Thursday, March 1, 2012

For the children

Moving to the Rhythm 
(panel 1)
Original oil painting  28x22"
by Susan Roux

For some, when it rains it pours.

Imagine loosing your wife (or husband) to cancer and the following month loosing your only daughter because she was brutally murdered at the hands of her husband. Seems unimaginable doesn't it? Let's say she had three small children and you're the only one left to care for them. 

I'm sad to say this isn't a hypothetical but reality for my good friend and mentor, artist Don Hatfield. 

As if matters aren't bad enough, he's finding himself in a battle to gain full custody of his only grandchildren. It's very sad and I'm embarrassed to live in a society that prefers to put children in foster care/up for adoption rather than grant them effortlessly to a close loving relative. What has our nation come to, to make a grandfather fight for the custody of his orphaned grandchildren?

Think of those lovely adorable little ones. Big questioning eyes full of sadness, longing for their mother and their incarcerated dad. They're only babies. What do you tell them? All you want to do is hold them tightly in your arms. You cry silently... What would you tell them if the State ripped them from your loving embrace only to hand them over to strangers? As if dealing with two deaths isn't enough, you don't even have time to morn. Instead you're busy hustling trying to make some of the most important decisions of your life in order to reach the State's requirements of what's best for your babies. 

Within 24 hours of his daughter Rachel's murder, Don was required to have a court hearing. Do you know what it's like scheduling a court hearing? Friends came to his rescue and luckily he did obtain one. No time to deal with the shock of his immediate loss. No, the State won't grant you that. If you don't get your court hearing within the 24 hour period, the children are immediately put into foster care. 

This hearing granted Don a temporary guardianship that lasts but one short month. At that time, he'll be visited by social services to see if the living accommodations he's providing meet their standards. That is just one bullet point on their list of requirements. 

Those of you who follow Don's blog know he filed bankruptcy over a year ago. His credit is as low as it can go. You could say it's nonexistent. No bank will loan him the funds he needs immediately to put together the pieces necessary to meet State requirements. 

One month. 

That's all he gets. Not one month of clear level headed thinking. No, one month when he's facing a crushing emptiness that can devour even the strongest among us. How he longs for his loving wife to be by his side during this trying time. But it's not the hand he's been dealt.

Don needs financial assistance at this time. He is a wonderful loving, giving man. The sadness that overcomes me at this time is indescribable. Please consider helping a fellow artist. Any contribution is helpful and greatly appreciated. Remember the March of Dimes? Their motto was based upon if each person gave one dime, they would have enough money to help those in need. Well times have changed and one dime doesn't go as far as it did back then, but the same principle exists. Small amounts by many add up.

Please go to Don's blog to help. If his story touches your heart, please do every effort to spread his information around. We have great power at our fingertips with the internet and our computers, laptops and smart phones. Wouldn't it be great if together we could make it go viral? 

At the moment there is an effort to create an account on a fundraising website. I'll post a link to it as it becomes available. 

Thank you for reading through this post. As you know Don is very dear to my heart. Please help.

Moving to the Rhythm 
(panels 1+2)


  1. Susan thank you for posting this. I was so affected when I read his post, I couldn't even respond. Shared yours to Facebook. It breaks my heart.

  2. A member of my family lost his daughter at the hands of her husband a few years ago. He also was killed, though I can't remember if he shot himself as the police had him surrounded or if the police had to shoot him because he had a weapon. They too had to fight for custody of their grandson. I am so sorry to hear of Don's heartbreaks.

    I always find myself wishing I had the figure of your girls.

  3. What a horrid situation Susan! I'll be sure to stop by Don's blog. I hope he can turn this around and get permanent custody of his grand kids!

  4. Wow! It's hard to believe with as far as technology and society has advanced, that this sort of thing still happens.

  5. Hi Susan - I read through your post. I don't know the people involved, but my heart aches for everyone.

  6. Quelle triste et affreuse nouvelle je lis-là !! Comment est-ce possible... Mon esprit tout entier n'arrive pas à imaginer. Pourquoi autant de mauvaises choses s'abattent sur Don... un homme qui paraît si bon et généreux...

    Tes deux dernière toile sont pleine de mouvement et de fraîcheur... Je te fais de gros bisous tu m'as tant manqué...

  7. Oh, Susan, this is too sad for words. My heart breaks for your friend.

  8. What a horrible situation. I do have to speak up (just a little) for the state. As a former Guardian Ad Litum in the state of Florida, I find it hardly ever is a win-win situation when the state is forced to be involved in family situations. In the State of Florida, the official goal is "the best interest of the child". This is not always the case. In the past the goal was "family reunification" which may sound good, but is not always the best thing for a child.

    In this case, I believe the goal of the state is to get the child in a safe home as soon as possible. This is the reason for the 24 hour court hearing. Without that, the state has no choice but to put the child in foster care of some type, which is not a satisfactory outcome for the child if there are family options. It would be nice if they could just hand over the child to a grandparent, but in the case of abuse or murder of a family member there is more than likely abuse in the family for several generations. That is why the state has to be sure the child is not handed over to an unsatisfactory care giver. Government was never formed to be involved in family situations, but it is a necessary evil of today's society.

  9. I am on my way to Don's blog. He and his grandchildren are in my prayers.

  10. Hi Susan.
    I am deeply sad for your friend, Don. I hope with all my heart that God will help him get the children, help pay for their care, and for him to find some semblance of peace. It is a truly tragic situation.

    Thanks so much for sharing your absolutely beautiful paintings, too.

    Was so happy you stopped by my blog to visit and comment, too.

    I will keep Don and his hurting little family in my prayers. Susan

  11. Susan, I got to see Don long enough last week to give him a hug. He told me that he is going to get a national magazine article and a tv spot. It seems that God is providing a way for the financial care of these children. Our local paper gave him a full front page spread and really got the attention of people who want to help get the word out. Glad you are his friend....Randy


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