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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi everyone! so this is my situation...be honest.<br><br>
i have a 10 month old son, and he and i are both vegan (or so i thought). his father, my ex boyfriend, has been feeding him baby food that has meat in it. the other day he brought my son home and my son had thrown up all over himself. when i asked what he fed him, he responded with "it must have been all the cheese goldfish crackers i gave him"...i was of course disappointed and mad. goldfish crackers are not suitable snacks for a baby! they have sooo much salt in them and besides, my son loves much healthier snacks such as peas, tofu, rice puff cereal...why do you need to feed him crap like goldfish crackers. so when he called to get lucas today(after not calling for 2 weeks after the throw up incident) i told him that i was disappointed and wary about letting him see him by himself. not to mention the fact that his girlfriend seems to think that she is a parental figure in lucas' life( i barely know this girl)and she wants her mom to be called grandma!! i wasn't okay with this. they are not married and in no way is lucas related to them. i don't think that lucas should even call my boyfriends parents grandma or grandpa because they are not. so now, my ex wants to take me to court for custody. as much as i believe in what i am doing, i don't know how the courts feel about it. my son is not immunized and never will be. i am a complete vegan and so is my son when he is with me. i know i should get a lawyer, but i am soooo broke as it is. i'm a single 21 year old mother with no job, i live with my mom. has anyone been though anything that i am going through and does anyone have any advise as to what i should do? is there a website that might help with me finding what my rights are? I live in Pennsylvania if that changes things. PLEASE HELP!! i am so afraid that i'll get the wrong kind of judge and they will rule against me because of the "different views" that i live by.<br><br><br><br>
scared and lost in hell,<br><br>
julia and lucas
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Hi. Though I'm a lawyer I have never in my life done a domestic case as I simply don't have the temperment for that line of work. That said, you need to talk to Legal Aid in your county first, though I doubt that they will get entangled in a custody case, the absolute worst kind in my view. If not perhaps they can recommend someone to you in your area that will work with you on the fees.<br><br><br><br>
I have no clue about Pennsylvania, but I would think that you've got a very serious problem with not immunizing your infant. A judge down here would be able to view that as a factor about whether your decision, and your continued custody, is in the best interests of the child, which is the standard down here, and in many other states I presume.<br><br><br><br>
You can damn well bet that my kids will get (and have gotten) vaccinations. A judge is likely going to feel the same way. That baby isn't of a suitable age to decide whether or not he wants to play roulette with disease. Aside from that I'm sure that Pennsylvania state law requires them. You need to rethink that decision.<br><br><br><br>
Above all, get some legal help in your area. Don't "handle" this matter based on information you may get on the internet. That's the best advice you're going to hear tonight . . . <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)">
 

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I understand some of the reasons for not vaccinating, but I want to let you know that the vast majority of people would see that as seriously neglectful, and you may put your custody of your child at risk over this if someone challenges it (like your boyfriend).<br><br><br><br>
I know we had another thread about your situation, and we already said a lot that would just be repeated again. A legal aid group can help you.<br><br><br><br>
If you boyfriend isn't on the birth certificate, I am not sure how he could try to get custody unless he goes through a whole paternity test and then puts himself at risk for having to owe child support for the next 18 years. Are you sure he is not just bluffing? What is his issue with you? Is he on the birth certificate? Is he paying child support? If both of those answers is no plus you think he is irresponsible with your son, maybe your son should not be seeing him.<br><br><br><br>
Basically I have the same opinion as before on this, don't push the vegan or vaccination issues, no one will sympathize with you, it will just be used against you. I don't see how your boyfriend could get total custody away from you unless you were a really bad parent. (And maybe the not vaccinating them could be used as one example, but I think he'd need more than that.)<br><br><br><br>
Can you let us know exactly what your boyfriend has done so far and what he has said? Does he have a lawyer, have you received any legal notifications? Has he filed anything with the court? What would be his motive?<br><br><br><br>
Go to the library and get out books on this. The library is free. If your library doesn't have enough books, see if they can order them from another library. nolo law both on the web and they have books at any library and book store make very helpful books.<br><br><br><br>
BTW- I agree, your son already has a mother, his girlfriend has no right to instruct your son to call her parents his grandparents. That's just totally out of line.
 

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Well, I have some advice for you...I'm not sure if you want to hear it, but as a divorce Mom who has had to deal with custody issues, I feel some thing should be said.<br><br><br><br>
First, unless anything your X is doing can be construed as abuse or neglect, you have to accept basically that when he's with his father, his father has a right (as a parent) to be the kind of parent he wants to be. He's not vegan. The issues that are important to you, aren't important to him. I would think he has different values. So....you can do one of two things. If he's on the birth cirtificate, he has a right to see his son. There's nothing you can do about that except make things more difficult than they already are. Any judge who hears this case is going to be on the side of fairness, which means a father has a right to visit his child.<br><br><br><br>
The best, most mature thing YOU can do is to sit down with X boyfriend and work some things out. It's SOOO important that both of you realize this isn't a power struggle or a best parent competition, but rather, you are both responsible for raising a healthy, well adjusted human being. Any battles you and he have that get ugly, work in direct opposition to that goal. So...why not sit down and see if you can work out a compromise TOGETHER. You made your son together after all. As to the girl friend, this is something else you can sit down and rationally communicate with your X. Both you and your X are going to have relationships. That was HARD for me to get over with mine. But what you had has passed. And these new people, are going to have some place in your child's life. I mean, you're 21, and you've got a long future ahead of you. How you introduce these people into your son's life really should be something that is mutually agreed upon. It should be respected of course that you are the only Mommy and he is the only Daddy. The other people who factor in can be called something else.<br><br><br><br>
It may take several tries before the two of you can sit down and talk without yelling at each other(I don't fully know what the situation is, but it sounds like there's hostility on both sides). But it's REALLY REALLY so important that you keep trying. Dad sounds like he's really just angry with you...and may be taking some of that out in the stuff he feeds his son. And you sound like you're really angry at him, so the fact that he feeds his son things you would not is overwhelming to you. However, I promise that no court is going to see that as something that should take away his parental rights.<br><br><br><br>
On the vaccination front. I hope that you will please look into some unbiased information on the subject of vaccinations. Something that comes neither form anti-vaccination groups or pro-vaccination groups. I wasn't all that fond of the idea myself, but in the end, decided that it really WAS in my child's best interest to do it.<br><br><br><br>
Finally it's sooo soo important that you think about what's best for your son, even if it means it sucks for you. What's best for your son is not for him to be the battle ground for you and your X's disagreements over diet or anything else. But that the two of you learn to actually pull together and raise a healthy person. Part of that I think is understanding (or learning to accept) that when he's with his Dad, things will be different for him than when he's with you. That's okay you know. You don't have to like how he spends time with him as long as he's being safe and non-abusive. You just have to understand that in his own way, he really loves his son as much as you do.<br><br><br><br>
Oh, btw, let him know please that goldfish are a choking hazard for a ten month old.<br><br><br><br>
B
 

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Bethanie hit it spot on.<br><br><br><br>
If you think you will be able to deny the child's visitation because you disagree with his (non-abusive) parenting style, then you will be SOL in the courts.<br><br><br><br>
Your best chance would be to sit down and work an arrangement out, including support, before going to court.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by Bankruptor</i><br><br><b><br><br><br><br>
You can damn well bet that my kids will get (and have gotten) vaccinations. A judge is likely going to feel the same way. That baby isn't of a suitable age to decide whether or not he wants to play roulette with disease. Aside from that I'm sure that Pennsylvania state law requires them. You need to rethink that decision.<br><br><br><br></b></div>
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i'm originally from NJ and they consider not vaccinating neglect. state law prohibits children from attending school without vaccinations unless they have a medical condition where they cannot recieve immunizations....you may need alot of help with this one.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by bethanie</i><br><br><b>Finally it's sooo soo important that you think about what's best for your son, even if it means it sucks for you.</b></div>
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This is what so many people tell me when they discuss with me how one's life changes with children. That no longer is the adult's issues, preferences, and convenience much of an issue any more. All those petty things have to be put on the back burner for the child. Pretty scary stuff. (I'm not sure I'm ready to have kids! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/shocked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":eek:"> )<br><br><br><br>
I really hope you the best of luck. I think that anyone would be lying if they said raising Lucas with your exboyfriend won't be very, very challenging. But be confident that you have the strength, to do what is best for Lucas, even if it means having to compromise or bite your lip when you really don't want to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
so, maybe i should have put more info in the post. i feel as if i just got yelled at. first of all, i have done my research on vaccinations. i have a religious exemption and there is nothing that he can do to make that go away. i was just worried what the courts would think due to the fact that ON TOP OF THAT, we have conflicting interests. i don't actually believe that he will win a custody battle to the point where he's ever going to take lucas away from me. i have thus far raised a healthy child who is well taken care of. he's never been sick a day in his life. secondly, some of you might have gotten the wrong idea about what i am after. i did not want to take away my ex's rights to see his son. i know that he loves him. i want to know my rights because i don't want him to be able to use veganism as something against me in a court and i thought that by going to a vegan/vegetarian website, maybe i would find someone who is like-minded and has BEEN THROUGH what i am experiencing. i didn't write to get a whole load about vaccinations. i consider myself educated in that aspect and that is why i am confident in my decision. yes, i did tell him that i was wary about letting him see him by himself. i feel like since day one he's been trying to have a "family" with his girlfriend and lucas. i know he just wants to write me out of the picture if he had a chance. but i never told him that he can't see hiim. i just don't want him to take him and his girlfriend is playing mommy and he has this whole other life outside of his real family. because that's confusing to grow up in. we had an agreement when he met his girlfriend and it flew right out the window as soon as he decided he was in love with her. i don't have any issues with him having a girlfriend, this might sound bad about me, but we were never in love in the first place. he was just a boyfriend for a few months and i ended up getting pregnant. i got pregnant within the first month and a half that i knew this kid and when he found out i was pregnant, he broke up with me. some f*ckin father he is. he's been in and out of his life since day one. he denied paternity until lucas was 3 months old. then i moved back to PA and forced him to see him because this is such a small town. i in no way want him back... to answer the question on the birth certificate, yes he is on it. and i just received my first child support check. but all of this was his idea. i changed lucas' last name to his dads because that's what my ex wanted. looking back on everything i feel like he's been planning this court thing for awhile. i didn't want to go to court at first for child support, but then he decided he would rather get it taken out of his check than pay me personally. so i took him to court for it. also, as far as sitting down to come to an agreement, it won't work. we don't yell at each other or anything. because my ex doesnt fight with me....ever. what he does is lie to my face and behind my back do what he wants. for 7 months he said that it was fine that we keep luke vegan until he's old enough to decide. i already told my ex that i won't fight the vegan issue when lucas is old enough to realize that when he eats a hamburger it is made out of a cow that says moo and is just like your cat or dog. they have feelings and personalities also. so, he said fine to that and then i find out from his sister that he feeds him pureed meat from a baby food jar. i don't understand. so no, i don't think at this point we are going to come up with an agreement because all the ones we've worked out before, he's lied to me. i don't trust him to agree to something now. i don't believe him.
 

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Well then , sounds like you are SOL.<br><br>
I would say he has little to no chance of gaining custody, assuming what you say is correct.<br><br>
However, no offense, but you will have to get ouver yourself in some ways. The boy's father will have girlfriends, and eventually a wife, and yes, Lucas will be part of that "family". You can dislike it, but it won't really matter. And yes, if his father marries, especially while he is young, then don't be surprised if Lucas calls his stepmother's parents "grandma and grandpa". Heck, even may call her "mom" at times.<br><br><br><br>
Otherwise, you can't expect a lot of legal advice from a message board. Family law varies by state, and even from judge to judge. What you do have to accept, and it seems you struggle with this, is that when you have a baby and don't live with the father, you will not have full control at all times.<br><br><br><br>
Thems the breaks.
 

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I think I can help you with this, a little, sexyvegangirl, as I've been thru family court with regard to my son, his mother, and some of the same issues, and have a feel for what really happens (as opposed to what people like to think happens, or will tell you happens).<br><br><br><br>
Yes, you are right about being able to avoid artificial immunizations. Our society does not really enforce them as much as people think they do. There are religious exemptions that are very effective.
 

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by the way this situation underscores my assertions, made in other threads, about why it is best to avoid relationships with non-veg*ns. But I am not going to debate that in this thread.<br><br><br><br>
My son's mother was vegan while we were living together, and decided to become non-vegan when we separated. So it is not enough to have a vegan partner; you have to have a vegan partner who is vegan for the <b>right reasons,</b> rather than mainly as a tool to get along with you, and will be more likely to stay vegan no matter what.
 

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I'd recommend negotiatiating whatever you can out of court, and without lawyers, directly w ur ex boyfrined.<br><br><br><br>
You may be fearful, but <b>do not show fear</b>; do not telegraph what you are afraid of. People who learn what you are afraid of will use the knowledge. So do your best to make sure they don't know what you are afraid of. You might even want to misdirect them -- just as an example, make them think you are deathly afraid of the kid calling his fathers parent's grandma and grandpa, when what you are really afraid of is something else.<br><br><br><br>
You will need some tool to retaliate with, if he doesn't keep his word, after he makes an agreement with you.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by Tame</i><br><br><b>Well then , sounds like you are SOL.<br><br>
I would say he has little to no chance of gaining custody, assuming what you say is correct.<br><br>
However, no offense, but you will have to get ouver yourself in some ways. The boy's father will have girlfriends, and eventually a wife, and yes, Lucas will be part of that "family". You can dislike it, but it won't really matter. And yes, if his father marries, especially while he is young, then don't be surprised if Lucas calls his stepmother's parents "grandma and grandpa". Heck, even may call her "mom" at times.<br><br><br><br>
Otherwise, you can't expect a lot of legal advice from a message board. Family law varies by state, and even from judge to judge. What you do have to accept, and it seems you struggle with this, is that when you have a baby and don't live with the father, you will not have full control at all times.<br><br><br><br>
Thems the breaks.</b></div>
</div>
<br><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/pimp.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":tame:">
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Soilman,<br><br><br><br>
That is amongst the worse advice I've ever heard you give and I'm shocked that you would suggest it. Misdirecting = lying.<br><br><br><br>
--<br><br><br><br>
The father has as much right to feed the child according to his beliefs as you do yours. I cannot see any court dictating how a child should be fed.<br><br><br><br>
Do not bring the girlfriend into this. That will only cause hurt feelings, anger and will screw Lucas's life up more then eating a goldfish cracker. Leave her out of it.<br><br><br><br>
If you both draw up an agreement, which is signed with lawyers present, then it is a legal document and a binding contract. He follows it or he faces the consequences. However, the game is played both ways. *YOU* will also have to make compromises and choices.<br><br><br><br>
Reading between the lines, I can easier hear what his side of the story is. Never one of you are without blame in this situation. As Tame said, get over yourself. Stop blaming him. Stop making him sound like the bad guy. You both screwed up and now you have to fix it. Simple as that.
 

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Well I certainly don't think I was yelling about anything. I stand by what I said originally in this manner. There seems to be a LOT of anger here...I imagine on both sides. I think the advice I gave holds a lot of water. Get over yourselves, sit down and hammer out an agreement about what's best for this beautiful baby you're trying to raise.<br><br><br><br>
Whatever happened in the beginning, it seems like he IS trying to do the right thing now. My X totally sucked when we were living in State with him...his visits were at his convenience, he'd break dates without notification, he saw our daughter on average once a month. He really hurt her...he SUCKED. But I found that holding onto that anger only really damaged me. I had no choice really but to move where I could have a support system (people to care for Madison if there was an emergency, someone to give me a break every once in a while).<br><br><br><br>
I am telling you this because even though I haven't been in your particular situation, I HAVE been where your feeling right now. I had to learn to take myself out of the equation. And to realize that my daughter does best when she's in communication with her Dad...and...when I basically stay out of that realm and don't place my judgements on it.<br><br><br><br>
I really don't think he can take custody away from you. But I do think you need to begin to build a good co-parenting relationship one step at a time. You may not trust him now (you may never). But learning to work with him in your son's best interest is the key. As I said, that may take many many tries. But it will be worth it in the long run.<br><br><br><br>
Nobody said you weren't providing for, or taking good care of your son.<br><br><br><br>
Good luck with whatever decisions you have to make. I really believe if you get with him, set up a visiting schedule, apologize--YES, for telling him you don't trust him alone with his own child. Instead of that, you can perhaps give him some tips about what this age of child eats (a book if he doesn't take your word for it)...what a healthy diet consists of. You know, there's been so much in the news lately (reported badly yes) about vegan babies and late development, that it could be that he's misinformed and REALLY REALLY worried. Anyway, I think it would go a long way towards building a bridge of communication, and would most likely detur him from needing to go through all that custody rigamarole.<br><br><br><br>
Tame's right about the girlfriend thing. It's going to happen. You may not be upset about his being with someone else...you may not care about that. But as mother's, I think...speaking from...ummmm...experience. We ALL worry about being replaced. That if our children experience the love of this other person and open their heart to them...it leaves us with less somehow. I was SO worried about that when my daughter was born. But I came to see it really works the other way. The more people they have in their lives to love them, the more love they have to give to us.<br><br><br><br>
Again, all the best,<br><br>
B
 

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I disagree that feeding cheese goldfish crackers to a 10-month old is non-abusive. Anyone with common sense would know not to feed these to a 10-month old, much less to a vegan 10-month old.<br><br><br><br>
The father has obviously been lying to svg about wishing to help the kid stay vegan. He doesn't deserve any respect.<br><br><br><br>
In my personal experience with one baby -- a properly fed vegan baby <b>does not throw up</b>.<br><br><br><br>
If I child throws up, it has been abused -- by being fed unwholsome food. The rare exception is that it has some kind of digestive disorder. But the father admitted he thought it was goldfish crackers, the food. He shouldn't have fed them to the child. It was abusive, of both the child, and of his relationship to his ex-girlfriend. It was quite inconsiderate.
 

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I think you need the guidance of professionals to work out an agreement, in writing. First maybe a counselor, someone who's goal is to help work on a harmonious relationship, and then some lawyers to draw up a contract. These people will help you see beyond the history and emotion. They can give you some honest advice. Once you have something in writing, and sit down and seriously work out a plan, things will be better, bc then you can actually enforce what was agreed to. This situation is going to last another 17 years, so the sooner the foundation is laid out, the better.<br><br><br><br>
I wish you the best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
And with that message, you are now on my /ignore list. There is real abuse to children in this world. Leave those who made an honest mistake alone. Let's hope no baby's throw up in your household.<br><br><br><br>
---<br><br><br><br>
Bethanie and thalia - excellent posts! Thalia, you are totally right. 17 years is a long time. Why waste it bickering?
 

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I have to agree with krista here. I've worked with too many babies to count (babies babies everywhere--when I was a preschool/daycare teacher). If you know anything about them, you know not to wear nice clothes to a childcare center <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)">. Spit-up, throw-up is a fact of life, no matter what a small child is fed. I always fed my daughter healthy foods, and she always threw them UP! ICK. Babies digestive systems differ from baby to baby...some can keep food down always, and others throw up everything they eat to some extent.<br><br><br><br>
It was improper to feed a ten month old gold fish, but that's something that can be talked about (a choking hazzard, babies under a year shouldn't have cow's milk products at all). Anyway, speaking of bickering <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)"><br><br><br><br>
B
 
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