My name is Isaac and I am a member of a community of believers who live here in Nova Scotia.1 I haven’t always lived in this community, so I would like to explain to you the events that led me to this new life and share with you why I took such a dramatic and all-out stand against the Depart of Community Services, Family and Children’s Services of King’s County and the Family Court, when they took my son several years ago.
Throughout my formative years as a child and on into adult life I was someone who was always able to get what I wanted. As a child I learned to hound my parents into giving me my own way; as an adult I would con and finagle to achieve my goals. As a result of this ability I did almost anything I wanted. I answered to no one and I was an authority unto myself. Through the years I was able to do many things with minimal effort. All I had to do was set my mind on a goal and before long it was a reality. Over the course of time I became proud and arrogant, miserable and lonely, and eventually had no more goals and ambitions. I was empty and life had little meaning to me.
I was born into the upper crust of the middle class, being the fourth child in a family of five. My parents provided well for us and we were always well cared for. I am now appreciative of my parents for their care. As the years went by I developed some serious attitude problems which were most noticeable in school. I realized in elementary school that I wasn’t cut out for this world and my behavior reflected it. My parents and teachers sought out many remedies but none were successful. I was referred to as a problem child. I finally ended up in an English boarding school which was good for a few years but eventually my attitude problems and rebellion led to my dismissal.
At the age of eighteen, after a short stint at junior college, I decided to strike out on my own and see what the world held in store for me. I was the adventurous type and the times were loose. People were “doing their own thing.” Why not me? I decided to follow my heart and things really turned out well for me.
My friends called me lucky, I always landed on my feet. Things just seemed to go my way. I would set a goal for myself and just go out and make it happen. I would ride a situation out until a better one came along and then take hold of it until the next wave. It was exciting and that’s what the times permitted — living for myself.
My first experience was when I became a part of the crew on a luxury racing sailboat which took us to many countries around the world. I mixed with everybody from the Prime Minister of Great Britain and the man who started IBM, to the natives of exotic islands like Madeira and Guadalupe. It was an education and an experience I will never forget. But eventually, after a few years, I moved on in search of something greater. I decided it was time to make something out of myself and at a young age I became involved in business. I made my first real estate transaction selling property in an eight-dollar suit that I bought from a second hand store. I became a man about town and ran a successful nightclub at night and sold real estate during the day. It was exciting but I still wasn’t satisfied. I was a victim of my appetite and I wanted the big time. I was a going concern and I met an extremely attractive wealthy young woman who soon became my wife. We were married for five years and during that time I continued to live the life that most only dream about.
I had become part of the elite, the ruling class; I never needed to work another day in my life. If I needed money, all I had to do was pick up the phone and call the office and the money was transferred to my account. I bought cars like most people buy shoes. I had a million dollar country estate complete with groundskeeper and maid. I bought a ranch out west, horses and all. I had an office where I dabbled in business just to keep my hand in, and to be able to justify myself in case anybody asked me what I did for a living. When I walked into the most exclusive clothing stores in the city, the sales people would greet me by name and show me the latest fashions from around the world. I remember walking out of a luxury hotel after rejecting the penthouse suite as not suitable. Life at the top was lonely and I felt like I had lost my soul. One morning I woke up realizing it was all an empty lie and that I wanted out. Within a few months I was divorced and on my own once again waiting for the next wave. I knew what I didn’t want but I didn’t know what I did want.
I was still well off, compared to the rest of the world. I had my $40,000 Porsche and a few hundred thousand dollars in cash at the bank. I was in my late twenties and I still had my life in front of me. What next? I knew I still had some living to do so I decided to travel and do sports — skiing, sailing, wind surfing, basically living for myself, doing things my way, not having to please or answer to anybody but myself. I wanted to stay away from anything that would require a commitment on my part,
I had been hurt by my divorce. I felt lonely and alienated. Sometimes I would wake up during the night and not even know who or where I was. It was like being out in space. I was living in a world of my own; it was scary. I was afraid. It was at this point that I thought about having a child, maybe even a family, My girlfriend at the time cared for me, but I wasn’t in a place to make any long term commitments.
Then it happened, the most fantastic event of my life. I became the father of what the nurse called a beautiful blue-ribbon baby boy. My life took on new meaning; for the first time there was someone whom I loved more than myself. My son became everything to me. I took him wherever I went. I spent just about all my time with him. He was the center of my life. As time went on I became preoccupied with his future. I had experienced the best that society had to offer and it hadn’t satisfied me. I knew it wouldn’t do it for him either. Not only had my life not satisfied me, but I had been deeply damaged and hurt by my experiences. I could barely relate to my fellow man, my relationship with my parents and family was now almost nonexistent. I had some serious problems with women, and even my male friends I could barely relate to. I was alone, except for my new relationship with my son and a living arrangement with his mother. In reality I had lived a selfish life and the truth of it was that I needed help to find my way out, not only for myself but also for my son.
I searched high and low. We lived in the country for a while, then back to the city here and there; it wasn’t to be found. I became desperate. Surely someone had the answer. Who could show me the way? My son was coming to an age that he needed greater interaction with others. Who could I trust him with? I didn’t trust anybody, not in my life nor in his. Whom could I trust? I needed somebody to trust.
It was at this point that I really began to think about God and although I had never denied His existence, my life had been full of lawlessness and disobedience to His will for man. I knew this deep in my conscience and spirit. It was time for a radical change. I cried out to the God of heaven to help me. I began to read and study the Bible. I even attended several local churches. I began asking some questions concerning things I had read about in the Bible, like “What does it mean to give up all your possessions?”
Nobody could really answer me in a way that brought me peace. I believed that somewhere there were people who were living the life I was reading about. I was determined to find the real church.
Then through my sister I came into possession of a Freepaper much like this one you are reading. I immediately went to the Community in Island Pond, Vermont which was near my home. I knew that I had found what I had always been looking for; this was the life and the truth. In April 1986, 1 spent two weeks in the Community visiting and observing the lives of these people. It was wonderful to see people so happy with so little. I could see there were still struggles in their lives, but unlike my struggles, they had answers and help from those around them. I saw fathers working with their sons, mothers with daughters, men and women living in harmony, men helping other men. it was beyond my wildest imagination. To this day I sometimes still can’t believe it is really happening.
Towards the end of that month, I moved to the Community in Nova Scotia because I was Canadian. My son and I were embarking on a new life and my hope for his life being better than mine was beginning to happen. Our favorite chore was feeding the chickens and caring for them. Our new life together was simple and real.
A year and a half later my four-year-old son, Michael, and I became the subjects of a well-known child-custody battle between myself and the province. During the course of the time that my son and I had lived in the Community I had learned and seen how much I needed help to raise him. I was just recovering, from thirty plus years of a self-centered life. It was difficult for me to pass on to my son what would give him the proper foundation for his life, because I didn’t have it myself. We were struggling along making headway in what would be a life time of change in order to become what we were originally created to be. We were spending a great deal of time together. We were connected.
It was in the midst of this, that one fall day in 1987 two social workers and a R.C.M.P. officer arrived at our community farm, while we were on our way to feed the chickens. It all flashed before me. I had finally found the life I had always wanted, and also a life for my son that would spare him from being the problem child that I had been. He was going to receive real help when he came to the hurdles in his life. He would face his problems and receive the correction at a young age so he wouldn’t have to drag around his negative attitudes like I had all my life.
But what was this? These social workers had a concern that my son was being abused and they wanted to take him to the hospital for an examination. Having grown up in the society that I had, the only contact I had with social workers was when they went on their fund-raising drives. They would never dare show their faces in my neighborhood for any other reason than to raise support. I cooperated with them and accompanied them to the hospital for the examination. My son checked out OK and the doctor had a good report on him. On the way to and from the hospital I told the social workers that I spanked my son when he needed it and that I would continue to do so. They had a difference of opinion but assured me that they were satisfied with his condition and returned us to our farm. The following week they served me with papers to appear in court and shortly thereafter, took my son away from me, and put him in a foster home. In the following months I fought for the return of my son and we went on after his return to ensure that this type of injustice would not occur again.
That was four years ago. After over thirty court room appearances, seven lawyers, nine judges, several doctors, psychiatrists, social workers, legislators, specialists, civil servants, and hundreds of citizens, a stint in jail, TV and radio interviews, public meetings from one end of the province to the other, and much more, we are on the brink of having a new law here in Nova Scotia. It is my hope that by September 1991, when the new law is in place that it will be safe to bring up children in the province without having to look over your shoulder. It is our hope that the new law will not only allow people to bring up their children according to the convictions of their hearts and conscience, but will also protect those children that are in serious danger of being hurt or injured by their parents or others.
It became clear to me when the social workers first showed up at our community farm that a battle was about to take place. The battle was over my son and who was going to determine his future. I recognized that the authorities had the right to know that my son was not being abused. But when they continued to pursue me after the examination determined that Michael was fine it was clear that any further intrusion in our life was beyond their mandate.
It was at that point that I took a firm stand and let them know that I was Michael’s father and that I was going to determine my son’s future. This not only shocked the authorities but caused them to respond by coming against me with the full power and resources of the province. Under normal conditions I would have had to compromise and allow the province to dictate how I was to raise my son. But to compromise my son’s future or for that matter the future of our community was not something I could do.
We didn’t have much in the way of resources and to the natural eye we wouldn’t be able to fight such a powerful force as the government. But I had a good conscience and knew that God was with us. “If God be for us, who can be against us”: in other words God was on our side. As time went on it became more and more evident that we were prevailing, but it was not enough that we would get Michael back, we wanted to see a law in place that would allow us to bring up our children in peace. Without that we would have had to move on to a place where government insures basic human rights.
We are thankful that we can stay in Nova Scotia and I am thankful for my brothers and sisters in the Community who supported me in this battle which I could never have fought and won apart from them and our God. I know there are many people across the province who have fought and lost the battle, many losing their children for good. They have my sympathy. It is terrible thing to lose the most sacred of relationships unjustly.
My son Michael is eight years old last four years have been difficult ones for both of us. Our relationship has been deeply affected by his separation and the amount of time and energy that I have spent communicating our concerns to the authorities in the province. The wound of my son being taken has left a scar. When he was first returned to me it was obvious that he had lost something. It was hard for him to trust, even though he wanted to. The doubt of the world had been put in him and his confidence had been taken away. When he was in the custody of Family and Children’s Services he was questioned over and over again about what he believed and what I believe. He stood firm in his convictions but eventually they wore him down. What had taken thirty years to be taken away from me, had been snatched from him in a few short weeks.
We were both in a place of need and we still are. He needs to be connected to me, I need to be connected to my Source of life, my God. As healing through love is coining to me, my son is gradually being restored to me. I long for the day when our hearts will be one in a deeper and even more profound way than before he was taken. I love my son and more than ever I want the best for him. I want my son to fully come into knowing my Master Yahshua. the only one who can save him from a life of devastation and disappointment. After all that we have been through I believe we are going to make it. My vision for where we are going has greatly increased. I am certain that the path we are on is the right one.