Thursday, July 1, 2010

Contested Adoption: Father Lied to and Seeking Child

The father, Benjamin Mill, Jr. and his girl friend have two children together.

She lied to him about her plans to relinquish their third child and lied on legal papers that she did not know who the baby's father was while arranging a private adoption.

There were charges of domestic violence and Benjamin spent some time in jail but was free in time to get to the hospital just moments before his daughter left with a prospective single adoptive mother who was immediately told of his entry into the picture.

Stacey Doss took custody of baby Vanessa straight from the hospital. When she heard of Benjamin's interest with days, she welcomed into the open adoption arrangement and claims to have sent him an airline ticket to visit.

Two years have gone by, however. Vanessa has remained with Doss - though the adoption has never been finalized - while her father passed a DNA test and fights for his constitutional right to his raise his daughter. 

Interestingly, I was made aware of this case via n email seeking my help for the prospective adopter who is waging a media war with websites seeking support. Interestingly, the mass email for support called Doss Vanessa's "adoptive mother" and never mentioned that the adoption was never finalized. it also never mentioned that Doss new about the father's interest since the baby was days old. It was filled with unsubstantiated allegations about him which may or may not be true.  However, Vanessa's mother never pressed charges against him.

Story and video here.

My reply to their plea for help:

Thank you. I WILL be following and blogging about this case.

This adoption has not been finalized.

The mother of the child never pressed charges of domestic violence against the baby's father.

Only she and he know if he is or is not guilty, but he WANTS to raise HIS child and unless he is proven unfit and a potential danger to his child, it is his constitutional right to do so, regardless of his being demonized.

I pray that the parties involved can reach a solution that includes visitation - regardless of who "wins" in the end - so that the child experiences the least amount of harm, and I pray they do so as quickly as possible. All too often contested adoptions like this are dragged on at the advise of the attorney for the POTENTIAL/PROSPECTIVE adopters so that judges will find in their favor even if the adoption was done illegally. They know the longer is with them, the better their chances of a decision to let her stay there. I hope and pray this is not done because all too often it merely causes a far more traumatic separation at a later date when the child is older.

See the case of DeMartino/Helen Olga Scarpetta. See "Baby Jessica."

Do what is best for the child even if its hard to let go. We expect birth mothers to do that. Why would we expect less of a non-related foster mother? I was a foster mother and I know how hard it is to let go, especially when there are allegations of of abuse. But it the right thing to do, albeit painful and difficult.

Perhaps there is a biological grandparent who could foster grandparent who could care for Vanessa while the case is heard, or even permanently. I pray the court looks into that as well.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi,thanks for keeping an open mind on this important issue. So many people are quick to jump to emotional conclusions based on the version given by one side.

Please consider the following: If you carefully read the appellate court's decision on his 2nd domestic violence conviction, you will see a clearer picture of what kind of man he really is. Please read http://tinyurl.com/2b9tc3a . It is true his victim did not testify against him, but initially indicated to the police the full nature of his crime. Please note that in addition to her facial and neck injuries, the responding office found clumps of hair all around the crime scene. Is it possible that she was afraid to testify against him?

I suppose as more information become available you might modify your opinion.

Anonymous said...

I am asking my assemblyman to author the "Father's Right To Parent" bill. This would require any child being relinquished for adoption by his/her birth mother to be DNA tested along with his/her father or possible fathers. Once proven to be the child's father, he should be given up to 9 months to decide whether he wants to relinquish HIS child for adoption or not. (9 months is the time mothers are given to prepare for a child.) His signature would be required. No signature, no relinquishment of the father's rights.

Mirah Riben said...

Don't know what state you're in, but what about the Putative Father Registry? Seems you might have to get that repealed first since the two laws would difficulty conflict with one another.

Anonymous said...

BENJAMIN MILLS IS THE FATHER; GIVE HIM HIS CHILD WHOM HE HAS NEVER RELINQUISHED CONTROL OVER SINCE DATE OD BIRTH OF VANESSA. THE DOSS FAMILY HAS BASICALLY HELD VANESSA CAPTIVE AND DECIDED THAT THEY ARE "ABOVE" THE LAW. WELL, WELL, THE JUDGE DECIDED YESTERDAY EXACTLY WHAT WAS RIGHT FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. VANESSA NEEDS TO GO BACK TO OHIO TO HER BIRTH FAMILY IMMEDIATELY. IF YOU HAVE EVER HAVE HAD ANY TYPE OF DEALINGS WITH ANY MEMBER OF THE DOSS FAMILY; IT TURNS CAUSTIC, CONTROL FREAKS, VIRAL AT ANY COST BY THE DOSS FAMILE. THE GRANDPARENTS, CAROLYN AND JERRY ARE EVIL AND THEIR DAUGHTER STACEY IS EVIL AS WELL. THE APPLE HAS NOT FALLEN TOO FAR FROM THE TREE!!!!!

Haigha said...

The above comment is a personal attack by any standards and as such violates your own comment policy. The fact that you've allowed it to remain up does not reflect well on you.

Mirah Riben said...

I see it as an expression of opinion. Strong opinion, but opinion nonetheless. But perhaps that's because I agree that keeping a child from his or her loving, caring, capable parent is evil!

Haigha said...

One could argue that pretty much anything is a matter of 'personal opinion'. I suppose it's hardly surprising that you would regard calling someone evil as an expression of 'strong opinion' rather than personal attack. But 'strong' is too mild a word for what's being expressed here. Even as a mere 'opinion' it is extreme. Especially when applied to a whole family. Are we to suppose all members of this family carry some kind of 'evil' gene, or what? I mean, seriously, how far does this taint extend? To great-aunts, uncles, third cousins thrice removed?

I too happen to think that keeping a child from a 'loving capable' biological parent is wrong. However, and I could be mistaken, there is not much much evidence to show that Benjamin Mills has either of those qualities.
Nevertheless, my 'opinion' about this case is that his claim for custody deserves due process, that he was denied it in the first instance by his ex-partner's lie, and that now the outcome needs to be decided on the facts, with the court's greatest emphasis being on the best interests of Vanessa herself.

But enough of my wimpy talk. Evidently you prefer a more hateful hysterical rhetorical style, preferably written IN CAPS.

Mirah Riben said...

Then we agree. Benjamin deserves due process. I don't know any of these people personally so cannot make a "personal" attack of them specifically. The act of keeping a child a child from its parent, knowing he wanted his child is evil. That is evil. In simialr cases in the end the child is returned and the foster parents delaying it just make it worse.

UPDATE: Ben's mom is also seeking custody and the custody hearing, due to resume in December has been postponed until March. The hearing was delayed by Montgomery County Legal Director Greg Scott who said:"It's in the child's best interests for everyone to have their day in court for each of these motions."

The problem with that statement is that the LIBERAL visitation should be allowed all parties in the interim so the child knows all the players in the event custody is reversed.

Haigha said...

"Then we agree. "
No we don't. The issue I raised with you concerned the appropriateness of publishing that comment and whether or not it violates your comment policy.
You say you "don't know any of these people personally so cannot make a personal attack on them specifically."
But you allow somebody else to do so.
In fact you defend their diatribe as 'opinion.

Mirah Riben said...

Yes, Haigha, the decisions as to what gets posted and what does not rest with me, the blog owner, and me alone. I get to decide what crosses a line and becomes flaming. If it were your blog, you would get to make that call.

Generally speaking, flaming is when one commenter is rude or nasty and attacks another commenter instead of disagreeing with their opinion about the facts of the case.

Expressing opinions about people in the news is done every day on every blog. Stacy Doss has put herself in the same position as reality freak show "celebs" and become a "public figure." She is thus fair game for public opinion about her and her actions.

I respect your right to disagree and feel I play fair by posting your objections, also at my discretion.

Haigha said...

'Stacy Doss has put herself in the same position as reality freak show "celebs" and become a "public figure." She is thus fair game for public opinion about her and her actions.'

This isn't just about Stacy Doss. It's about her family too.
So much for your "discretion".

Mirah Riben said...

Again, I agree with you. Anyone who CHOOSES to keep a child after his or her parent comes forward is putting their own family in a situation that is likely to cause them pain and possibly embarrassment, etc.

You may well know this one family. I, on the other hand, speak from and look at this case in conjunction with other similar contested adoptions cases. ironically, the most recent prior case also involved a father named Benjamin, see:

http://familypreservation.blogspot.com/2010/10/grayson-wyrembek-father-and-son-reunion.html

the Vaughn family kept this child fro YEARS after the courts ordered him returned. they hurt this child for life, as well as their own children! It is a gamble people in such cases take - encouraged by their attorneys - to drag it out so the court might favor keeping the children with 'the only family they've ever known" and of course it's in the attorneys' best interest to drag it out and keep the money flowing!! It is NOT in the best interest of any of the children involved in these situations. imagine the harm done to the Vaughn's children when they finally had to hand Grayson back?! Unimaginable pain caused by their parents selfish stubbornness.

maryanne said...

Not bother you again, but it is OLGA Scarpetta, not Helen.
http://www.ecasebriefs.com/blog/law/family-law/family-law-keyed-to-weisberg/adoption-and-alternatives-to-adoption/scarpetta-v-spence-chapin-adoption-service/

Haigha said...

I don't know this "one family" or any of its individual members. And neither do you.
I just think publishing virulent hateful comments about people about whom or whose opinions you by your own admission know nothing is ugly and ratchets up the hate-o-meter. It doesn't help anybody, not even the people with whom your sympathies lie.

" Anyone who CHOOSES to keep a child after his or her parent comes forward is putting their own family in a situation that is likely to cause them pain and possibly embarrassment, etc."
To which, it seems, you are only too happy to contribute.

Mirah Riben said...

Yes, because I think it is a reprehensible thing to do...

Haigha, March Hare, pronounced "mayor", the personal messenger to the White King in Through the Looking-Glass (and asteroid) ...wriggling like an eel, as he came along, with his great hands spread out like fans on each side.) 'Not at all,' said the King. 'He's an Anglo-Saxon Messenger--and those are Anglo-Saxon attitudes....who Alice loved because he is Happy and hated because he is Hideous.

And thanks for the heads up. Names are the first to go when the memory starts to fail, you know...but I can always count on the one who corrects me...Not too old to be fooled though...

Haigha said...

"Yes, because I think it is a reprehensible thing to do..."
I agree that trying to subvert the path of justice is wrong, even if it is the right deed for the wrong reason (or even the other way around). But then I'm not talking about that and you know it.
Allowing a a whole group (in this case an entire family) to be labeled as 'evil', especially when you only have Yelling-in-Caps' unsubtantiated word for it is reprehensible too. It's the essence of prejudice.

"Haigha, March Hare, pronounced "mayor", the personal messenger to the White King in Through the Looking-Glass (and asteroid) ...wriggling like an eel, as he came along, with his great hands spread out like fans on each side.) 'Not at all,' said the King. 'He's an Anglo-Saxon Messenger--and those are Anglo-Saxon attitudes....who Alice loved because he is Happy and hated because he is Hideous. "
Well done! Google is your friend. You forgot the ham sandwich though. Ham sandwiches are a staple of the Anglo-Saxon diet.

I can't take credit for the heads up though. That wasn't my gem. But thanks anyway.

Haigha said...

I said "Allowing a a whole group (in this case an entire family) to be labeled as 'evil' is reprehensible too"

On the other hand, if it was Fred Phelps and his family you were talking about, based on the evidence as it stands, I would have to agree.

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