Bode Miller’s All-American Fantasy – Family Court Style

This past week, I was reading through US Weekly while in the pumping room at work.  Typically, there isn’t enough time to actually read the articles so most of the time I just browse and look at the pictures.  When I saw the above picture, however, I nearly spilled breast milk all over myself.  Upon first glance, and if you don’t know the back story here, this just looks like a picture of a happy couple with their happy little baby.  The man is Bode Miller.  He is with his new wife, who is holding his son “Nate”.  What this picture doesn’t show, however, is that Nate’s name is actually Sam (Miller decided he didn’t like the name the child’s mother gave him, so he started calling him something else) and the chic holding him isn’t his mom.  Sam’s mom, ex-Marine Sara McKenna, is the woman who Miller describes as a “fling”.  A woman he treated like dirt upon finding out she was pregnant (see text message quotes below), and a woman he appears to be attempting to ignore as a permanent part of his son’s life.

Many American’s cheered for Miller during the Olympics – he was an alpine skier trying to set world records.  This  US weekly article paints Miller as a loving father who is fighting for custody to his son.  What it doesn’t mention, however, is what this man said to the mother of his child before he decided he wanted to take her to court.

“I’m not going to do this with u Sara. U made this choice against my wish and gave me no say. U are going to do this on your own.” Miller told the child’s mother, ex-marine Sara McKenna.

“Having a once a month Dad is not something he deserves, and you should take the chance to walk away while I am still agreeing to it.” Miller continued.

After the above text messages, McKenna decided to move to New York in order to pursue her degree.  Given what Miller said that he didn’t want to be a father, she went ahead and moved while she was pregnant.  After she moved, however, Miller changed his mind.  McKenna was then slammed by a New York judge for moving while pregnant.  The custody battle continues, but what is concerning to me is the dangerous precedent that appears to have been set in this case.  Now, in addition to women having to fight to protect their children, we are going to be told when and where we can travel while pregnant.  McKenna was essentially treated by the courts, and by Miller, as an incubator.  As soon as she had the baby, Miller started to call the child something else and flaunted his new wife as if she was the child’s biological mother.

What This Means:

As I looked at this picture, I tried to understand why it made me so damn angry.  It wasn’t the fact that Miller seemed happy with his new wife, or even that the new wife was holding the child (in an ideal world this child’s step mom should love him).  It was the fact that I can imagine how McKenna must have felt when she saw this picture.  So many women are seen by the court system as “scorned”, but instead of sloshing all of us off as scorned, try and imagine how it would feel to have the person you love most in life taken from you by someone who views you the way Miller obviously views the mother of his child.

Here is a man who basically told his ex to abort the child, and when he changes his mind – our courts hand him access on a silver platter.  Should he have contact with his child?  Of course he should.  He is his father, and by all indications he doesn’t appear to be dangerous.  That said, he should be encouraged by the courts (if not out right forced) to at least pretend to respect the child’s mother.  If he cannot even acknowledge the name the mother picked for the child (when he was mysteriously absent from the birth), this is clearly a problem.

When I was in court, I was terrified.  I was terrified that my son would be hurt (given the fact that people around my ex kept getting killed).  The other day, I tried to imagine how I would have felt if I hadn’t been as concerned about Prince’s safety.  How would I have felt if I just didn’t like Luc as a person, and didn’t think he would be a good influence on Prince.  How would I have felt if after treating me as someone he had just used and abused, he had thrown me aside as he moved in a new woman (and took family pictures with my son as if to show that I had been replaced).  I would like to believe that I would have been strong enough to just be happy that he loved my son, but I think the truth is – that might be asking too much of most of us.

Impossible Super Human Strength:

The courts continuously ask parents to lay their humanity at the doors of the court before entering the court room.  When we act human by crying or expressing fears, we are punished.  When we leave relationships where we are treated poorly, and then have to hand our children over to an abuser, we are scared.  When woman (and men) have to turn their children over to someone they cannot stand to even look at, it is going to cause tremendous pain – even if you know that your child should have access.  The courts do not punish parents for behavior that is not conducive to raise a child.  So most of the time, the co-parent is left in a position to just bite their tongue and try not to show the very raw human emotion that all of us would feel if put in the same situation.

This picture made me sad for all of the men and women who have safety concerns about the person with whom they are forced to co-parent.  It is sad and scary because Family Court is a place where emotions run high.  It is scary because even without a security concern, most people who have gone through Family Court would not be able to look at this photo and not get heated about it.

Looking at this picture made me terribly sad for this little boy.  He deserves to have his mother and his father.  Even if the two of them are not together, he deserves to have parents who can respect each other.  He deserves to be called by his birth name.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. And please, these foolish women who think it wont happen to them and act like “the new mommy” and enable these irresponsible men by taking over the care of these children. Body took his son and passed him off to nannys and his new wife per court records.

  2. wow I had no idea about this other side of the story. Thanks for sharing

  3. I hadn’t even heard of this case until you posted this, so I did a google search to get a little more of the story. There was an article written on Slate website about this case- very much siding with the mother- that had the following comment……It made my blood boil!!!!

    “Bode provides a financially stable family and a willing mother. What is in the best interest of the child? A stable household or a poverty-stricken college student that will ignore him.”

    Below is my response because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut!

    “this has absolutely no bearing on the case. Just because the mother is going to school doesn’t mean she is poverty-stricken or would ignore her child, but even if she is poverty stricken that doesn’t mean that the child is better off with someone else. If that was the case every family that was on welfare would have their children taken away from them to live with another family because their biological family is “poor.” Money should have absolutely no bearing on where the child is placed, yes it does take money to raise a child, but that alone should not be a deciding factor as to where the child lives and with whom the child lives with!”

    I know this wasn’t the direction your post was going, but when I read this statement I was furious. We are a 2 parent household who both work full-time outside of the home. We are definitely not poverty-stricken but we also don’t have padded bank accounts either, we can live comfortably and that’s what matters most. We are also foster parents, and currently have placement of a 3 month old baby that we have had since she was 2 days old and we picked her up from the hospital. Her parents do not work, have no way to support her other than to live off of state assistance, but I do not feel that for that reason alone she should not return to her family home. Unfortunately the parents aren’t doing what they need to do in order to provide a SAFE environment for her, so there is a very good chance that we will adopt her, but it is for THAT reason alone that she may stay with us, not because we can provide a better life for her, or not because we have more money than they do.

    Sorry to get off onto another tangent on this story but I had to vent a little as this really made me angry! The parent that has the most money isn’t necessarily the best parent to raise the child.

    • cappuccinoqueen says:

      I completely agree BJ. Just because she is in school doesn’t mean she doesn’t have time for her child or money. She is going to school under the GI bill so her schooling is going to be paid for. She is going to attend a highly respected university so that means she must also be very educated. This mom is trying to do better for her son by getting her education so that she can be more financially stable. Bode, on the other hand, doesn’t appear to have too much time on his hands either.

  4. Also I agree with you on his name….He needs to be called by his birth name so he is not confused, at almost 1 (or 1) he should recognize his name.

    IF we are able to adopt the baby we have currently placed with us we will be changing her name. That is our right as her adopted parents, and for her safety I feel it is important. That being said for the time being we do call her by her birth name, because until we know for sure that she will be with us forever that is her given name and her family deserves for us to respect their choice, even if I don’t personally like the name, or feel that it “fits” her well.

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