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Girl Stolen for Adoption
April 30, 2008 permalink
The Halifax Herald recounts the story of an unnamed dad who lost his young daughter to allegations later proved false. In spite of his exoneration, the girl was placed for adoption and is beyond legal recovery. There are many comments on the Halifax Herald website, most sympathetic to the father.
‘I’m not done. I’m far from done’
Father fighting to get his daughter back
By MARY ELLEN MacINTYRE Truro Bureau
HE WORRIES every hour of every single day about his little girl.
The child with the mischievous grin and deep, dark eyes is lost to him, if not forever, then for a very long time.
More years than he has the heart to think about.
Neither his name nor hers can be published. Four years ago, the little girl was taken into custody by this province’s Community Services workers and she was adopted by another family last year.
No one from Community Services can speak about any case involving children.
"We can’t get into the specifics of any case and so we can’t address any allegations that may or may not be made," one source within the department said.
Department personnel can speak generally about processes and procedures, about the Child Protection Act and about the law, but they cannot speak about this particular little girl and her heartbroken father from Antigonish County.
Still, his is a riveting tale and he tells it with a depth of emotion and obvious love for his child.
One thing in this man’s favour: he is a fastidious record-keeper. He has three volumes of indexed documents to back up his claims. He has court papers, psychiatric assessments, a police background check (he has no record), affidavits, court transcripts and photographs.
This is his story:
"We weren’t married and we had broken up but when she told me she was pregnant, I was determined to be the best father I could be," he recalled.
His girlfriend had an older child, also a girl.
The children’s mother was receiving social assistance and her ability to look after her children was under constant scrutiny.
"I would say she was undermined by social services . . . she never really had a chance to succeed once they started with her," he suggested.
"I had joint custody of my daughter, which basically meant she was with me every day from early morning until the evening," he explained.
He would take his daughter back to her mother’s home in the evenings after spending the days with her, drawing, reading, taking walks in the park with her and teaching her about his Mi’kmaq culture.
Then his world fell apart.
Unhappy with the way the mother was caring for her two daughters, Community Services workers took them into custody.
"I still continued to have joint custody of (the little girl) because they had no problem with me," he said.
But shortly after the children were put into foster care, things went from bad to worse: an allegation of sexual interference.
His daughter’s older half-sister identified him as her molester.
"It was just so awful. How can you fight such an awful thing," he asked.
"I couldn’t understand why she would ever say such a thing about me."
He has suspicions that someone put the child up to it but is unable to provide proof.
Nonetheless, with such a charge hanging over his head, he knew he would have to fight tooth and nail for custody of his daughter.
"I knew I hadn’t done what I was accused of and that there had to be a reason she was saying it," he said.
As the case made its way through the court system, his daughter made her way through the foster care system.
The wheels of justice can be grindingly slow. Every so often, the most innocent people get chewed up under those wheels.
He was eventually acquitted of the charge.
However, by the time the case went before a judge and the child who made the allegation was unable to identify the individual who molested her, it was too late.
"Once my name was cleared, I applied to get my daughter back and I was told under . . . the Child Protection Act no further action could take place because an adoption was in process," he said.
By last September, the adoption had been approved.
"The order was signed, the case is sealed and you can’t take it back to court.
"They tell me no power on earth can change things," he said.
But he refuses to believe that.
"I’m not done. I’m far from done. I want my daughter back and I know she wants to be with me so I’ll keep fighting," he said.
"This is about the heart, not money or power. This is about a father who loves his daughter with all his heart and that’s got to mean something."
( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Source: The Halifax Herald, pointed out by Jeremy Swanson