Help bring my baby home

*UPDATE 12/7: Within less than 24 hours of posting it, this fund reached my original goal.  My tribe has come running and I am forever humbled and grateful.  To my friends and family - the initial $4000 retainer for a family lawyer in Idaho has now been paid and he has begun working on my defense.  However, as many of you know, a good lawyer can cost $200-400 an hour, and a case such as this could cost tens of thousands of dollars.  Therefore, I have decided to keep the Go Fund Me active in case anyone would still like to donate.  Please continue to share my story with those that you know, and I’ll continue to add updates here.  I am overwhelmed by your support and generosity.  I have opened a separate bank account for these funds and plan to use every bit of the donations towards this custody battle.  I will keep a record of every penny.  If for any reason any of these funds remain, I promise to give the remaining balance of donations to the International Child Art Foundation, where children are not only celebrated but given the space to create, heal and come together through the arts.


(*** Edited with some corrections and additional details ***):

With tears in my eyes, I write this heartbroken and completely devastated. Overwhelmed and feeling helpless, I’m coming to you with my heart on my sleeve and sharing such a private hardship.

On November 30th, after visiting Disney World with my son, we were torn apart.  I am now in a position where I need help to fight this legal battle and cannot afford this on my own.  From parent to parent or anyone who can imagine the agony of having their child taken from them, please hear my story.  Send us your energy, prayers, light, words, love and encouragement.

I am a single mother to a beautiful, gracious, bright, joyful 4 year old boy.  He is my light, he is my life and for the last 4 years I have raised him while working hard to stay afloat, taking every job that allows him to tag along. Rarely separated he comes with me everywhere, winning the hearts of all those we meet. Sleeping together nightly, sharing good morning snuggles, reading story after story. He is simply the most extraordinary light of my life and my greatest blessing. 

Tonight, I lay in bed, alone looking at his pictures, listening to his voice on videos, asking how could this have happened? Blaming myself for not protecting him from this trauma. Powerless, I was stripped of all control and caught in a most horrific and unexpected ambush.  Accused of crimes I did not do. 

My son was torn from me, at the Oakland International airport, while deplaning an 11:45 pm flight, on a Saturday night. Sleepy and disoriented, he sobbed for me.  Holding back my own tears, I was instructed by officers to walk him to my mother and the man who abused me for nearly 8 years. With smirks on their faces, my mother tore him from my arms as he cried.  No empathy, no remorse, no words, both of them walking away silently with my son.  

As they walked away, I began reading through what I was served.  An emergency temporary order to remove my child after serious drug allegations made by my mother and ex-husband.  Shocked, I read and re-read text messages recently sent - “how’s Disney, happy thanksgiving heart heart heart”, ”can we facetime” from my mother just days before.  Completely blindsided by her hate.

I immediately purchased a same day ticket to attend a court hearing scheduled for the next day, in Idaho.  With no time to prepare I was hit with pages upon pages of untrue allegations. Broken to find out in court that Monday that until evidence is reviewed, the judge had decided the child should be temporally placed in the father’s custody, until a trial.  As my own mother stood by his side, removing my son from me just before the holiday season.

Spending months in preparation and presumably thousands on lawyers, all without my knowledge, my mother and my ex-husband have colluded to build a case against me that attempts to make me appear neglectful, unloving, unstable, a drug addict, even a prostitute.  Crafting this false story about me to cover up years of an absent father, who chose a life of mistresses, career advancement and alcoholism over our son, after having done the exact same thing to a previous wife and child.  It took all of my courage and determination to leave this relationship three years ago and begin building a safe, healthy environment for my son.

When I was 16 1/2 years old, my mother facilitated a relationship between me and this man who was 11 years my senior – a friend and co-worker of my stepdad.  As you can imagine our relationship was never strong, him often taking advantage of me and isolating me from my friends and family. Abusing me, both physically and emotionally.  Becoming pregnant with his child was the beginning of the end of that marriage and relationship.  But three years later he has suddenly showed up in our lives again to take my child, now as a tech executive with abundant financial resources.  I cannot fight this man alone.  I cannot lose my baby to this man.  A man who will try and erase 4 years of motherhood to gain control of a child he never wanted.  Our divorce ran smoothly after he got caught up, wrapped up in an affair with a married woman. We had a 50/50 custody arrangements, as I had no money and little understanding of the law.  But he signed papers quickly, moved out of state, disappearing with his mistress, and cared little about his visitation rights and nothing of the life or family he left behind.  This was not his first time doing this to a woman, I am one of many.

With zero regard of what it means to take a young child from his mother and not allow him to speak to her, he knows nothing of the needs of this child nor the meaning of parenthood. He has zero empathy.  He refuses to pick up my calls and let my son see me on Facetime.  Ignoring my requests but sending texts like “you wouldn’t know, you aren’t here”, “He’s asleep what don’t you understand about that”, “He has been perfectly happy all day, and hasn’t whined for or about you at all”, “he is perfectly happy and doesn’t even ask about you”.   The allegations he wrote of me are furthest from the truth and I feel that the true driving force behind this is my mother wanting more access to my son while taking away my own access.  I am at a loss. I’m missing my baby terribly and I know he is missing me.  Please help me fight this battle.

After buying same-day plane tickets to Idaho, taxi rides, and several paid attorney consultations, I have already exhausted my small savings after moving to California in September.  Although I own property in Idaho, it may take weeks or months to sell and obtain that money.  I need a great lawyer right now.  Most say it will be $4000-6000 to start. I’m struggling to get this together so quickly and have been forced to fly home to CA and start working, without my child. I am overwhelmed and worried sick. 

* I was granted 6 hours this week of visitation in Idaho and 6 hours next week in California. During visitations my baby cried for me each time I left. My mother was frustrated and annoyed, telling him to “stop whining” over and over again.  My heart is breaking... Please help me, if you can. Please share my story.



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Abigail Winjum 
Oakland, CA
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