Good Morning America did a piece this morning on Sandra Bullock and her 5 year-old step-daughter. Sandra and her husband Jesse James are fighting to keep custody of 5 year-old Sunny whom they have had custody of since January due to her mother’s recent prison stint for tax evasion. I was really entranced in this story this morning because the headline was “Sandra Bullock vs. Porn Star” instead of “Jesse James and Ex-wife fight for Custody.” However, I do understand that Sandra has been raising Sunny in the absence of her mother during this whole period. Sandra submitted her declaration letter to the court where she talked about Sunny’s mother, Janine Lindemulder’s drug use and issues of safety involving Sunny, specifically stating an incident where Sunny was left alone all day while her mother was “asleep from drug use.” Sandra goes on to talk about the optimum relationship she shares with Jesse’s first wife and the care she provides for Sunny on a stable, regular basis. (The full text of Sandra’s letter can be read on GMA’s website).
In her defense, Ms. Lindemulder discussed that she would like to sit down with Sandra face-to-face and as “two women” to discuss the situation. She said she is tremendously hurt by the accusations and questions Sandra’s right to take away her daughter. I was a little taken back by this statement as it is clear that Sandra didn’t take away her daughter from her, the courts did pursuant to her incarceration. Once again, this is another example of how the step-mother gets to take blame for something that isn’t her issue. She goes on in her own defense and says that she is a good mother. Lindemulder is now remarried and her new husband is also as Mr. James put it “a two-time state and federal convicted felon.” Bullock and James have called both Ms. Lindemulder and her husband unfit to raise their daughter.
BFSO readers, what do you think? Do you think Jesse James and Sandra Bullock should step back a bit and allow Ms. Lindemulder to reincorporate herself and maybe regain custody of her daughter? Or, do you feel Jesse James and Sandra Bullock should keep full custody of Sunny, and do everything in their power to limit Sunny’s time with her mother considering she has to prove she is no longer drug dependent?
I am in a quagmire with my opinion. On one hand, I would hope that Ms. Bullock’s intentions are based solely on the best interest of Sunny, and on the other hand, I have always believed in parental rights, even if that parent stumbles, they deserve a second chance at redemption as long as they show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are doing everything in their power to get better and making the conscientious choice to get on the right path. But, I also feel that Sandra Bullock cannot be made out to be the bad guy int his situation considering she is just the “step-mother.” She has done well by Sunny and her husband by stepping into that Mom role when her mother obviously couldn’t and/or wouldn’t due to her prior bad decision making. She is doing what she is supposed to do.
During her interview, Ms. Lindemulder expressed her gratitude toward Sandra and expressed appreciation to her for stepping up and taking good care of her daughter while she was in prison and she also claims that she is a good mother and wants her daughter back. Bitter custody disputes are always hard on the children involved, and indeed, this one will be no different. Although they happen every single day, in every court in America, in the end, the children are always the ones who suffer.
I am confident that the judge in this case will look not only at all the facts but also at the big picture and make a fair decision. Ms. Lindemulder has expressed that she wants to be a good “co-parent” with both Jesse and Sandra. That is a good first step. Hopefully, they can all come to an amicable solution and one that is in the best interest of Sunny.
Peace & Blessings,