Rebecca Millette

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Provincial ministry removes 9-year-old girl with autism from family

Rebecca Millette
Rebecca Millette
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ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia, June 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On June 16, 2011, 9-year-old Ayn Van Dyk was taken from her family into custody by the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development, allegedly for her own safety, but against the wishes of her family, says her father.

Four days earlier, Ayn had been playing in the backyard of her family’s home in Abbotsford, British Columbia when she went missing.  After frantically looking for her, without success, her father called 911 and a police search commenced.  Ayn was found two hours later playing in a neighbor’s backyard.

“It seemingly was one of those storybook endings,” her dad, Derek Hoare, told LifeSiteNews.com.  “She ran from the police car and threw her arms around my neck.”

Derek Hoare is a single father of three children, two of whom, including Ayn, have been diagnosed with severe autism.  He says he has been the only parental figure in his daughter’s life since birth and the only person able to manage his daughter’s difficulties with autism.  Although Ayn has accrued the knowledge of a 9-year-old, due to her autism she has the naivety of a 3 or 4 year old.

When Child Protection Services (CPS) workers showed up at Hoare’s door on June 16 they told him they had a director’s agreement for taking Ayn into custody.

“They told me either you voluntarily hand her over to us or we take her,” Hoare told LSN. “You can’t claim it’s voluntary when you walk up to someone and say ‘Give this to us or we’re taking it.’ That’s not voluntary.”

“I don’t believe the government has the right to remove children from loving, caring homes,” Hoare said, adding he believes it is his job to protect his daughter and decide how to best keep her safe.  He said he doesn’t understand why the Ministry has taken her away from “the person who loves her best.”

Because Hoare refused to sign his daughter over to CPS, workers took her from her school later the same day.  Afterwards, Hoare learned that Ayn was placed in a “specialized hospital” for evaluation, as she was deemed unsuitable for foster care at the time.

“I fear this means my daughter is being drugged [because] she is very volatile and aggressive when she is outside the home,” said Hoare. 

According to her father, Ayn is “well-behaved” while under his care, “succeeding and excelling” in her family home, but still remains difficult to manage in a school setting or outside his care.  He believes Ayn would be unmanageable in a hospital setting where she would be fearful.

Meanwhile, Hoare has not seen his daughter, nor does he know how she is coping. 

According to Ministry protocol, a presentation hearing took place in court seven days after Ayn’s removal from her family.  At that time, Hoare learned the reasons the court gave for taking his daughter.

Citing situations from home and school that appeared detrimental to Ayn’s safety or that of her siblings, the Ministry indicated, according to Hoare, that while he was a good father to his children, he was simply too overburdened with their care as a single parent.  But Hoare contests the Ministry’s report, saying each situation highlighted either normal occurrences for an autistic child or behavior he has since addressed.

The hearing was adjourned to provide time for Hoare and his lawyer to examine the documents and prepare a defence.  They will not reopen the case until July 12.

LifeSiteNews.com contacted the Ministry for further information, but was informed that the Child, Family and Community Services Act protects specific details of the case.

In response to general inquiries, however, a spokesperson for the Ministry said the top priority is always “the safety and wellbeing of the child.”

“We recognize the stress of caring for a child with special needs places on a family – and we take each case very seriously,” the spokesperson told LSN. “The decision to remove a child is not made lightly. Wherever possible, our preference is always to find a way to support the family in continuing to live together. We would only remove a child if there is concern about the family’s ability to safely care for the child.”

“My number one concern is not getting my daughter back, but how she is doing right now,” said Hoare. “I have no idea where she is or how she is doing. I have not seen her and they have not told me.”

The situation, he said, highlights a concern of great importance to many BC parents with special needs children.

According to Hoare, the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development recently took over the management of files for children with autism in the province.  The Ministry additionally oversees the Child Protection Services, which is charged with the removal of children from their homes when the Ministry deems it necessary.  Many BC parents, said Hoare, are concerned that with the Ministry controlling both departments they do not accurately perceive the situations of families with special needs children.

In his case, Hoare says the Ministry obviously knew the entire situation with his daughter, as a result of overseeing her files, before they took her into custody. Hence, they would have known Ayn’s improvement, from non-vocal at 2 years old, to now, when she has mental abilities proper for her grade level - all skills she learned in her home, according to Hoare. 

“They knew this before they took her, so why did they take her?” asks Hoare.

“It is about Ayn for me here and I am emotionally invested here,” he added. “[But] this is no reason for the government to come and remove a child from the home.”

As a result of waiting lists and court protocol, it could be well over 3 months before Hoare has a chance to argue his case.  However, there is a possibility that she could be returned to her family outside of the judicial process during a “case conference” or meeting with lawyers and concerned parties.  Hoare hopes that in such a meeting, they might come to a decision to bring his daughter home.

For more information, visit the Facebook page dedicated to bringing Ayn home.

Contact information:

Honourable Mary McNeil
PO Box 9057 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9E2

Phone: 250 387-9699
E-mail: [email protected]

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

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By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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