wanted to ......

The list of 'what if's' goes on and on. All of these questions were filled
with self doubt.
I am sure that I was miserable to be around at this point.

I sent him an Email, but there was no answer. Perhaps I am being too pushy, and he feels like I'm bugging him too much?
That's it! If he don't want to talk anymore, I get it...

About 2 weeks later, he contacted me. I was afraid of being rejected again, so I tried to remain aloof. That didn't work well for me and instead, my heart bubbled over with joy.
It turns out that I had neither said nor done anything wrong.
The lack of contact was simply because he's a teen boy, with things to do. Go figure!
About that unanswered E-mail?
"I HATE to write, mom! I don't write Email or letters. I did read your letter though."

I went through this 'insecure phase' the first few months of initial contact. Every time I didn't hear from him, I blamed myself, and constantly questioned what it was that I had done wrong.
Yet each time it was the same answer....
A young adult with things to do!

It took quite a few months, and a bit of pressure from my sis for me to take the next BIG step.

It's not that I didn't want to see my own son...
After all, I'd been searching for him and his brother for over 10 years.
But I was insecure and frightened to death.
Afraid of what?
Everything! I was afraid of saying the wrong thing. I was afraid of doing the wrong thing. You name it, and I was just downright scared of messing it up!

FINALLY I asked. "Would it be o.k. if I came down, and we went out for a pizza or something?" Instead of a slice of pizza and not enough time, the people with whom he lived invited me to their home for the weekend. How kind of them!

It was a long enough drive to where he lives. Long enough for me to worry myself ill!
What if they were luring me there, only to gang up and beat the crap out of me?
What if it were a hoax, and I made the drive, only to find that it was a wrong address?

Do you see an unhealthy pattern developing?
For every step forward with our reunification, I worried myself 3 steps back.
Again all of this worry was unnecessary.

After 10 + years of searching, I FINALLY MET MY SON!
I can never repay these 'strangers' who opened up their home as a 'neutral-comfort zone,' so that my son and I could reunite.
Words can't possibly describe that weekend. We had a great time!
(Although I am suspicious that he was trying to do me in, with that 12 mile hike in the wee AM hours!)
The weekend came to an end waaayyy too soon. It was impossible to even begin to make up for the 10 years gone by.
I grew bold and asked him if he wanted to come visit for a week, and was more than elated when he agreed.
Within the week he met his little brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives. There were a few informal dinner parties. The two of us stayed up late, trying to catch up with lost time.
Many many times he compared himself and his mannerisms to mine. He saw! What an awesome compliment!

Alas, it was time to take him back home. I have to admit that It wasn't easy to do that!
There was still so much left unsaid.
And yet he said it all...
With a hug he asked, "When are you coming back, mom?"

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Now What

You've finally located a missing loved one... Now What?

The search for a missing loved one affects many people.
Parents, siblings, grandparents, children, aunts, uncles, and friends, all find their lives forever changed.
If your life has been touched by the search for a missing loved one, and you are now dealing with reunification issues...
If you find yourself asking 'NOW WHAT?'
Please take a few moments to read through this. Your comments, ideas, questions, and suggestions are more than welcome.
Often when a loved one is missing families talk about ‘just needing to know they are alive'. When the missing person is discovered to be alive much joy and relief is brought to anxious family members and friends. Yet, many discover that a number of issues surface and create friction within relationships – particularly those between the missing person and their family members and friends
You are NOT alone!
These 2 links offer confirmation that emotions can be quite confusing, once a loved one has been located...
Someone is Missing:The Reunion
The Missing Person Has Been Located...What Now? (PDF format)

Initial Reunification Tips for Parents

A child who has been missing and is about to be or has been reunited with his or her parent(s).
Vanished Children's Alliance offers some helpful tips for the initial contact.
Initial Reunification Tips for Parents (PDF Format)