Wisdom of Solomon

King Solomon suggested dividing the baby in half.

Too bad that’s not an option for Judge Jeri Cohen.

Her dilemma isn’t so different: who should be the real parent? In this case, though, the future of a five year old Cuban girl is at stake.

Clearly, Rafael Izquierdo is her biological father, a Cuban pig farmer who has traveled to Miami, subjected himself to the Florida state court system and bared some difficult personal intimacies for the public court record in an effort to gain custody of the daughter he helped create, however casually.

Only he hadn’t cared enough to keep in touch with her until she was in crisis. But he’s trying now.

Clearly, Joe and Maria Cubas are her foster parents, a well-off, well-connected couple who have dedicated much of the last two years to her welfare and safety, who have already adopted her teenage half brother, the one constant male figure she’s known in her whole short life.

Only that set up was supposed to be temporary. But they’re hoping it’s not.

Judge Cohen doesn’t often leave court watchers wondering what she’s thinking. And so we’ve watched her struggle out loud with the evidence, the heartbreak, the politics and the law. The next time you see her on the 6 o’clock news will likely be the day next week she renders her legal opinion. The general consensus among my friends in the legal community: “I wouldn’t want to be making that decision”.

That decision will point a five-year girl squarely in the direction of her geographical, psychological, emotional, social, economic (et al) future.

So who deserves to raise her?

King Solomon instinctively knew a real parent would concede to giving away his/her child rather than sacrifice that child’s future.

Izquierdo hasn’t made that offer. Cubas hasn’t made that offer.
And the judge hasn’t suggested cutting her in half.

Over the next few days, Judge Cohen will need the Wisdom of Solomon to decide whether Rafael Izquierdo is a fit parent.

Oh, and after that comes the “what’s in the best interest of the child” arguments. And they may be even less clear-cut.


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