When Lisa and John got married, it turned out that John was infertile. He couldn't father a baby. So, out of love the couple looked for another option. Through artificial insemination the happy couple was able to conceive a child - Isabella.
But the marriage - like so many - didn't last. Lisa wasn't happy with John, and by the time Isabella was 17 months old Lisa took Isabella and walked out. She moved from Vermont to Virginia, legally ended the marriage, and filed for child support from John.
But Vermont ruled that in addition to child support, John was also granted visitation rights for Isabella.
This really didn't sit well with Lisa - she didn't want John to have visitation rights. But she didn't have the means to fight it either. So she did something unusual. Lisa joined a religious cult, and asked them to protect her. In exchange for legal representation, Lisa would give the cult the right to exploit her however they saw fit.
This religious group worked very hard to keep John away from Isabella, and was successful for almost 5 years. But the law has finally caught up with Lisa - and she's facing possible federal charges over the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act. If convicted, John could gain sole custody of Isabella, of the daughter that isn't biologically his, but is his by love. The daughter that this evil cult worked so hard to keep separate from John.
If I ended the story right there - and you knew nothing more - how would you feel about it? Would your sympathies lie with John, or with his ex-wife Lisa?
After all, it's not as if Isabella is John's biological daughter. He doesn't have any right to her, does he? Or maybe you think that because John and Lisa were married that John should automatically have rights as a father?
But that's not the real story - it didn't happen quite that way.
There never was a "John". The father's name is Janet. Janet Jenkins is Isabella's second mother, and Janet and Lisa were joined by a legal civil union in the state of Vermont.
Most of the rest of the story is true. When Lisa couldn't get child support while denying visitation to Janet, she turned to a particularly nasty form of religion for help. In exchange for legal representation from Liberty Counsel, Lisa has been acting as a poster-child for the Christian Ex-Gay movement. She tells people that Christianity cured her of being homosexual.
It is an arrangement of convenience, a type of prostitution.
I hope Isabella is healthy and thriving. I wish her nothing but the best. And some day I hope she gets at least regular visits with her second mother.