Kierstin's Life

Date Event Description
Spring 1999: I meet Kierstin's mother as she stalked me by constantly calling for me specifically to provide her cab service to and from work.
Summer 1999: Kierstin's mother tells me she thinks she is pregnant, but is not sure that the baby is mine, we discuss several alternatives if she really is pregnant, but I told her I did not believe her to be pregnant, and I did not believe that I was the father if she were--our relationship had been short, sporadic, and protected except for one time, which is of course sufficient, but is not likely, especially since there was another man at the time that she had a more complete relationship with, including actually living with him, at a place unknown to me. She disappeared without a trace after our discussion regarding her possible pregnancy
Late Summer 1999: After not seeing Kierstin's mother for some time, I get to wondering about her and her alleged unborn child. So I try to find her by contacting various places where she had been known to work in the past. I finally find where she is, but through her supervisor, she tells me she doesn't want to talk to me. It is not clear that she is actually pregnant, as I didn't get to see her, and no one told me that she was pregnant.
February 26, 2000: Kierstin is born. I am totally unaware of this event at the time, as I have been out of contact with Kierstin's mother as noted above. See DSS Social Worker's Notes, Page 01, February 28, 2000 entry
February 28, 2000: Kierstin's mother meets Orange County DSS social worker to discuss giving up custody of Kierstin. She tells the social worker that I might be the father, but is not certain that I am. At some point between this date and early in March, the county attorney's office apparently acquired my name and address, and were thus in a position to have notified me very early, but they did not do so.  See DSS Social Worker's Notes, Page 01, Februrary 28, 2000 entry
February 29, 2000: Kierstin's mother is still convinced she wants to give up Kierstin to the State of NY. DSS social worker arranges placement. SeeDSS Social Worker's Notes, Page 01, February 29, 2000 entry
March 1, 2000 Since Kierstin's mother abandoned her in the hospital the day before, Kierstin entered foster care, being placed immediately into her first foster-to-adopt home, despite the fact that DSS had made no attempt to notify me that she had been born. Nor had DSS notifed any member of Kierstin's extended family before this placement, as required under the law. See DSS Social Worker's Notes, Page 01, March 1, 2000 entry  
March 2, 2000 Kierstin's mother apparently has a change of mind, attempts to get Kierstin back, as a 'friend of the family' was now interested in having Kierstin. The DSS social worker made it clear that this could not happen, as Kierstin could only be released directly to Dawn, and only after Dawn could prove that she could provide for her. So preparations were begun to make Kierstin adoptable, despite the fact that I was totally ignorant of Kierstin's existence due to a lack of any notification from DSS, as they are required by law to do in such situations. See DSS Social Worker's Notes, Page 01, March 2, 2000 entry,
DSS Social Worker's Notes, Page 02, March 2, 2000 entry

After the social worker told Dawn that Kierstin could not come back to her, Dawn asked about meeting the people the baby was with. The social worker told Dawn that the baby was in a foster family and could not yet be adopted, but that she would ask the people when the time comes for the adoption to take place.
No one as yet had attempted to contact me or anyone in the family, as New York State Law requires. 

The social worker told Kierstin's mother that if there were any particular attributes she would like to see in the adoptive family she could tell the social worker, and she would work towards that goal. Kierstin's mother said she just wanted the family to not be prejudiced. Clearly DSS was working from the begining to adopt Kierstin out, despite any violation they might be doing to my rights or the rights of my family, including Kierstin's half-sister, B'Rekka.

March 10, 2000 Kierstin's mother visits the social worker in her office, where they go over the voluntary surrender and placement instrument, which Kierstin's mother signs. There is no mention of me in any way, as DSS continues to completely ignore my fundamental US Constitutional right to raise my child.
March 24, 2000 Kierstin's mother called the social worker's office, letting her know that she got a notice for a court appearnce on April 10th, 2000, but no time had been specified. The social worker tells Kierstin's mother what the time is, and then the social worker asks Kierstin's mother is she will need transportation to the court. This offer is the only offer of support services that the social worker ever makes during the whole time of this case, despite her legal duty to offer support services to the parents with the express goal of keeping children out of foster care. In this case, instead the support is offered to help keep Kierstin in foster care system so she could be adopted out, per DSS's plan from the first day, by getting Kierstin's mother to court on time.

The social worker also asked Kierstin's mother is she understands what will happen at the court appearance. Kierstin's mother said that she understood that she would be signing papers to give up Kierstin. At this time, the social worker asked if Kierstin's mother has had contact with me. Her reply was that she had not, and that she had no idea whether I would show up in court. By this time, I had not recieved any notification, though the County's Attorney for this case would later allege that he had sent me a letter in early March. I never recieved such a letter, nor has any copy of it ever shown up in any discovery request or court proceeding. Further more, the first letter was allegedly sent through normal US Mail, which is an improper service of notice, even if it had been sent.

This same day, the first set of foster-to-adopt couple visited the social worker's office. The social worker tells them that "we will be going into court on April 10th, for the signing of the surrender by the mother. But I have no idea whether the Dad will show up in court". This statement is only pertinent to the couple if they are a foster-to-adopt couple, as regular foster couples have no need of knowing nor have any interest in such matters. This is an issue, as the social worker later maintained that there had been no foster-to-adopt placement, despite all of her actions and statements in her notes to the contrary.

Approximately March 26 I recieve a letter from the County Attorney's office via normal US Mail, again an improper service avenue for such documents. Because of my cognitive disabilities, I have limited reading capablity, in particular, I have problems understanding what I am reading. I can decipher individual words, usually, but most of the time, I latch onto one word, and use that to try to understand the full context. In this case, I had been sent a legal document that I could not decipher even partially. I did find a telephone number on it, which I called, and I tried to explain to the person on the other end what I needed in terms of the letter, but they told me they didn't have a clue what I was talking about and hung up on me. The only thing they said that made sense to me was that they had nothing on the court calendar in April with my name attached to it. Since they told me that there was no court appearance scheduled with my name on it, I didn't know what to think, except it was clear that I wasn't needed in court. Additionally, B'Rekka, my oldest daughter, who was in the third grade at the time, was able to tell me that the last paragraph of the letter said that my appearance in court was not requrired. B'Rekka also told me that the letter referred to some kind of 'instrument'. The only instrument I could think of that they might have meant was my violin. Why anyone wanted to have a court appearance about my violin, I couldn't understand, which is why I called the number on the letter in the first place. So, between the phone call and B'Rekka's reading of the letter, I was at a loss to understand what it was I needed to do. 

Now, I know more about this letter. It was the same letter Kierstin's mother had gotten, and the instrument was the notice contained in the letter, and it was about her signing her rights away. I also now know that when I called the number, the people on the other end, once they realized I seriously could not understand the letter they had sent me, are legally obligated to have an Americans with Disabilities Counselor advise me on what the letter meant. Not offering me this help was an ADA violation, and even now, the Orange County courts do not have this mandatory counselor for any of their courts despite the legal requirement of one per court. As will be later seen, the whole county court case turns on the fact that I was not in court on April 10, 2000. Complaints have been filed with the appropriate Federal agency regarding the Orange County violations of the ADA.

April 10, 2000 Kierstin's mother appears in court before Judge Bivona to sign the surrender papers. Judge Bivona asks Kierstin's mother why she wants to sign the surrender instruments and whether she wanted to talk to a lawyer, minister, or social worker. But never once asked about me, about whether I had been notified, or about whether any investigation into family members who might wish to take care of Kierstin, despite New York law requiring such an invcstigation and notification. So Judge Bivona, by not determining whether all requirements had been met, by accepting Kierstin's mother's surrender and making an order in support of placing Kierstin in the foster care system, overstepped his legal bounds. It is not clear that Judge Bivona even knew what New York law was in this situation, as in later proceedings he continually failed to show an understanding of the New York law regarding father's rights in a surrender of parental rights by a mother. And worse, actually tried to apply adoption law when there was not adoption pending nor was Kierstin then or ever eligible for adoption under New York law.  Judge Bivona's pattern on the bench has been for years to ignore New York law in favor of doing what ever he thinks he wants to do.

As soon as the hearing was over, the social worker gets in touch with the foster-to-adopt couple and tells them "that the mom signed, but Dad was not served. It will have to go back on the calendar." During this discussion, the foster couple informs the social worker that health problems with the woman might mean that the baby would have to be removed from the home, despite their desire to have it otherwise. Another important point in this is that it was known on April 10 that because I had not recieved an offical service of process, my rights were still active and pending. A year later, Judge Bivona, again apparently ignorantly or willfully, disregarded the fact that my procedural due process rights had been violated and that the April 10 surrender and order of placement did not remove my own rights, and denied my custody of Kierstin soley on the grounds of my having not been at that hearing.

NOTE: Disabled pesrson, no ADA counselor, no adequate service of process == invalid hearing, yet this invalid hearing is what Judge Bivona hitches his 'legal logic' for denying me custody or even vistitation regarding my daugher, while maintaining in his order that I am clearly a fit and able father.