John is a family man and being a single father is hands down, the role he takes most serious in his life. His beautiful 15 year old daughter, Ludelis is the perfect example of John's passion, hard work, and parenting. John is very proud of her, as he should be. John is also the father to two little ladies, Mila and Mika. They are twins who will be turning 3 in December.
The twins are the reason why you are reading this today.
The twin's story is heartbreaking yet amazingly redemptive. You see, John didn't know the twins were his until they were just a few months old. And when he found out, he immediately started paying child support and going through court proceedings to gain visitation/custody of the girls. Then after a series of unfortunate events, John's life was turned upside down when in August of 2017 the twins were taken from their mother by DCF and placed with John full-time. He went from never meeting the girls, to becoming their full time father. And... he did it in stride. It was incredible to watch. The twins came to John, underweight and malnourished, non-verbal, completely aprehensive of the world around them, and little Mila had a black eye. The full scope to which these girls were neglected and abused, is absolutely devestating.
Within months, the girls had gained 10lbs, were enrolled with early intervention, under the care of excellent doctors, and getting hugs from their Papi. John's parents, brothers and sisters, and older daughter Ludelis welcomed them in to the most fun-loving family. A family who also has additionally been wrestling with their mother's health. John's mom has been in and out of the hospital this year, also putting great financial strain on the family. As you can imagine, this has not been an easy chapter of life for John. Over the past year, he has fought long and hard for the twins through DCF and the courts. DCF has now given full custody to John, has declared the mother unfit, and have formally taken the position that they want the twins to permanently stay with John. Now, over a year later, the girls absolutely love John and are bubbly, adorable, chatty little girls. They are thriving! In the words of the twin's pediatrician it is, "night and day."
It would be great if the courts, took this DCF recommendation and could settle something quickly without a battle. Yet, our justice system is complicated, and in this case (as I'm sure many others) very frustrating. Over the past month, John has realized that he needs to hire a new attorney. With all respect, he just realized his previous attorney did not have a full understanding of the juvenile system.
He has met with a new attorney who has 19 years experience and has full confidence she can get this job done in the twins best interest. However, due to past legal mistakes, and the mess that this case has become...it's going to take time and money. A lot of money. John has to pay a $2500 retainer fee up front, and moving forward he is looking at $125/hour. Which is actually a deal...the new attorney was gracious enough to not charge the normal $300 something per hour. But it's not difficult math. Just 24 hours of $125/hour is $3000. And John has been advised that this is not something that will be quick. This case will be time-consuming and he is looking at many hours and months to come.
This is pretty overwhelming for John. He is taking care of the twins full time on his own (with of course help from loved ones and family when they are able to do so), working full time in Boston, while continuing to be the parent Ludelis needs. He spends a couple days per month taking care of his mother, he's a trustee on his condo board association, assumes a lot of responsibility at work, and somehow in the midst of this manages to do a few things for his own self-care like run marathons, a 5k every Wednesday, and hike mountains. He goes to church on Sundays, reads up on the news, and makes the girls smoothies in the morning (and the occassional pop tart when time is tight). And then he has the stress of supervised visitations with the twins mother, early intervention appointments, and navigating this horrendous case.
I think this all points to one thing.... we need to rally behind him. And the best way we can show our support right now is financially. Lightening his legal fees would be amazing! It does sometimes take a village. This is about Mila and Mika, ensuring their safety and making sure they are well cared for by their father. If you feel compelled... it will be greatly appreciated!
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