The Super Bowl might be taking place in Dallas, but there's another game going on back in Wisconsin.
(If you're a resident of Wisconsin or know someone who is, you'll want to pay special attention to this one, because it's a game that is being played with your hard-earned tax dollars.)
In this game, more is at stake than trophies and rings.
It's about this little girl's future.
We'll call her Baby G., a baby who is not quite three months old.
I first told you about Baby G. back in December, a few days before Christmas. As I wrote then, my long-time friends D. and S. have been struggling to have a child for more than 15 years. They've been through infertility treatments and turned to adoption, and they have waited - oh, how they have waited! - for the call.
And in November, the call came. A birthmother had chosen them. Baby G. was born in Wisconsin, and after several weeks and putting an ad in the paper (as is standard operating procedure in such cases), my friends joyfully brought her home.
And then, another call.
A 21 year old birthfather has surfaced in Wisconsin. And he's contesting the adoption.
From his jail cell.
Where he's serving 5 years.
He's asked for - and has received - a public defender.
One that is being paid for on the backs of hard-working Wisconsin taxpayers.
Oh, make no mistake: his public defender is working hard to earn your money. They've requested a jury trial, and a jury trial they will all receive.
While Wisconsin's taxpayers are footing the bill for this felon's defense, my friends D. and S. are mounting a defense fund of their own. Their attorney expects this go-around of this fight for Baby G. to cost upwards of $40,000 (on top of what they have already spent for the adoption thus far). Family and friends are writing checks, hosting fundraisers and selling raffle tickets, sending emails to Wisconsin's legislators, using our voices of our blogs to do what we can to make sure that this birth father doesn't gain custody.
Because with a 21 year old father doing time, we all know what kind of life Baby G. is looking at if he wins this game, right? We can't honestly be expected to believe that this guy has his daughter's best interests at heart and has the ability to provide for her better than my friends can.
As fathers go, there could be no starker irony between these two quarterbacks on these opposing teams.
We've already established that the birth father is in jail, doing five years. Meanwhile, my friend S. (Baby G.'s adoptive father) puts his life on the line every day as a police officer. This weekend, he stopped a maniacial drunk driver on I-270 in Maryland (some of you may know where that is) who was driving the wrong way, causing other vehicles to swerve dangerously to avoid being hit or killed.
This is what we're up against. Someone with complete disregard for others, taking others' lives recklessly into his hands, making them pawns.
That's the game that's being played out on the gridiron of the Wisconsin courts.
The game that the hardworking Wisconsin taxpayers are funding (for one team, anyway).
That's the real victory that's needed in Wisconsin.
In a game that has the future and the very life of a 3 month old girl at stake.
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