Three Days to Go
And, the Story Behind Haven
Three Days to Go!
As the release of Haven comes ever closer, I wanted to talk a bit about why I chose certain story lines and plots. Mostly, I’ll be talking about Elizabeth, because this is a theme about which I am deeply concerned.
If you remember from the summary of Haven, Elizabeth loses custody of her daughter during a divorce hearing. The judge believes that no blind person could be a good parent, that it takes sight to be a good parent. Yet, there are hundreds, thousands of blind parents who have raised kids as well as any good sighted parent. I never was blessed with children of my own, but I was day care for my niece for a year, and another friend could tell you how I helped raise her four children. All those kids have grown in to fine adults, with no deficiency or lack of safety from having a blind woman involved in their childhood years.
Do you think that what happens to Elizabeth could be completely fictional? It’s not. Every year, blind parents have their rights challenged, their children removed, solely on the basis of their blindness. This mostly happens around the birth and is usually perpetrated by CPS. But it has happened through custody battles in a divorce. As a woman who longed to have children, and who wept bitter angry tears when I went through menopause and knew I would never have any of my own, the idea that uninformed people in the truth about blindness could commit such terrible deeds. I’ve suffered a great deal of discrimination during my life, but somehow, though this doesn’t affect my life in a personal way, it affects my heart and soul and I agonize any time I hear of another case. Sure, there are likely some blind parents who shouldn’t be parents, but there are some sighted, nondisabled parents who shouldn’t be parents. Blind and sighted people are the same in that regard. Some make great parents and some do not, but it has little or nothing to do with whether or not their eyes work. This is why I chose the plot lines for Elizabeth. I wanted to show this travesty and show how she can get herself and her life together and come back fighting for herself and her daughter.
I attended a virtual convention last week for the organization National Federation of the Blind, a consumer advocacy organization made up of blind people from all around the country. The NFB has been in existence since 1940. Their motto used to be, “The NFB is not an organization speaking for the blind, it is the blind, speaking for themselves.”. my parents, never having heard of NFB, still raised me unknowingly in their philosophy, that blindness doesn’t mean incapable. They told me I could do and be anything I wanted, and that only I could stop me from achieving my dreams. They told me the world wouldn’t always see me that way, but that I should never let society’s impressions of blindness get in my way. The NFB has fought for the rights of blind parents and won many battles on their behalf. I learned last week, that there are Parents rights bills in many state legislatures that would make it illegal to remove a child from a disabled parent, simply on the basis of disability. Several states have already passed such laws, and there are others where the laws are working its way through state legislators.
If you’d like to help, check out your state, if you’re in the USA, and find out if it has a parents rights bill. Help make it become law that disability cannot be the sole excuse to take children away from parents!
And tune in tomorrow for info on how Michael came to be.