Put the Phone Down!

http://relationshipsrevived.com/get-your-ex-back/breakthrough-method-using-modern-technology-to-get-your-ex-back/

My teenage brother seems to be addicted to his phone. He single handedly, increased my parent’s cell phone bill by $100 last month because he went over their data plan. I remember growing up when we were at the dinner table my younger sister would be texting away and my mom relentlessly tried to get the phone out of her grasp.

Children today are addicted to their phones and they certainly are not the only ones. It is difficult to remember the last time I went to dinner with a friend and neither of us checked our phones. Technology is leading our children to not know how to communicate with others. Just last week I was in a meeting with someone who said he was uncomfortable networking because he grew up communicating via text and social media. He felt incapable of communicating and networking in person.

I don’t mean to sound like my Nana when she would tell me about how when she was a kid she had to walk hundreds of miles through hurricanes, sharknados, hail, and whatever else can fall from the sky on her way to school. This is a real issue. Communication is not obsolete in the business world. Once these children are adults they will need to know how to interview, network, and have day to day conversations in the work place. Communication purely through texting and social media is stunting their growth. So, kids, please put the phone down! You will need to know how to communicate someday soon.

10 Missing Children Cases Potentially Linked to Greek Mystery Girl

http://news.yahoo.com/mystery-girl-greek-roma-camp-abandoned-mother-lawyers-181620606.html

From Elinda Labropoulou and Laura Smith-Spark at CNN:

About 10 cases of missing children are “being taken very seriously” in connection with the suspected abduction of a girl by a Roma couple in Greece, a spokesman for a Greek children’s charity said Tuesday.

“They include children from the United States, Canada, Poland and France,” said Panagiotis Pardalis of the Smile of the Child charity.

In a case that has generated huge interest in Greece, authorities have charged the Roma couple with abducting the child they call “Maria.” They appeared in court Monday and were remanded into custody pending a trial.

A lawyer for the couple says the pair adopted the child from her biological mother.

The Smile of the Child said the girl, who was found Thursday in a Roma community near Larissa, central Greece, is now being cared for in a group home.

Medical tests carried out on the girl since she was found indicate she is between 5 and 6 years old, slightly older than initially thought, said Pardalis.Police have said they are suspicious of the records the couple provided for the child and for other children in their care. In addition to the abduction charge, the couple is accused of falsifying official documents.

Four officials, including the head of the registry office from which Maria got her birth certificate, have been suspended while a police investigation is under way, the media office of the Athens municipality said Tuesday.

The girl received the document this year, it said. It is unusual for a birth certificate to be issued years later.

1,000 years of Roma discrimination

Authorities asked questions about Maria because she has fair skin and blond hair, while her parents have darker complexions typical of Roma, a race descended from Indian nomads who face widespread discrimination in Europe.

Haralambos Dimitriou, head of the local Roma community, said the couple took the girl in because her Bulgarian mother couldn’t keep her. He said Maria was raised like a “normal” child.

Pardalis said Sunday that she was found in “bad living conditions, poor hygiene.”

Calls about the girl

Thousands of calls poured into Greece after authorities released photos of the girl last week.

Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin, whose daughter Lisa Irwin vanished from their home in Kansas City, Missouri, two years ago aged about 11 months, asked the FBI to get in touch with Greek authorities when they heard about the case.

“There is no such thing as a tip too small,” said Bradley, whose hopes were raised despite the apparent disparity in age between their missing daughter and the girl found in Greece.

Authorities released photos of the two adults charged in the case Monday — Eleftheria Dimopoulou, age 40, and 39-year-old Christos Salis — in the hope that the publicity would reach someone who can provide more information about them.

Police said the blond child looked nothing like the man and woman with her, and DNA testing confirmed that they were not her biological parents.

A police statement said the couple “changed repeatedly their story about how they got the child.”

A government news agency said police found suspicious birth and baptism records as well as family registrations that claimed the woman had given birth to 10 children and the man was the father of four more.

Prejudice against the Roma

Prejudice and discrimination against the Roma are widespread in Greece and elsewhere in Europe, Amnesty International says.

Maria’s case plays into old prejudices about them stealing children for forced labor.

Pardalis mentioned such a possibility, saying, “We don’t have any other information if this girl was forced to work or to beg on streets.”

And the government news agency raised “the possibility of the existence of a ring bringing pregnant women to Greece from Bulgaria and then taking their children for sale.” The agency also cited past “reports” that empty coffins were found for infants who supposedly were stillborn to foreign mothers in Athens.

While there is a risk that old prejudices are at work here leading to these suspicions, DNA tests can prove who her parents are as well as the other 10 missing children. This story has given more light to the grave issue of human trafficking. Not only is human trafficking prevalent in the rest of the world, it is sadly all too common in the United States, with Houston, Texas as a hub for trafficked victims.

A Unique Child Custody Arrangement

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20697150,00.html

Child custody battles are hard for everyone involved. The parents, and especially the kids. When I was young, for entire summer, my best friend lived with me and my family while her dad went out of state to fight for sole custody of my friend. While I like to think she had an awesome time, I know she missed being with her family.

David Tutera, host of My Fair Wedding, and ex-husband Ryan Jurica, have had the child custody battle of the century. They are fighting for custody of their twins via surrogate. Each fertilized one of the eggs that resulted in a child. After months in court, they reached a temporary custody agreement of sole custody to each father of their respective biological child. During an interview on The View, Tutera said he absolutely wants his children to know each other and have a relationship as siblings.

This situation is terribly sad and complex. While I hope the twins will one day have as close of a sibling relationship as siblings who grow up in the same home, I am doubtful. With more states permitting same-sex marriages, same-sex divorces will rise. More custody issues like this may occur. Our courts need to prepare for the intricate and complex child custody battles of the future and keep in my the best situation for the children.

To learn more about the child custody situation visit here.