Wendy Alfredsen fights for daughter's return from Norway, where her other mom took her

Categories: News

Wendy Alfredsen cropped.jpg
Wendy Alfredsen.
On December 8, 2009, Berlyn Alfredsen, then five-years-old, was taken out of class by one of her adoptive mothers to attend her great grandmother's funeral in Norway. This wouldn't have been notable, except Berlyn's great grandmother was still alive. Wendy Alfredsen, Berlyn's other adoptive mother, knew this and was appropriately shocked when she arrived to pick up her daughter from school the following afternoon, only find she was 5,000 miles away.

Wendy's former partner had fled the country with their daughter -- not for a funeral, but to prevent Wendy from receiving parental rights for Berlyn.

Wendy and her former partner adopted Berlyn and her older sister, Liberty, in 2004. After serving as foster parents for two years, they became adoptive parents. At the time, Colorado did not allow second parent adoptions, so Wendy and her former partner each adopted one daughter and intended to serve as guardian for the other. The entire family took the Alfredsen last name, and after the adoption process was completed, the judge congratulated them as a family.

In the fall of 2009, a large crack grew in that family when Wendy and her partner ended their relationship and entered into a nesting agreement, with each parent taking turns living in the house and allowing the daughters to grow up together. Since Wendy was legally only the adoptive parent of Liberty, she filed for allocation of parental rights for Berlyn two months after she ended her relationship with her former partner. Wendy says her former partner admitted in court that she fled for Norway to avoid service of Wendy's parental rights.

"It was never, ever intended for us to raise these girls separately," Wendy said while holding back tears at a press conference held today at the State Capital. "No family, parents or siblings, grandparents, aunts or uncles, should be separated by a simple piece of paper."

But that's where the Alfredsen family stands. Had Wendy's partner swiped Berlyn eight months later, she would have violated a newly passed law prohibiting parents from leaving Colorado until permanent parental orders are in place. Colorado now allows second parent adoptions, but that process would need to be initiated by Wendy's former partner, as she is still the adoptive mother of Berlyn.

The state has named Wendy a psychological parent to Berlyn, which is defined as "an adult, who on a continuing, day-to-day basis, through interaction, companionship, interplay and mutuality, fulfills the child's psychological need for a parent, as well as the child's psycho-physical needs." This affords her limited parental access and rights, and she is allowed to see her daughter one week a month, and only in Norway.

"You can imagine the turmoil, the reality and the logistics of me taking off work and leaving my job and taking my daughter out of school one week every month to travel 5,000 miles," says Wendy.

A couple dozen supporters showed up at the State Capital, clad in yellow shirts that read "Bring Berlyn Home" and choked back tears as Wendy told her story. When Wendy's former partner heard of the press conference, her lawyer sent a letter to Wendy informing her she was not the legal parent of Berlyn, and asked Wendy not to show pictures of her daughter or share any of her personal information.

"I'm not sure how somebody can say you're not a parent when I sat with Berlyn when she was an infant and I held her and I fed her what little she ate," says Wendy. "I bathed her as an infant and a baby. I sat through many doctor's visits, hundreds of hospital visits, signed for treatment and signed for school. I watched her take her first steps, crack her first smile, say her first words. I watched her learn to count, to color, to play and sing silly songs. We laughed, we danced, just like any other parent does with their child."

Compounding the stress on Wendy is Berlyn's medical condition. The seven-year-old has received two intestine transplants and undergone countless surgeries and procedures.

"It's very difficult, because I do have court orders to access her medical information, but I'm still restricted, and dealing with international borders is a little difficult," Wendy says. "I am somehow blocked and not able to get all the information. It's a huge concern. I think any parent worries about their child, but when you sit day after day after day in a hospital, you really value the little good times she has. It adds a whole other depth to the emotion of it all. I still sit and worry about her right now like I did before. Now, I just have a lot less information to go on."

Wendy has been immersed in the legal system since her daughter was taken eighteen months ago. In addition to filing for allocation rights with the State of Colorado, she has done the same at the State Department's Office of Children's Affairs in Washington D.C. and in international courts in Norway through the Hague treaty, which sets policies and procedures for inter-country adoption. She has met all requirements of the treaty, yet there has been no resolution for her case.

Wendy has seen her daughter three times in the past year and a half. "I was able to visit her in April," Wendy says. "When I picked her up, I hadn't seen her in seven months. She jumped right into my arms and hugged me. She looked back, looked me in the face and hugged me again and said, 'I missed you, mommy.' The sad fact is right now, none of those experiences matter, because in 2006 the adoption laws did not allow me to be on her birth certificate even though we had the intent of being a family all together."

Wendy does not seek to cut her former partner out of their daughters' lives. Above all, she wants Berlyn re-united with her sixteen-year-old sister.

"These children are entitled to be with each other and be with both of their parents, not just one of us either way," Wendy says. "The kids are the ones who get hurt the most by something like this. It's very unfortunate and unfair. It's important for people to see how the inequality and the lack of equal protection within our system allows for these things to happen."

For now, Wendy and her family communicate with Berlyn through Skype and have set up a Facebook page to help raise money and awareness for the case. Wendy is fighting the battle for her and those in a similar position.

"It starts with allowing parents to both be on the birth certificates," she says. "If two moms both have a child together, they should be able to be on the birth certificate right away and not have to file for a second parent adoption later on. The second parent adoption process is very lengthy and difficult and very expensive. For anyone who works for a living, it's very difficult to make those finances work. We're no different than any other parents. We shouldn't have to do more than any other parent just to have access to our children."

Wendy and her family are showing a surprising lack of animosity towards her former partner and her family, asking only that they return to the states.

"I love them and I mean that sincerely," says San Clay, Wendy's mother. "I have known them for many years and I know Berlyn loves them. I would never, never speak against them or take them out of Berlyn's life. I just want to be a grandmother like I have been. Bring Berlyn home, and we'll share her. We'll share."

Below, see more photos from today's event.

Wendy speaking.jpg
Wendy Alfredsen tells her story.

Wendy w crowd.jpg
A small crowd gathers.

Kid with sign.jpg
Children join the crowd.
More from our News archive: "Baby daddy unknown: Missing fathers can throw kinks into adoption plan."


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110 comments
Flokeneslr
Flokeneslr

Wendy Clay has NOT got "anything"  changed..... The Norwegian mother of the child; HAS offered Wendy Clay "something.." - the judge (the law) - aggreed to that.  -"Went out" and "advertised" that "she has changed the Law" THAT IS A big lie!   - As we seen before -The court will be i June.... 

Watcher
Watcher

Funny, now the Berlyn's Journey for Justice page is gone and deleted off FB.  Wonder why?  Why don't the followers come to court in June to find out the TRUTH?

Watcher
Watcher

Wendy has NOT allowed Lena to speak or skype to Liberty..when Lena showed up for court in Sept 11..she was told by Wendy, No you cannot spend any time with Liberty alone.....yet Lena allows Wendy to visit Berlyn in Norway and have this child for 7 days or more by herself...where is the fairness in this?   More lies from Wendy.  She has kept the maternal grandmother and previous partner from speaking to Liberty since day one.  She is a control freak and we all know this...or have learned this lesson the hard way.  How is the Clay family showing lack of animosity?  Berlyn's Journey for Justice page is slanderous...this article is slanderous...the BRING IT article on FB that was discussed and then deleted is slanderous..the story Heroic Mother's Anguish article is slanderous is also now deleted.  So all u supporters..catch a clue...THEIR story is fabricated and there are so many lies that even the judge will see thru the wool that these two women have tried to use as cover since this all started.

Flokeneslr
Flokeneslr

W. has never ever been on this childs birth certificate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!There are so mush lies her .... It`s a shame. They use this story to get attention and MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Watcher
Watcher

Why  would the public continue to help raise money for Wendy when her lawyer claims she is doing all this PRO BONO?  Obviously this money wont be going towards any legal fees or court fees since Anne Gushart is doing all this for FREE?????

Michelle Phillips Carney
Michelle Phillips Carney

Lisa aka Watcher...legal fees are more than just attorney fees but if you would like to make a donation, please visit Berlyn's Journey for Justice, and of course it would be greatly appreciated!

Watcher
Watcher

My how time flies..So the general public helped pay for the P R E doctor visit and expenses to rent a place/airline tix and God knows what else.  Since this was spring break in Colorado..how come Wendy never brought Liberty to Norway?  Wendy has never paid for a ticket so Liberty can visit her sister in Norway.  Does Wendy actually pay for anything in life?  I am beginning to see that this is obviously NOT SO.  I cannot wait to see what happens in court this June...I cannot wait for their supporters who helped pay for the trips for Wendy and the PRE doctor, how and what his ruling and opinion are on this case.  The truth will be heard in court and those supporters of Wendy and Michelle, I cannot wait to see the shocked look on their faces when they hear the ACTUAL TRUTH that has transpired throughout this horrific ordeal.

Flokeneslr
Flokeneslr

You are an evel person! You have nothing (ever had) to do with this case, altthough you "run" this case. ALL THE INFORMASION YOU HAVE GOT; is from a person, that dont tell the truth! You two have harrassed - lied - and "tortured" children, that cant defend themselves.Use them as a bait - to get attantions and money for "another case" !!!!!!!Can you tell the world about that "mentally ill"  tattoo you have done of another LEGAL mothers child? - And "anyone" are supporting you?????!!!!!!!!!! We can see, that THEY dont know the truth!  AND - W. C. A. HAS NEVER BEEN ON THIS CHILDS BIRTH CERTIFICATE! There are so mush lies! How can anyone give money to those; Have anyone asked; "where the money goes" 

Watcher
Watcher

I am supporting Berlyn's Justice...to stay in Norway.

Watcher
Watcher

Good luck proving to everyone that donates money to you....where the money is actually being spent...why would they wanna help pay for the Norwegian Lawyer fees?  That is what Cathy Valentine said on the ChipIN link...

Michelle Phillips Carney
Michelle Phillips Carney

Lisa aka 'watcher' legal fees are more than attorney fees and if you would like to make a donation, it would be greatly appreciated, please feel free.

Watcher
Watcher

Funny, Michelle, how you and Wendy always avoid the truth on where the money is actually being spent.  You two love to waste money from other supporters...knowing that American does NOT want child in America.....she prefers to keep Berlyn in Norway..all she wants is verbal rights to the child..nothing financial..physical...or even emotion support. This is not good parenting and those that think that this IS..should get their heads examined!

A nurse who cares
A nurse who cares

As one of Berlyn's many nurses, I have watched that little angel die on front of Wendy and be brought back with a miracle from God and at the hands of only the best physicians. I know first hand how many times Wendy was at Berlyn's bedside in comparion to her other mommy. I am not saying one is better than the other, but I know how much Wendy loves her daughter Berlyn, and her other daughter Liberty. I know that we referred to both of them as Berlyn's moms and we consulted with both of them for medical care; life saving medical care. Wendy is fighting now like she did before, with the best interest of Berlyn in her mind and heart! KEEP FIGHTING!

Watcher
Watcher

Yeah I was there too...but now she has changed her personality with the friends that were involved with that whole family unit...we are protecting Berlyn's rights to a Quality of Life that was promised and started by her....and now that the legal mother has made that promise ...she is the bad person?  I am shocked at the reasoning of everyone's purpose to bring this sick child back to a country that has diffucult and extremely hard Medicaid issues in each state and the way our own gov't cannot come to any agreeance on giving the American people better health care...We that want the little girl in Norway have always been thinking and wishing her the best of care....and she is getting it....no guarantees how long she will live...and Omaha agrees with this decision...like they said in court...all kids eventually go home....well she is home....her legal mother lives in Norway....so home is Norway.

A nurse that cares
A nurse that cares

Funny, because I know who "you" are and I recall a visit or two in Omaha but you didn't live there with them. I know you claim you were there but you were not. You know who was there? Both Wendy and Lena Alfredsen and the grandmother San Clay, 24/7.So you vendetta is because Wendy Alfrdsen changed her behavior towards the "the friends that were there for the family unit"? To be honest, you come across as a pirahana after blood, so I am thankful she has true supporters, a great relationship and a family that includes her teenage daughter ( Berlyns biological sister) to stand next to her for this fight. We truly support you Wendy Alfredsen

Watcher
Watcher

Oh yeah..The Ronald McDonald House was a place I stayed with the family as well...I met other families there and a few are my friends on FB...so ...I didnt live with them in Omaha, but I did live in their Aurora house and watch their two dogs...Jet and Gizmo.

Watcher
Watcher

My vendetta is to make sure the promise for a better way of life for sick child stays in place as it is....and if this upsets you..then I cannot help that.

Watcher
Watcher

Thanks for the compliment

Watcher
Watcher

LMAO...you are so clueless as to where I stayed and when....if ur a nurse..then u saw me at times...with Lena and Wendy.  I do work for a living..and when I could..I did stay at the hospital hotel with the women...and then their house they were renting..so please...dont lie to the public about how u know me!  You obviously dont.  If I didnt care..I never would have put them on my passes for 3 yrs to make sure they had quick access to and from Omaha....I undertand  your support but please understand mine as well...bottom line...the  move was never to separate the family...the family announced they were moving together...so if the end result was due to American's decision...then understand that this was not Norwegians fault...THIS IS WHAT WE ARE SAYING...period.

Rustysmith24
Rustysmith24

This is about keeping two daughters together.  Both of these girls was born in the US and have no blood relatives in Norway, none what so ever.  The only one that is going to suffer after all this over with is the two girls.  It seems that there is a money issue here that is more important than the issue of keeping these two girls together,  when there should be love and compassion involved.  So two mothers had an issue, but don't make the little girls suffer.  Do what is right for them.  I just can't imagine what it would be like to have one of my siblings taken to another country and not being able to see them. Klokenesir, if you are the mother and so called grand mother, why are you so involved with this. You never were around these people on a day to day basis and you have no clue as to what issues they had with trying to get over all the medical issues that came up in their lives, let alone trying to raise a teenage girl.   You only heard that from one source and you being a good mother and I would probably done the same thing, I would back my daughter to the hilt. Sorry to say but you need to keep your mouth shut and let things work out like it should, whether it be good or bad. Try to be a good mother, and "grandmother" and stay out of their lives.  

Watcher
Watcher

As for blood relatives...they were adopted .  So what is your point in that statement? Guess u  have no clue about adoption...or how a child feels when adopted...I do.

RUSTYSMITH24
RUSTYSMITH24

Watch --  I got to thinking and this will be last time I will post anything on this site.  I stumbled upon this site and I just couldn't believe that there was not anything said in any encouraging words as to keeping these two kids together. So tell me how cold I am when I lived a life you will never experience.  I hope you have a very wonderful life and I will give you and everyone here a very special prayer in the morning on Sunday.  

Watcher
Watcher

Well I am sorry that your life was so tragic...fortunately I was adopted at 18 months in the philippines so I was lucky enough to experience a happy childhood.  It would be impossible to have norwegian live in the states...no car and no house and she was the primary caretaker....difficult for the two of them financially and emotionally...someone said it takes a village to raise a family....the village has now relocated to Norway....the health care is being provided and we that support this decision wont change our minds....we are not selfish....we are thinking of the sick child....the teenager was never to be involved in this case....per American mother and both lawyers...so why are they involving her now?

RUSTYSMITH24
RUSTYSMITH24

Watch --  You have no clue how it is to grow up without parents. To make a long story short, me and my sister were raised in a children's home when I was two years old. Never knew my parents.  My sister was taken away when I was eight and just recently found out where she was.  I often wondered why the two of was not taken at the same time, I since found out.  If you had some love and passion in your heart, instead of all this negative talk, you should try to get these kids together again, which ever way it would work out it will be best for the kids in future years.  I work with alot of people and councils trying to help out people just like the way I grew up and maybe, maybe since you have some interest here you might want to do the same.   

Watcher
Watcher

OMG...I cannot actually believe how rude and cold a person you are!  That is the dumbest paragraph I have read so far....dont be jealous because the norwegians are a close knit family and are honest with each other and to everyone they meet.  Americans are so good at pretending that everything is fine..they like to FAKE their lives to everyone...so quit being jealous because their is a culture that actually respects and honors other people's words and actions.  Norwegian grandmother has every right to defend her daughter..just as you have a right to support the American.  Un frikking believable!

Flokeneslr
Flokeneslr

General questions: One thing is to fight for; Equal rights....... BUT when some one use A child; Pictures - Names - and much more over "years"...... Please answer this; whose organ. support(ing) that? Who is protecting the children?

Watcher
Watcher

I am done commenting on here or OUTFRONT...this dialogue wont stop..so I will.

Mcadams Tammy
Mcadams Tammy

Many blessing your way to bring her home! My prayers are with you everyday!

keepgrlstogether
keepgrlstogether

Watcher  aka Lisa,I have seen you attack and attack page after page, yet you cannot provide any legitimacy to your attacks other than verbal nonsense. I was not in the courtroom but have ready every detail depicting this terrible story.  Yes, I gather facts before I choose to comment. I have read your 'debates' with others and when others have given dates, facts, and details, you give personal attacks and defensive attacks on those that question you or your 'BFF''s actions. You would testify that Wendy gave verbal 'No's" when asked if she would adopt this child? That falls under hearsay and gives no credibility to you or your 'proof'.I am not this MPC, but just as Michelle stands by Wendy, I stand up and for the girls.

Watcher
Watcher

Oh and by the way..why do u refer to my responses as attacking..and NOT Michelle Phillip Carney?  If u read all the details then let me remind you that the courts deemed Lena as acting in the best interest of her daughter by taking her to Norway and she was not kidnapping her own legally adoptive child like the other blogs have said...this was a clever way to ruse the public's attention and it worked.  So have a nice day.

Watcher
Watcher

Ok so you only sound like MPC and seem to know personal info that she disclosed on another link....so what is your name since MPC was kind enough to expose mine?  And here I thought that the privacy button on this site was actually real.  I am not on trial..like I have stated before..and I will answer in my own responses..just like anyone else..if u dont like it then dont continue to read this.  I dont need to prove anything to you or anybody else...this is a court case ..not an  open public debate...as this has turned out to be...so show up in court.

only4thekids
only4thekids

This is ridiculous.  So many of you are making this about a relationship that ended.  Relationships end all the time, it's none of our business. What does matter as a member of this community and as someone that has seen this story in the news as of late, are these two children.  NOTHING ELSE MATTERS.  These two women should give what they initially promised when they were adopted - to never be separated.  Everything that happened after the adoption date doesn't matter in the big picture. These two women made a promise to each other, to friends, to family, to the Courts, to these two beautiful blessings - KEEP IT! Divorces happen all the time, AND IT ALWAYS TAKES TWO, so get over yourselves - ALL OF YOU - and raise these two girls together, as promised, as they deserve. YOU ALL AS FAMILY AS FRIENDS OWE IT TO THEM

Brwniiidgirl
Brwniiidgirl

 No it is about the best interest of Berlyn!  That is what we are fighting for.

Watcher
Watcher

Agreed Brwniidgirl....but they will never hear us..they have been convinced that this story started out as a kidnapping and the laws never worked in someone's favor...Alot of NOW issues so this is what is captivating this audience.  Thank God you have been there as well as I have...you are a great friend.

Keepgrlstogether
Keepgrlstogether

Brwniiidgirl,

Having Berlyn being raised by both her moms and with her sister is What is the BEST interest for Berlyn, and being close in proximity to the medical team that gave her life and saved her life IS WHAT IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF BERLYN!

Watcher
Watcher

Disagree that these girls could ever live together again...besides teenager is gonna be outta the house after 18 yrs of age.  So this is really about the Quality of Life for the littlest one...which is the reason for the move to Norway, but all you people see is American mothers' fake tears and her fake stage performance to do this battle ..not just for her..but for all the gay families...someone knows how to USE emotional issues for appearances.

Shelly
Shelly

Oh and MPC, NOW I am posting something.  

Shelly
Shelly

I cannot believe how gulible you people are.  Were you the ones holding the "Rapture" signs a few weeks ago?  That didn't happen either.

Ndgogrlfan
Ndgogrlfan

Thank you, Wendy and company, for your ongoing battle for families of all types.  It's heartbreaking to have watched this all unfold.  We will continue to fight!

Flokeneslr
Flokeneslr

We shall/will all fight for the correct - What ever it is, but then we/they have to be honest.We learn; Honestly the longest lasting.....

Brwniiidgirl
Brwniiidgirl

I wish that you had chosen an honorable, righteous individual to represent this cause!

Maibrittenator
Maibrittenator

Does anyone, reporters and organisations stop to think before they reveal untrue stories to the media, at all.?The story Wendy Alfredsen tells is not at all true, its built on lies. There are always two sides of a story, and the media should have more pride of their proffesion, and find the truth about a story, rather than explore lies to the public like its been done here.

Texfoto
Texfoto

Another unbiased story.  The story is about parental rights...not what happened in Wendy and her former partner's relationship.  If this was a man, it would be national news and outcries for Berlyn's return would dominate the news.  It is time to have equal laws for all people. 

Watcher
Watcher

Fine ...Parental Rights...who is the legal adoptive mother here?  Who is not?  End of story.  Why...because American said NO every time it was offered her verbally...but you wouldnt know that cause you didnt live with them.

Watcher
Watcher

Wendy is not a man..she is a gay woman who chose not to use the laws that were available when they became available....you  have no idea what this woman is really like..none of u supporters except a few from her band and immediate family actually know.

Flokeneslr
Flokeneslr

Do you have access to ALL the courthouses?  You have to read what I first told you on this pages for  equivalense Laws for everyone: The first is: You have to be married and you both have to stand as parents on the BC. 2. If only one parents stands on the BC, then if you sep. or get div., than the Child(ren) will stand with the parent, that stands (legal) on the BC. That is whether you are a man - women - hetro - homo - lesb... Wendy has got a wide range of offers: Visit the child, when ever she want - talk to her - skype her - get the medical inf. that she want........  

Watcher
Watcher

Why would she when the American told her NO repeatedly?  Would you waste time and energy if the other person wasnt willing to work it out ...like she told everyone?  Yes and No games are her answer to everything....meaning they start out Yes but always end up with a NO.

Keepgrlstogether
Keepgrlstogether

Watcher: I have read up on the postings made on Berlyn's Journey for Justice. After reading the posts I made calls to all the courthouses in the metro area and could not locate a proceeding that Ms. Alfredsen's former partner had filed on order for Wendy to adopt his girl. Again, 2nd parent adoptions are a lengthy court proceeding that also involves the Dept of Childrens Welfare. It is not as simple as signing a piece of paper and must be initiated my the primary parent.

Flokeneslr
Flokeneslr

No it would not; If they have/had been honest; whether you are a man or a women!

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