December 5th, 2011 by Glenn Sacks
Solomon Metalwala’s 2-year-old son Sky disappeared while in the custody of his estranged wife Julia Biryukova a month ago. Since then, everyone’s focus has been on the search for Sky, as it should be. We speculate that Sky has been stashed with a relative in Ukraine, Biryukova’s native country, but nobody really knows. We hope that Sky is safe and that he will be reunited with his father as soon as possible.
When Sky disappeared, Washington Department of Social and Health Services seized Maile Metalwala, the 4-year-old daughter of Solomon Metalwala, away from her unfit mother, Julia Biryukova, and put Maile in foster care. It is a common but unjust practice for child welfare agencies to put children in foster care instead of giving them to their fathers. Moreover, the Washington court separated Maile from Solomon based on spurious abuse allegations from a now thoroughly discredited accuser.
A week ago Fathers and Families launched our Campaign to Reunite Solomon Metalwala with His Daughter Maile. Our goal has been to push WA DSHS and King County Superior Court to reunite Maile and Solomon as soon as possible. Many of our members and supporters wrote and/or called the relevant authorities, and our campaign has been covered by much of the Seattle media. DSHS issued a statement in response to our campaign on Friday.
We are now pleased to report that, in part because Washington Department of Social and Health Services is now supportive of Solomon’s custody bid, Solomon has won custody of Maile, will likely be reunited with her soon. From Seattle KING 5 News’ Solomon Metalwala one step away from regaining custody of Sky’s sister (12/5/11):
A King County Court Commissioner on Monday granted custody of Sky Metalwala’s 4-year-old sister to her father, Solomon Metalwala, pending the removal of a protection order in another court.
The decision was made at a hearing in Kent, where Solomon petitioned in person for full custody of his daughter, Maile, citing Sky’s disappearance…
A court advocate and an assistant state attorney arguing for DSHS agreed with Metalwala. The commissioner granted Biryukova visitation rights, under strict guidelines. Metalwala will gain custody once a restraining order that previously kept him away from the children is vacated…
“In the custody, the wrong parent might have won, and I’m not sure based on the record I’ve seen, we can’t establish domestic violence in the relationship. The mother has very profound mental health issues,” said Tony Masco, assistant state attorney.
Metalwala’s attorney will ask a judge Monday or Tuesday to drop the existing restraining order, clearing the way for Maile to be home for Christmas.
We will continue to monitor the situation and keep our members informed of new developments. We commend DSHS for its position and salute Clay Terry, Esq., Solomon’s attorney, for his determined work towards reuniting Maile with Solomon. Terry told KIRO TV in Seattle on Friday that he “appreciates” Fathers and Families’ efforts.
We thank the Seattle TV stations KIRO and KING 5, KOMO News Radio, and the numerous other Seattle media outlets who covered our campaign for helping to highlight this important child custody issue. We also thank the Washington Domestic Violence Commission for their assistance.
Together with you in the love of our children,
Glenn Sacks, MA Executive Director, Fathers and Families
Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S. Founder, Chairman of the Board, Fathers and Families
NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission. All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.