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Letter to Senator Clinton

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton                                                     March 11, 2002
c/o Aprill Springfield, Legislative Aid
476 Russell Office Building Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-4451
Fax: 202-228-0282

Dear Aprill Springfield,

I am writing this letter to you to ask a very direct question. What is Senator Clinton's position regarding Kids Rights? Is she for or against kids having equal parents in their young lives?

Hillary Clinton has been a champion of Children's issues. She is a logical person for AKidsRight.Org to ask these questions. Her role as federal legislator requires that we insist upon an answer to our questions directly from her.

It has been 2 long months since Cathy Calhoun met with John Murtari in the halls of the federal building in Syracuse. My kids and I are in such pain since the judge's decision to separate them from their Dad. Their Dad can hardly believe this could happen here in these free United States.

I represent the people at AKidsRight.Org. Please take a look at www.AKidRight.Org. We want parents to have equal access to their kids. It's a shame the world has taken such a detour and has created this mess of custodial, non-custodial, joint custody, shared custody ... etc. In my opinion, none of that has anything to do with the best interest of kids.

A child is always a child of his/her parent. All of us have an unalienable and fundamental right to continue a relationship with our own kids. Any law that prevents it is clearly, not constitutional. Our kids have a right, endowed by our creator, to be protected by their parents when they are young (or older, for that matter). We put criminals in custody, not kids. A joint endeavor connotes you are together. Nothing could be further from the reality of it all. We don't share; we are 100% parents.

I don't even understand the thinking that says you MUST get along with your ex in order for the kids to continue a positive relationship with both their parents. If you got along in the 1st place you might still be married. The relationship each of you has with your kids is completely separate; why force it together. That is the last place I want to return to.

I was separated 3 years ago and divorced last year. My ex tried to move the kids away; change their schools, etc. A thoughtful judge said no. He ordered the kids to live in both homes. One week with mom; the next with dad. At 1st I thought it was crazy. I think most people do when they are told about it. But, it worked very well. In fact after 2 years of doing this we all got along great. I rarely spoke to my ex nor did she speak to me, it just wasn't necessary. Our kids were happy and growing and living at peace in our village.

The weekly schedule is simple. The kids exchange parents every week on the same day and at the same time (in my case, 6pm Sunday). Weeks repeat every week and the kids see it as their normal routine. They continued at the same school. Their friends and associates remained the same. It's also important for mom and dad to live as close as possible. We were 9 miles apart and that worked well.

Now, I see my kids in accordance with the Standard Visitation Order. Nothing can be more oppressive than this order. The kids exchange parents 4 times a week (Wednesdays, 5 'til 8pm or sometimes 'til 9am the next day). Then there is my "1st right of refusal" every Friday. They alternate weekends, except when there are holidays. There are birthdays, mother's day and father's day; school vacations ... each screws-up the routine. The schedule changes in even and odd years. It's so crazy that the kids can't possibly keep track of it. I disagree with my ex every other week because she refuses to follow the order. You see, "she makes the rules now", according to her. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are headed back to court; there's no avoiding it.

I've explained to my kids that the judge's order of sole custody is only temporary. When they turn 21 years old they will become my kids again. Right now, as sad as it is for them, they will need to settle for one parent only.

I was once introduced to a children's rights advocate. She said in a letter that she helps kids that "...have no families due to abuse". I just had to ask her how this could happen to kids and parents. I explained that there's a strong lobby for government reform, especially in Colorado (where kids are shooting each other in school) to reverse the oppressive tactics by some bad apples in organizations like child protective services. There are moms and dads all over the world, who are having kids taken away for as little as simply opposing the advice from a social worker. In Massachusetts, a woman refused to marry her live-in boyfriend against the advice of a social worker, and her kids were placed in foster care on false charges of abuse. There's another girl in Washington who was taken away at age 9, placed in foster care, and she's now featured in porn films there. Her parents are at wits-end trying to right a wrong that can never be realized. I read countless other stories of abhorrent behavior from these so-called "well-meaning" people.

You may not agree, but I am certain that Tom Jefferson knew that the government had no role in taking "Unalienable" rights from citizens. He wrote that there are rights, endowed by our creator that a government of the people has no right to infringe upon. All rights are not enumerated in the constitution; many rights are obvious. For instance, the right to continue a relationship with your own child is a basic, fundamental, human right that is everyone's liberty interest, our life, our right to privacy and surely both a parent's and child's pursuit of happiness.

For those who advocate the actions of groups like Child Protective Services, how do you rationalize that a charge of abuse constitutes the state's duty to remove kids from Parents? It's one of our movement's most difficult issues to resolve. We believe, and I'm not alone, that the state must show, beyond a reasonable doubt, with a preponderance of evidence that there is a compelling state interest to remove a child from his or her parent. To achieve such a violation of rights, every citizen has the protections described in the 14th amendment. You must not be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process. That requires the state to bring the accused to trial with a jury if they request one. The accused is innocent until proven guilty and they have a right to counsel; and if they can't afford it, then they get help from the state.

You can read the collection of sad stories from our members at The Hall of Shame. These parents and their kids want what is right. I love my kids dearly. It's hard for me to grasp a notion that these parents and kids are not deserving of more of your time.

Please answer our questions.
Thank you,
Richard Eichinger