This is a campaign to assist myself, Anastasia, in navigating the legal system and court with the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). Due to very unfortunate and terrible unforeseen and unbeknownst to me circumstances, my son Damian sustained a broken left humerus. The MCFD have taken away my husband's legal guardianship and my own legal guardianship temporarily. I have never hurt my son and I have always been gentle and loving and kind with my baby. I have been working with the MCFD since November 27th, 2017 when I first met with the social workers. He is currently staying with my family-in-law (since Dec 14th, 2017) who have so generously opened their homes and hearts in order to care for Damian while this situation is resolved.
My visits have regressed from everyday for four hours down to 2 or 3 days per week for 2 hours under supervision of an MCFD supervisory worker because of the progression of our case. In order to obtain my legal guardianship again I need to be able to retain a lawyer as per the advice of the MCFD and multiple family lawyers with whom I have interviewed. The retainer fee for a typical lawyer in a case that most definitely is involved in the court process is $10,000.00 I am told; which I do not have. I have applied for legal aid but have not heard back from them yet. I'm in such a difficult situation as I currently have no income and I have a surgery to remove my gallbladder on February 16th, 2018. This will make it difficult for me to work as a registered nurse as it is a very physical job. I hate to ask for financial assistance but I have come to the point at which I must exhaust all of my options in order to be reunited with my baby boy, Damian.
The quicker I can retain legal counsel the better chance I have of having Damian returned into my care and legal guardianship while living with my parents, in a timely manner. It is essential that we be reunited as soon as humanly possible as he is so young and I feel our bond has been stretched so thin by this whole experience and lack of being able to be physically present with my baby Damian. The rightful place for Damian is within his safe, capable, and loving mother's arms.
It IS in Damian's best interest that he be returned to my care and legal guardianship for a number of reasons:
a) I was exclusively breastfeeding Damian as is the best source of nutrition for an infant up to the age of 2 according to the World Health Organization. Now I am forced to pump exclusively and supplement Damian with formula. Due to the stress of our situation I have noticed a decrease in my breast milk production. To resolve this I would need to be with Damian more often if not all the time so that he can breastfeed. It would be in Damian's best interest to reap ALL of the benefits of breast milk by breastfeeding (baby directly on the breast) as opposed to the lesser benefits of pumped breast milk. There are many reasons why sudden cessation of breastfeeding is not a good idea. The method of how breast milk is stored changes the properties of the milk that are beneficial to the child. Freezing breaks down immunological cells which are so important for a baby with an immature immune system as well as lipids which are important to gain weight, grow properly, and develop the brain. Storing in the refrigerator or freezer reduces the antioxidant properties of breast milk necessary to reduce the number of free radical ions in the bloodstream which cause damage and inflammation to the body. When pumping, the breast milk cannot change as it is meant to when breastfeeding skin to skin. Every feed directly from the breast changes the content of the milk. The contact, hormones, and saliva of the baby on the mother’s nipple signals her body to produce and change the constituents of the milk to meet the baby’s exact needs as the baby feeds and as the baby ages and grows. How is my milk supposed to change as needed when I am not allowed to feed Damian directly from the breast as his primary source of nutrition and comfort?
The other issue with pumping is that if each pumping session is not long enough the baby could receive mostly fore milk (high in carbohydrates) but not enough hind milk (high in fat). This takes time, at least half an hour to an hour or more of pumping and massaging the breast (from my experience). I have ensured that I pump long enough to get the important hind milk.
It also can cause nipple confusion, fussiness at the breast when trying to breastfeed, and the possibility that the child is not receiving enough of the high fat hind milk that comes near the end of a breastfeeding session (when the flow of milk slows). It takes more effort and coordination of jaw, tongue, and lips for the child to breastfeed than compared to a bottle feed as the flow is different with an artificial nipple. Bottles give a constant flow whereas the breasts’ flow has a pattern of let downs and rests. Even the best man made bottles and nipples do not allow the child’s jaw, gums, lips, and tongue to develop as nature intended. The ministry has prevented us from giving our child the best nutrients and care possible, directly from the breast. The MCFD is constantly telling us that all they are doing is in Damian’s best interest, but how can this be? I fear now that he does not want to breastfeed as he is used to being bottle fed that we may have difficulties bonding when we are reunited.
b) I also fear that our separation will have NEGATIVE and LASTING PSYCHOLOGICAL impacts on Damian and his ability to form relationships and his ability to trust. I have researched that this separation of mother and child is damaging. In an article by Plotka & Busch-Rossnagel(1), they cite that separation of mother and child negatively impacts the child's ability to self-regulate and therefore leaves the child at risk for social, emotional, and cognitive problems later in life. Although we understand the stance of the Ministry saying that it is in the best interest of the child’s safety that we be separated as they do not know what caused his broken humerus, one could argue that separation in the long term will have greater damaging effects than compared to being at home in a stable environment with his loving parents.
Haiman(2) cites that
"Research has shown that children who do not develop secure attachments with a primary caregiver during the first years of life later are unable to calm themselves down; they are more likely than are secure children to overreact to stimuli. Insecure children have less impulse control, less ability to tolerate stress, and less ability to tolerate frustration than do individuals who have experienced a more secure childhood (Toth & Cicchetti, 1998). They also are more at risk for anxiety, depression, aggression, violence, suicide, and substance abuse. In my opinion, one of the most socially significant effects of insecure attachment is the fact that these individuals lack the ability to empathize. Well-known psychiatrist Alice Miller (1990) has written about how this inability can be passed from generation to generation within families."
In light of this information that has been around for decades, it would be in Damian's best interest, for the rest of his life, that he be returned and live with his mother, myself, Anastasia.
If there is any money fund-raised over the goal, it will be saved in an RESP for Damian's future.
Articles Cited and/or for Reading
There are many many more. all you need do is google search mother child separation.