A pregnant woman was jailed for refusing to make her kids take a paternity test. Now she's fighting back.

It’s hard to believe that a pregnant woman who hasn’t been accused of a crime could be held in jail for over a month, but here we are.

This world is full of all kind of wrongs that need to be righted. When Adrianna Thurman refused to submit her two children to a paternity test requested by her ex-boyfriend Erwin Rush, she was held in contempt of the St. Louis Family Court and thrown in the slammer for 39 days.

Because Thurman’s case was civil and not criminal, she was held without being charged for a crime, didn’t have access to an attorney, and was not eligible for bond.


Thurman, who was seven months pregnant at the time, wasn’t given access to a doctor until two weeks after she arrived.

She also claims that she wasn’t given an extra mattress and blanket, something usually provided to pregnant women. After she was released, she ended up giving birth prematurely. According to Thurman, her labor was a "direct result of the wrongful incarceration."

During the 39 days Thurman was incarcerated, she was separated from her children plus she lost her job and housing.

Also, postnatal testing found she has Stage 4 breast cancer, something that could have been detected earlier had she not been in jail over a paternity test.

And to top it all off, it turned out Rush was not the father of her children, just like Thurman claimed.

Thurman filed a lawsuit, claiming her civil rights were violated. She says she wasn’t notified that the Family Court Commissioner ordered a paternity test.

She had told court officials that Erwin’s attempts to get apaternity test was so he could stalk and harass her.

“It’s scary,” Chelsea Merta, her attorney, said. “One minute you’re just living your life, taking care of your kids and going to work, and then the next minute police are knocking on your door saying that you’re in contempt for something that you didn’t even really know was happening, and being locked up for 39 days and losing everything. And having your entire world flipped upside down.”

Thurman isn’t just seeking damages. She’s also seeking change.

“There have been all sorts of things that need to be remedied because of this judicial oversight, police oversight, all of these errors that were made on behalf of a system that’s supposed to protect people’s interests, not infringe upon them,” Merta said.

Thurman wants a judgement on whether or not detaining someone on a civil warrant “without prompt access to the judicial system is unconstitutional.”

Thurman’s experience doesn’t have to be repeated.

“At the end of the day, she is entitled to damages under federal law and state law, with regards to what happened,” Merta said. “But then, she’s also dedicated to ensuring that this doesn’t happen to anyone again.”

Courtesy of Macy's

Brantley and his snowman

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"Would you like to build a snowman?" If you asked five-year-old Brantley from Texas this question, the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" While it may sound like a simple dream, since Texas doesn't usually see much snow, it seemed like a lofty one for him, even more so because Brantley has a congenital heart disease.

On Dec. 11, 2019, however, the real Macy's Santa and his two elves teamed up with Make-A-Wish to surprise Brantley and his family on his way to Colorado where there was plenty of snow for him to build his very own snowman, fulfilling his wish as part of the Macy's Believe campaign. After a joy-filled plane ride where every passenger got gift bags from Macy's, the family arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado where Santa and his elves helped Brantley build a snowman.

Brantley, Brantley's mom, and Santa marveling at their snowmanAll photos courtesy of Macy's

Brantley, who according to his mom had never actually seen snow, was blown away by the experience.

"Well, I had to build a snowman because snowmen are my favorite," Brantley said in an interview with Summit Daily. "All of it was my favorite part."

This is just one example of the more than 330,000 wishes the nonprofit Make-A-Wish have fulfilled to bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses since its founding 40 years ago. Even though many of the children that Make-A-Wish grants wishes for manage or overcome their illnesses, they often face months, if not years of doctor's visits, hospital stays and uncomfortable treatments. The nonprofit helps these children and their families replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.

It's hardly an outlandish notion — research shows that a wish come true can help increase these children's resiliency and improve their quality of life. Brantley is a prime example.

"This couldn't have come at a better time because we see all the hardships that we went through last year," Brantley's mom Brandi told Summit Daily.

Brantley playing with snowballs

Now more than ever, kids with critical illnesses need hope. Since they're particularly vulnerable to disease, they and their families have had to isolate even more during the pandemic and avoid the people they love most and many of the activities that recharge them. That's why Make-A-Wish is doing everything it can to fulfill wishes in spite of the unprecedented obstacles.

That's where you come in. Macy's has raised over $132 million for Make-A-Wish, and helped grant more than 15,500 wishes since their partnership began in 2003, but they couldn't have done that without the support of everyday people. The crux of that support comes from Macy's Believe Campaign — the longstanding holiday fundraising effort where for every letter to Santa that's written online at Macys.com or dropped off safely at the red Believe mailbox at their stores, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. New this year, National Believe Day will be expanded to National Believe Week and will provide customers the opportunity to double their donations ($2 per letter, up to an additional $1 million) for a full week from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

There are more ways to support Make-A-Wish besides letter-writing too. If you purchase a $4 Believe bracelet, $2 of each bracelet will be donated to Make-A-Wish through Dec. 31. And for families who are all about the holiday PJs, on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), 20 percent of the purchase price of select family pajamas will benefit Make-A-Wish.

Elizabeth living out her wish of being a fashion designer

Additionally, this year's campaign features 6-year-old Elizabeth, a Make-A-Wish child diagnosed with leukemia, whose wish to design a dress recently came true. Thanks to the style experts at Macy's Fashion Office and I.N.C. International Concepts, only at Macy's, Elizabeth had the opportunity to design a colorful floral maxi dress. Elizabeth's exclusive design is now available online at Macys.com and in select Macy's stores. In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, 20 percent of the purchase price of Elizabeth's dress (through Dec. 31) will benefit Make-A-Wish.You can also donate directly to Make-A-Wish via Macy's website.

This holiday season may be a tough one this year, but you can bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses by delivering hope for their wishes to come true.

via 1POCNews / Twitter

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