Two Fridays ago, I whipped out my checkbook and handed my attorney her retainer without blinking an eye, or keeling over from a massive coronary. I was able to do this because 122 people donated a total of $5255 to help me regain custody of my son, and stop my ex from sending him to a residential facility. The money — over $200 beyond my $5000 goal — was raised via crowd-funding in just a few days. Some of it came from friends and family — a huge shout-out, by the way, to my sister, who donated a hefty chunk.
But the majority came from people I knew only by way of the Internet. Fellow bloggers. Social media followers. And people those people had urged to donate to someone known only by a pseudonym. Word spread via the normal routes on the web: I posted to my social media platforms, my followers shared the link, and so on. And after just a few days, a cyber-village formed, and made it possible for me to take on a formidable foe whose wealth and privilege has enabled him to skirt around the rules and obligations that regular folks have to follow.
Thanks to my gofundme campaign, I now have a court date, and the likelihood that a world-class child support dodger will finally have to pony up some money. Even more important, I now have the likelihood that I will regain something I never should have had to relinquish in the first place: joint custody of my son.
My story should erase any doubt that the Internet can be a force for good. Blogs do provide a service. They dispense information, provide support, and bring meaning to people’s lives. Writers who would be passed over by agents and publishers can create their own brand, build a platform, and attract readers on the basis of merit and not because their parents paid their way through the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Besides being a great equalizer, the Internet can also affect social change. People can support issues they care about through donations, or just by spreading the word. The reason I was able to raise this money so quickly was not because I’m Pauline. It was because my story strikes a universal chord. People want to see what so rarely happens in life, espcially in this era of corporate greed and grinding-down of the lower and middle class: they want the Underdog to win. They want justice served. And they want to be able to do something to make those things happen.
I have no idea if I’ll have the kind of day I want in court. But at least I’ll have the chance. If you had told me three years ago, at the nadir of my existence, that I could get custody back from my ex, I never would have believed it. And I never, EVER, would be in this position without the Internet, and without the incredible people who hang out on the web.
Cheryl Nicholl says
Good for you AND your son! The power of the internet can be harnessed for GOOD! So glad to hear it! Hugs Kisses & a Blessing to you on the day.
Liv BySurprise says
I suspect there are more than a few people who donated that can totally relate to your position (as I can). I’m so happy that the internets stepped up for you, after all you’ve given though, you’re due.
Jane Thrive says
I have just started reading at a recommendation from Liv, but your post gave me chills. I’m so glad you have your day in court and wish you the best of luck. I remember all too well the details of a contested, drawn out, no holds bar custody battle, and am sending you lots of encouragement and support.
Martha Chan says
I would like to hear how it turned it.