The Giwa family – together again. Photo source: Save Giwa Family Facebook page.
by Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com Staff
The Giwa family’s nightmare with Child Protective Services is over, and their children are safely with their family, outside of Texas and away from CPS. They want the world to know that prayer did what man could not do, and they give the glory to God for their victory. Kathy (Olubunmi) Giwa tells Health Impact News:
The fundamental part of the battle was won on our knees.
Ahmed Giwa echoes her words with his message that he wants to tell families who are fighting CPS for their children:
They shouldn’t give up. They need to keep fighting and PRAYING and believing that it is only God that can do it for them.
There is someone that is greater than CPS, and that is GOD!
He says that even the best attorneys cannot do what God can do.
CPS Tried to Destroy the Sacred Bond Between Parent and Child
As thousands of parents can attest, having the state come into their lives and take their children from them is one of the most difficult experiences that any parent can walk through, especially when they know that they are innocent. Michelle Rider has called it “domestic terrorism.” The Giwas are no exception, and their journey has been excruciating, but they are now rejoicing and trying to heal from the trauma that they have experienced.
Since the dawn of time, there is a bond formed between parent and child that can never be broken by any force of man or government, a sacred bond deeply forged within the heart, soul, and very cells of parent and child. The moment a baby is born, mother and father both would give their very lives to protect that little one. That bond can be found even in the animal world, and it lies at the essence of who we are as humans.
Yet, those who work in the Child Protective Services system routinely appear to seek to destroy that bond, often based on little or no evidence, all purportedly “in the best interest of the child.” While some of the people who become involved in that system may truly care about children, Kathy Giwa questions what has happened to them to be able to cause the level of hurt and trauma to children and parents that happened to them and to countless other families. She told Health Impact News that she hopes they will realize what they are doing and seek to help restore families instead.
It All Began when Doctor Disagreed with Breastfeeding Past a Year
Ahmed and Kathy Giwa are loving parents whose children mean the world to them. They are well-educated professionals, but that wasn’t enough to keep CPS out of their lives.
While Kathy was studying abroad in the UK, working on her second PhD, a doctor took issue with her breastfeeding her twins past the one year mark. The doctor’s call to CPS resulted in a case being opened in the UK.
After the Giwas returned home to Texas, a social worker tracked them down. The fact that the case was dismissed was left out of the information given to Harris County, Texas, CPS. A case was opened in Texas, in a county the family never even lived in, and their lives were turned upside down.
Randy Davis of Fox 26 Houston first reported their story (see archived article here). Since that time, the family has been in contact with Health Impact News.
Kathy and Ahmed were also interviewed by Tammi Stefano of the National Safe Child Show, just before a judge issued a gag order on them:
Giwa Children Safe Now
We are happy to be able to report that the Giwa children are now safe outside of Texas and away from CPS, and the case against them has ended.
On April 14, the Harris County Juvenile Court Judge granted a nonsuit, basically decreeing that there was insufficient evidence against the Giwas to continue the case. Those words were music to Ahmed and Kathy Giwa’s ears. It was a complete turnaround in their case. As recently as April 4, social workers were attempting to make their son Ali Giwa a permanent ward of the state of Texas.
Like many families whose children are returned home, the Giwas waited to publicly release the news of their victory until they were certain that their children were safe and that their ordeal was truly over. There have been numerous cases of courts making promises to reunify, but it doesn’t actually happen. The Verzosa family of Florida and the Cartee family of Alabama are just 2 examples of this.
Even in Jail, They Were Not Defeated
Originally, Harris County medically kidnapped Ali Giwa, their son who was developmentally behind his twin sister. He was returned home, but a case plan was still in place and CPS had control over many aspects of the family’s lives.
Just before Thanksgiving 2015, the family tried to visit Ahmed’s dying mother in Nigeria, but they were detained at the airport. The parents were arrested and the twins and their older sister were seized by CPS.
They were in jail less than 24 hours, but Kathy reports that even in that frightening time, God was working. She says that she shared her Medical Kidnapping story with everyone – prisoners and wardens alike. She was able to share her deeply-held faith as well.
Though she was only there a short time, it is obvious that she made quite an impact. Just after midnight the day she was arrested, she was bailed out. As she wept, everyone around her stood up and clapped. As she walked out of the jail, people hugged her and rejoiced with her.
They were devastated to learn that all 3 of their children had been placed into foster care with strangers. Things looked quite dark for the the Giwas, but they refused to give up hope.
Advocates Rally against CPS
After their story went out to the public, advocates got involved. The Giwas credit them with making a huge difference in their case. Shortly before Christmas, advocate Karen Riley and a group of dedicated advocates got together and organized a protest rally and march in downtown Houston on behalf of the Giwas.
Protesters rallied against CPS treatment of Giwas and others – Dec. 22, 2015. Photo Source: Angel Eyes Over Texas Facebook page.
At least one advocate, Karen Riley, wrote a respectful letter to the judge on behalf of the Giwa family. Many people made phone calls to the courthouse and elected officials.
Their Faith Is Tested
It is the day everything changed, Kathy reports. She attended a church service at Power Source Christian Center, with Pastors Dave and Linda Johnson. During the service, Pastor Dave Johnson told her prophetically that her children would be home that week. She knew in her heart that this was a word from the Lord that she could hold onto.
Just a few days later, in early January, the Giwas’ daughters were returned home, but it was a bittersweet victory. They were home, but CPS was pushing to terminate their parental rights over Ali, and told the court that they wanted to adopt him out to strangers.
Texas Judge Admonishes CPS – Demands Return of Giwa Girls – Boy Remains in CPS Custody However in Partial Victory
Even in the court documents, there were no valid reasons to terminate their parental rights. This was an outcome that was unacceptable to the Giwas. God had told them their children were coming home, and they refused to accept that this only applied to some of their children.
It was a moment for a crisis of faith for Kathy:
My DNA remains in my child. My blood runs in his veins! God gave this child to ME, no matter what CPS does.
She realized that she had a choice: she could believe the lies of the enemy and receive the words of CPS into her heart, or she could stand on the promises of the Lord, and believe truth.
Meme made by advocates. Source: Save Giwa Family Facebook page.
Many parents report that people within the CPS system have made a concerted effort to beat them down emotionally, telling them that they are worthless and that they are bad parents. With such a powerful system standing against them, far too many parents believe these lies and fall into despair.
But the Giwas came into their encounters with CPS with confidence in who they are. When Kathy prays, she remembers that she is a daughter of the King of the Universe, no matter what her enemies are telling her. She and Ahmed knew they had not harmed their children and that they had done nothing wrong. This crisis of faith drove them to their knees.
Kathy cried out to the Lord, and called close friends to pray. She was reminded of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He knew that He was to drink a bitter cup, but that it was God’s will. God would bring good out of the pain. It was in that moment that she surrendered to God’s will, determined to trust Him no matter what.
She and her husband looked to God and refused to accept the words of CPS.
Filing Pro Se without an Attorney
The Giwas learned from their advocates that there were documents that they could be filing that could help their case. Often families have no idea what kinds of resources are available to them, but many advocates have been through the trenches with CPS themselves and have become quite knowledgeable about legal issues involved with CPS cases. They began working with a gentleman who walked them through all sorts of things that they could do proactively for their case, without having to wait for an attorney to do it for them.
Losing their son was not an acceptable outcome. They kept praying and trusting God for a complete, not partial, victory. In mid-January, the Giwas began filing documents pro se, or for themselves. They learned what and when to file various documents. By mid-February, they fired all of their attorneys and represented themselves pro se from that point on.
Prayer Changes Everything
It is not just fighting [that works]. It is prayer.
On March 3, Ali was returned home, but CPS remained in their lives. In early April, they received the terrifying news that the social workers were again attempting to seize Ali and place him in permanent state custody.
Less than 2 weeks later, on April 14, their case was dismissed. CPS filed a Motion for Nonsuit, acknowledging that there was insufficient evidence to continue the case, and the judge granted the motion.
Kathy and Ahmed can only attribute this drastic turn-around to the grace of God and prayer.
Suddenly, their nightmare was over, and CPS was no longer involved.
Contrary to one media report about their story, the Giwas want to assure their supporters that they have not been deported to Nigeria. Deportation has never been on the table.
Ahmed Giwa reports that his mother is thankfully still alive. Though she can no longer talk, she is very happy that she has lived long enough to know that her grandbabies are safe.
Now, it is time to heal and rebuild. This whole ordeal has left the entire family traumatized. The once-secure children are now needy and clingy. They are fearful. They are glad to be together again, but their mother reports that they are exhibiting behaviors they did not before they were stolen from their parents.
However, the Giwas are confident that the same God who delivered them from the hand of CPS will also work to heal their trauma. They look to the future that they will share together. They are thankful to be free to be a family again. Kathy tells Health Impact News:
Every day when I go into their rooms and see them sleeping in their own beds, I am so thankful that they’re back home with me, and I get to raise them and be their mother.
I remember the nights without them, and the despair and the hours of missing them.
Ahmed, Ali, and Kathy Giwa. Image courtesy Fox 26 Houston.
They have been battered and beaten, but they were not destroyed. They now know that CPS does not only get involved with families where there is abuse. Many families are innocent. They want to help other parents to find the tools to fight back when their family comes under attack.
Our words have power, Kathy reminds us, and it is important to declare the truth that God says, instead of believing and speaking the lies of the enemy. She credits advocate Claire Rembis with teaching her the strategy of not only praying for, but also blessing, our enemies.
Kathy has this message for those who are involved in fighting for children to be restored to their parents:
My prayer is that the families going through this will come to know who they are in Christ, and have confidence to win the spiritual warfare, and that the advocates would know how powerful they are and keep up the work of supporting families.
Ahmed and Kathy Giwa recognize that their battle was not won with attorneys or by any one person, but that it was a team effort that was won on their knees in prayer.
This victory is the Lord’s.
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