• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every persons position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

Mom finds missing children using Facebook

CaptainCourtesy

I'm a Jedi Master, Yo
DP Veteran
Joined
May 19, 2006
Messages
156,723
Reaction score
53,491
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
SAN BERNARDINO, California (AP) — A Southern California mother whose two children were reported missing 15 years ago has tracked them down in Florida using Facebook.
The children's father, Faustino Utrera, took off with them in 1995 when they were ages 2 and 3, said Deputy District Attorney Kurt Rowley. The mother had found her daughter's Facebook profile after searching for her name on the social networking site in March, Rowley said.
An official said Saturday that the now 17-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy have been placed in the custody of the state of Florida.


Mom finds missing children using Facebook - USATODAY.com
The article indicates that when found, the daughter indicated that she did not want to re-establish a relationship with her mother. This brings up an interesting dilemma. The father's actions are certainly criminal and in most, if not all cases, regardless of the custody situation, custody would be given to the mother. However, these children have lived for 15 years in the scenario that they have, creating lives where they live. So, should they remain where they are, or should they go and live with their mother, who has legal custody? To me, I think a compromise would be in order. To not disrupt the lives of the children, they should remain where they are, for now. Of course, not with their father, but with some court appointed legal guardian. The mother should be given visitation, and the family should be given counseling with someone familiar with family re-unification. From there, it should be determined how to proceed.

What do you all think and what do you all think should happen?
 

Korimyr the Rat

Baby Eating Monster
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 1, 2006
Messages
19,553
Reaction score
15,757
Location
Cheyenne, WY
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Other
Tough call. It's a tough situation all around.

I think you've got the right of it. The mother should have visitation and the children should live with a legal guardian while their father serves his sentence. There should probably be some leniency for the father, but custodial interference is still a crime and he still needs to serve his sentence.
 

Panache

Irrelevant Pissant
DP Veteran
Joined
May 4, 2007
Messages
4,194
Reaction score
1,041
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Libertarian
16 and 17? Those kids are plenty old enough to decide for themselves whether to go or stay, and who they want to live with.
 

The_Patriot

DP Veteran
Joined
May 28, 2010
Messages
1,488
Reaction score
206
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Conservative
Two months ago, my daughter found me on Facebook after not seeing her for fourteen years. She's 16 now. Later today I actually get to see her and my wife and I are getting back together because we're still in love with each other. I, actually, got to talk to my daughter for the first time last night for several hours on the phone, but we had been corresponding over the past two months via Facebook and Yahoo Instant Messenger. At the end of the phone conversation my daughter told me that she loved me. It's taken a lot of patience, love, and understanding for both my daughter and I to get to this point.

By rushing or forcing things, there's a good chance that the child will not want a relationship with the parent. It sucks, but it does happen and is entirely the choice of the child. Over time, though, the child will naturally wonder what happened for there to be such a long separation and will ask the parent questions. Be honest, but don't bash the other parent and definitely don't get the child into the position of being in the middle if the two parents cannot see eye to eye. A parent that is honest, without bashing, will earn their child's trust and the parent-child relationship will be able to blossom naturally. If a third party mediator is needed then so be it. The goal is reintegration of the parent with the child. A child that trusts the newly found parent will express interest in visiting then eventually staying with the parent that has custody. That's been my personal experience so take it for what it's worth.
 

CaptainCourtesy

I'm a Jedi Master, Yo
DP Veteran
Joined
May 19, 2006
Messages
156,723
Reaction score
53,491
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Two months ago, my daughter found me on Facebook after not seeing her for fourteen years. She's 16 now. Later today I actually get to see her and my wife and I are getting back together because we're still in love with each other. I, actually, got to talk to my daughter for the first time last night for several hours on the phone, but we had been corresponding over the past two months via Facebook and Yahoo Instant Messenger. At the end of the phone conversation my daughter told me that she loved me. It's taken a lot of patience, love, and understanding for both my daughter and I to get to this point.

By rushing or forcing things, there's a good chance that the child will not want a relationship with the parent. It sucks, but it does happen and is entirely the choice of the child. Over time, though, the child will naturally wonder what happened for there to be such a long separation and will ask the parent questions. Be honest, but don't bash the other parent and definitely don't get the child into the position of being in the middle if the two parents cannot see eye to eye. A parent that is honest, without bashing, will earn their child's trust and the parent-child relationship will be able to blossom naturally. If a third party mediator is needed then so be it. The goal is reintegration of the parent with the child. A child that trusts the newly found parent will express interest in visiting then eventually staying with the parent that has custody. That's been my personal experience so take it for what it's worth.
This is pretty much on target in what has been my experience in dealing with a few situations like this. Patience is key, and not involving the child in inner-parental issues in any way are key points, as is giving the child a lot of control over decision making.

And congratulations on your ongoing re-unification. I hope it continues to procede in the positive way that it seems to be.
 

Korimyr the Rat

Baby Eating Monster
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 1, 2006
Messages
19,553
Reaction score
15,757
Location
Cheyenne, WY
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Other
16 and 17? Those kids are plenty old enough to decide for themselves whether to go or stay, and who they want to live with.
Yeah. They're adults as far as I'm concerned. The only reason they couldn't stay with their father is that custodial interference is a crime; if he caught a suspended sentence-- say, under the condition that he not interfere with her visitation-- then I see little reason why they couldn't continue to live with him.
 

Cold Highway

Dispenser of Negativity
DP Veteran
Joined
May 30, 2007
Messages
9,596
Reaction score
2,739
Location
Newburgh, New York and World 8: Dark Land
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
The father needs to do some time no doubt but if the kids dont want to be with their mother they should find a guardian to stay with while the dad serves time.
 

Dezaad

DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 7, 2005
Messages
5,058
Reaction score
2,424
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Liberal
Tough call. It's a tough situation all around.

I think you've got the right of it. The mother should have visitation and the children should live with a legal guardian while their father serves his sentence. There should probably be some leniency for the father, but custodial interference is still a crime and he still needs to serve his sentence.
Why should there be leniency for the father?
 

Pitwolfy

Active member
Joined
Aug 30, 2008
Messages
456
Reaction score
165
Location
Tennessee
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Very Conservative
Two months ago, my daughter found me on Facebook after not seeing her for fourteen years. She's 16 now. Later today I actually get to see her and my wife and I are getting back together because we're still in love with each other. I, actually, got to talk to my daughter for the first time last night for several hours on the phone, but we had been corresponding over the past two months via Facebook and Yahoo Instant Messenger. At the end of the phone conversation my daughter told me that she loved me. It's taken a lot of patience, love, and understanding for both my daughter and I to get to this point.

By rushing or forcing things, there's a good chance that the child will not want a relationship with the parent. It sucks, but it does happen and is entirely the choice of the child. Over time, though, the child will naturally wonder what happened for there to be such a long separation and will ask the parent questions. Be honest, but don't bash the other parent and definitely don't get the child into the position of being in the middle if the two parents cannot see eye to eye. A parent that is honest, without bashing, will earn their child's trust and the parent-child relationship will be able to blossom naturally. If a third party mediator is needed then so be it. The goal is reintegration of the parent with the child. A child that trusts the newly found parent will express interest in visiting then eventually staying with the parent that has custody. That's been my personal experience so take it for what it's worth.

That is amazing and I wish you the best!! This other situation is difficult and will upheave the children's lives to some degree. What the father did was criminal and he deserves to pay for that. Also, what did he tell those children about their mother? Right now, I think decisions need to be made that are in the best interests of the children. If it were me, I'd move to Florida so that the kids' lives would be disrupted as little as possible. I agree, though. Patience is key.....
 

1069

Banned
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
24,978
Reaction score
5,126
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Many fictional books have been written on this subject.
Recent bestsellers like Cavedweller by Dorothy Allison, and Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard, come to mind.
In those stories, the kidnapped children are significantly younger than these children when returned to their mothers.
Even so, massive adjustment problems ensue.

One can only assume this scenario was common in the days before women had any real custodial rights, and in countries where they still don't.

Personally, I don't think the State is going to be able to force 16 and 17-year-old individuals to do anything they don't want to do. A stranger does not become "family" because the law says so.

Teenagers tend to lack the ability to empathize emotionally, especially with adults.
When they're older, perhaps they'll understand that their mother was wronged and feel sorry for her, and seek out some kind of relationship with her.
I think attempting to force a relationship, at this point, could only be detrimental.
The teenagers no doubt feel that they are the victims here.
She- this stranger- is the one who has created this massive upheaval in their lives; she's come into their lives uninvited, and turned them upside down. Their father is going to prison because of her, and they're probably going into foster care or some institution.

I wouldn't be surprised if they hate her and wish she were dead.
 
Last edited:

MyOwnDrum

DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Messages
3,827
Reaction score
1,374
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Independent
I think the father should be forced to pay a financial hefty restitution to the mother, who lost her children. I agree, it's a mistake to totally disrupt the kids at this point in time. They are practically adults and the deed has been done.

We don't know the total ins and outs of the fathers side of this, frankly. It's a terrible thing that he did, most likely. But there have been cases when the courts have erroneously favored one parent, because of gender or finances, when in fact that parent is toxic. Some judges are morons with deep biases and prejudices.
 

MyOwnDrum

DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Messages
3,827
Reaction score
1,374
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Independent
Many fictional books have been written on this subject.
Recent bestsellers like Cavedweller by Dorothy Allison, and Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard, come to mind.
In those stories, the kidnapped children are significantly younger than these children when returned to their mothers.
Even so, massive adjustment problems ensue.

One can only assume this scenario was common in the days before women had any real custodial rights, and in countries where they still don't.

Personally, I don't think the State is going to be able to force 16 and 17-year-old individuals to do anything they don't want to do. A stranger does not become "family" because the law says so.

Teenagers tend to lack the ability to empathize emotionally, especially with adults.
When they're older, perhaps they'll understand that their mother was wronged and feel sorry for her, and seek out some kind of relationship with her.
I think attempting to force a relationship, at this point, could only be detrimental.
The teenagers no doubt feel that they are the victims here.
She- this stranger- is the one who has created this massive upheaval in their lives; she's come into their lives uninvited, and turned them upside down. Their father is going to prison because of her, and they're probably going into foster care or some institution.

I wouldn't be surprised if they hate her and wish she were dead.
Their father most likely fed them a constant mythology about their horrible mother as they grew up. Perhaps he was an involved and caring parent, as well, other than his hatred for the mother of his children.

For the mother's part, maybe she has acted vindictively in this whole process, not putting the interests of her kids first. It's a very emotionally charged and complicated situation.
 

1069

Banned
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
24,978
Reaction score
5,126
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
I cannot help but feel that if their roles were reversed, the court (and society in general) would be sympathetic to the mother, even if she'd broken the law.

Every year, many women kidnap their children and get away with it, claiming the fathers were 'abusive" and the court wouldn't do anything about it and "Oh God, I have to protect my babies!"

I'm not saying they don't have a legitimate point in some cases; just that even if they didn't, they could easily say that, and nearly everyone would automatically believe them/ sympathize.

Since it's a father who withheld his children from their mother, he's automatically assumed to be evil and everyone's calling for his head on a platter.
Maybe, like all these moms who kidnap their children, go underground, and change their names, he was only trying to protect his children from what he perceived to be an abusive situation.

We don't know the details, is what I'm saying.
But I feel like if he'd been a woman, and done the exact same thing, we'd be making certain assumptions here, ie that he was probably justified in what he did, and should not be punished.
 

Thorgasm

Bus Driver to Hell
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 4, 2005
Messages
69,451
Reaction score
15,335
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Very Conservative
The father could keep this in the courts until the kids are 18. Then he should do his time, I'd say 15 years is appropriate.

The kids and the mother are victims here. The kids don't want to have their social world turned upside down. I imagine that is one reason why they don't want to move.

I can't imagine what a parent who lost contact with their children through no fault of their own would go through for 15 years.
 

Thorgasm

Bus Driver to Hell
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 4, 2005
Messages
69,451
Reaction score
15,335
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Very Conservative
I cannot help but feel that if their roles were reversed, the court (and society in general) would be sympathetic to the mother, even if she'd broken the law.

Every year, many women kidnap their children and get away with it, claiming the fathers were 'abusive" and the court wouldn't do anything about it and "Oh God, I have to protect my babies!"

I'm not saying they don't have a legitimate point in some cases; just that even if they didn't, they could easily say that, and nearly everyone would automatically believe them/ sympathize.

Since it's a father who withheld his children from their mother, he's automatically assumed to be evil and everyone's calling for his head on a platter.
Maybe, like all these moms who kidnap their children, go underground, and change their names, he was only trying to protect his children from what he perceived to be an abusive situation.

We don't know the details, is what I'm saying.
But I feel like if he'd been a woman, and done the exact same thing, we'd be making certain assumptions here, ie that he was probably justified in what he did, and should not be punished.
The parent should have proven the other one unfit in a court of law.
 

MyOwnDrum

DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Messages
3,827
Reaction score
1,374
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Independent
That's right 1069. For all we know, this woman was neglecting her kids while she carried on with the UPS man, leaving them in soiled diapers in front of the TV, while her husband was at work. There are two sides to every story. Sometimes parents feel desperate and take off when the courts have failed them, and their children.

Not all women are saintly models of motherhood.
 

MyOwnDrum

DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Messages
3,827
Reaction score
1,374
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Independent
Double post...
 
Last edited:

MyOwnDrum

DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Messages
3,827
Reaction score
1,374
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Independent
The parent should have proven the other one unfit in a court of law.
That can be a very expensive and time-consuming process. Sometimes one parent has better financial resources and the other is at a terrible disadvantage.
 

1069

Banned
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
24,978
Reaction score
5,126
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
It just seems like a double standard to me.
We seem to give mothers the benefit of the doubt in this society, and be quick to vilify fathers for the same actions.
We seem to feel it's a mother's right (and duty) to protect her children at all costs, even if it means breaking and/or disregarding the law in order to do so.
We do not seem to feel the same way about fathers.
As the child of a male single parent, it bothers me.

Why are mothers assumed to be above the law when it comes to assuring the well-being of their children, and fathers aren't?

All parents should get the benefit of the doubt in these cases- that they acted in good faith, for the best interest of their children, and therefore should not be punished- or else none should.
 

Thorgasm

Bus Driver to Hell
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 4, 2005
Messages
69,451
Reaction score
15,335
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Very Conservative
That can be a very expensive and time-consuming process. Sometimes one parent has better financial resources and the other is at a terrible disadvantage.
I don't know about other states, but my state has a program for people who can't afford legal services to still obtain legal services for stuff like this.
 

1069

Banned
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
24,978
Reaction score
5,126
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
I don't know about other states, but my state has a program for people who can't afford legal services to still obtain legal services for stuff like this.
Every state does, but oh my god, legal aid sucks so bad.
They have a years-long waiting list, sometimes, to get in to speak to someone.
When I went to get my divorce, my dad initially told me to go to legal aid for representation.
When we realized how bad it sucked, he hired me an attorney.
 

Thorgasm

Bus Driver to Hell
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 4, 2005
Messages
69,451
Reaction score
15,335
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Very Conservative
It just seems like a double standard to me.
We seem to give mothers the benefit of the doubt in this society, and be quick to vilify fathers for the same actions.
We seem to feel it's a mother's right (and duty) to protect her children at all costs, even if it means breaking and/or disregarding the law in order to do so.
We do not seem to feel the same way about fathers.
As the child of a male single parent, it bothers me.

Why are mothers assumed to be above the law when it comes to assuring the well-being of their children, and fathers aren't?

All parents should get the benefit of the doubt in these cases- that they acted in good faith, for the best interest of their children, and therefore should not be punished- or else none should.
I understand your point about the double standard. But people do things that are in the best interest of their kids in their minds but the law disagrees. Both parents have equal rights until the court restricts or strips them of those rights. We can't allow the first one to kidnap them to be the one to make that call.
 

Thorgasm

Bus Driver to Hell
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 4, 2005
Messages
69,451
Reaction score
15,335
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Very Conservative
Every state does, but oh my god, legal aid sucks so bad.
They have a years-long waiting list, sometimes, to get in to speak to someone.
When I went to get my divorce, my dad initially told me to go to legal aid for representation.
When we realized how bad it sucked, he hired me an attorney.
If the other parent is a danger to the kids, it doesn't take Perry Mason to prove it.
 

1069

Banned
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
24,978
Reaction score
5,126
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
I understand your point about the double standard. But people do things that are in the best interest of their kids in their minds but the law disagrees. Both parents have equal rights until the court restricts or strips them of those rights. We can't allow the first one to kidnap them to be the one to make that call.
I'm not talking about the law, per se.
The law might well be treating the kidnapper the same, regardless of his sex.
I'm talking about the reaction of ordinary citizens to the case.
Activists would be taking to the streets in protest, if he were female.
There would be a huge public outcry.
There'd be editorials in every paper by formerly abused women and children, about how he's a hero for rescuing his kids.

I'm talking about assumptions people make, based on the gender of the parent in question.
 
Last edited:

1069

Banned
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
24,978
Reaction score
5,126
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
If the other parent is a danger to the kids, it doesn't take Perry Mason to prove it.
Not true.
Two and three year olds are often abused quite a bit, before anyone manages to prove it definitively in court and remove them from their abuser's custody.
Sometimes they're actually killed by their abuser, and it later turns out that the abuse had been reported and investigated on numerous occasions in the past, but CPS still never found enough evidence to remove them from the situation.

This is especially true in middle-class and affluent households, where the abuser has the means to take legal recourse against the investigators.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom