By: Joey McGinley, founder of TruthGasm
July 14th, 2010. 2:09 PM. Janet Weiss Children’s Hospital.
It was on that date, time and place that a True beauty was brought into this world but with her also came the greatest enigma of my life. This article isn’t about aliens or Kennedy or Sasquatch; no, it is more personal than that and indeed a mystery that only Truth can solve. I appreciate you taking the time to read this, as it is not about me; it is the story of a little girl names Lydia Eileen McGinley and how her forced absence in my life has changed me as a man.
Our “justice” system is wrong. I do not know whether you, Dear Reader, have ever had to go in front of a Judge and have him ruin your life but I can tell you, from experience, it is not a jovial matter, ESPECIALLY when you are involved in a situation where the game is rigged against you.
For 4 years I fought for Lydia. 20 months I spent locked away in the dungeon our officials called the “county prison,” kind of worked against me however it is not like i chose to be there. At that time I was fighting my case, trying to get out and focus on getting my Daughter back. “Mom” had quit a long time before that. What a waste. She had so much potential to be a great house wife, mother and friend. One of the most bright and inquisitive women I have ever met in my life. In fact, Dear Reader, if not for her, Truthgasm may not even exist. Sure, I was into all that stuff but it was her that really opened my eyes. Indeed she did have the potential to be a star; instead her light began to flicker mere weeks into my 20 month odyssey into the corruption and hypocrisy of the “Judicial System” you all put your faith into.
Whether I was sitting in my cell late at night, with my 25 cent radio they made us pay $26 for in Commissary listening to Coast to Coast AM with George Noory or planted at the Poker table betting torn up card as chips for Ramen Noodles and stamped envelopes, I always had Lydia on my mind. At the end of Jan. 2011., now President Judge, Charles Saylor, had signed off on a court order removing Lydia from the foster home and placing her with her mom’s cousin who also was a foster home. We felt, as did Northumberland County Children and Youth, that Kinship, as they call it, was a better option than placing her with complete strangers. I knew the game was rigged on Feb. 14th, 2011. That was the day of my family’s own Valentine’s Day Massacre in Courtroom 3 at the Northumberland County Courthouse. C&Y, the Guardian ad litem, her mom and I were all under the impression that this was just routine to make her Kinship official.
Unbeknownst to anyone, the Foster people showed up with their OWN lawyer as well! They had NO RIGHT being in the courtroom yet they force Lydia, who, due to PA law, always had to be in the courtroom during proceedings, and her Kinship father to sit in the hallway so that they could argue their “right” to Lydia since they had “formed a bond” with her. C&Y caseworkers, supervisors, lawyers were all stunned. They had no idea this was happening. Remember, Lydia was 7 months old that day and had been with that Family on and off as much as she was with us. “Formed a bond?” Collectively, they had her about 2 out of her 7 months of life. This isn’t a 7 year old kid we are talking about. Hell, at this point, Lydia didn’t even have knee caps!!! She couldn’t talk, she couldn’t walk, she couldn’t feed herself…how in the hell can it be said that Lydia formed this so-called “bond” with these people when Lydia wasn’t able in any way shape or form able to communicate those feelings back? No, Dear Reader, what happened here is a well off family saw an opportunity to steal a child from one of the peasants because of the money she would bring in to their home. Lydia had been diagnose with a condition that I will not even begin to spell because it is ridiculously long and confusing. In laments terms, the 2 plates in the front of her skull fused in the womb and needed to be separated by means of cosmetic surgery. How does that help the Foster folks financially? Well, not only would they be getting a big fat check from the state for her every month but they ALSO would get more than usual due to her “disability.” I would really like to know the Foster folk’s financial situation from July 2010 until February 2011. What was their real motive here? They claim to be a Christian family yet here is a Father, that they personally got to know over a few months, begging to have his Daughter come home yet they stood firm on their pedestal laughing the whole time at my useless attempts to get her back. Speaking of which, about 5 month’s after i got out of jail, my caseworker at the time, Leslie, sat on my couch in my living room going over routine paperwork and the Permanency Plan, looked me dead in the eye and said “Joe, you can take all the classes you want and fight as hard as you want but Lydia is never going to be with you.” Is it not their job to reunite families who bust their ass to better themselves and make progress? The big thing going against me, which also will show you the absolute corruption these people spew out, was a pieces of paper that spelled out the progress I was making towards getting Lydia back. This would be read by the Judge and his determination would be greatly influenced by it. It stated, “is in LOW compliance with the permanency plan in that he has taken the classes recommended by this agency however he has not demonstrated the skills learned in those classes.” I am just curious as to how ANYONE can “demonstrate the skills learned in those classes” when you, personally, are ensuring I never get visitation with my daughter in the first place?!?!?!?!? My life is and always will be, like the permanency order I just described to you, a giant paradox.
There was another party involved in the decision making process and their organization was called CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocate. These people were volunteers, had no training or skills necessary to be able to influence a Judge and possibly ruin a family, yet they were given as much say, or, in this case, significantly more say than the people at C&Y and the Guardian ad litem who, mind you, is now the District Attorney of our county! It was also found out that the CASA people shared the same office and sat within inches of Judge Saylor! Corruption much?
When it came time for the judge to ask what the recommendations were, C&Y, the Caseworker, the Supervisor and the Guardian ad Litem, all trained professionals who have been doing their jobs for years, all recommended Lydia remain in Kinship. However, the CASA lady’s opinion was that Lydia was “better suited” with the foster folks than the Kinship family. Now, I don’t know about you, but when I make a comparison between two different things, they are always things that I know of and/or have experienced in life at some point. In this case, the comparison is that Lydia fits better with the Foster Folks than the Kinship family. The kicker here is that CASA had never been to nor had they ever been in contact with the Kinship family to observe Lydia in their home or to see how Lydia fit in with the family! I can tell you that since then, I have stayed in touch with the Kinship family and have seen them work with many Foster kids over the last few years. There was no better place for Lydia in this world at that time than with her Family! However, CASA disagreed and recommended the Judge vacate his order and return Lydia to the Foster folks immediately. Their lawyer spoke up and told the judge how much of a bond the Foster people had formed with her and that they love her so much and since they had her for a period of time, they deserved to have her back. Much was made of the fact that, at the time, I did not know either of the Kinship parents, despite them being Lydia’s mom’s cousins, and that it had been a while since her Mom had any contact with them. Um, what? How does that even matter? Why does that even matter? I hadn’t had contact with the Foster family either so….???
Finally, it was time for the Judge’s decision. He concluded that when he signed the temporary order to have Lydia moved from Foster to Kinship, he must have been having a busy day and did not remember signing it. Sorry, Judge Saylor, but that is the most ridiculous shit i have ever heard…well, up to THAT point, i mean. “I don’t remember signing it.” Think about that for a second…go ahead, I’ll wait……………ok, now here comes some brutal, honest Truth: Sorry Charlie, but what the Fuck does that even mean? Who gives a shit if you do not remember signing it. You sign tons of court orders every week so i am SURE that you do not remember every one of them. What is your problem, not paying attention to your work?! If I sign a contract with you, Dear Reader, to purchase your Car and 2 weeks later you come to be about fulfilling that contract but I say I do not remember signing it, does that mean it doesn’t matter at all? This can go one of two ways: This Judge is LITERALLY admitting in open court that he was/is signing court orders without even reading them OR he is reading them and signing them routinely however in the meantime an outside influence, maybe CASA who shared an office with him or maybe the Foster folks/their attorney, had a private little chit chat on the side, outside of open court and influenced him to change his mind. Either one is, to put it bluntly, either absolute laziness or absolute corruption but they BOTH are absolute criminal matters/ abuse of their power. At last, the Judge had ruled that he did not remember signing the order and, as such, vacated the order, remanded Lydia back with the Foster folks and terminated our visitation. This was the beginning of the end of my struggle. From that day forward, I was given a new caseworker, who was mentioned above as Leslie. She was a stone cold, heartless bitch. She did’t care about Lydia or my family. She was pissed that I would not quit. She tried many times, while I was in jail and after i got out, to get me to sign my rights away to Lydia. Every time i told them thanks for the toilet paper! She, nor did the Agency, like the fact that this peasant is semi-educated and was not going to go down without a fight. In the end, even my lawyer fell victim to the corruption by not listening to any of my solidly reviewed/well researched requests and finally backing me into a corner to where I had no choice but to sign that toilet paper.
This was an injustice. A miscarriage of justice. This situation has destroyed me mentally. In fact, I started Truthgasm to try and get my mind focused on other topics. Here I am, almost 2 years after i handed them what they wanted and I still not over it. Not a day goes by that I do not think about Lydia and the life we should have had together. I am not rich. I can’t afford Disney World. Hell, I could barely afford Knoebels! Life, though, isn’t about what one can and cannot afford. Life is about Love. Those four letters have more meaning than any other combination of letters in any language or alphabet. Those four letters are what keep me going. It seems as of late that Love has been twisted, distorted or completely diluted to mean something else entirely. Some guys beat up their female companions out of love. Some people tell every person they talk to that they love them. Some folks say they love someone yet secretly they are seeing someone else and telling them the same thing. Some parents tell their kids they love them yet hurt them in the most brutal and inhumane fashions possible. Lydia has shown me what Love really is. Love is what drove me to fight so hard for her despite being told I would never see her again. Love is what caused me to stay up countless nights reviewing Federal, State and case law in order to take the fight to them. Love is kept me from ending my own life many times over many years. It is absolutely mind blowing how a child, my own child, has reshaped my mind and shown me things that in my previous 26 years I had never knew were possible.
Lydia, sadly, is living a lie. The Foster folks are lying to her. Every time Lydia calls Susie, the female foster lady, “mommy,” she is allowing Lydia to play into her lie. Every time she or any of them tell Lydia they “love” her, they are lying to her. How can you Love someone when you are lying to them every single day? How can you look your stolen child in the eye knowing that you stole her from a person who fought so hard to get her home, where she belongs? That is not Love…based on my observations during the last 6 years, I have determined that it is nothing more than greed and vanity. Am I honored by the fact that MY child was such a highly coveted prize to complete strangers? Sure…in it’s own, quirky way, I am. That doesn’t make it better. What does make it better is knowing that no matter what they change her name to, no matter how many lies they tell her, no matter how many years they will get to experience all the memories I should be experiencing, that blood that runs through her veins is McGinley blood. Those genes that make up her chromosomes are mine. Those cells that fit together to make Lydia who she is are mine! They cannot take that from us! They cannot take the few but precious memories we had together.
Lydia’s mom and I are very open minded and inquisitive thinkers. That most definitely passed on to my Liddie Bittie. Take that and couple it with the fact that she looks nothing like anyone in that “family” and one day she is going to look in the mirror and ask herself, “who am i?” The seed has already been planted. At a court hearing, of which the time and date allude me at the moment, the judge personally referred to me as “Lydia’s Biological Father” to which I replied “yes sir, I am the Biological AND Rightful father of that little girl right there, of Lydia Eileen McGinley” at which time I turned around and pointed at Lydia, who’s eyes met mine as a confused look came upon her face. I then heard Lydia ask Susie, ” Mommy, is that really my Daddy?” to which Susie quickly brushed it off and told her to be quiet. Several times after that I turned around to see Lydia standing and staring at me. A little off subject but I am always told how beautiful my eyes are. I never noticed because I don’t see them a lot but when I do in, say, a mirror or a picture, they always look normal to me. Taking it back to Lydia and her stare, it was at that moment i understood what countless people have told me over the years about my own eyes. Her eyes pierced my mind and my soul and filled me with such an overwhelming feeling of Love and confusion that I will never forget. You never realize when moments you will remember your entire life are going to happen and that moment is one I will never forget. THAT was the planting of the seed. She was four years old at the time. Sure, that is young, but if she has the same memory her Daddy has, which was often referred to as “the memory of an elephant,” she is always going to remember the day where that man sat in that chair and told everyone in that room that he was her REAL Daddy.
They say that Love conquers all. In my case, it wasn’t enough to bring my Lydia home. It wasn’t enough for a fair fight. It wasn’t even good enough for a 1 hour visit every two weeks in an 8X10 room. All of that doesn’t matter anymore. What does matter is that Love has kept me going. Love has kept me alive. Love has given me faith that the seed that was planted, in combination with the open mindedness she inherited from her mother and father, will bring her home one day. Love has given me the strength to type these words and tell this story to anyone who is willing to take the time to learn about our struggle. They also say that the Internet is forever. Indeed I could go back right now and find silly websites friends and I made 15 years ago….in this case, it is only a handful of years until the Internet will be at Lydia’s fingertips….maybe she is reading this right now! If you are, Lydia, I want to thank you for keeping your Daddy going. All the time lost will not matter when the time comes that you are ready to learn the Truth and start all over again!
I Love You Lydia Eileen McGinley and always believe that Love conquers all!