Byler Elizabeth and Rudy

Elizabeth and husband Rudy – both former Amish. Photo source: Byler family.

by Health Impact News/ Staff

Parents whose children are taken from them often fear that their children will forget them, especially if the children are very young when Child Protective Services steps in. However, there is a deep need inside human beings to know our biological parents, even if we don’t remember anything about them. There is something inside that longs to know where we came from and wants to connect with the truth.

Elizabeth Byler of Pennsylvania is a mother of medically kidnapped children who has prayed that her children will not forget her. She also understands this longing from the perspective of the child, because she was raised in the Amish community by people who were not her parents.

Since Elizabeth’s story broke on Health Impact News, there have been some interesting developments with regards to finding her biological father.

After a lifetime of not knowing anything about him, she believes that she has finally found her real father, and she couldn’t be happier about it. They still need a DNA test for confirmation, but all signs indicate that he is the daddy she has been searching for all of her life.

The reality is that, no matter what Child Protective Services or any other organization or person does, there is a bond between parent and child that no piece of paper or judge’s decree can completely sever. Elizabeth’s journey of finding her father clearly demonstrates that fact.

This is a perspective that we do not often get to share.

Raised without Her Parents

Elizabeth Byler was raised in the Amish community after her mother got pregnant from someone who was not Amish, a man considered an outsider. When Elizabeth was 11 years old, she was told that her mother was dead. She never knew who her father was.

When she was 17, she learned that her mother was still alive. She left the Amish community and was able to spend a year and a half with her biological mother before she died. Though she is thankful for that time, it wasn’t nearly long enough.

In May of 2009, Elizabeth survived a near fatal motorcycle accident, which set into motion a series of events that have become the battle of a lifetime – a battle to return her children who were medically kidnapped from her.

Now, she believes that she may have found her biological father, a man who knew her mother and can help provide answers that she has sought her entire life.

Byler with youngest son

Elizabeth playing with her youngest son. Photo source: Justice4thebylers Facebook page.

See the original story and updates:

Medical Kidnap of Children from Former Amish Mother Reveals History of Abuse in One Pennsylvania Amish Community

Judge Allegedly Tries to Gag Former Amish Mother Over Medical Kidnap Story

Doctor Tells Former Amish Mom that Stress from her Medical Kidnapping of Her Children is Killing Her

Pennsylvania Court Attempts to Censor Social Media Exposure of Former Amish Mom Fighting to Get Kids Back

Man Claims to Be Elizabeth’s Father

Recently, a gentleman reached out to Elizabeth after seeing her story on social media. He claimed to be her dad. After meeting him, Elizabeth posted a photo of them together on Facebook, saying that she believed that she had found her biological father.

When Elizabeth’s aunt saw it, she came forward to say that she had known the man all of her life, and for several reasons, he could not be her biological father. Her aunt told her that Elizabeth’s mother, Gertrude, had named the father before she died.

After Disappointment, Elizabeth Searches for Her Real Dad

Elizabeth’s aunt shared the man’s name with her, and she began searching for him online. It wasn’t long before Elizabeth was able to locate the man, and last month, the two met in person.

According to Elizabeth, after she was born, she was ripped from her mother’s arms and taken to be raised by the Amish community.  Since Elizabeth’s father was from outside the community, Gertrude was given an ultimatum. She could either stay in the Amish community and watch someone else raise her baby, or leave, and never have contact with Elizabeth again.

Unable to bear the pain of watching someone else raise her daughter, Gertrude chose to leave.

Since Elizabeth’s father was not Amish, he was banned from having contact with Elizabeth, as well. When Elizabeth made contact with him, he believed that she was still in the Amish community. She said:

As far as he knew, I was still Amish.  He didn’t know I left.

Elizabeth said that the man is a professional musician and lives about an hour from her. He told her that he knew her mother for several years, and that they dated off and on during that time. Upon meeting him, she said:

It felt like it did when I met my mom. It was a very good feeling, and every time I talk to him I feel the same way.

Elizabeth went on to say that it was a meeting that seemed orchestrated by her mother, from up above. She said:

It was almost as if my mom was putting me there, saying, “OK, I know I’m not here for you anymore, but I’m telling you that this is your father and I want you to know him.” It’s like a dream come true, because I’ve always wanted to know more about my mom. Now, I have that second chance of getting to know her, even though she’s not here.  – God’s giving me a second chance.

Since getting to know the gentleman, Elizabeth said that he has expressed a desire to do a DNA test by the end of this month. She said:

He’s excited, but he doesn’t want to get his hopes up until the DNA test shows for sure. I’ve always said, “What if my dad was a really good guy, and he was a musician?” Because, I love singing. I always have. But, my mom liked singing, too.

So, I never really thought that, maybe he really is a musician. But, he is!  If that’s him. I’m really excited about it! And, he’s excited and can’t wait.

But, he’s scared to get his hopes up and then get them crushed, because he really hopes I am his daughter. But, he said [that], even if I’m not his biological daughter, I would still be his family. Either way, he’s going to be in my life no matter what, because, I’m Gertie’s daughter. He loved my mom till the day she died.

As Elizabeth contemplated contacting her potential father, she feared that he might reject her:

I was so afraid he didn’t want anything to do with me, because I was told that my dad wanted nothing to do with me, and that’s why I wasn’t with him.

This is similar to what many children in foster care report that they were told about their biological parents. But Elizabeth says that she was able to speak with the gentleman about it, and she learned the truth.

Elizabeth said that he told her, “It’s the exact opposite.” He would inquire about her when he spoke to her mother, but her mother was kept in the dark.

With her not being married, they [the Amish community] gave her a choice. She had to choose to either stay Amish and watch another family raise me or leave and never have contact with me.

And, she chose to leave.

But, I don’t blame her for that, because I don’t know if I could sit there and go to the same church as my own brother, knowing he has my baby. That would be very, very hard.

It’s hard to sit here and watch somebody raise my kids right now, and they’re not even family.

She would have to been around them every single holiday, all the time. I couldn’t have done it. There’s no way. And, then watch them pass me off from home to home to home to home, knowing there’s nothing she could do.

I don’t blame her one bit for leaving. It’s just sad that I didn’t get to know her more than a year and half before she did then pass away, after I was told she was dead when I was 11.

Byler Photo of Elizabeth in Amish clothing

Elizabeth in Amish clothing. Photo source: Byler family.

The discovery of her potential father has given Elizabeth hope for the future:

I’m excited! Because, not even just the fact that he could be my dad, but also he knew my mom for that long. I only knew mom for a year and a half.

I might be able to get to know my mom all over again without her even being here. He said he can tell me so much more about my mom than I know. I really don’t know a whole lot about her. He said that he can help me know mom, even though she’s not here.

Desire to Know Her Biological Parents Never Left

Elizabeth’s experience of being taken from her parents and raised by someone else is not that different from what her own children are experiencing.

Countless former foster children have reported they were told that their parents didn’t want them or that their parents don’t love them, even when their biological parents are fighting tooth and nail to get them back.

Despite what Elizabeth was always told, there was always a hunger deep down inside her to know the truth and to know her real parents. Nothing that the Amish leaders did was able to take that away from her.

What are Elizabeth’s children being told about their parents? She hopes that, no matter what, her children know that she loves them and is doing everything that she can to reunite their family.

Mother Forbidden to Post Photos of Her Children, But Guardian Allowed to

Recently, it was brought to her attention that a GoFundMe account was created by a family member of the person who took her children, requesting money to pay their attorney’s fees.

Elizabeth said that the account contained accusations of her of getting her attorney services for free, which is untrue. She went on to say that the medical kidnappers posted photos of her older children.

Yet, she, their own mother, is not allowed to post pictures or identify her children online in any way. The unconstitutional gag order that was placed on her was lifted on the grounds that she abide by this. She was told that, if she did post photos like those on her GoFundMe account, she would be held in contempt of court.

For some time, Elizabeth has been looking for the right lawyer to take her case to trial. Finally, after interviewing several prospects, she recently found her “legal eagle,” who is working on moving her case forward.

Elizabeth has wanted to take her case to trial for some time now, because she says it would be an opportunity to present evidence and hold her children’s medical kidnappers accountable for their actions.

How You Can Help

Visit the Justice4theBylers Facebook page to show support for the family.

Byler FB page

A petition to help Elizabeth get her children back, “Non-Amish Woman Steals Children from Amish-Born Woman,” is here.

The Governor of Pennsylvania is Tom Wolf at 717-772-2500. He can be contacted here. His Facebook page is here.

Here are the legislators for the Bylers’ district:

Senator Michele Brooks is at 717-781-1322. She may be contacted here.

Representative Tedd Nesbit is at 717-783-6438. He may be contacted here.

Fayette County Children and Youth Services Director Gina D-Auria is at 724-430-1283. She may be contacted here.