I know I've posted about this before, but due to some recent events, I feel the need to post about it again. I apologize, but I'm not going to cut it. I want as many people to read this as possible.
This young girl is Madison Parker. She is a bright, funny, and sweet child. She turns... 12, I believe, this month.
Her parents, Rick and Laurie (my father's office manager), were murdered in cold blood. She was only seven when it happened. You can read all about it here
, in a transcript from the Herald-Citizen. This is old news, and everything regarding the situation has long been taken care of, right?
Not quite. Because after her parents' death, Madison had to have somewhere to go. At first, there were no problems. Madison went to live with her grandmother, Arlene. They lived in DeKalb County for a while, but then moved to Florida, to be closer to Bill and Vicky, Madison's uncle and aunt, and the only other blood relatives she was even remotely close to.
But Arlene was old and started getting ill. She had to have serious medical operations performed and was in very poor health. I posted about that here
. For those not on my friends-list, here's an excerpt.
For those of you who have been on my f-list a while, you may remember me making a post about my dad's office manager and her husband who were murdered a couple of years ago.
Their daughter is back in Tennessee for a while, after having lived with her grandmother in Florida. Her grandmother is having very serious medical issues and has been in a hospital for 40 days. ...
It's really obvious that she doesn't want to go back to Florida. She loves it here in Tennessee. She hugged me three or four times before leaving. She looked really sad when she had to go.
June 9, 2007
Not long after that, Arlene passed away and Madison was once again brought back to Tennessee. I made a post about THAT here
. Again, an excerpt.
For those of you keeping track, I have updates about Madi. Her grandmother, Arlene, died while I was gone. And all of a sudden, relatives she doesn't even know are coming out of the woodwork, trying to adopt her. I don't know what they look like, but I can practically see dollar signs flashing in their eyes. Marie (one of my dad's employees) and her husband Gus, who are the ones who have been taking care of her since everything happened, are going to try and adopt her. But it won't be easy, since they'll be battling against blood relatives. But Madi wants to go with Marie and Gus, so maybe, just maybe that will help some.
The first thing to do was to get her back to Tennessee. If the situation got caught up in the courts in Florida, they would never stand a chance. There wasn't a way for anyone to come get her, so she flew back by herself.
June 26, 2007
Marie and Gus did succeed in gaining custody of her, but it wasn't easy. It also wasn't exactly a pleasant arrangement. They loved her, and she loved them, but Marie and Gus had two young boys (both younger than Madison), and Madison was used to be an only child and the center of attention. After a school year fraught with disturbances, Marie and Gus had to let Madison go. She was once again moved back to Florida, to live with Bill and Vicky.
Everything seemed like it was going fine, but Bill and Vicky were also both retired and too old to take care of Madison the way she needed. That, along with some more issues on Madison's part prompted their next action. And this is where it gets stupid.
Bill and Vicky decided they no longer wanted to keep Madison. They made plans for her to come back to Tennessee, stay with Marie and Gus again for awhile, and then basically be shunted around between homes of friends and summer camps. There was even a brief period of time where they suggested boarding school. But they felt that she would be upset if they told her all this, she would be angry and cause problems.
So they didn't. Madison came back to Tennessee alone, stayed with Marie and Gus for a week, went to summer camp, and then stayed with other family friends, the Delaneys, for a few weeks. Everything went well at the Delaneys. They had a young daughter named Mackenzie, only a year older than Madison and who was, while not thrilled, at least acceptant of it.
Unfortunately, that's not the end of the story. This is where it gets stupid.
Rick Parker had a sister named Judy who lives in Memphis and who, despite not making any sort of effort whatsoever
to come visit Madison over the past five years, suddenly decided she wanted custody of her. Now, if you're like me, you're probably going, "Um. Nooo
. That's stupid." And it is. No one knows Judy, Madison
barely even knows Judy, and she wants to take her back to Memphis to live with her? While, may I remind you, Madison has no idea that she's been given up yet again and is still under the impression that she will be going back to Florida? And Judy didn't even want to make an effort to come get her! She wanted someone else to drive Madison to
But despite all of the glaring reasons why Madison should not
go to Memphis, because Judy is a blood relative, she was able to gain temporary custody with a chance at it becoming permanent, and Madison was taken to Memphis.
is where it gets personal.
did not want to go and was very sad to leave, so to comfort her, my mother (to whom Madison has been very close for the past five years) promised to call her and check up on her, make sure she is happy and whatnot. And that's what she did. Yesterday my mother called Madison and talked to her for a grand total of 6 minutes. They talked about Memphis and about what Madison has been up to and her plans for the week. My mother did not mention anything about coming back to Tennessee or going back to Florida or anything of the sort.
But today, my mother got a call from Kelly Tayes, the guardian of Madison's estate
, not even any sort of legal guardian. Kelly told my mother that Judy called her, saying that Madison said she would be having her birthday party here, at our house, before she went back to Florida. And then Judy asked Kelly to tell my mother not to call anymore. My mother told Kelly that she said no such thing, didn't even mention coming home, and she and Kelly got into an argument about it, after which Kelly basically hung up on her. Now my mother is afraid that Kelly and Judy will be pushing for legal action to prevent us and anyone from Cookeville to have contact with Madison.
Now, let me make some things clear here. My mother is retired. She is 51, a breast cancer survivor, and the victim of daily aches and pains. My father is 46, a busy full-time doctor, and an occasional golfer. They have already built a retirement home on a golf course in Loudon. They do not
want custody of Madison, and are not even anywhere near capable of taking care of her. They do not
want to take Madison away from Judy and would, in fact, be very pleased if she were happy in Memphis. They do
, however, love Madison with all their hearts and want to be involved in her life. My mother can't even talk about Madison without crying anymore. If Judy does take this to the courts, it is almost a certainty that they will rule in her favor, by sheer virtue of the fact that Judy is a blood relative and my parents are not.
I'm tired of seeing my mother cry over this, which is why I'm making this post. I want to call attention to this situation. Please, share this entry with your friends. Tweet about it on Twitter, link it on Facebook, do whatever you can. I don't know what good it will do, but it's the only thing I can
If anyone out there who reads this has legal experience or any sort of advice about this situation, feel free to
b) tweet me
c) e-mail me
I appreciate any and all of you that took the time to read this post. It wasn't easy to write and I still have some doubts about whether or not this is a good idea. But like I said, it's all I can do.