1. WITHOUT PREJUDICE
My name is Viorica Lungu from Vancouver, BC and I want to let everybody know that my children have been legally kidnapped by the so called "System" of Social workers in Canada. At that time, my children were almost 4 and 7 years old.
Three years have elapsed ever since. I am forbidden to talk to my daughters on the phone and my children are not allowed to call me either. I am not allowed to even see my daughters but only twice a month for two hours and only under strict supervision and strict monitoring of the conversation. I am a mother and I don't know if my children are healthy, if they are properly dressed for the winter, and everything else any mother should know about her children. I am not allowed to go to their school and find out, first hand, how they are doing.
One might think that I am some monstrous mother whose kids are in danger when around me. The absurdity of the situation is that all these are happening under the circumstances in which even the social workers reported that “it is NOT a case of child protection”, that I am an “excellent mother” and that both children and myself, as a mother, have a normal love and tenderness towards each other. The same position had even the Judge in the Supreme Court of BC.
Here is my story.
On March 24, 2009, I drove as usual far enough from my place where I live to Maple Ridge, BC, for the father to have the usual visitation with our children. I left them at the social worker's place thinking they will be safe. After one hour, one of the social workers called to inform me that my children had been removed from me as of that very moment. This was happening without even a court order! The father lied that I alienated my children against him. However, nobody seemed to care that, each time my children came back from their father, they were upset and crying, on several occasions, the father twisted my older daughter's wrist, shook her vigorously in the parking lot, yelled at them, etc. And this was something happening on regular basis. Instead of looking seriously and unbiased into this situation for the best interest of the children, the social workers simply decided to remove my children from me and give them directly to their father in the middle of our custody battle, without warning me or trying, at least, to make it easier on the children – as if they were nothing else but some lifeless objects!
At the time, I asked the social worker, Maria Miem Swart, on what grounds that decision had been taken, why she or other representatives from the Ministry did not come to my place at least once to investigate and see how happy my children were with me, before removing them! She said: "There was no need to go to your place, Viorica - we know you are an excellent mother"! So why did you steal my children from me if I am an excellent mother? She said: "Because you don't get along with the father” and that is why the children are “emotionally harmed”.
That was the strangest thing I could have ever heard – well, but he does not get along with me either! So the real problem was actually, who cared about that? What was the difference between me and him as parents who did not get along and reached a consensual divorce? Moreover, before everything happened, the father knew about a removal possibility one month before (February 25, 2009) my daughters have actually been removed from me on March 24, 2009, while I had no idea about that - nobody bothered to let me know what was going on. So, was he manipulating the social workers behind my back?
The social workers said in their report that alienation is not part of their removal Act, but, in this case, they were doing it anyway because of the high conflict between the parents! Social worker Diane Keegan in her cross examination at the Supreme Court testified that “if the mother will be awarded with sole custody, we will keep her in supervised access until the children will be 18, and if the father will be awarded with sole custody, we will drop the case against the mother at the Provincial court”, which they did on April 26, 2010. So, again, was he manipulating the social workers behind my back? Why all this turmoil and hysteria? Also, at the time, the social workers and Judge Masuhara have refused to send my children to see a Psychologist at the Children's Hospital. I asked for this because I believed and still believe that they are the ones who have emotionally harmed my children - with their unfair, inhuman and sudden action of separating my children from me as their mother, without any solid ground. They refused to give us the section 15 for a Psychologist to assess all of us including our children.
I am of Romanian descent and my ex-husband is of Canadian one. All the depositions submitted on behalf of Romanians who knew me very well, including the priest’s have not been properly considered and have been downplayed by Honourable Mr. Justice D. M. Masuhara. He stated that “their observations are made in the context of church services and events” fact that was not accurate, and also that they did not know all the issues around me and my ex-husband. I do not think that a witness is supposed to know it all about the person/s in question. The main issue at that time was if I was a good mother to my children - bottom line that was what counted and still counts, nothing else. This is not a case of criminal activities, etc. – it is just a messy custody fight. Among the witnesses, there were a number of friends and people who knew me for long time and saw me outside the church and who did not talk at all from church perspective either.
I have been accused of harming my children emotionally because, speaking Romanian to my children meant, necessarily, discrediting their father, according to the social workers’ assumptions. Moreover, the Ministry’s employees refused to bring a Romanian translator for themselves in order to understand exactly what I was talking to my children– they preferred to act in base of assumptions and…it worked.
My children are kept away from everything that is called Romanian under the pretext that all that is Romanian brings about “emotional harm” to the children. The father complained so, and the Social Services adopted an attitude accordingly.
In base of this experience, I and everybody else have to understand that, in a mixed marriage between a Canadian and other ethnical party, be it Asian, Sikh, Russian, Italian, etc., having the child exposed to the other spouse ethnic culture and language means or causes emotional harm ….Very strange! My children were and, presently, are still prohibited to go to the Romanian Orthodox Church, and through this decision, once again, the honour, values and standards of a whole decent and hard-working community is trivialized and diminished. This is not the first time that this kind of discrimination happened in Canada. In the 60’s a similar attitude (this time against the French language) pushed Quebec on the brink of secession, until bilingualism was adopted Canada-wide. A more recent experience is that of the “Residential Schools” for First Nations, which were closed only in 1996; in these schools, students were severely punished if they spoke a language other than English.
On the other hand, I believe that this is a means of psychological pressure over my children used by their father and blind authorities to have my daughters forget about me, about what is Romanian in themselves, to despise that part in themselves and to suppress it. How would you feel? How would you call this?
If I am to turn the tables and think like their father did and social workers and judge Masuhara did, then WHO can tell me that I am NOT demeaned, put down in front of children when I am not with my children – meaning, actually, most of the time? In base of the precedent created, I am entitled to think that what I was suspected of and forbidden to in base of the social workers’ assumptions and hearsay, now it is done onto me. Then, how is the father better than me and what did the system encourage?
In other words we could also summarize the core of the situation like this: “what I (father and those allowing this happening) am allowed, you(that is myself) are not”
I am not an alcoholic, I am not a drug-addict, I have never been put in prison or charged with any wrongdoing, I have never left my children alone, I have never ever emotionally or physically harmed my children. Then, what am I?
I am a woman, I am not of Canadian descent, I dared to disagree with what was going on including the procedure of the system – so, here I am, a piece of garbage who can be thrown, together with my children, from one corner to another, from one “master” to another, together or separated from my own children as others please.
I must be supervised like a criminal when talking to my children. Everything I say or said had and has to be interpreted and trivialized by some officials and/or their father who knows to manipulate the system.
As a parent and person, I was humiliated, challenged, outraged, tripped all over, and stripped out of any personality. One of the social workers mentioned in her report that it was weird that I kept my daughter on my lap during my two-hours visit. Even that was strange! In a tentative to discourage me, another one, Mrs. Maria Miem Swart, dared asking me how did I pay my lawyer, “did you sell yourself?”…When I draw the attention in Court about this she apologized saying that that was her odd way of “joking” and Judge Masuhara quickly accepted it accordingly and that was it. It is unacceptable for a Government official to use such expressions to insult me and get away with it!
What should I do next?
This petition closed over 3 years ago
Please sign my petition, in order to get my children back. We need to change this system of Social workers in Canada who have full power to apprehend children without justification and they work...
Please sign my petition, in order to get my children back. We need to change this system of Social workers in Canada who have full power to apprehend children without justification and they work in secrecy to remove children barbaric, without a court order!