Next moves

I’ve been sick and out of commission for the last few days.  Thank goodness Dan’s parents had just come into town to visit so they were able watch Nate.  With  Dan at work and me barely able to get out of bed, it was just another weekend of wacky “experimental” family life. Extended family, caretakers, grandparents…crazy stuff like that.

We’ve received so many responses to this.  Our families are displaying a real need to be heard and feel protected.  Some of the letters stunned me, especially this one:

I just wanted to say thank you for taking the higher road. I don’t think I could have done it. I live in the State of Arkansas, and Mr. Huckabee does not represent us! He so does not represent family, morals, or values. I am a lesbian mother of 3. In this state the trend over the past 3 years of taking children from there gay birth parents has increased. The world does not know about it because of guys like Mr. Huck. If a 3rd party petitions the courts for guardianship due to ” cohabitating in a gay/lesbian relationship”, their order will be granted and birth parents have just hours to turn over their children forever. We (5 of us in this county) are all loving, doting, and very caring parents. Arkansas will not allow gay marriage, but they will rip your family apart in a heartbeat. That’s the heartbeat of this America for us. And when ACT 1 was voted in in 2008, it was the nail in the coffin for our state…And thousands of children that so desperately need to be loved through fostering and adoption. This week Judge Piazzi of Pulaski County overturned ACT 1.. Fingers crossed it will stay so. It can’t bring our children home, but it will open loving homes to countless others. Thank you again for taking that higher road. Much love from our home to yours… Erica G

Children are being taken from thier families and we (at least around here) are unaware of it? Has this been just  a passing news blip?  How has this become possible in the new millenium?

The more response we get the more I see we need to spread this even further and with more vigor.  Dan and I will tape a version of our letter with a short message and post it to our Youtube channel which is launching late this week http://www.youtube.com/user/theheartyboys. I hope that you will all watch it and forward it as much as possible.  Viral videos seem to be a great tool now and we’ll ask you to help us continue the exposure and pressure…if nothing else, to increase awareness about our family situations.

Thanks to Bill Daley at The Chicago Tribune for a wonderful article on the inside page of the Sunday edition (!) and thanks to HRC for coming on board, connecting with us and blogging about it.

Oh, and if you aren’t already you can follow us on http://twitter.com/heartyboys or on http://www.facebook.com/heartyboys

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3 Responses to “Next moves”

  1. Richard A. Walter Says:

    Yes, this “experimental” life, complete with jobs, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and all that comes with it. How can a life that centers around showing love to our families be considered “experimental?” That is what I don’t get? I thought love was the very foundation for a family. But I guess Mike Huckabee doesn’t see it that way.

  2. Erica Says:

    Thank you guys for highlighting my comment. Our stories have never been in the news. We contacted so many groups and news outlets and no help could be given. So our stories have never been told. But word of mouth is a powerful thing! I would like to give my email address for any and all that want it, and please know that we are willing to fight next to our brothers and sisters for all of the children! You boys have given me hope again, and tears of joy are being shed… Loves, Erica
    jackboisgirl@gmail.com

  3. Amanda Apple Says:

    Erica is one of my closest and dearest friends and what she has gone through in the last few years is as close to hell as anyone can imagine. The worst part about this situation is that there is, seemingly, nothing that people in our situation can do. Though my personal experience with our antiquated non-cohabitation law is no where near as devastating, losing custody of her 3 babies completely, it has still instilled a fear within me that I never knew could exist.

    GLBT persons in Arkansas, as of now, are in a lose, lose situation, completely. Even if Act 1 is declared unconstitutional by our Supreme Court and children are allowed to be adopted/fostered by cohabitating couples, there is nothing guaranteeing (even with the legal precedent being set) that people like Erica and I will be protected or our families fully restored because situations such as ours, at this time, have no caveat.

    What makes this even worse is, generally speaking, the great majority of us, cannot afford to fight for our kids because of the insane legal costs. And if you have a particularly angry, bitter and vindictive 3rd party taking you to court at every turn, you’re sunk.

    In Arkansas the legal statute states that no person, gay or straight, can cohabitate with anyone that they are intimately involved with currently or EVER, in the presence of minor children.

    So like Erica said in her post, if a 3rd party (for me it was my exhusband) chooses to take you to court, you must choose between keeping your children, or sustaining a relationship.

    Now…if you’re straight, this isn’t such an issue, you can get married and poof, you’re fine. But like us (and so many others in our circle of friends), we can’t legally marry our partners in Arkansas, nor can you marry in a state where same sex marriage is legal, come home and have it recognized. You are FORCED to choose.

    As of today, I’ve been taken to court by my ex husband two times in the attempt to change our custody agreement for our two children (6&12) from joint to full time, for him.

    After the first time, I was given the option to have my partner of 2 years, Michelle, an amazing, kind, woman who loves my kids as her own, either move out of our home, in less than a week, or lose my children.

    The next day we had to rent the home across the street from our home, literally to give her a place to reside from 10pm-6am, the 2 weeks a month Ethan and Elizabeth are with us. She must leave our family each night, and return the following morning to help everyone get out the door.

    This law is not only incredibly cruel, but damages so many children by making them believe that our families are not equal to others.

    My sincerest hope by all of us standing up and speaking out is that attention grows and with that change will come. With Act 1 being overturned, I finally have hope for the first time in a long time…but we still have a long road ahead of us.

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