Mom With Disability Regains Custody Of Her Child But Never Should Have Lost It To Begin With
In a heart-breaking story that ultimately has a happy ending, a mom with a mild intellectual disability lost custody of her daughter at just two days old over very trivial incidents. At the end of a two year legal battle, she finally has her child back, but she never should have lost her to begin with.
The details of this story are heart-breaking. From Today, It sounds as if not much consideration was given to this mother’s ability to learn to care for her child over time and instead, had her cruelly taken away based on very limited evidence. Sara Gordon (a pseudonym) missed a feeding for her daughter at the hospital because of trouble reading the clock and also, did not burp her properly. She was also reportedly “uncomfortable” changing the child’s diaper during those initial days. Wow, it sounds like the behavior of a number of exhausted new moms but because of her intellectual disability, the state saw fit to remove the baby from her care. Positively unreal. The good news is that this case could set a precedent for others like it and maybe, other moms in Gordon’s position won’t have to fight for custody of their children as she did:
The decision to return the toddler to her mother could have far-reaching implications for developmentally disabled parents.
Lawyers for Gordon and her parents told TODAY the family was “giddy” over the news.
“I felt like a kid before Christmas,” Sara said through her lawyer, Mark Watkins of Shutesbury.
“I have never seen anything like this in my 24 years,” said Watkins.
As sad as it is that Gordon was without her daughter for two years, it sounds like this case could be a big deal in the world of parents with situations like this. The other part of this story that makes this case incredibly unfair is that Gordon’s parents offered to help her raise the child and child welfare officials still would not return the child to her family:
“They said I had to choose between my daughter and my granddaughter,” Kim Gordon told TODAY. “That’s not right. I should be able to have both.”
The Department of Justice agreed and concluded the state acted illegally.
“[Gordon] is a loving, caring, and conscientious mother who is willing to do whatever it takes to have her daughter in her life,” according to the report. “There is no discernible reason … that [she] and her parents do not have the ability to care for her child safely.”
It’s a pity that it took a full two years for parties involved to come to this conclusion, but it’s still a victory in that this family finally has their little girl with them. Gordon is now learning through parenting classes how to care for her daughter and is finishing her high school degree. It is terrible that discrimination based solely on the assumption that Gordon would not be able to effectively parent her child kept them apart for so long. I am positive, especially based on the sad stories of abuse and neglect that we see in the news so often, that a great many parents without intellectual disabilities are not as fit to care for their children as Gordon seems to be. I am glad she now has the chance to prove to everyone that she can still be a good mother. It should not have come to this, but hopefully, her case can help others going forward.