Failed Logic: Litigation is not the same as Support.

If you’ve read an article or two about this case, then you may have read the statement by the Vaughns that “litigation is not the same as support”. It’s more than just a media soundbite, it’s a clue to their case.

The Vaughns are on their THIRD Adoption Petition, the first two were dismissed in Ohio and Indiana. The dismissals were upheld in both Indiana Supreme Court and Ohio Supreme Court.

The third petition has been filed in a different county in Ohio. The Ohio courts said the first petition was “prematurely filed”. That’s because, if you want to pursue an adoption without the consent of the legal father, a year needs to pass without him supporting and contacting the child. The Ohio Courts ruled that the year could not begin until the father was declared the legal father in March 2009.

Now for their third petition they need to convince the court that he did not support and contact his son from March 2009 – March 2010.

If you’ve been following the case, you’ve probably read the near constant lament from one side of the lack of birthday cards received and the lack of phone calls fielded. I think the reasoning in that tripe, is not just to imply the father didn’t care, but to shore up the third adoption petition. After all, without context, it seems to show a lack of contact. But let’s add a little context and the things you probably didn’t read about, like the motions to dismiss the court ordered visitation the father first requested in 2008, the Indiana emergency petition that blocked the father’s 4 hour weekly visitations for a year, and the money he sent.

What you didn’t read about are the things they would need to convince an Ohio Probate Court to ignore in order to finalize their third adoption petition.

They need to convince the Ohio court to ignore the following: That another Ohio Court gave him custody of his son in January 2010. That the adoption agency did not comply with the Ohio court order to turn over custody in February 2010. That there was no child support order by any court, but he sent money to his son anyway. That his son was on his insurance since he was declared the father. That the father first asked the court for visitation in 2008. That visitation was granted in 2009 and then dismissed on a motion by the Vaughns. That he filed a second petition for visitation where he was granted 4 hour weekly visits with his son in August 2009. That he shared one of the weekly visits with his son. That the Vaughns successfully blocked further visitation from September 2009 – September 2010 through an ex-parte petition in another state. The list goes on.

It sounds absolutely ridiculous for anyone to suggest a father who was awarded custody of his son, should be obliged to send money to the people who weren’t cooperating with Ohio court orders to allow visitation and to return his son.  It seems even more ridiculous when there has been no order made by the court for him to send any money to the couple holding his child.

It seems absurd to say in any context, that if you’re fighting for your child, you’re not supporting them.

But as repetitive and ridiculous as the phrase “litigation is not the same as support” has become in the case, it is essential to their third adoption petition.

Somehow, I don’t see an Ohio court ignoring all the previous court rulings and the history of the case, to subscribe to a ‘greeting card’ theory of terminating parental rights in contested adoptions.

I find it unthinkable that someone would know there is a fit parent who wants their child, never gave up their child, and has been fighting for their child since they were weeks old, but still file an adoption petition for that child 32 months after the father filed for his child, and 8 months after the father was awarded legal and residential custody of his child. When should an adoption ever be about taking a child from a fit, biological, and legal parent that a court has found never consented to give up their child, and is willing and able to care for their child?

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