Operation Vanessa: How You Can Help!
This is a story that’s come to light in California & we thought it was important enough to raise awareness among our NMO community. At the end of the article there are ways we can all help this fellow mom keep her daughter & move forward with living their lives together as a family!
About Operation Vanessa:
Current adoption custody cases seem to focus on rightful ownership by biological parents rather than the child’s welfare. Divorce custody cases have progressed to where the child’s welfare is paramount. Shouldn’t adoption custody cases follow this lead?
At the center of this case is two-year-old Baby Vanessa Doss, who was adopted at birth by Stacey Doss in June 2008 and spent all of her life with Stacey in her home in Rancho Santa Margarita (Orange County), CA. Unfortunately, Baby Vanessa’s birth mother signed under penalty of perjury that she did not know who the birth father was, and Vanessa’s birth was the result of a one-night stand. Stacey Doss believes she did this to protect the baby.
Benjamin Mills Jr. came forward to claim Vanessa, and when Vanessa was four months old, DNA tests proved Mills was her biological father. Very sadly, Benjamin Mills is an unfit father who has served time for domestic violence against Baby Vanessa’s birth mother. His records show that he strangled the birth mother, including domestic abuse taking place in front of two of his daughters. According to Dayton’s Children’s Services, he currently has open child endangerment charges, hasn’t paid child support for his other children and has been denied custody of his four other children.
Courts in California and Ohio fought over jurisdiction for about two years. On July 2nd, the Orange County Family Court in California gave jurisdiction to Ohio. Ohio issued an order for Baby Vanessa to be returned by July 16th where she would either be put into foster care or given to Benjamin Mills’ mother with night visits from him. However, Baby Vanessa’s adoptive mother Stacey had her attorneys file an emergency appeal on July 5th to stay the July 16th handover date. On July 14th, Stacey and Baby Vanessa received the good news that this appeal was granted!
7/14/10 Statement from Stacey Doss:
“The California Court of Appeal has granted us our appeal request for an immediate temporary stay. The response states, ‘…the child shall not be removed from Orange County, CA, until further order of this court.’ This means that Vanessa is safe in California, with me, for the time being. We are elated that the emergency stay is based on the Appellate Court’s concern for Vanessa’s best interest. Today’s decision is one victory in what will likely be a long fight. We are hoping that this case is somehow precedent setting for all children in this country.”
There has been press coverage on the Baby Vanessa Doss adoption custody case that has been on regional TV news and in the Orange County Register and Dayton Daily News, as well as on Good Morning America.
Here are just a few of the stories:
How NMO Members Can Help:
We have seen such an outpouring of support for Operation Vanessa, but this fight is not over and we still need to raise a considerable amount of money to cover mounting legal fees to help Stacey continue to fight to keep Vanessa, especially if this goes to the Supreme Court. Also, since the birth father, Benjamin Mills has free legal aid, he will just keep on fighting since there is no financial risk for him. So now our main focus is to come up with ways to fundraise and encourage donations.
We also encourage individuals to contact us through OperationVanessa.com if they would like to help us host a fundraiser to help Operation Vanessa raise funds to cover legal fees. If local restaurants or businesses who would like to host fundraisers or host a night where a portion of the proceeds benefit Operation Vanessa. We have already seen lemonade and prayer stands and bake sales set up in Vanessa’s honor to help with contributions!
2) Spread the word: