I was scared for her. Rizzi was the non-bio parent to her son and I, being “new” to the lesbian world, was unsure of what could happen to her rights as a parent. I was scared that she would lose her son.
I love research, always have and always will. It began with a phrase in the Google bar, “Non-bio mom Utah.” A name that I will never forget popped up. Keri Lynn Jones.
Once I double clicked the story my heart was pounding, I was afraid of what this article would tell me. As I read, I learned that Keri was a non-bio mom fighting to keep the rights to a little girl, who happened to be the same age as my Cheyenne. The Utah Supreme court was reviewing her case and no decision had been made.
I became obsessive. I would check weekly for news about this stranger’s case. What was she feeling? Was she optimistic? Was she as scared shitless as I felt? All those questions would be answered on 16 February 2007.
The Utah Supreme Court told her she wasn’t a parent. They had the audacity to say that all the plans she made prior to her daughters arrival meant nothing. They told her that the taking turns to feed and diaper this beautiful girl were all in vain. But most of all, the Utah Supreme Court told Keri Lynn Jones her love for the little girls she’d spent years raising was not enough. I was stunned. I read the whole entire dissent and cried … and cried … and cried. I found comfort in my daughter, but I couldn’t help but think that Keri, a complete stranger, was robbed of this comfort.
I wanted to hug her! I wanted to fight with her! I wanted to do ANYTHING to help this mom. This feeling was so overwhelming that I began researching more about her. I found out she worked at Equality Utah and, lucky day, they had a listed phone number.
I slowly picked up the phone. I set it down. What would I say? This woman knew nothing about me. I picked up the phone again and set it down immediately. I couldn’t very well call and start crying right? I picked up the phone and began dialing. Talking to myself (and yes it was out loud) I said, “there is nothing you can say or do to make her feel better!” I stared at my phone. Perhaps I was doing this to make myself feel better.
I hit send… no going back now. My heart was racing. I had never randomly called a stranger to let them know how bad I felt for them. Would she be receptive or annoyed? Would I only make this harder for her? As these thoughts were racing through my mind I kept reminding myself not cry.
“…Hello??” Oh geez, I missed her answering the phone because I was so wrapped up in my pep talk.
“Can I speak to Keri Lynn Jones please?” I asked.
“This is her.”
She sounded little, that was my first thought. She sounded so young and sweet.
“Hi Keri, my name is Marcy and you have no idea who I am…”
I’m sure she had these calls numerous times and I assume that my call didn’t have a big impact, but for me it was the beginning of being involved with something larger than myself.
I can’t remember everything I said but I do remember telling her I’d hold her hand through hell to make sure she could hold that little girl again. I remember crying, breaking a promise I made to myself prior to my call.
Since that first call so much has happened in her life…good and bad, but I’m so glad that I get to be a part of it all (even if it’s a blog post at a time.)
I think of her often, speak of her often and fight for rights on a daily basis. Keri has taught me how to deal with adversity with grace and dignity.