(JoseesVoice.com) – When I found out I was being given two tickets to attend a taping of ABC’s hit morning show, “The View,” I was excited but when I found out wrestling star JOHN CENA was going to be a guest during the same show my excitement went through the roof. Obviously, I’m a fan.
Lately, I have been turning down interviews, not attending events and otherwise walking away from my job as a celebrity reporter to return to my old roots of investigative reporting. Having your child #LegallyKidnapped doesn’t make you want to waste your day asking celebrities about their designer shoes. To be fair, I’ve never enjoyed red carpet reporting. I started covering entertainment and sports because my investigative work got dangerous.
Turns out no one like the person who is trying to uncover things that they have been trying to keep secret like the question that keeps nagging at me: “Why does New York City’s child welfare agency, ACS, have a bigger budget than the secret service?” I mean, we’re talking about ONE American city – not an entire state. NYC has only 11,000 foster kids so that’s like $350,000 per child when they say they only spend about $29,000 a year per child. That’s a lot of missing money.
A few months back, I was covering a red carpet event. It was going ok until I interviewed P Diddy’s daughters and the kids from ABC’s TV show, “Blackish.” I was immediately saddened that Josee wasn’t with me because she often came with me to events where it was appropriate to bring your child. It was a perk of the job, especially L.A. My beautiful daughter Josee loved coming to L.A. and going to the beach. I would do the very bare minimum I could do workwise and we’d spend the rest of the time at the beach. When she couldn’t come with me because it wasn’t appropriate or the hours would be too long, she’d hang with our surrogate family and friends in L.A. who would take Josee and her kids to fun places like the L.A. zoo.
As I finished up with Diddy’s daughters, I remember feeling like I had had enough and decided to leave, even though the festivities had recently begun. Then I met the Blackish kids. They recorded motivational videos for Josee and even a stern message for NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio in which they said, “Mayor de Blasio. Bring Josee Home.” Soon, other celebrities were doing the same. It was quite touching.
I hadn’t seen the Blackish kids since that experience. It had been months. So when they came out to surprise Raven Symone on The View, I felt goosebumps on my skin. I knew I fought back my emotions but I couldn’t help it. I knew that the camera had been coming to me a lot during the breaks and commercials because of the now infamous exchange I had with John Cena during one of the breaks. It was a real fan girl moment and the camera man seemed to know that I would be good for epic excitement during the breaks.
Despite being told that everyone needed to face forward, I had to turn my back when the Blackish kids came on because I was in full on tears. As a reporter, I know that the camera loves to catch people crying. After all, I ended up being photographed crying while holding a sign a few months ago that went viral and was Yahoo’s “Photo of the Day.” I was NOT about to let that happen again.
When the event was over, I took a photo of me holding the #BringJoseeHome sign that I bring with me everywhere. My buddy – another media professional who works for Time, Inc – asked me why I was crying. The day that was supposed to be a break from the reality of living a nightmare turned into another example of why I am filming a documentary about our journey to survive #FamilyCourtCorruption.
It was also a moment of extreme affirmation for me. I felt in that moment that God was telling me that Josee would be coming home, that false allegations would not end up taking away my parental rights and that those who had harmed us will pay the price for harassing us and lying on us.
The show aired today. I watched it and saw myself several times. I recorded it, too, because I’m going to try to get permission from ABC to use a portion of the footage in the documentary. It was a really fun show, funny than I had remembered.
John Cena’s new show, American Grit, airs April 14, 2016 (tomorrow) so I’m going to watch it as well. I have already been posting to his hashtag #ShowYourGrit but I plan to post this post there too. If you’re reading this John, thank you for inspiring me to show my grit. This journey has not been easy but I know that in the end when Josee comes home it’s going to all be worth it.
My birthday was a few days ago but I wasn’t able to talk to Josee because she’s being abused in foster care. I wasn’t able to see her because each time someone writes about our story, the court retaliates and takes visits away even though the previous judge said it was time for Josee to come home. It’s time to show my grit.
– Josee’s Mom
WATCH the BLACKish cast make encouraging videos for Josee
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