Cindy’s Status as Mother Appealed

 

Hello Everyone,

I thought you all would like another update.

My visits with my babies are the highlights of my week.  They are such sweet darlings and so very precious.  They are getting bigger and stronger every day.  My son is over 18 lbs now and my daughter is just under 18 lbs.  They were so small when they were born, and their health and growth is just so wonderful to see.  I wish I could share pictures.

They have great personalities and I hope someday all my friends can meet them and see for themselves what wonderful beings they are.

However, while the temporary custody case decision in January technically gave their father and me joint custody, I still only get visitation 3 times a week instead of having them live with me.

In addition, despite the judge verifying that I am their mother, their father is still disputing that decision and is moving forward with his appeal.  His appeals lawyer has until the end of the month to file the appeal, then my appeals lawyer has until the end of May to file the response.

My understanding is that if the judge’s ruling is overturned on appeal, not only will I lose my rights as a mother, reproductive rights and freedoms for both sexes will be severely compromised.  This would be disaster for my children and me, and for anyone who has used or will use donor eggs or donor sperm to have a child.

And while all this goes on, my children still do not live with me.  I believe this works into their father’s plans as the longer my babies live with him and his partner, the less likely it is that the court will award me possession during the permanent custody case.

While the case progress is slow, the expenses keep mounting.  I managed to pay the initial fee for the court ordered psychiatric evaluation on time, thankfully, and the appointments are going forward.  I am in debt much farther than I ever expected to be in my lifetime, and there will be more fees as time goes on, including to the psychiatrist, my family law attorney, the Amicus Attorney the court assigned to the children, and the appeals attorney.  In addition to these fees, I have the expenses one usually associates with having children.

When I planned my pregnancy with my children’s father, I believed I would have help in setting up the nursery and with the ongoing expenses of raising a child or children.  With the way things have turned out, I have had to set up my nursery and obtain all things I need for the children without their father’s help.  I have been blessed with friends that have helped me with many things, but more expenses keep coming.  I need to soon obtain another set of car seats, a playpen, safety gates and other items for when my children visit my home.  My children are growing so rapidly I can see the time will come soon where I need to get toddler beds for them.  I hope the custody battle will be over by then and that child support will be in place to assist me.

In the meantime I am searching for a second job, or a better paying main one to try to deal with the expenses.

I am blessed to have many good friends.  Some of them are planning a fundraiser for me to help defray the expenses associated with my legal battle, as well as to help me cover other ongoing expenses.  The flyer for the planned walking event is posted here  and on the Facebook pages: Baby Steps For Cindy, and Give Cindy Back Her Babies.

I would like to take this time to ask for your help and participation in this event.  Every donation will help me to move forward in my battle to regain possession of my children and to meet their needs until it is all settled. (Ed. Note: For your convenience, we’ve set up a PayPal account to accept donations. You can donate by clicking  here.)

I thank you all for your continued prayers and good thoughts.

May you be blessed in all that you do.

Cindy

Court Issues Temporary Orders

Everyone,

I apologize, again, for the late update, but as you will hear in my upcoming paragraphs, there’s a good reason.

First, though, I know many of you are anxious to hear what happened in court.

This last hearing was to determine temporary custody orders. (Permanent orders will be issued at a later trial, probably in about three months.)

Over the course of the last three days, testimony was given by friends, experts, and the parents themselves. The judge’s job was to carefully listen to the testimony and determine what was in the best interest of the children.

The last witness to present testimony was the Amicus Attorney, or rather, the attorney appointed by the Court for the children.

He recommended that even though it may be perceived as unfair, it was in the best interests of the children to stay with their father. He also recommended that Cindy’s fourteen hours of visitation be reduced to six hours.

The judge concurred with most of his recommendations, however, she ordered some caveats that I believe are intended to strengthen the mother-child relationship and protect the best interests of the twins.

Of course, we were all crushed by the reduction of visitation hours, but with the exception of that, Cindy has been remarkably positive about the Court’s ruling and is looking forward to working with the Court to become an active part of her children’s lives.

During the proceedings, I understand that the custody issues were severed from the maternity issue, which means that they are now two separate proceedings. Because of that, and in an effort to protect her children’s best interests, Cindy has indicated that she wants to comment very little, if at all, on any custody matters.

Cindy will be posting on the Facebook page later today to personally thank all of you for being so supportive. I know that she takes a lot of strength and comfort from your posts.

We will continue to update this website and the Facebook page as events progress.

–Danielle

BREAKING: JUDGE FINDS THAT CINDY IS THE MOTHER!!

Specifically, the court “FINDS that Cindy Close is the mother of the children as a matter of law and GRANTS Cindy Close’s motion for partial summary judgment on Marvin McMurrey, III’s claim against her that she is not the mother of these children.”

There is also an “Order on Cindy’s Close’s No-Evidence Motion for Summary Judgement” that ‘FINDS that there is no evidence to support Petitioner, Marvin McMurrey , III’s claim that Cindy Close’s “role was that of or [sic] a surrogate or gestational carrier” for the children the subject of this declaratory judgment actioin as a matter of law and GRANTS Cindy Close’s no-evidence motion for partial summary judgment on Marvin McMurrey, III’s claim.’

Hot dog!

Washday Blues

Today was wash day in my house, and since I like to joke that I’m Cindy’s official laundress, I guess it was only right that I ended up doing laundry for the babies today, too.

This morning Cindy called me to tell me that all of the clothes that we had painstakingly washed, folded and put away for twins were now too small for them. Since she was at work, I volunteered to go through the clothes and sort out the ones that were now too small, and to wash , fold and put away clothes in the next biggest size.

This was  the first batch of clothes that I culled. Some of them still have the tags on them. (Obviously those outfits hadn’t been put in with the washed and folded clothes yet.) With the exception of several preemie onsies, the babies never even had a chance to wear any of these outfits. I pray that they will be back with Cindy before they outgrow this batch, too.

–Danielle

 

 

Congratulations on Your Pregnancy

So here’s a blast from the past. I was going through some cards that I sent earlier this year, and I came across the card I sent to Cindy congratulating her on her pregnancy. Pay particular attention to the note I included. She had given me her HCG levels and I remember thinking that they were high, hence the observation about twins. Who called it?!

Of course, I could have never called what happened after she gave birth. Marvin McMurrey is still petitioning the court for  ”a Declaratory Judgement, establishing Petitioner, Marvin McMurrey III, as the children’s legal father and declaring that no parent-child relationships or standing to pursue any rights to the children exist between Respondent, Cindy Close, and the children…” (Emphasis and bold added.)

The next court date is November 5, 2012 at 1:30, with a march just before. I hope you’ll be there to show support for Cindy.
–Danielle

October 16th Hearing Canceled

I don’t have a lot of details, but the October 16th hearing has been canceled. I’ve heard various reasons, but it seems that the judge is out of town that day.

The November 5th hearing is still on, though, as is the March for Cindy just prior to the 1:30 hearing.

Hope to see you there!

–Danielle

It’s Your Friends That Get You Through

Wristband from a visitor of Cindy Close's present at the birth of her twins

There’s not been a lot to report for the past couple of days, and while I know we’re all grateful for some peace, I for one, am frustrated at glacially slow pace of justice.

Part of that may be that while cleaning yesterday, I found the hospital bracelet from the night the twins were born. It was, of course, a kick in the gut. And that got me to thinking, if it’s that bad for me, imagine how bad it must be for Cindy going home to an empty apartment that’s dominated by empty cribs and unused baby supplies.

Fortunately, she has an active network of friends, like Debbie, who had her over for dinner last Sunday night and sent her home with lots of homemade meals. (Thanks Debbie!) Of course, there’s Dara and Kim, April, Tanya, Belinda, Marilyn, new friend Toni, and everyone that has called, emailed, and texted her with messages of support.  What’s really incredible to us all, though, is the astonishing amount of support she’s getting here from the Facebook page, Give Cindy Back Her Babies, and the Change. org petition. As of this writing, the Facebook page has 2,182 likes and the Change.org petition has 1,133 signatures! I’ve watched her read the messages, and she’s truly moved by them.

She has said on more than one occassion that it is her friends who have lifted her spirits and given her the strength to soldier on for another day. And I have said on more than one occassion that she must be a pretty special person to inspire such friendship from so many. So thanks to all of you for your friendship, your activism, and your support. It means everything.

 

While Court Case Drags On, Cindy’s Babies Without Her Milk

Cindy Close has had to put her breastmilk in storage

Marvin McMurrey filed suit against Cindy Close, alleging her a surrogate. He and his partner care for the children, but Cindy has shared that his partner refuses her breast milk for the babies. Pictured here are some of the milk supply that Cindy has in storage awaiting her children’s return.

Everyone, Cindy could use some advice. As many of you know, Cindy has testified that Phong has refused to give the babies her breast milk and has refused it repeatedly. She has shared that she is continuing to pump her breast milk because she believes it is what is best for them – and also because that’s what the judge ordered – but with Phong refusing to give it to them, it’s in storage for now.

So here’s the question. What’s the best, most affordable way to freeze her milk? Currently she is using the storage containers the hospital provided her, but she ran out last night.

She is using the Avent feeding system, but those plastic containers seem really expensive, especially in light of the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight and there could be quite a bit of milk stored up before she gets her babies back.

Want To Understand What’s Happening? Read This Article.

Pete Shanks of Biopolitical Times, published a blog post entitled, “Is This Informal Surrogacy or Exploitation?”

The article does an excellent job of summarizing all the pertinent facts of Cindy’s case. Definitely recommended reading if you want to come up to speed on what this case is all about.

“A bizarre tragedy is playing out in Houston. Some commentators are calling it “a landmark case in motherhood” but it seems more like either a horrible misunderstanding or an appalling case of exploitation.”

Visit http://bit.ly/OgomBT to read the entire article.

Supporter Posts Powerful Video

Cindy Close supporter Toni King of Mother’s Moments has created a powerful, “tissue required” video and was kind enough to share it with us. Please feel free to share it with as many people as you like.