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Mother At 56 Thanks To Assisted Fertility, Now Fights For Custody Of Daughter

An Italian mother, now 58, and father, 70, are fighting to have their two-year-old back from foster care. The couple appealed in court to get the child back, claiming that she was taken away from them because of their age. Now a judge has ordered a new pr

In Italy, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May (Keoni Cabral)
In Italy, Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May (Keoni Cabral)
Grazia Longo

TORINO – They didn't shed a tear for the six hours of the hearing. "We are balanced people, absolutely able to be parents," said Gabriella Deambrosis, a 58-year-old librarian who gave birth two years ago to a daughter.

Deambrosis and her husband, Luigi, (he's a retired clerk, aged 70), were in court this week fighting for custody of their daughter Viola, who was was taken away last September after social services determined they were not fit to raise the girl. The couple, who conceived the girl with the help of assisted fertility, appeared this week before the family section of the Court of Appeals.

The court had to decide whether Viola (a pseudonym) should return and live with them, or stay with the foster family, who would then be able to permanently adopt her. While Viola remains with the foster family, judges Wednesday ordered a new probe into the capacity of the couple to raise the child.

The case first came to light last September, when the Children's Tribunal of Turin forced the Deambrosises to give up custody of their daughter. The couple appealed the verdict. Rather than taking a definite decision Wednesday, judges ordered the launch of new probe to assess the "parental capacity" of the couple.

"They punished us because of our age, because we are not young," says Luigi Deambrosis.

The lower court judge had said that age was not the deciding factor, but rather signs that the baby girl had not been properly looked after, including an episode where Luigi left Viola in the car while he unloaded groceries.

The deputy prosecutor did not seem convinced by the original probe of the law enforcement officer who inspected the couple, and called for a new evaluation. "We are confident because we have found magistrates who listened to us," said Fabio Deorsola, the couple's lawyer.

Judges followed the prosecution's recommendations. One psychiatrist and one psychologist will help assess the ability of the couple to be parents. A decision is expected in September. Until then, Viola will remain with the foster family.

Read the original article in Italian

Photo – Keoni Cabral

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How WeChat Is Helping Bhutan's Disappearing Languages Find A New Voice

Phd candidate Tashi Dema, from the University of New England, discusses how social media apps, particularly WeChat, are helping to preserve local Bhutanese languages without a written alphabet. Dema argues that preservation of these languages has far-reaching benefits for the small Himalayan country's rich culture and tradition.

A monk in red performing while a sillouhet of a monk is being illuminated by their phone.

Monk performing while a sillouheted monk is on their phone

Source: Caterina Sanders/Unsplash
Tashi Dema

THIMPHU — Dechen, 40, grew up in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Her native language was Mangdip, also known as Nyenkha, as her parents are originally from central Bhutan. She went to schools in the city, where the curriculum was predominantly taught in Dzongkha, the national language, and English.

In Dechen’s house, everyone spoke Dzongkha. She only spoke her mother tongue when she had guests from her village, who could not understand Dzongkha and during her occasional visits to her village nestled in the mountains. Her mother tongue knowledge was limited.

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However, things have now changed.

With 90% of Bhutanese people using social media and social media penetrating all remotes areas in Bhutan, Dechen’s relatives in remote villages are connected on WeChat.

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