Well, Dear Reader, after a three-week hiatus, the parental rights hearing for Nunu Sung resumes this week. The defense team representing Nunu, lawyers Terra Costa Howard and Jennifer Wiesner, will present their opening remarks, call witnesses, and attempt to disprove the prosecution’s assertions that Nunu is an unfit parent by providing substantial evidence to show that Nunu is indeed fit and capable of raising, parenting, and providing for her two-and-a-half year old son, Joshua.
During the first phase of the hearing, the prosecution team brought forward their share of witnesses to try and build a case that Nunu’s parental rights should be terminated. Thank goodness Judge Robert Anderson denied Guardian ad Litem, Kathleen Anderson’s request to ban all media from the courtroom for the duration of the hearing. I am grateful to the news media for their coverage of these proceedings. They are my link to the happenings of this case.
What I share with you now may sound odd but the more I read (and reread) the articles covering the prosecution’s assertions in this case, the more I realize how thankful I am for the saving grace of Christ. (Curve ball? Yeah, I know. Hang with me for a minute. My point is coming.)
From the reports of The Daily Herald, The Chicago Tribune, and The Chicago Sun Times, I have gleaned this: the bulk of the prosecutions entire argument rests on the events that occurred the night of Joshua’s birth. For the prosecution team–and Kathleen Anderson in particular—the bulk of their case against Nunu hinges on 6 hours in 1 day: the hours between 12:30am and 6:30am, the time of Nunu’s labor and delivery.
Like a tire in a rut, the prosecution is stuck in this timeframe. The events that occurred during these 6 hours taint the way they perceive Nunu, form the basis of their perceptions of her character, and provide the “evidence” to brand her with the label they’ve nailed to her forehead for life: “unfit mother.”
And here’s where I say again, how thankful I am for the saving grace of Christ that shatters all fetters, renounces all labels, and offers life a new for those who repent and change their ways. Now, allow me to connect the dots for you.
Having just come through the Christmas season, the period of Advent offers a time of reflection upon the birth and life of Jesus for those who believe in the Christian faith. This year, as I reflected on the life, teachings and message of Christ, my thoughts kept coming back to the passage in 2 Cor 5:
14 Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. 16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. New living Translation
And from this truth, my thoughts kept trailing back to Nunu and the prosecution team. Nunu has reconciled herself to God and through such has been given the opportunity to stand whole and new. No more labels. No more shame. No more browbeating. No more guilt. Her slate has been wiped clean … and that is a marvelous gift.
Nunu’s behavior over the past few years supports a marked change. As I’ve pointed out in previous posts,
- Nunu took responsibility for her actions, and committed her time, energy and scarce resources to whatever was necessary and required to raise her son.
- She maintained consistent, steady employment, devoting the majority of her paychecks to Joshua’s needs.
- She prepared meals for Joshua
- She purchased clothing, diapers, toys and various items for Joshua.
- She never missed a supervised appointment with Joshua. Not having a driver’s license, Nunu secured rides to and from her weekly visits.
- She joined ESL and parenting classes.
This, to me indicates a sign of true remorse and repentance. Nunu sought to reconcile herself with the court, caseworkes from Evangelical Child and Family Agency and IL D.C.F.S., and her son in the ways deemed appropriate and necessary to demonstrate her care and love for her son, Joshua, and keep accountable to the court.
I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it again, I fail to see the prosecution’s point of view. Nunu has grown beyond the events surrounding the night of Joshua’s birth. She has grown through this experience and is a different person now, a stronger person now, who remains determined to reunite with her son.
During the prosecution’s portion of the parental rights hearing, not once did they speak of Nunu’s remorse. Not once did they discuss her sacrifices to maintain her visits. Not once did they mention the gifts she brought for Joshua every time she saw him. Not once did they speak of the pride or love she feels for her son. Not once did they applaud her efforts to grow as a parent and take her responsibilities to court and caseworkers seriously. Not once did they bring to light the amount of time and energy she placed into preparing food for Joshua. Not once did they note her determined efforts to locate and arrange transportation each week to her visits with Joshua. Not once did they discuss the bond that formed between Nunu and Joshua, mother and child. Not once did they commend her courage for admitting her mistake and dedicating every waking moment to preparing herself to be the best possible mother to her son.
In their mind she is still under the curse of “the old” that Christ has set her free from.
I feel for the guardian and prosecution team, for their inability to see a repentant heart in their midst.
I feel for the guardian and prosecution team, for their resistance to acknowledge the dedicated mother they see before them.
I feel for the guardian and prosecution team, for the ways in which their hearts have been hardened by the harshness in the system rendering them unwilling to see Nunu’s committed heart toward her son.
I feel for the guardian and prosecution team, for their refusal to validate or accept the number of sacrifices Nunu has made over the past three years to love, care for and provide for her son–including adhering to a plea deal agreement they drafted (and subsequently violated).
I feel for the guardian and prosecution team, for the perceptions they cling so desperately to that prevent them from seeing Nunu for who she is: a human-being who made a mistake and a reformed child of God who loves her son, desperately.
I am praying Judge Robert Anderson sifts through the labels and perceptions painted by the prosecution and sees into the reality of Nunu’s repentant heart and unrelenting efforts to become the best mother she can be.