Lesbian Mom Pleads for Daughter's Return

"Even when we decided to divorce, you know, we had a notarized paper that said ... I agreed to a large amount of child support ... Lisa was used to a certain lifestyle with me and I was willing to continue that for a period of time. ... But it was also stated, liberal visitation, that I could see my daughter any time I wanted, and at first I was seeing her every weekend, and I run a business here, working Monday through Friday in Vermont, jumping in my car at 5 o'clock and driving eight to 10 hours to be with her for the weekend, to jump in the car as soon as she went to sleep on Sunday to get back here to open my business Monday. And that went on for a very long time."

Then Miller became a born-again Christian. She joined the Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. She renounced homosexuality. Miller told a reporter for Newsweek, "I realized, 'Wow, I say I'm saved, but how can I be if I haven't repented, if I've been living in sin all these years in a same-sex relationship?'"

With that renunciation, Jenkins said, Miller moved to cut off her contact with Isabella.

"Then I became a sinner, and she didn't want me to have my daughter to call me anything other than my name, Janet, and this was very confusing for my daughter," said Jenkins. "She knows me as 'Mamma' and she knows I'm her other mother ... but really from that point on I could not see my daughter."

The legal arm of Falwell's church, Liberty Counsel, took up Miller's case and her cause, helping her fight to cut off Jenkins' parental rights -- in court and in the court of public opinion. Vermont courts gave Jenkins parental rights, while two Virginia courts sided with Miller. The case went all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court, which agreed with Vermont. Jenkins was granted parental and visitation rights. But when Miller still refused to let Jenkins see Isabella, a Vermont Family Court judge awarded Jenkins full custody. Miller was ordered to turn Isabella over on Jan. 1 of this year.

'My Constant Love Is There'

"Isabella was to be brought to us at my parents' house in Falls Church, Va., at 1 p.m.," said Jenkins. "So my parents were there. I was there. My sister was there. Friends were there."

Jenkins admitted she didn't expect Miller to show up.

"I honestly didn't," she said. "You know, but you have that hope that she'll have the epiphany or see the light or whatever. ... I just wanted to maintain a healthy relationship with my child. Let her know that my constant love is there, my financial support will always be there. I will always be there. Her family will always be there for her.

"She didn't have to live with me full-time. But you know, I would like to have some holidays, come to her graduation, kindergarten graduation. I'd like to have time in the summer to take her to the ocean and -- basically a quote-unquote normal visitation schedule to where I see her regularly and she knows I'm a constant in her life for the rest of her life."

Miller's church, however, would say there's no way that Isabella can have a normal life if she has two mommies.

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