TRAGIC FATHER-SON STORY (That will become all too common…)
Sarah and I met online through a dating site. She had recently moved to Minnesota from Michigan, I recently moved from California. We were both in our mid-30’s. I remember feeling like it was the time in my life to find a good woman, buy a home and start a family with. The buying a home part happened quickly (within a year) and we were living together in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
I worked from the back garage buying, repairing and selling vehicles–along with an automotive parts eBay store. Sarah was—and still is–an academic librarian at St. John’s Catholic university in St. Joseph, Minnesota.
We were never a very good match in hindsight, but at the time I remember feeling like people give up on relationships too easy (including me up to that point) and I wanted us to be different and an exception.
Sarah and I lived fairly separate lives from the beginning, with separate values and goals. I’m a lifelong, simple, frugal and self-sufficient person. Sarah on the other hand has never met an institutional power she doesn’t love. It’s all pretty surreal to me in retrospect we ever came together.
I’ve always been an adventurous person who loves to travel and explore in the REAL world. Sarah is very much a fan of television, television shows, and screens in general. I remember my family commenting: “Well, Sarah seems to be the perfect partner for you, because she doesn’t stop you from taking off on your motorcycle or camping and fishing for a week”. This was true (and easy to say from 2k miles away and never meeting her in person) but it was more accurate to say that Sarah really didn’t care that much, as long as I paid my share of the bills, checked in once in a while and I stayed out of the way of her TV shows.
After a couple years of this, we both decided we weren’t a good match for each other, and in the process of parting ways and splitting assets when she became pregnant. Needless to say, this was not good timing. I had already bought another small home in Duluth, Minnesota (3 hours north). We separated while she was pregnant, and I continued to pay half of our shared bills.
Miles is Born
I was present for Miles’ birth (8/12/2009) and INSTANTLY fell in love with him. I remember I couldn’t help but cry when I saw his face for the first time. His puffy blue eyes peeking up at me as if to say, “where am I?” He was perfect in every way.
The first few weeks, I stayed in St. Cloud with Sarah and helped with Miles as a newborn. I remember it was difficult at first to get him to take to Sarah (this is common and worked itself out quickly) I remember feeding him formula with a dropper in a way that he would suck on my finger. We used to joke that Miles must think milk comes from momma and formula comes from daddy’s finger.
I was ready from day one to be “Daddy day-care”. I used that exact term in fact. Sarah had the better job (though I probably made more money in the garage due to taxes) Sarah had healthcare benefits and I naively believed Sarah would agree. We would do something few parents do anymore…raise our own child.
The Day it Started, and I Will Never Forget.
When Miles was around 2 months old, Sarah came home from work, Miles was laying on my chest, making sweet little noises when we breathed. His arms flopped down on my sides. Sarah came through the front door, “what is he doing laying like that?!” She grabbed him off me, and started stomping around the house, saying “you need to leave” and “why are you still here?” Sarah was in a highly agitated state. At one point I was holding Miles in my arms, she came up to me and pushed my head up against the wall. Neither one of us had ever been physically abusive, and this was a shock to me. I remember walking into the back yard, still holding Miles, wrapped up in my arms, Sarah stepped out on the deck with a butter knife, “do you want me to just kill myself?! Maybe I should just kill myself!!” I was terrified. This was extreme and unusual behavior for Sarah. She later blamed this on postpartum depression.
I walked around the alley to the front of the house and front door. She was stomping around saying “if you don’t leave, I’m calling the police!” I was naïve back then, but I knew enough that police showing up wouldn’t go well for me. I remember setting Miles down on the couch, swaddled up with some pillows in such a way that he couldn’t roll off. I frantically started gathering up my things and loading them in my car. Sarah was still ranting and raving, and I was extremely worried she was going to hurt Miles.
In hindsight, I should have called the police myself, and I should have recording her behavior. Sarah could see I was leaving, and I had to make a judgement call that if I did what she wanted (leave) she would calm down and Miles would be safe. I drove north to my cabin that evening, and nothing has ever been the same since.
After that day, Sarah cut off all connection between Miles and I, and it took a year-long battle in the Sterns County Family Court System to see him again. If you have never been dragged through the family court system, consider yourself extremely lucky. Robin Williams famously joked “it’s like having your wallet and heart pulled out of your pocket through your…” (fill in the blank)
This was the first of many years of family court interactions Sarah instigated. She hired a lawyer, I represented myself. Obstacle after obstacle was put in place. Supervised visits (totally unwarranted or needed) Sarah soon realized that not only the family court system can be used like the weapon it is, but the medical system, and later the education system. All of these institutions can be used to establish priority and authority against the outsider parent.
The Myth of “50/50 Joint Legal Custody”
It took almost 2 years, me buying a 450 sq. ft. house 7 blocks away from Miles (we affectionately named “The Miles Bunker”) to finally establish basic visitation/parenting time for Miles and me.
First it was 3 months of “reintroduction” meaning I got to see Miles for 3 hours of “supervised visits” on Sundays at the YMCA, PAYING a college student $20 an hour to follow us around with a clipboard taking notes on everything we said and did. Imagine reading notes (I had to pay for!) like “father says ‘I love you Miles’ child says, ‘let’s slide daddy..”
You might assume I have some kind of criminal past or violent history to warrant such extreme measures? Nope, just standard practice in the “family” court system. All it takes now is for Sarah’s accusation (no proof needed) and “she feels unsafe or threatened”.
I gritted my teeth through a summer of THAT to finally get “unsupervised visitation” with Miles—then 2 years old. Sarah’s lawyer had the edacity to ask the judge “well since supervised visits have gone so well, why not extend it for another 3 months?” I guess even the family court has limits to injustice and absurdity and denied that request.
A Limited Calm Before the Storm
This started what I would call a calm and good stretch of time, where Miles and I were relatively left alone, to bond and form a great relationship. He would come over to the “Miles Bunker” on Friday and stay until Sunday evening. In the summer we would be in and out of the swimming pool I made in the backyard out of a cattle stock tank. We’d drag his wagon to one of the many city parks (we called this “wagon-dragg’n) He’d play, and I’d watch or play along on the jungle equipment. We’d watch old VHS kid’s movies and cartoons we found at one of the many thrift stores in town. Many of them from my own childhood—and older at that point, all was as well as it could be under the circumstances, but Sarah had other tactics brewing behind the scenes.
Autism Diagnosis and More Institutional Obstacles
It was late summer. Miles was 4 years old. I dropped him off on our normal Sunday time. Sarah hands me an envelope. I didn’t think much about it, figuring it was some legal formalities or medical records. When I got home, I opened it.
Miles had been being formally assessed—and diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorder (APD) for the past 6 months, and I wasn’t even informed. In fact, in the APD assessment documents, the box asking, “Where is the father of child?” was checked by Sarah “location of father unknown.”
I was living 7 blocks away for almost 2 years, and 5 blocks from the school that initiated the diagnosis process. This was all that was needed to leave me completely out of the assessment process.
My partner Shari and I made an appointment with Miles’ school for the following day. We were met with a table full of “experts” in the field of “childhood wellness.” They dismissed our concerns about blatant violation of my parental rights. I requested a full redo of the assessment, which they dismissed and denied. We were either to take it as is, or have my lawyer contact their lawyer.
Some of the “reasons” given as to why Miles was considered “autistic” were: “doesn’t upkeep his hair and appearance to age standards…” “Miles is obsessed and fixated by specific topics and toys…” Miles lacks eye contact…” All untrue, and he was 4 years old!!
I was—and continue to be—the ONLY person that took him and allowed him to be EXACTLY who his own unique self was and is.
It never crossed my mind to label him with “problems” and “diagnosis”. How many of us today can be sure that if this assault on children was happening when we were kids, we ourselves (and our prodded, mislead and overly busy parents) wouldn’t have succumbed to the same medicalized scare tactics? I’m certain I would have made it on someone’s radar if this was happening in the 1970s. This is a scary thought to contemplate.
Dresses and “Gender Dysphoria” Diagnosis
Miles and I had a great relationship. We had so much fun together and we have both been robbed of the best part of each other’s lives.
When Miles was around age 5, I took Sarah back to the Stearns family court again and got my parenting time increased from every other weekend Friday night to Sunday night, to Thursday night to Monday morning. One of Sarah’s tactics from the start had been to book Miles’ schedule in such a way that our time together was preempted for any number of day-care, school and medical related appointments.
To illustrate, Once I was able to increase our time together from Thursday to Monday, I still was required to take him to day-care during the weekdays I had him. The “reason” given was that day-care is the same amount whether it’s two days a week, or five days a week. Needless to say, Miles would usually feel “under the weather” on the Fridays, and he would not be going to day-care.
When Miles was around the age of 7, he started whispering in my partner’s ear about how “mom lets me wear dresses at home, but we can’t tell daddy.” I decided to go find out myself if this was true. I walked Miles back to Sarah’s on a Sunday evening, we said our goodbyes and I walked home. A couple hours later, I walked back over to put a card Miles bought for Sarah in mailbox and peeked in the front window. That’s when I saw Miles laying on the couch, in a pink dress, playing with her laptop.
I banged on the front door, Sarah answered, “Bren-ton, now Bren-ton, this is what Miley wants” I was in complete shock. Miles jumped off the couch behind her, “Miley, did I make you wear that dress?” Miles looked terrified, looking up at Sarah for approval, then answered “no?” in a meek, questioning voice.
I stomped home, half in horror, half shell shocked. How did I not see this coming?
Later I texted Sarah, “You know this is wrong! There is something VERY wrong with you Sarah…” After some back and forth, Sarah INFORMED me (as she has always done) I was to start calling our son “Miley” and if “she” wanted to wear dresses and girl’s clothes at my house, it was “her” right, and if I didn’t approve, I would have to take her back to court to see our son again.
3 Years Lost and Wasted
Up to that point, I had been needlessly battling Sarah in the family court system more/less since Miles was born. I had spent thousands of dollars (defending myself) to “gain” parental rights which in practical terms amounted to exactly nothing. It has always been a kind of mystery to me why it isn’t pointed out more what the family court system really is. It has little to do with “what’s best for the child” but more a mechanism to level punishment from one disgruntled parent (usually the mother) onto another (usually the father) while profiting immensely on the tragic suffering of failed human relationships.
I had enough. There seemed no bottom. Sarah would never stop, and I was outgunned. My reasoning I suspect, is the reasoning many fathers come to who are ran off (usually called “dead beat dads” by then). My son would be 18 eventually, at that point I would have a chance to be the father I wanted to be, a little late, but ready to help heal the damage done to him.
Little did I know, there are new childhood traumas that once put in motion, cannot be healed from.
The CentraCare Sexuality and Gender Clinic
Sarah immediately started taking Miles to the “Sexual and Gender Medicine Clinic” at Centracare in St. Cloud, Minnesota. This is where Miles started seeing Troy Weber-Brown, a “Non-binary, Them/Their/They” gender therapist who over the past 3 years has completely transformed my son into a mini version of himself.
It took yet another Stearns County Family Court hearing to get Centracare to release SOME of the gender clinic session notes, and what’s in them is disturbing.
Troy Weber-Brown now has Miles “presenting” as a “transgender lesbian” some weeks, a “birl” others (that’s both a boy and girl in case you were wondering) and Troy’s own “Them/Their/They” preferred pronouns. He gives Miles “homework” in the form of trans-kid YouTube videos and cartoons with transgender characters such as Sailor Moon.
My Last Attempt to Have Established Parental Rights Enforced
In October 2018, I brought another motion to modify to Stearns County Family Court asking to simply enforce my already established and clearly stated standard parental rights on record; of joint legal custody of my son Miles Gewirtz, with 50/50 authority in such important matters of: medical, educational and religious concerns.
To my astonishment, I was told in that hearing I not only cannot stop Sarah from moving forward with hormonal therapies, but any dissenting parental authority I might have will be overruled by “expert opinion” in the matter—meaning Troy Weber-Brown and other staff at the Centracare Sexuality and Gender Clinic.
Secondarily, I will be made to contribute funding toward it via child and healthcare support enforcement.
Where We Stand Now
I ask you here: Can you think of a parental nightmare more concocted in the pits of hell than this? I pinch myself on a daily basis thinking this must be something I can wake up from. I am forced to watch from the sidelines as my vulnerable, autistic 10-year-old son is slowly brainwashed, indoctrinated and inducted into a hellish life of: hormonal therapies, induced mental illness, needless, unnecessary surgeries and procedures, on his otherwise healthy body. And all before he even reaches puberty or age and personal awareness to contemplate such life changing choices as these.
This was a difficult story to account and share. Up until recently, I thought I was the only parent in the world going through this nightmare. Jeffery Younger and the SaveJames campaign gave me hope that I too can bring enough attention and outrage from decent people, still grounded in reality, who won’t (can’t!) stand idly by while our children are destroyed and dismantled by a branch of the medical system gone completely mad.
If you can, please help by sharing my story here, directing people toward this website, and all of the other savemiles social media I’ve created.
and if you can, please consider donating toward the legal battle mounting to save my son from a nightmare life that should never have been allowed to start.
James Younger’s story was just the beginning. My son’s story is yet another example, and more children are being swept up into this contagion on a daily basis.
This will not stop until we stop it