Tragic Loss Of A Child

Loving Your Child Forever
This brief writeup on the loss and love of my son in an open letter format a few days before this awful massacre of  “our”  20 children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.  This massacre is nationally mourned by us all; it is the worst  massive school shooting in United States’ history.  I share this post right away, especially for the family of the victims.  I do hope something from my experience or something I share from such a similar experience where my child was the victim of a homicide,  that  there is something that  can help in one way or the other, have an impact.

My only biological son, I speak about.  Of course, I have loved you from the time that you became a part of my life.  Ever since that night when you became the victim of a homicide, my love for you have been in the highest degree.  It has been 20 years since that awful moment but I have to say that I love you every day of my life and I will always love you as I exist.  When you were no longer physically with me, of course, it has been very painful and just unbearable at times.  However, I asked Almighty God to help me  through all of what I will have to through in this terrible loss of you in my life, this void in life.  One of the first things I did is that I thanked Almighty God for ultimately blessing me to have you as my child for 19 years.

Even though his life was abruptly taken, I still want to say I appreciate every moment that Almighty allowed me to have Michael as my son.  He is not with me physically to this day but to this day and until the end of my life I will continue to love you, my son.  I realize I am not the ONLY parent who has lost a child, but still there is something that is different about you that makes me hang in there.   Oh, that awful horrific act where the gunman shot that fatal bullet and you were the victim of a dastard act, a homicide, your spirit is with me everyday.  Almighty God knows the very inner essence of me and my heart when it comes to my LOVE for you.  Sometimes I smile and many times I cry but somehow I am able to dry my eyes and allow for just one more smile that you were  a part of my life.

It does not matter if you had been with me for the short time of 19 years or 100 years.  I love you no less. In fact, I love you the most.
I think about when you were born as a premature baby.  You were in the incubator in the hospital’s care and  the hospital soon became my second home.  I would make visitations as long as I could and watch the doctors and nurses as they took care of you in the incubator.  You weighted only 3 lbs 4 oz when you were born.  However, I felt confident that you would soon gain your weight and continued being healthy  and I would then take you home.  I would care for you and watch you grow into the young man you were at nineteen years old.  (To be Continued)

Soldier was Adopted

Calling From Iraq

It was two years ago that my nephew called me. It was the first time he had made contact with his birth family.  He was in the U.S. Military; he was on his second tour of duty in Iraq.  He made his first contact with me, with his family while he was still in Iraq. That first phone call lasted for about one hour.

Ring, ring, r-i-n-g! I awoke, looked at the clock. It was 2:45 a.m. in the morning. It was unusual for me to receive a phone call at this time of the morning. It would ring only if there is an emergency. Well, I answered the phone, “Hello?”   He asked to speak to one of my nephews. I would soon find out my nephew was asking to speak to his brother. I told him that he was not in, not home at the time. However, I understood by his questions and tone that he was not sure who he was asking for. He did not know whether the name was his brother or his father.  I was wondering WHO it really is on the other end of the phone. Is this a crank call? Is he really my nephew?  I would soon find out.

Then he tells me his name. I recognized the name instantly. I am the one who named him when he was a newborn. I asked my sister if I could name him after he was born and she gave me permission to name her handsome son. I named him after my son, Michael. So, of course, I recognized the first name right away. But is this person on the other end of the phone my nephew? By now, I am all excited and did not know what to think. Was this really my nephew or a crank call? My next thought was to ask him his birthday. He told me his birthday. I knew he was correct and I felt that he was who he said he was. Of course, his surname was different. He still had his first name that was given to him at birth.  Apparently, his adopted Mother did not change his first name.

I knew this: That I had nephews and nieces who were under the care and control of Social Services. My sister no longer had custody of her son. I don’t remember any family member being considered for custody or adoption of my nephew.  There was a  few court hearings.  My sister and family was in court  without an attorney.  Much of the legal talk was difficult to understand.  The Court told Social Services to set up a schedule for my sister and family members to visit my nephew.  We would visit my nephew for only a few months.  The next thing we would hear is  that  my nephew had a new foster Mother, out-of-town.  So there were no more visitations and we never saw my nephew again; nor did we hear anything  else about my nephew.   However, we continued visits with his siblings; they were older and remained  in foster care.  Of course, when my nephew called me, it was the first time I heard from him since he was a baby.  He would follow that call up with others while he was still in the U.S. Military in Iraq.

My nephew told me that he was seven years old when his mother passed.   He would then be raised by her family. My nephew told me that upon the passing of his adopted mother, her family informed him and showed him the adoption papers. He told me the adoption papers disclosed some information that he found useful in his search for his birth family. I told him that we, his birth family, thought about him often and that we had tried to search for him.   I told him that we had inquired about the costs involved in hiring searchers and attorneys; that our minds were of the same, that we also wanted to find him. We were short of the fees being charged. I thought about him two days before he called my home the very first time.

After graduation from high school, my nephew told me that he entered the U.S. Military and did a tour in Iraq. He was now on his second tour of duty; he would be deployed in about two months.

My nephew told me that he had gotten married; that his wife was also in the U.S. Military. In fact, she was in the Military when they first met; then they decided to get married. My nephew told me his wife was on her tour of duty in Iraq. He stated that they would both be deployed the same time. He said he expressed to his wife that he wanted to find his birth family. However, sometimes he got frustrated after he did not make a successful search. He would stop searching. Even while he was in the U.S. Military he told me he still wanted to find his birth family. The desire was still there to find his family.  His wife encouraged him to continue his search for his birth family. That’s what he did. With the information he had, including the telephone number, my nephew made that call.

Of course, we the family made plans to see them once the U.S. Military deployed he and his wife to the U.S. What a wonderful reunion! My nephew and his family visited us in December during the Christmas holidays. It was our first Christmas we shared. There were many hugs and kisses! We ate dinner and took many photos. I will always cherish the memories! We cannot make up for the lost years, but we still enjoy ourselves as a family. You know what? I also give tribute to my nephew for serving our country; I give that honor to he and his wife. What a reunion!

Children and The Restaurant! #015

Children go to restaurants where adults frequent them the most. They disturb others by crying out loud; they may start making a mess with their food by playing with their food. They may even throw the food at each other, just a lot of kids’ play. Crying and hollering just like they do when they are at home. This will surely be disturbing to the other persons in the restaurant and cause them to leave. They will not come back.

I was watching the news about two months ago where a family was dining out and a child was sitting on a potty at the table in a restaurant. The parents of the child said they were training the child. I believe the parents were talking about even suing the restaurant because they would not allow this “potty training.” Well, I say this is pushing the limits! I have never heard of such in my life. What are the parents thinking about?

Children learn the potty at home, not in a restaurant at a table around others. Of course, the children do not know the where and when to do things; they learn the  proper place, where and when. Parents should have been discrete. The restaurant has to step in because it is unhealthy, unsanitary right out there in the open where everyone else is dining. There are health codes that the restaurants follow.   Just because you have a little “darling” you are potty training, you don’t do it just anywhere, especially at a restaurant. You would potty train the child at home, not in the public. You know what is going to happen. Everyone will get up, leave and never come back! Of course, I say,  “Don’t let children in a restaurant where the setting is adult-friendly.  Just get a babysitter!”

There are some places the little darlings just do not go. They do not go to your workplace, bars, and gambling casinos. In my town, the guards meet you at the door for your picture I.D. The guard will not let you in unless you are at least 21 years old. If you have children, you have to get a babysitter. Ever heard a baby or child crying loudly in a church just when the preacher is talking about something you wanted to hear? Sometimes the child will cry on and off while you are there in attendance. Some churches have babysitting care for children of their members while they are in attendance. Of course, the children can play and enjoy themselves in the nursery or with the babysitter. They can hear the minister and sing;  church activities enjoyed without interruption.

Enjoy yourself in a restaurant without the kids; let others enjoy their meal, too. Just like you would not take a child to a casino, you should not take your children to an adult-friendly restaurant.

Now, if the restaurant provides a section for children, that’s fine. I am all for that. In any case, I would not allow the potty training bit right at the table, not in the children section or adult section.  Potty train at home, never in a restaurant!

Not Giving My Baby Up!

Have you ever heard that “If you don’t bond with your baby immediately after birth,” is a major reason that your baby was given up for adoption? Well, that was a statement to one of my nieces within one day of her giving birth to a handsome baby boy. Before my niece went to the hospital, she was with her mother.

After her hospital stay, she had opted to come live with me. She was my oldest niece and a favorite niece of mine. Over the years, I have been in her life in one way or the other. I would always treat her as if she was my daughter instead of my niece. We were very close to each other, just as we are today.

Getting back to when my niece was in the hospital with her newborn: I went to the hospital to visit my niece and her baby. My niece was holding her baby and nursing her baby. I washed my hands and put on a hospital gown. I was all ready and set to hold my niece’s baby.  For a newborn, he was a big baby and he had lots of hair. What a buster!

Then on the second day of my niece being in the hospital, I went to visit her and her baby. Now, this time the baby’s father was there also. All I knew is that my niece was a fifteen year old who just had a baby.  He said the baby was his; my niece said the baby was his. However, other family members told me differently, that he was not the baby’s father; that someone else was. However, I took him at his word; my niece said he was the father. I felt that surely she should know he was the father.

The third day that my niece was still in the hospital, I got a telephone call from her. She was crying and telling me the hospital  was telling her that she would not be allowed to take her baby home. I asked her did they say why. She told me that they are saying that I am not bonding with my baby; that I may have to give my baby up for adoption. “Auntie, I want my baby! I don’t want to give my baby up for adoption!” I wondered if I was hearing right, that she would have to give her baby up for adoption. I was not getting it. I knew my niece was very young, that she was a minor but that was not an acceptable reason; nor was this bit about my niece was not bonding with her baby. So I inquired of the hospital as to the reason they refused to let her bring her baby home. The real reason WAS NOT this thing about “not bonding with her baby.” For a moment, I thought about it. To this day, I believe the father was trying to take the baby away from her while she was in the hospital. He signed papers; his name was on the baby’s birth certificate as its father. My niece told me that she agreed with him that he could take the baby home for fear that the hospital would take her newborn away from her; she did not want to give her baby up for adoption.

Initially, I was not going to intervene in this saga, but I was finding that I had to intervene after the baby’s father made threats to my niece. My niece came home from the hospital. The baby’s father took the baby to his home. My niece went to visit the baby and she brought the baby with her to my home. The next thing I am hearing is the baby’s father saying to my niece, “I have a bullet with your name on it.” I remember those words. He yelled them to her while talking on the phone. I picked up the other telephone and I heard his voice on the other end. He was making this threat to my niece. There was no reason in the world for him to threaten her. He was a man 26 years old making this threat to a minor. He had raped my niece and was not in jail. But here he is making threats against her. I did not know he was 26 years old. He looked about ten years younger; he was short and small in stature, about 135 pounds.

It became obvious that I would have to intervene on behalf of my niece and the baby since my niece had received this threat from the baby’s father. Why would he say such, “I’ve got a bullet with your name on it”? I did not know but I called the police. They also advised me to go to court and request a protection order against the baby’s dad  for making the threats.  Well, I did do so. Also, guardianship of my niece and her baby was necessary. That was just the first hurdle involved in helping my niece keep her baby. Now, the baby’s father was trying to TAKE the baby away from her. He was trying to get full physical custody of the baby. I had no idea that he would try doing this since she was a minor, but he did. What’s more, I felt he was getting away with being a rapist of a minor.

I petitioned the court for guardianship of both my niece and her baby. After the court gave guardianship of my niece to me, I ended up in court having another  legal battle. Many times the father would bring the police to my home trying to take the baby from my niece, but I would show the police court papers. They told the baby’s father that he would have to go back to court, that there was nothing they could do. So the police left with the baby’s father. And, of course, we ended up back in court over the physical custody.

In the meantime, I discussed with my attorney whether anything legally against the baby’s father could be done since my niece was a minor.   The baby’s father allegedly raped my niece. Well, my attorney did bring that up in one of the hearings we had and the Judge surprised me with his ruling. The Judge stated that she must have consented even though she was a minor. Of course, I felt the baby’s father should have been behind bars, locked up in jail. Why? I felt he should have been in jail because he had raped a minor, a child. I could not see how the ruling went in his favor. The Judge did not throw the book at him and lock him up. As I think about it, now, perhaps, we filed the criminal action in the wrong court. We were in court with a petition for physical custody of the baby. So we just left that alone after the Judge stated that my niece must have consented to the relationship. How could she consent being a minor? She was only fifteen years old.  She is now sixteen years old and I am fighting on her behalf for full custody of her son.

Of course, I requested of the father to voluntarily grant physical custody of the baby to my niece and he refused. So we were in court battling over physical custody of their baby. Finally, after months of court hearings, the Judge granted full physical custody to my niece.

This whole scenario makes me think about other young girls who face similar challenges early on with their newborn in a hospital. The hospital tell them they cannot take their baby home because they are not bonding with their baby. Well, my niece was crying and I was hysterical. I felt they had not contacted any member of her family to make any suggestions for keeping her baby. I had never heard of this in my life where a hospital would make a request of a minor to give her baby up even though the mother wants her baby. What’s more my niece had family support.

The hospital did not ask the family anything. They told my niece that she would have to give up her baby to adoption since it appeared to them that she was not bonding with her baby. After hearing this, my niece turned to the baby’s father. I picked up the paternity papers for him and he filled them out. He then filed for paternity. Then he signs the baby’s birth certificate at the hospital and takes the baby home. What’s next? He threatens the Mother’s life and one thing leads to another. The Court granted full physical custody to my niece. That nephew is now eighteen years old. I often think about where he would have been had we not the family support and fought to keep him when he was a baby.

Daddy, Don’t Go! Don’t Leave Me!

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I Thee Wed, 4 January 1870

Because Of You, I Am

Shelby Buchanan married Mary Payton, 4 January 1870, over 130 years ago. They lived on a plantation in West  Feliciana Parish, Louisiana.  My great great grandparent’s marriage license means so much to me!  This  memorabilia would verify several things that I was unsure about.  I will cherish it forever.  I can now verify this  connection on this side of my family, the maternal side.
As a young child I was raised in Washington Parish, Louisiana.  I knew nothing about West Feliciana Parish.   There were no oral stories passed down  to me.  Possibly, no one knew any.  My Mother could not answer questions I asked her.  She said when she was a child growing up and if grownups were talking, kids had to leave  the room; they were not allowed to join in conversations with them.  Apparently, her mother did not  tell her   much about her ancestors, specifically, her great grandparents.
However, my mother remembered some things, though; that her maternal grandparents  Winnie
Buchanan married to Ike Washington; she was born in Adams County, Mississippi.  Grandpa Ike was born in Bayou Sara, Louisiana. When she was a  young child about four years old, her mother traveled to Zachary, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana.
She would meet family members that she would never visit again.  Not even as an adult. Why, we don’t really know.  It was not a priority.  I would think  she  never made a return visit  because her mother lived a long distance,  married and was raising her own family.  Perhaps, she knew nothing else to
tell her. Image

The  “Bond” certificate was enclosed with   the marriage certificate. My grandpa, Shelby Buchanan,  paid a bond of  $100 to marry my grandma, Mary Payton. He marked an “X” in the space his name was written apparently by the Clerk of the Court.  James Payton was the co-signer.  An “X” was Imagemarked by his name, too.  James Payton was a sibling of my grandma.

My roots are from the general locale where they got married; that my great great grandfather was a “freeman (Col)”; that my grandmother was a “free woman (Col).” For they both were former slaves now free.  My grandpa was born about 1845 in Mississippi; my grandma was born about 1847 in Louisiana. They were  born  before slavery was abolished, **Too, they could not write; they marked an “X” in the signature space. This instilled  a sense of pride in me.  I can now share this piece of memorabilia with members of my family.

A Hurricane’s Fury!

Did Hurricane Isaac pay you a visit by showering you with some of his fury?  Well, if he has not visited you, perhaps he is on his way  via rain, rain and more rain, wind, wind and more wind;  or perhaps,  the mixture of rain and wind and  combinations of who knows what.  Oh, if he feels like it, he may just drop a tornado or two in the form of a tropical storm. However weather conditions lends itself to him, he will transform himself in  one or the other. That’s not to say that Hurricane Isaac does  hold back his fury when it comes to our rivers, lakes and oceans.  He has not and will not. Time and time again, our waters, i.e. rivers, lakes overflow in many areas causing flooding.
Of course,  Hurricane Isaac is not concerned about the destructive path he leaves behind.  Nor does he concern himself with the fate of  anyone; whether they become one of his victims is of no concern of Hurricane Isaac.  Many are victims of this hurricane,  losing their homes,  some victims drowned in their home when they could not escape and no one could rescue them in time.  This  would happen in wake of Hurricane Isaac’s path in Louisiana.  In Mississippi, two people lost their  life because of Hurricane Isaac.   As of this writing, the reports are that there are seven fallen victims as a result of Hurricane Isaac’s fury.  What great is that the deaths are at a minimum by far a record of much less than Hurricane Katrina who claimed as many as a 1,000-plus lives just a few years ago.
One upside to deal with some of the fury of Hurricane Isaac  and other such hurricanes, we can lend credit to advancing technology, weather  radars; thus, ability to stay on top of what’s happening on a 24-hour basis. Also, we can thank the quick actions of our President. We can thank FEMA, the Red Cross and private citizens for  doing their part for each others to help  each other.

As of this writing, we are having impending visits by Joyce, Kirk and Leslie, all we hope will lessen their  fury upon us and will take a turn away from us.

An update:  I was thinking that we would not have anymore hurricanes.  However, we see that is not the case.  It is now the end of October; the East Coast is experiencing  the fury of Hurricane Sandy.  She will make landfall  tonight or tomorrow.  The President, governors, mayors and other officials have asked people to heed  warnings in wake of Hurricane Sandy.  I use the telephone and  social media to reach out to relatives, friends and others on the East Coast.

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