Mom Denied Custody Of Her Own Kid Because She Wasn't 'Legally Married'

mom holding hands

No one wants to imagine the heartbreak you would feel if you lost custody of your child for no reason except for the fact you and their child's other parent broke up. It seems that the courts in Oregon are refusing to listen to reason and ignoring what really matters -- they have stripped Karah Madrone of her parental rights to her child who is now 7 years old. The reason -- she was never married to her partner Lorrena Madrone who birthed the child after having artificial insemination.


Marriage has nothing to do with being a parent. Nothing. I also do not think that giving sperm or giving birth automatically makes someone a parent. Being a parent is much deeper than that. Loving a child as your own child is being a parent. Karah Madrone loves her child -- she raised this child.

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There needs to be a little background to understand this case. Karah Fisher and Lorrena Thompson met back in 2004. They were unable to marry because gay marriage wasn't recognized where they lived them so they had a commitment ceremony the next year and in 2007, Lorrena went through IVF with donated sperm and got pregnant. The couple changed their last name to Madrone so they would feel as one family unit. Their child entered the world in 2008. 

Breakups can be ugly -- they are almost never a happy ending -- but this one proved to be especially awful. Karah and Lorrena split up in 2012 and Lorrena tried to cut Karah off from the child completely. Karah went to court to gain the right to see her child and was granted that right by the Circuit Court Judge. But that ruling was overturned after Lorrena appealed the decision and Karah no longer has parental rights.

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My heart breaks for Karah, and she isn't giving up. This is her child, too, and she didn't need to birth the child or give sperm to make the child to prove that she is this child's parent. She didn't need to be married to Lorrena in the eyes of the law to be this child's parent. And the fact that Karah and Lorrena weren't legally married shouldn't be a part of this decision at all. It's clear they were a couple -- they changed their names together, they were committed. But their relationship didn't last. A child shouldn't have to be kept from her mom because of a bad breakup. Here we have two parents who love and want to be a part of this child's life, but an ugly breakup is hurting everyone including (and perhaps especially) the child.

I will say it again ... one does not have to give birth to be a parent -- we know this -- in our hearts I'd like to think everyone knows this. You would think there would be more compassion here, and I'm hoping that there is a breakthrough between Karah and Lorrena and that somehow they are able to look past their issues with each other, and do what is right for the child. This child deserves to be loved and parented. I truly wish this family peace and the ability to resolve this.

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