Thursday, February 2, 2012

Crumbling, crumbling

"My experience shows that those who plant trouble and cultivate evil will harvest the same." - Job 4:8

The brother who I am closest to called me last night. Among other things, he spoke about my sister, "Rachel". She's the sister who tried to leave before and went back. Well, as it turns out, she's pregnant (very pregnant) by the son (let's call him Isaiah) of another ATI family. My first thought was to wonder when they had the opportunity to hook up!?! ATI girls aren't allowed much, if any, time alone with boys and Isaiah's family doesn't live close to mine. Doing the math; the only possibility we can arrive at is that the conception occured during an ATI regional conference! Holy moly! You can bet heads are going to roll for this one.

She's due April 24th, which makes her about 28 weeks along. She's terrified and understandably so. Isaiah's family is claiming it can't be their son who got her pregnant. Of course, their "child",...their 21 year old, god-fearing son wouldn't have broken the purity promise he made to his parents and God. Because, we all know that 21 year old boys never think of sex! Right? So, it's my sister who's lying about her "promiscuity" (one man before marriage equals promiscuity in ATI) and she'll have to prove paternity.

Isaiah's family's actions are horrible. But what's worse are my father's actions! I know, no one is at all surprised that he didn't handle this well. He is livid. His legacy is falling apart. His quiver full of righteous soldiers are straying from the intended target. Rather than support my sister in her claims and attempt to, you know, help her - he's playing the blame game and has decided that my mother is the one to blame!!!!!!!!!!!!! She didn't "keep better control of her daughters."

So Rachel has been turned out of his house and my mother is now banned from speaking to her, too. All I want to say to my dad is, "You reap what you sew!"

Really? What part of Christian parenting suggests that you should abandon your children in their greatest time of need? I understand, in a limited way, that my dad felt I was a threat to the family's beliefs. But, shouldn't he be embracing my sister's situation? She's bringing forth one of God's blessings! Or, does that only count when two white, Christian Gothard followers marry? The hypocrisy is so evident. If Rachel were married, then my parents and Isaiah's parents would be crowing about this blessing from God. Both families are staunchly pro-life and have attended rallies wherein they crucify women who choose abortion - but when it's their own children who are involved, they don't support life and support my sister's decision to go forth with this pregnancy. They kick her out and call her a whore. REAL. F-ING. NICE.

If there's any positive to this situation, it's that Rachel is out. She, like myself, found a second family to offer her the love and support thath should've come from her church and her biological family. She's moved in with my brother's boss and wife. They've helped her get state issued insurance, a part time job, and are helping her negotiate this stressful time. These people are truly amazing and are true Christians.

Please keep my sister in your thoughts and prayers. And, if anyone knows of a good family attorney in Northwest Arkansas, can you please e-mail me the name and number. I think Rachel needs to get an attorney and pursue holding Isaiah responsible. I'm assuming she'll need an attorney to do that? Do any of my readers have experience with this sort of situation?

87 comments:

  1. I am usually a lurker here, but wow, I just had to say I will say a prayer for your sister. I think it's horrid hypocrisy to protest abortion but offer only cruelty and judgment to unwed pregnant women. I myself am pro life, and if I knew your sister she and her baby would be welcomed shelter and care in our home during this hard time, whatever they needed to get support and medical care so critical right now of all times. I don't understand people who act like your father. I'm sorry you all are suffering his poor judgment.

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  2. She probably will not need an attorney. In many states, she just files for child support at her District Attorney office or Dept of Social Services. They will handle paternity tests and get a court order for child support.

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  3. Start at her local Child Support Enforcement office, they will be able to point her in the right direction. "Isaiah" will be made to financially support the baby.

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    1. Okay. That's good. He's financially responsible. Hope he is personally responsible enough for the visitation he will also be awarded. That's the problem with holding the father financially responsible. Although as I understand it if Rachel needs state assistance, she will have to declare the father and pursue child support for the baby.

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  4. Anyone on tv in Northwest Arkansas involved in this little drama?? Wow! And to think it happened at an ATI Event! Now that is a BLESSING!

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    1. No. The father isn't a Duggar. He lives in another state.

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  5. Sadly though if "Isaiah" is under his father's protection (i.e. not working at a real job paid with verifiable wages) she'll be lucky to get any money. So sad....

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    1. But his spotless reputation would be shattered...at least its something if the worst scenario happens

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    2. But his spotless reputation would be shattered...at least its something if the worst scenario happens

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  6. Oh, for heaven's sake. I wish your sister and her helpers all the best. Everybody in the world makes mistakes and she has nothing to be ashamed of, though your father and "Isaiah" sure do. With modern DNA testing, paternity is very easy to establish.

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  7. Wow, Ruth. I think (sane) person here supports you and your sister, and we all wish her the best! I will definitely keep y'all in my prayers!!
    I believe that since paternal/child support issues are so common, it's not necessary to get a lawyer... unless *Isaiah* refuses courts orders, then things could get exciting! Just google what you are looking for; it's pretty helpful.

    I just googled "file child support Arkansas":
    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=file%20child%20support%20arkansas&source=web&cd=1&sqi=2&ved=0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dfa.arkansas.gov%2Foffices%2FchildSupport%2FDocuments%2FcustodialPartyApplication.pdf&ei=0hQrT-raGab2sQLExs2RDg&usg=AFQjCNE4oIMZidOlc-ypsvEj-n1HqT-5Yw

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=file%20child%20support%20arkansas&source=web&cd=4&sqi=2&ved=0CDsQFjAD&url=https%3A%2F%2Fcourts.arkansas.gov%2Fpdf%2Facsguidelines_ao10.pdf&ei=0hQrT-raGab2sQLExs2RDg&usg=AFQjCNF6hpHAeFzJKwKSc486_TK5bS3hjA

    Good luck!!

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  8. I wish your mom would just talk to both of you, and hang bans.

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  9. Oh Ruth! I am so sorry for your sister's shoddy treatment by your family. Your parent's "religion" is an EPIC fail.

    I live in NW Arkansas. Your sister doesn't need to go to the expense of hiring an attorney to get a paternity test. She just needs to walk into any DHS office and apply for medicaid, SNAP and TANF money. The state will will compel a paternity test without cost to your sister.

    I hope Rachel has an easy pregancy and a beautiful healthy baby.

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    1. That's good to know. That works for situations where the father isn't in the same state, too? If so, that would be fantastic.

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    2. If she reports the state he is in, it should work.

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    3. @Razing Ruth yes, she can get reach across state lines for a paternity test and child support. If the father can't be located at present, the support tallies up and the state can send him a bill for back support. Not supporting your child has some pretty serious consequences for one's ability to obtain professional and drivers licenses and credit rating. The non custodial parent can also be held in contempt of court when the support is court ordered. Nothing like a bench warrant for your arrest hanging over your head.

      The young man should own up to his part in the creation of this child. Your sister, at some point, should contact an attorney to arrange custody and visitation agreements once paternity is established..

      I've four children and spent 14 years contending with the AR child support authorities.

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    4. I have a family member was in sort of a similar situation quite a few years ago. Young, unwed, pregnant, a d--che of a boyfriend, and having no resources. I have to say that NWA has both a really good system to help these women, and a very diversified population of people who are willing to help others.

      The Dept of Social Services got her on track with with programs for Immediate needs and referrals to resources the help learn how to manage your life as a young adult/new parent (esp when you've never been on your own). The following is a list of many of the resources where the NWA department of Youth and Family Services was able to point her to. Mind you, they didn't do the work for her. She asked a lot of questions, and had to do a lot of calling around on her own. Aside from #1, 2 and 3, everything else was informal. Some things for her to look into:


      1. WIC (nutrition education, breastfeeding support,food resources) (TEMPORARY) - keeping baby and mama fed, breastfeeding assistance and support, etc.

      2. Medicaid (health insurance) (TEMPORARY). Well-child visits, sick visits, medication, medical support when needed. This is income and asset-based. It is designed to be temporary, but does help the population that most needs a certain amount of nutritiously-dense food.

      3. Referral to the local Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. Their goal is to help the person find long-term, sustainable, gainful employment. They can provide job counseling - skill set assessment, educational achievement tests/assessment, personality tests to determine where you might succeed, how to fill out application/resume, networking, how to interview, free classes on basic office skills (software programs, etc.), learn time management, improve interpersonal communication skills, how to negotiate and problem solve on the job, and even help find an interim job while you are preparing to find your (ideally) full-time, gainful employment.

      4. Through word of mouth, she found a group of women (four or five of them) who had their own "co-op" group. They shared responsibilities, so that each one could have some time "off" and have some help. For example:

      ----Once a week, two of them would do all the grocery shopping (with list and money from all the others). They'd buy some things in bulk and distribute to who needed what.
      ----Once a week, each mom got "time off". One or two of the moms would watch someone elses kids for a few hours so that the mom could do something for herself, see friends, or even just take a nap.
      ----They bartered skills. For example, one mom was great at cooking, one could change oil on any car, another was really good at balancing checkbooks, another was a former hairstylist/manicurist/masseuse. They traded off on duties that otherwise would cost them money. They came up with a list of items that matched in time/effort/worth.
      ----Twice a year, they had a closet party where they would each bring in clothing that their family wasn't using/didn't fit anymore and traded. This was great for the moms of new babies, who go through sizes rather quickly, or if one of the moms gained or lost weight and needed something to carry over until she could buy new ones.

      I wish her the best of luck. If you look hard enough, there are programs and people out there who are willing to help. Obviously, much of this is "pull yourself up by your bootstraps," but having someone point you in the right direction is a great help.

      - Snarky Kitty

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    5. Just FYI on the father being in another state - I have a co-worker who is in a similar situation. She used to live in the same state as her son's father, but moved several years ago. Her son's father is a complete flake whom she's battled for child support for most of her son's life.

      Anyway, she did apply to the state of child support from the beginning. She had never received it (her son's father had been in prison for a good part of the time), but this year, she began getting checks. She found out through some mutual friends that her ex is out of prison and has a job now. But because the child support order is still on file from several years ago, his wages are garnished at a percentage that now goes to my friend. Finally!

      So, if Rachel applies to the state where her baby's father lives, a support order should follow him. I believe that this would be attached to his Social Security number as well, and if he were to get a job in another state, his wages would still be garnished.

      Best of luck to Rachel. If nothing else, I hope this helps her make a clean break with ATI and to move on with her life on her own terms. I'm glad she has you, your brother, and the family she is living with to help her in this situation. I know you have had some very tough times since leaving, but you've come a long way in that time, and I think Rachel will eventually come to look at you as a role model. :)

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  10. I've never understood people like your father and the child's father. Being pro life and quiverfull or whatever one would assume they would rejoice in the fact that your sister is pregnant and didn't have an abortion! I am so sorry that your sister is going through this, though I'm also very happy to read that she is out of your father's controlling influence. I'll be keeping her in my prayers.

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  11. Even if this loser doesn't have a real job, he'll still be responsible for child support. If he doesn't pay, he can go to jail. She absolutely should do this. She's better off w/o him if he's allowing the mother of his child to be abandoned like this, he should get a job and step up to the plate.

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  12. Ruth -

    Are you (and/or your brother) in touch with "Rachel"? If some of your readers were so inclined - hypothetically, of course - could we use your Donate button to pass some money along to her? Or to the family that is helping her?

    Secondarily... this is really none of my business, but I can't help wondering how old Rachel is. Assuming that the paternity tests show that Isaiah is the father, are there grounds for a Statutory Rape charge? (Not that I'm necessarily encouraging such a thing, but I do wonder if Isaiah's family may be worried about the possibility.)

    Do please pass along our well-wishes if you can. (Well, unless it would freak her out to know that complete strangers were thinking about her.) The sympathy of strangers may not mean much, but I think that she should know that world outside of ATI/QF can be a lot more compassionate than she was raised to believe.

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    1. Now that she's out of my parent's house, I can talk to her anytime. I just have to be careful in how I communicate with her because she's really confused right now. After the time she left and went back, she was slightly brainwashed against my brother and me. It's a little like she doesn't trust us because she's been told we're not operating with her best interests and until she sees that that's just my dad's b/s, I'm just doing more listening than advice offering.
      Rachel is 19, at present. She'll turn 20 shortly after the baby is born.
      I will pass along your well-wishes. Thank you!

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    2. Keep being there for her Ruth. I'm sure given the household she grew up in she's psychologically scared by being pregnant, i.e. feeling ashamed, a "whore" etc. I hope she has someone she can talk to about her feelings and the pregnancy. A baby is coming! Let us know if we can donate to help.

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  13. Many, many prayers to your sister and her baby. I hope you will be able to connect with her as well.

    When I was a about 10 years old, there was a scandal in my church involving a pregnant teenager. Her parents forced her to place her baby for adoption, and the heartache was written all over this teen mom's face. My mother sat my sister and I down and told us if that ever happens to us, we are to come to her immediately, not try and hide anything, and she'd make sure that she and my dad helped us. She was horrified at the (grand)parents' actions, how callus they were towards their own daughter during her time of stress and need. Mom made it clear that it would be a difficult situation and they'd rather we didn't get pregnant out of wedlock, but that we'd have support.

    My sister did end up an unmarried (although technically divorced) mom at the age of 21, and that little baby boy brought so much joy into our lives--it's impossible to imagine our lives without him.

    I wish I could send your sister a big old package full of baby goodies.

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  14. ((hugs)) to you sister Rachel. Please pass along our support to her. May we send baby gifts?

    I'm reminded how Mary found herself with child as an unmarried woman and how if her community found out she could have been killed. Joseph stepped up then.

    Perhaps the only thing the young man needs is encouragement to own up to his responsibilities and for his fear of his own parents and of Rachel's father, to be overcome by him. I am sure he also has so much pressure to work out; He may just simply be afraid to stand up for himself let alone the mother of his child.

    Hopefully, that will all work itself out over time.

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  15. Prayers for your sister from me, Ruth. A note on child support: even if the father doesn't work, I know many if not all states will impute an income to him, even if only minimum wage. He will most likely be held esponsible for child support regardless of his employment status.

    Sorry for the typos. I am on my iPad and the delete function is misbehaving horribly :(

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  16. I am so sorry for your sister!! Poor thing! Like another poster asked, is she over 18?

    I really do hope she takes care of herself, medically I mean. As a lawyer I would CERTAINLY recommend she talk to one regarding child support etc for the child. Also establishing the fact that Isiash hasn't been supportive etc though the pregnancy- the LAST thing we want is Isiash and his family coming around two years down the line claiming your sister violated his parental rights by keeping the child away from him.

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  17. Uhg, one of the many horrible parts of it, I really doubt the sex was %100 consensual...

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    1. I don't know.
      I think it probably was- but I haven't asked her. Like I said above, I have only talked to her once and it was brief. I heard most of the story from my brother. The only question I asked Rachel is if there was anything I could do and if I could put this on the blog to see if anyone else had had a similar experience. Rachel and I have a complicated history. I think asking her a bunch of nosey questions might push her away and I don't want that.

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    2. As for it being consensual... when she's been told her entire life that she's not supposed to think and a man should do the thinking for her, it's not really consensual. I mean, legally, it is... but probably not psychologically. Isn't that the point of the "games" (give them an order, no matter how strange, and make them comply)? It makes it so that authority is never questioned.

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    3. I too was wondering if it was consensual.....given the time frame to meet, talk, get alone, and get it on...I kinda think the girl might have been duped. I mean for goodness sakes I have been to homeschool conferences and where would they find the privacy?

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  18. Ruth,
    Please send my best wishes along with those already posted. I am glad that your sister has found people who will open their heart and their home to her. I am also glad that she has you and your brother out here in the real world. Of course, she needs to take care of all of the legal issues already discussed. Mostly though Rachel needs to take care of Rachel in body, in mind and in soul.
    May she have an easy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

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  19. Oh Geez.

    Check yer Paypal tomorrow, Ruth...just because.

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  20. Your fellow Coffee Fiends here...and we all have an opinion.

    Does your sister read your blog?

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    1. She does now.
      I told her about it and asked if she wanted me to post to get some advice on legal matters. I know I have had a few attorneys weigh in in the past.

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    2. Okay...so your Sis has access to the internet...

      Does she have the means to set up her own Paypal account?

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  21. Long time reader, infrequent poster. I am wishing your sister a safe and uncomplicated pregnancy. I hope she will in time come to embrace life outside the cult of ATI and that you two can redevelop your relationship outside the oppressing control of your dad.

    And Ruth's dad if you're reading, your are a total hypocrite and a terrible parent. Abandoning your daughter at a time when she completely vulnerable is heinous.

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  22. I hope that your sister is not too proud to go on TANF. TANF when it works correctly will help your sister get the education and training to become self-supporting and also will go after the father for child support. I hope that everything will work out well for her and the innocent baby.

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    1. I have written "TANF" down and hopefully she'll read about it here.

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  23. I'm praying that Rachel has a healthy baby and a happy life. One day- heck, one minute at a time. I agree completely about your brother's boss & his family acting truly Christian.

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    1. Just want to make it clear: my brother would've taken her in, but his boss volunteered that it might be better for Rachel to be where my dad didn't konw she was.

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  24. Oh, dear. You've already gotten a lot of advice about practical matters, so I'll just wish you, Rachel, your brother and his boss the best. I hope Rachel gets all the help she needs to come to the best decisions for her. In a way, I'd like to welcome her into the world beyond ATI, because she should know that there's nothing wrong with her and that the world is full of loving, caring people who have her back. All the best to you all.

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  25. Rachel, If you are reading this. Your sister has a whole community of people give her advice, compassion and strength. The same offer is for you. Even though we are from different countries(Canada) we want to support you the best way we can.

    You may have had differences with your sister but from what I have read about her, she can offer family support to you...no matter what you were told.

    We are wishing you the best.

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  26. I'd really suggest going to a family law attorney for counsel on how to act.

    Rachel may not need to involve the lawyer beyond the advice, but it would be prudent to have the law explained to her and to have a course of action written out for her by someone with expertise.

    I agree it's ridiculous for your father and this boy's family to act like this when the whole mantra of their movement is that all children are blessings to be celebrated. What low life POSes.

    I'll keep her in my thoughts.

    Lauren H.

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  27. May I also recommend some books for your sister? What To Expect When You're Expecting is an excellent reference, and could be really helpful both for general anxiety and for answering those nagging 'is this normal?' questions as they come up. On the other hand, my wife points out that it is a reference, and so talks a lot about things that can (but usually don't) go wrong, and some people find that scary rather than helpful.

    Another one that the Beautiful Wife liked was Up The Duff, though it's very Australian. The Americanized version is called A Bun In The Oven. The only word of warning I'd offer is that's a very "worldly" book, in the sense that it's written by someone who definitely was not raised in any sort of fundamentalist/evangelical/patriarchal environment.

    There are also some online things that she could sign up for, that send out weekly or monthly updates about how the baby is developing and what you might be experiencing. Babble.com has one of these; so does babycenter.com, I believe.

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  28. Ruth - in 2010, the Free Jinger crowd pitched in to help out a family in need at Christmas. We had her 3 children each create an Amazon wish list of the items they wanted or needed, which were then shipped to the family. Is there any chance that Rachel would be open to something like that? She could open a PO box that items could be shipped to in order to protect her location, or even provide the address of somebody who would be willing to collect baby items on her behalf.
    Please mention this to her and see if she is interested at all...

    -Jo

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  29. honestly, it may be best for her to NOT try to get the father involved. this same thing happened to the pastor's daughter of a church my family used to attend in georgia [though they didn't kick her out, they supported her]. anyway, since she pushed and pushed and acknowledged the father and made him pay child support, etc., he apparently didn't like that too much so he started making outrageous demands, including stuff like threatening to call social services over little bumps and scrapes [the kind that all little boys tend to acquire] and he would demand that she bring him over for his visitation at inconvenient times. things like that. HUGE fights would ensue, and children hear fighting a lot more than parents think they do. not only did the fighting affect her mental well-being, but it affected her son's mental well-being as well. even though i haven't personally been in touch with them lately, last i heard he's having behavioral problems that are likely linked to all of that. it's just a sad situation for both mother and song. i know this probably seems like a weird piece of advice, but i implore you on this. sometimes it's best to leave the father out of it and not even put him on the birth certificate. even so much as putting him on the birth certificate can open a can of worms.

    good luck to your sister.

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  30. As a soon-to-be doula in training and a recent mom, I suggest sending your sister a few gifts if you get enough donations. Like some really nice Pregnancy tea, some slippers... things that will make her feel pretty and that are cozy and to know someone cares about HER specifically during her pregnancy. I have a friend who has a weird situation with the father of her soon-to-be-born baby and I've just dropped any comments/questions, etc, and am just sending her baby things and special mama things. Your sister really just needs any and all love you can give her right now. If you talk to her again, maybe just ask about her plans for the baby, like names or baby clothes she likes. Also, tell your sister about Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. It was my favorite book about childbirth, if only because of all the wonderful stories about giving birth in the beginning.

    Best of luck and a happy and healthy pregnancy to your sister!

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  31. And I forgot to add about ThredUp for good affordable baby clothes in bunches! Definitely a good resource to pass to your sister.

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  32. Darn on the father not being a member of THAT family. I hope your sister gets good care and some love from her "surrogate" family. I really will pray for her that she have a safe delivery and find peace. I'm glad you are there for her.

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  34. Is there a place where I could send a small knitted item for Rachel's baby?

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  35. Deleted previous comment because the language just wasn't necessary. Again, though, your sister and her little one are in my thoughts, and I'm glad she's got a safe haven and siblings who are on her side. As for your father... Nope, can't think of anything to say that won't unleash a string of expletives.

    Stay strong. :-)

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  36. I wish your sister a healthy pregnancy! I'm sorry for all she's been through and hope she finds a supportive community to help her through. I can't help but wonder, is normal for so many ATI children to stray so far from their upbringing? If not that really says something about your dad now doesn't it?

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  37. I have never posted here before, but I have followed your blog for quite some time. I greatly admire you, Ruth, more than you will ever know. Your love and concern for your sister shines through in this post. My heart aches for how she is being treated by her family and the sperm donor. Christian, my @$$.

    Rachel, if you are reading, I would love to send you some things to help you and your baby. I think a virtual baby shower or baby registry is a great idea. If you go that route, let us know if there are things you need for yourself as well.

    Hugs to Ruth and Rachel and the precious unborn babe.

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  38. Congratulations on the baby and congratulations on becoming an aunt! The circumstances are what they are...now is the time to embrace the present and celebrate the future. I hope your sister doesn't fret too much and beat herself up over the past. She can't change it and people who make her feel bad for it suck. Her solemn responsibility now is to give her child its best start in life... at the moment, that means eating healthy and keeping stress low.
    If she has not looked into the WIC program (Women, Infants, Children), she needs to. Here is the link for Arkansas's program. http://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programsServices/WIC/Pages/default.aspx

    Just google "your state" and "WIC" and you will find information. WIC provides assistance and in some states educational programs to help you best provide for your children (usually under age 5)... often regarding nutrition. In many states, they provide help for pregnant women.

    I think your sister needs to find a good attorney who specializes in family law. There are multiple issues here and they all don't need to be handled at once. Paternity, responsibility, custody, support etc. I think paternity should be established. Stories about your sister will run wild and she should establish her truth as the fact... even if he doesn't want any custody and wants to waive rights, he should be held as a participant.

    If you want to do a virtual babyshower, I'm in. amazon, hint hint.

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  39. This is going to sound off, but I think this could be a blessing in disguise. You sister is finally OUT of that horrible mess of a family of yours (sorry to sound rude). I can't help but think this will all end up working for good for her, you and your brother. I have a suggestion...I doubt she is the final one of your siblings to "flee". You should all be prepared for the years ahead when you will all need each other as more leave that oppressive situation. After you finish your education Ruth, you really might consider becoming a professional counselor for this kind of situation. You would be excellent at it and you would have a frame of reference to work from that is unique to most! What makes me think that you are here for that very reason...what strength has come out of such dire circumstances!

    Lastly, I am the product of two crazy in love college sweethearts that were engaged, but not married when I was conceived. They are the most wonderful parent anyone could ask for. They have been married 49 years...and they are loving Christians as well. There are plenty like them out there...don’t give up Ruth. Your story is just being written!!
    Sue

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  40. Good luck to Rachel. In my limited experience, this is all to common in fundamentalist families.(I was raised in a group with many of them) To the ATI fathers out there, please read and consider Jer 23:34-36 If a prophet or a priest or anyone else claims, ‘This is a message from the LORD,’ I will punish them and their household. This is what each of you keeps saying to your friends and other Israelites: ‘What is the LORD’s answer?’ or ‘What has the LORD spoken?’ But you must not mention ‘a message from the LORD’ again, because each one’s word becomes their own message. So you distort the words of the living God, the LORD Almighty, our God.

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  41. All good wishes to Rachel and her baby. I'm glad she has support from your brother, his boss's family, and you. She'll need expert advice and assistance; her state's Department of Social Services is a good place to start. If there's some way your readership can help, I'd be delighted to contribute.

    Ruth, you're a good sister.

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  42. HUGS!! The issue I would have in determining paternity is the boy's family making up lies about Rachel and getting custody of him. If they are persuasive enough, have the $ for a lawyer it could spell bad news; at the least they would use the "threat" of taking the baby away to get Rachel to come back to the fold. She needs to document how she is being treated as well as past treatment to protect herself & baby.

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    1. This anonymous has an excellent point. If your sister needs to start a diary where she documents events, conversations, and communication about this with the boy's family, your family, and any other events dealing with the baby or a job. If she is ever questioned about activities, she will be able to point to a record if people deny that ever happened, etc.

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    2. which is exactly why i suggested earlier to leave the boy out of it. i won't repeat the nightmare that my pastor's daughter had, as i posted it further up.

      per the diary...is there some way to get it notarized to make it more "official"? again, this would be up to her discretion, as to whether or not she would choose to go after the boy for support or even acknowledgement. like i said before, even acknowledgement can lead to a can of worms.

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    3. The situation is already rife with problems. The father does ultimately have rights even if you don't acknowledge him. If he were to have a change of heart even years from now, and were to go to court and say, "I was involved" it would help her in future years to be able to say "you asked once" rather than "I have no idea but it wasn't much". State laws greatly vary on this subject and I really hope she takes some time educate herself on her rights, his rights, and to consult an attorney in her state to help her take steps to do what she wants and not get blindsided by state laws she wasn't aware of.

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    4. "The father does ultimately have rights even if you don't acknowledge him. If he were to have a change of heart even years from now"

      This cannot be stressed enough. Echoing everyone here.

      Rachel does need to consult an attorney as soon as possible. IME, babies have a way of melting the hardest of hearts (Daddy Darth excluded, of course), and odds are even that Dad and the paternal grandparents will at least be curious, or possibly want to play a role in the baby's life. Rachel must document her experiences to date, and if possible, keep a daily diary of the steps she is taking to secure her own future, and that of her child's.

      The thing is...the baby also has rights...to be supported by Mom AND Dad. Social Services WILL pursue Dad for reimbursement of public funds going to support his offspring. Rachel needs to have all of her ducks in a row, to forestall interference and/or abusive dynamics.

      Attorney ASAP.

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    5. thinking about it, i'm not so much worried about the father...after all, he did the deed and all...what i'm worrying about is his parents who ultimately control him [or, obviously, try to]. after this transgression they may become so strict with him that when rachel seeks support they may put her through the wringer and make it as difficult and inconvenient as possible for her. i get the baby's right to be supported by a mum and a dad, but let's face it, in today's society that just doesn't happen near as often as it should. and there are perfectly good, well-adjusted people who grow up without the support of one of their parents.

      the diary/journal/notebook thing is an awesome idea. again, does anyone know if it's possible to have it notorized or something to make it more "official"? or something?

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    6. Not an attorney by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't think a contemporaneous diary or journal needs to be "notarized" to be accepted in court.

      As far as child support is concerned, it likely won't be Rachel they'll be dealing with, but the court system and social services. I agree with the posters here to suggest she get in touch with the social services where she is, not only for her current relief, but also for planning her future.

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    7. yes, i know that re: child support, they would be dealing directly with the courts. however i know they could end up screwing around and making it difficult for rachel in a roundabout way. seen that one way too many times to count, including the example i gave way up there.

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    8. Lizzy, the thing is...once the courts are involved...people can go nutsy-cukoo.

      Rachel is not going to have a choice. Once she applies for public assistance, the State WILL pursue reimbursement from Dad, and that is where someone as sheltered and vulnerable as Rachel can be hauled over the coals.

      The scenarios are endless, and she needs to be prepared.

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    9. This is kind of a tough one... on the one hand, the person who fathered the child has a legal and moral obligation to support the child unless parental rights are completely terminated and the child is put up for adoption. If Rachel goes the adoption route, paternity may have to be established in order for the birth father to terminate rights. This stuff varies from state to state and you need someone who knows this jurisdiction.

      My wife was adopted, given up for adoption at birth. At the time (early '70s), the law was that the father had to terminate rights as well as the mother. The only problem was that they could not find him. He had relocated. After a search, the judge went ahead and terminated rights. If this little wick-dipper does fess up, he's on the hook for child support - but - he also may decide that he wants to be involved in the life of this child. Does Rachel want to be involved with this guy for potentially the rest of her life, even if she doesn't marry him? That's a distinct possibility.

      I echo what others have said... Rachel needs to educate herself and she needs an advocate. My tendancy would be to argue in favor of considering adoption because her family does not appear to be supportive and she is trying to work her way out of this ATI stuff. Add the stresses of new motherhood, the prospect of education and becoming self-supportive.. it may be too much for her. I really don't know. If she keeps the child, it's going to be a very hard road.

      No easy answers here. Ruth, just be there for her. Think of what you needed most when you made your break and be ready to offer that if it is within your ability to do so and Rachel is willing to accept your help. I truly wish the best for her and for you.

      Blessings,

      Jim K.

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    10. I would suggest Rachel document everything, but also ask her host family to document what they see as well. They will be less biased and may notice things that she doesn't. Keep dates, times, phone conversations, etc. She can also look at recording her phone calls to her family and his, check state and federal laws, but often she can just say that she is recording the conversation and if they don't hang up then they are agreeing to be recorded. Kinda like when you call a company and they say the phone call is being recorded for customer service, if you don't hang up then you are agreeing for them to record you even in states that have laws against recording. Good luck to her.

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  43. I don't comment very often, although I am a regular reader. I just want to offer my sympathies regarding how horribly your precious sister is being treated by her own family! I think the way they are acting toward her is ABSOLUTELY outrageous. Sure, she got pregnant out of wedlock, but the LAST thing she needs right now is condemnation. Right now she's probably feeling scared crapless and lonely. She needs love and kindess, and it's sad she can't get it from her/your parents in a time like this. I'm glad she has you & your brother, at least, and your brother's boss & his wife to look out for her. I will keep your sister in my prayers. *HUGS to all of you!*

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  44. I'd love to recommend the book The Wonder Weeks. It's a great description of the cognitive development infants undergo, and has some great suggestions on how to interact in the various stages. It doesn't have much of an agenda except to help you understand what to look for as your baby hits mental milestones. I found it super helpful.

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  45. Ruth,

    My name is Ginger, and I live in North West Arkansas. My cousin is an attorney (Mark Martin in Fayetteville). My mother is a midwife in Texas and would gladly help your sister find one here in NWA. Please let me know if I can be of any help in this situation.

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  46. As a family doctor for 21 years I've seen many instances where after the baby is born and paternity is established, the boyfriend's mother decides she does want access to the child after all. My fear is that Rachel could be in for a nasty custody fight or a horrible court-ordered visitation arrangement. After all, in order to maintain their image as an upright God-fearing Christian family, once it is proven that the baby is indeed their grandchild they will have to change their stance from vilifying the slut who's lying about their son to concerned grandparents trying to do all they can for their grandchild. Rachel has definitely got to get a family lawyer involved ASAP.

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    1. "My fear is that Rachel could be in for a nasty custody fight or a horrible court-ordered visitation arrangement."

      Exactly! This cannot be stressed enough.

      Attorney ASAP!

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  47. Also, I did NOT mean that I think Rachel is a slut. She is NOT!! I just meant that is how the boyfriend's family sees it.

    And by the way, her local crisis pregnancy center (or maybe a non-local one if your and her parents are involved with the local one) can offer her much emotional and practical support. Rachel would rightly be celebrated there as a precious child of God who chose to allow her own innocent baby to have the chance for life despite the difficult circumstances of his or her conception. She would also have further exposure to less judgmental Christians who truly demonstrate Christ's love rather than show hatred to their own daughter in need.

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  48. Another thought: how is your mother holding up? I really worry she will crack under the stress of losing yet another child and even worse, your father's blaming her for it all. Not that there is anything you can directly do, Ruth, but it is very tragic for all of you that his abuse and brainwashing are so extensive. Thank God (literally) that you have escaped from this! And that Rachel now is. Maybe the Quivering Daughters website could offer her some hope and direction?

    Am praying for you and your brother and especially Rachel. And for your mother; though I keep getting angry at her for not standing up to your father, I have seen with patients how hard it can be to break free of long-term brainwashing. But most of all for Rachel right now. My hugs to her especially. She's blessed you're her sister.

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  49. Crisis Pregnancy centers provide no services. Their main purpose is to persuade pregnant women to not have an abortion. Most have no medical staff and are notorious for handing out false information. Since Rachel is too far along to even consider an abortion there is no point in seeking them out. Planned Parenthood is a far better organization if there is one available in your area. Ultimately she will be to go where ever they will accept Medicaid.

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  50. I really like the idea of a virtual baby shower or registry- or even a tip jar for donations for her. Rachel must be so scared right now. I don't have any good advice (I really wish that I did). But Ruth please let us know if there's anything that we can do. Maybe she can register at a wal-mart (or other type of store). Your readers can order online, and select an in-store delivery. She can then go pick up the items on her own. That's what we did for a friend who lived out of state, and that way there is no address. Or maybe we could set up a po box for gift cards, or send items to your brother. MY heart goes out to both of you.

    Drea

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  51. Chinton, that is certainly NOT true of the crisis pregnancy centers I have worked with. They are very supportive of women at all stages of their pregnancy, and offer post-pregnancy and post-abortive counseling as well as much practical help to new mothers. Yes, they are overtly anti-abortion, but that is not the issue with Rachel, who being raised Christian and likely still identifies herself as Christian would understand their frame of reference. If Ruth wishes to private message me, I will personally call the crisis pregnancy center(s) of her choice and see what they could offer Rachel.

    But please don't be dismissive of crisis pregnancy centers as only wanting to prevent abortions. That's as narrow-minded as saying that Planned Parenthood only wants to perform abortions. The issue here is where Rachel can receive the practical help to go through her pregnancy and provide for herself and her baby after he or she is born. I have seen crisis pregnancy centers offer this to many women, but perhaps Planned Parenthood would as well and I am just ignorant if this.

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    1. "That's as narrow-minded as saying that Planned Parenthood only wants to perform abortions."

      Off-topic, but thank you for saying this. Abortion is only a small part of what Planned Parenthood does, and is certainly not their main focus or their mission - but to hear some people tell it, their entire goal in life is to kill as many unborn babies as possible. So thank you for not spreading that bit of misinformation.

      However, this-
      "...that is not the issue with Rachel, who being raised Christian and likely still identifies herself as Christian would understand their frame of reference."
      -makes it sound like all Christians are automatically pro-life, and that isn't the case either. (Though I believe I understand how you meant it; and it's the wording, not the sentiment, that bothered me.)

      I have no experience with crisis pregnancy centers, but I deeply appreciate that you defended them without demonizing the more pro-choice options. And I feel like that shouldn't even be necessary to say, but the abortion issue is so polarizing... Anyway. No pro-life/pro-choice discussion here, please. Just well-wishes for Rachel and her baby.

      Ruth, if anything here is inappropriate or looks like it might cause trouble, please feel free to delete this comment.

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    2. Many crisis pregnancy centers provide a great deal of help. Everything from grocery gift cards to baby clothes and diapers, to post adoption counseling. Just wanted to say that they aren't the "bad guys."

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  52. I am very sorry that this has happened to your sister. I feel even worse for her when you said what happened with your father. What a terrible thing to has happened to you and then you not get the support that you really need. I have to say one thing though your brother's boss and family are real saints, taking in someone who they do not know and giving them the help they need is TRULY a great person. I want to wish your sister good luck in what even happens.

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  54. I am also 26 weeks prego right now, I can relate to your sister, YOUR FATHER IS EVILLLLL, EVIIIILLLLLL, and the baby's father is EVVVVIIILLLL as well not to MAN UP for his CREATION! If Rachel is "ho" than the baby's father is being a Double Duty MAN-HO right now!

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  55. Gothard's School of B.S. has nothing to do with any religion. The religion is just a cover-up, an excuse, a rationalization for the subjugation of women and children. It gives a self-absorbed, egotistical, narcisstic man the right to abuse his wife & children (male & female), and expect complete and utter obedience. That's all.

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