This Parent-Child Bond needs not only the court’s intervention but our support from every corner of society. It’s time for justice. It is time to bring Ari home to Prosper. Please send your tax-deductible gift using this button.
Mother Prosper Ortega was rescued in 2016 from death by her mother, Ari’s grandmother, Fawn Ortega, and they cared for this precious little boy until the surgeries to repair domestic violence injuries required outside help in 2017. Mother and grandmother never dreamed that needing help with caring for Prosper’s baby would lead to the loss of her parental rights and ability to protect and nurture him. They could not have fathomed that they would have to fight with everything they could muster just to survive a lawsuit filed to have Prosper’s little boy returned to them. After two years of litigation in Fulton County, Prosper’s child is still being held away from her except for a few hours here and there, and he is crying out for help.
Prosper has seen no relief from the false allegations that are being used to justify violating her rights and her child’s rights to his mother and grandmother. Fortunately, though, in March of 2021, the Court of Appeals returned a decision that redirects the trial court to apply a legal standard that is favorable to Prosper – rather than to the people who took her child when she was unable to defend herself or even know what they were doing. The appellate decision can be read here.
Our community joined together to raise over one hundred thousand dollars to cover Prosper’s expenses as she worked through the trauma and recovery. Unfortunately, what appeared to be genuine help at first from some in the inner circle turned dark. The agreement to return the child to his mother following surgeries and recovery was broken. This survivor of severe domestic violence was again assaulted and traumatized – and the realization that her child would not be returned began to sink in, causing more severe trauma-related symptoms to set in.
A large portion of the funds raised back in 2016 for mother and child have been held away from Prosper and diverted to another use, but with no accounting for where the money went or how it is being used, so we are again raising money for this family and the costs of advocacy, intervention and recovery.
Funds are needed to assist with Prosper’s legal battle to be reunited with her child. Financial and legal support are needed to remove the interference that breaks parent-child bonds and leads to long term problems in our youth. This new round of support is needed to help overcome some of the previous missteps by former legal counsel and the fact that Prosper has not yet had her day in court, meaning her evidence has not been considered for the benefit of her child and her parental rights. This work is more complicated and expensive due to professional issues and abusive litigation maneuvers, all of which are outside of Prosper’s control. The objective for Navigating Justice in asking for your help includes more than fundraising to cover expenses, but also to support Prosper and her family as these maneuvers and other issues are confronted, both inside and outside of the courtroom.
Prosper is forced to spend hundreds of dollars every time she wants to see her child, which serves not to protect this child but rather to discourage his mother, making it more cost prohibitive for them to be together. The restrictions in place serve to interfere with her ability to document his injuries and to ask for the help he needs – when he needs it. One objective is to remove the financial concern and empower her to be with her son as often as possible, and another objective, of course, is to see this financial burden and set of requirements removed completely and the litigation put to rest, with mother and child restored.
The path to restoration of mother and child has been long, expensive and traumatic, but new light and hope are being inserted into this picture. We invite your comments on the Navigating Justice social pages and to share in your own posts about this story of restoring justice and peace. There is no doubt that black lives matter, but it inspires more action when each of us rallies behind a mother like Prosper and her son Ari. They need each of us.
We hope you will join us in putting the missing pieces together, financially, legally and in raising awareness, to bring Prosper and Ari together once and for all. Restoration is possible!
We need your support to engage lawyers to address multiple issues setting back mother and child. We believe there are ways to answer these questions that serve this mother and child – and many more parents and children – for years to come.
Prosper has a talented lawyer working on her appeal of a temporary order that placed the burden on her as the natural parent rather than on the third party. This is a unique case in that there was no dependency action or removal of the child from his mother as you would see where a child needs intervention by DFCS because of any issue with the mother (while father is in prison). This is not a normal child custody case between family members; the man and woman who obtained control over the child and Prosper’s right to be with her child are not biological relatives. They are not “god-parents” as some have been led to believe, including the Court of Appeals. This is not a third party who adopted the child; there was no adoption or placement of the child by the court. The mother was never found to be unfit or unsafe in any way. Importantly, there was no adjudication of the mother’s rights, meaning no dependency action, no due process, and no placement of the child with foster parents. When the mother was led to believe the couple needed a document for temporary guardianship purposes, she was not aware that something wrong was going on, and she relied on the promise to return her child following her recovery from surgeries on her legs, surgeries needed to prevent the loss of her legs and the ability to keep up with her child on her own.
For a long time, Prosper was kept in the dark about her rights and about what was needed to overcome a troubling series of events, but now she has representation committed to getting her on the right track. In this case, however, it is going to take more than one lawyer and the hope that Prosper will someday get her day in court – and the hope that law will be fairly applied to restore mother and child to each other.
Additional funds are needed to compensate new lawyers who are now involved, to cover the expenses of supervised visitation until this requirement is removed, to cover the costs of transcripts and other normal expenses of litigation and to ensure that all forms of advocacy and support are continued. These expenses often stand in the way of parents like Prosper when a child is wrongfully taken and when the civil rights of parents and children seem to be forgotten. The great news here is that we do not have to let that be the “unfortunate outcome” here – where money and maneuvers “win” at the expense of the parent-child bond and at the expense of health and safety of mother and son.
In fewer words, help Navigating Justice and the entire team prevent this child from becoming another statistic.
Lawyers who are interested in learning more or helping to address these questions – click here.
What are the civil rights issues?
What about racial bias and divisiveness?
When should domestic violence and child abuse matter enough to take action?
Is there a clear path for our state and federal constitutions to be upheld?
What does child trafficking look like in the context of disputes over children? Is that what is happening here?
Are you interested in making your mark on social justice issues?
How many more children within our reach can be saved using what we learn and accomplish in serving this child? Join the conversation here.
There are several issues to delve into with this situation, including how easy it is to exploit victims of domestic violence and how little value is assigned to lives – until someone with enough influence, willpower and resources says otherwise.
To review the Court of Appeals ruling that reverses in part and remands the issues to the trial court to address using the correct legal standard, you can visit the Court of Appeals website to download the Order or scroll through it below.