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Chip and Joanna Gaines: 11 Godly Secrets to an Epic Marriage and Family

Chip and Joanna Gaines are teaching us important lessons about marriage and family as they walk away from their HGTV show for the sake of their family.

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Rory Feek Remarries 8 Years After Losing Wife Joey to Cancer

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How One Mother’s Tragedy Inspired Wyatt’s Law to Combat Child Abuse

As soon as I filed, things got nasty. My ex-husband was so verbally abusive towards me. Made me truly feel like I wasn’t good enough and blamed his cheating on me being a horrible wife. Then all of a sudden, the son he had left for months, he wanted visitations with. The woman he was having an affair with, Rachel Edwards, I had only met once. She rubbed me the wrong way though. I then had heard a rumor that she didn’t have custody of her own children. It was another red flag to me. But when I would drop off Wyatt with my ex-husband, she would be there with her [three] kids. So it didn’t make much sense. Still, I couldn’t ignore the feeling I had about her. I didn’t want Wyatt around her. I expressed my fears to my attorney and explained I wanted to prevent Wyatt’s Dad from overnight visits. I was terrified he would leave Wyatt alone with her. I tried to pull up whatever I could on her. I first called DHS to see if she had custody of her children, but they are not allowed to give out that info. I then searched her name on Google, looked her up on something we have here in Michigan called OTIS (Offender tracking information system), and even searched her on the Sex Offender Registry. I came up empty on each search and I didn’t have her birthdate either. We had our custody hearing, I explained to the referee my concerns and feelings, but since I didn’t have proof, she granted my ex-husband overnight visits. The anxiety I experienced after that hearing, crippled me. I couldn’t sleep well at night, eat well, and it was even affecting me at work. I just had to trust though that my son’s father would keep him safe.

Courtesy of Erica Hammel

Erica Hammel’s Fight Against Child Abuse

In the morning of Friday, November 1, 2013, I received a phone call from my ex-husband, Wyatt’s father, whom he was with for the weekend, that Wyatt had been rushed to Children’s Hospital of Michigan because he was ‘breathing funny.’ My ex-husband had said he was at work and he would meet me at the hospital. One of the things that came to my mind was, ‘Who the heck was Wyatt left alone with?!’ My ex-husband gave me his word that when he was at work, his mother was watching Wyatt, not Rachel Edwards. Frantic and shaking, I called my brother to drive me to [the] hospital because I was in no shape to drive. I called my ex-husband on my way to the hospital and he admitted to me on my way down there, that he left Wyatt alone with Ms. Edwards. My heart dropped into my stomach. I was livid, but my main focus was getting to the hospital to Wyatt. I had NO idea what I was walking in on. I was thinking maybe he had an allergic reaction or he had a cold and they were just taking him down to the hospital for precaution.

When I walked into Children’s Hospital ER, I was stopped immediately by a member of the neurosurgery team. The moment her eyes looked into mine, I knew what she was about to say was going to be bad. She told me Wyatt is awaiting emergency surgery because he has a major brain bleed and fractured skull they were believed were due to a non-accidental injury. I dropped to [my] knees and started becoming hysterical. All I kept asking her is, ‘Is my baby going to be ok?’ ‘He’s going to make it, right?’ and all she could tell me is he was in the best place possible, and they were going to do everything they could. The feeling of not knowing whether your child is going to live or die is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

Erica Hammel
Erica Hammel
My name is Erica Hammel, I am 30 years old, and live in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. I work part-time for a dental Handpiece company, and my other job is taking care of my son Wyatt who is a survivor of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Wyatt is currently in outpatient 3 times a week, so we stay pretty busy. After what happened to Wyatt, I knew I needed to make a change. No doubt my calling in life has become to protect children and to fight for the rights they don’t have. I am trying to do that through Wyatt’s Law and will continue to do that after the law passes.

Chip and Joanna Gaines: 11 Godly Secrets to an Epic Marriage and Family

Chip and Joanna Gaines are teaching us important lessons about marriage and family as they walk away from their HGTV show for the sake of their family.

‘My abuser is here today’: Miss Kansas Uses Interview Portion of Pageant to Call Out Abuser Before Being Crowned

Miss Kansas 2024, Alexis Smith, has captured national attention not just for her beauty and charisma, but for her bravery in addressing a deeply personal and harrowing issue: domestic abuse.

Rory Feek Remarries 8 Years After Losing Wife Joey to Cancer

It's been 8 years since Rory Feek lost his wife, best friend, and music partner Joey Feek to terminal cancer. Now he's tying the knot again, this time, with daughter Indiana by his side.