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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Alaina Giordano - Mom loses custody of children due to Breast Cancer

A 37 year old North Carolina woman, Alaina Giordano,  was recently ordered by a female judge, who by reports is not married and has no children, to give up custody of her two children to her soon to be ex-husband because she is battling stage four breast cancer.  Apparently, the decision was made because no one knows how much longer she will live and because she is not working and cannot support her children, therefore, her soon to be ex was granted primary custody.  The judge told her that if she wanted to be with her children she should move to Chicago, where her ex lives.  She is currently receiving treatment at Duke's Cancer Center which is in North Carolina.

" In her ruling, Judge Nancy Gordon cited a forensic psychologist: "The more contact [the children] have with the non-ill parent, the better they do. They divide their world into the cancer world and a free of cancer world. Children want a normal childhood, and it is not normal with an ill parent."  

WHAT?!?!?!  When did we define what is normal for all families?   This Mother has stage four breast cancer, that is their norm now.  It's their reality.  And I would like to know how the psychologist came to this conclusion.  Is this is her opinion or is this actually cited in the research literature?  Has she has ever worked with families with a terminally ill parent?  It's very different from any research I have read or any treatment I have delivered to children and with terminally ill parents.

This story disturbs me, and I am outraged being both a Mother and a mental health professional who treats children and families.  Children need their Mother and they need to be able to spend the time they have with their Mother.  I don't know what sort of child mental health experience this psychologist has had, but she has missed the boat and in my opinion, missed the bigger picture issues.  Yes, these children have a Mother with stage four breast cancer, but she is THEIR MOTHER and to be denied time with her and to be taken from her is just WRONG.

There is a facebook page

You can find out more information here.  There are two links below her story, one to her blog and the other to the petition for her to keep her children.  


Mikey said...

Crazy stuff. Not sure of the finer details of the case,but seeing as there is a lot of emphasis on her being a cancer patient it has drawn quite a bit of attention to the case asking should this case be allowed to set the standards for other custody cases. I believe not. It's a shame that things like this have to happen and that people can be so ignorant- not feeling in control of a situation can do a lot to people especially those around you. They are the ones who will make the strides to put themselves in control of your situation-to think that they have to do things to make things right when in turn they are doing more harm then good and in the long run hurting everyone. That is one thing I cannot stand about today's society. It is all about instant gratification and the "me". There is no compassion, no kindness or kind words, not too much empathy left, and people tend to look the other way. It's really a very sad thing that we as human beings are dealing with now. I am terrified for my children. What kind of world will they have to live in and raise their children in? I had a breast cancer scare myself- luckily it was nothing, but still scary all the same. I am also a single mom like Alaina and I just get that vibe and fear that my ex will pull this kind of stunt on me when my children are older after I have done all the hard work of raising them until they can be somewhat independent. It really truly is a very scary thing.

Followed you to your blog via an article on BlogHer. If you get a chance come visit me too.


theempatheticmom said...

Thanks Mikey! I have seen your blog and look forward to following it.


Douglas said...

I gather 'empathetic' really means 'I'm always on mom's side.'

Brad Ballard said...

After reading the judge's order, Ms Giordano is engaging in a campaign that is intentionally misleading the public. The judge did not take the kids away from their mother, and her health and the way she has managed it is a factor as well as every other custody case that is adjudicated before a judge. The judge's order specifically says:
- that parties are to resume the shared parenting they stipulated to in Feb 2010.
- The children are to reside in Chicago with the father as the parties have not filed for divorce for the sole reason to keep the mother on health insurance.
- There is less uncertainty around mom relocating the Chicago and resuming her her treatment at the WORLD CLASS hospitals in Chicago than it is for dad to find new employment in North Carolina.
- Mom had stated during the custody hearing she would move to Chicago but that is not her first choice. The actual ruling can be found here:

kitten said...

I am a parent going thru the same situation. I have stage 4 liver disease because of complications of the liver throwing ammonia in my brain I have what is called Hepatic Encelopathy where I become mentally confused. North Carolina DSS took Legal custody of my two teenagers and gave caregiver rights to my 19 year old. This was because my 19 year old still lives in the household. If it was just my two teenagers and I my children would already be in Foster Care. I had my rights taken of something I have no control over and I am currently taking two medications to control the (HE). My mental status has improved. I really need help in this situation. Im not dead yet!! I have no legal rights to my children what so ever. Please send any suggestions to my email we have another informal meeting June 29, 2011 Brunswick County. DSS foster care thinks my 19 year is still young and possibly not capable to take care of my two teenagers. I have done nothing wrong. They state I am not capable to make decisions to take care of my children. I have 4 nurses who come every week to my house to help me which was already in place before DSS got involved. I feel my rights have been violated. I need suggestions or help on getting my legal custody back for my children. DSS showed up the day after I got out of the hospital and based their decision on the way I was recouping from the hospital! My children are my world. The Dr's have put a number on my life. I am not a number and I will be a miracle!