Friday, July 2, 2010

I know there must be a legal reason, but...

...can't Judges just use common sense sometimes???

Yes, I'm going to rant a bit. When a story touches me this much, I can't help it.

A couple of days ago, I told you about Stacie and her struggles to adopt Vanessa, a baby she's had since birth.

Today, Stacie made yet another court appearance. Friends and family showed up outside the court to support her. It took about forty-five minutes behind closed doors before Stacie emerged. It was clear from her face the news wasn't good. The judge decided to hand the case over to Ohio, which means Vanessa will be taken from the only mother she's ever known, and put into foster care until an adoption hearing which is scheduled for the end of the month. At that time, she will more than likely be given to the paternal grandmother.

My goal with this blog is to share what it's like to be behind the camera while covering a news story. In a case like this, it's hard not to show emotion, even though as a photojournalist, I should hold it together. The pain and anguish in Stacie's voice when she relayed what happened in the court room was palpable. I couldn't help but cry. Everyone did. At least I could hide behind sunglasses and a camera. I can't imagine how devastated she must feel knowing she's sending her daughter into the unknown, and there's nothing she can do about it. And what about this innocent little two-year-old? How will she survive being ripped from her family and given to strangers?

Yes. There are two sides to the story. Mr. Mills is the birth father and has rights. But the birth mother made a hard decision to protect her child and give her child the chance of a better life. Her other two children with Mr. Mills are being raised by his mother. After she had the baby, and gave her to Stacie, she had her tubes tied. She's trying to do the right thing. Even her parents (who we interviewed via phone) agreed Vanessa should stay with Stacie in California, not be brought back to Ohio and a dysfunctional family.

 Here's the deal with the father, Benjamin Mills Jr. He was convicted of domestic violence (mug shot above). He has four (five counting Vanessa) children, none of which he has custody. According to court docs, he dragged Vanessa's birth mother by the hair and beat her until she was unconscious. The police found clumps of her bloody hair around the house. How could a judge in his right mind rule to take this kid away from a situation where she is adored and will have the opportunity for a wonderful life and throw her back into a potentially dangerous situation with a man proven to show violence toward women?

It makes zero sense.

There's still hope. Stacie has already filed an appeal. The birth mother and the birth mother's parents believe it is unsafe to bring the baby back to Ohio. They want Vanessa to stay with Stacie.

But as it stands, in 16 days, Stacy has to hand over her daughter to strangers, and never see her again.

The website again if you want to help:  Operation Vanessa

This is one of those situations where I hope the media can stimulate enough attention to maybe help.

Later gators...

OMG!!! As I'm sitting here writing this, some idiot on his way to turn himself in to parole just punched and then slammed the doors of my van. Dang!! What's wrong with people???

Weekend. Weekend. Yes, it's the weekend. Tomorrow I get to be a Motor Doll and play with my '48 Ford.



  1. Modo, what a tragic story. I hate news like this. How hard it must be for you! My heart goes out to this woman. I will go to the site and see how I can help.


  2. These kind of stories make me crazy! What is wrong with these judges!!!

  3. That's sad and nonsensical. I do hope the baby eventually goes back to Stacie. I wonder what would have been wrong to let her stay with her adoptive mother during all of this.

  4. ugh..sad. I can't believe how idiotic some people are. bloody clumps of hair! they should cut his balls off also.