Amber Portwood still hasn’t seen daughter Leah since entering prison

Amber Portwood and baby Leah on 'Teen Mom'

It’s hard to believe it’s almost been 10 months since Amber Portwood began her prison sentence after she opted to go that route instead of completing a court-mandated drug rehab program. Her daughter Leah’s father, Gary Shirley, was thinking the same thing on Easter and expressed as much via Twitter. In doing so, Gary also revealed that Amber has yet to see Leah since her incarceration.

On Sunday, Shirley tweeted this out to his over 270,000 followers, tagging Amber’s brother Shawn:

The tweet took many by surprise as most assumed that Gary would have taken Leah to visit Amber by now. Gary had promised to do just that to Dr. Drew during the Amber Portwood Behind Bars special that aired on MTV back in October. Dr. Drew emphasized how important it was in Leah’s development for her to know that her mom was still in her life. Gary even revealed that Drew followed up with a phone call imploring Shirley to follow through with the visitation.

Shirley explained at the time that the reason Leah hadn’t seen her mom was because of an issue with paperwork, the reason Shirley still gives for the situation. He responded to fans inquiries about the circumstance with the following:

During the special, Amber stated that Gary had received the proper paperwork on a number of occasions and that she felt he was, “trying to protect Leah.”

Shawn Portwood, who blogged a detailed update on how much his sister was progressing in prison back in January, suggested that Gary, “Do the video visitation. That way Amber can at least see her.”

  • Lariari

    Jail is no place for a child to visit. This girl had a choice.. rehab, or jail. She chose jail over rehab and took herself away from her daughter. I wouldn’t want my kid to have to experience that either. I’m with Gary on this one. This girl needs to get it together and realize she’s not the only one that matters in this world.

    • tab

      i agree. leah is old enough now that she’d remember seeing her mom in prison. it will be better for both of them to build a healthy relationship when amber is out of prison and hopefully a new person.

      • pink

        My daughter was om Jail and I couldn’t bring myself to bring her son to visit. It’s not a memory I wanted him to have. She made choices one of which was to leave him unattended to party. Her priorities weren’t her son. Now that she is drug free she isn’t my priority he is.

    • Dave

      I disagree, it’s VERY important for her daughter to see her. Several women’s institutions have developed visiting programs for inmates. These programs include special play areas for parents and children, extended visits and more flexible scheduling. So it’s not like Leah’s going to be exposed to the harsh realities that Amber’s up against.

      The main advantage of the visits are tightening up the relationship, watching your children grow, how you’ve changed, being able to love one another and showing Leah that she truly is missed and loved by her mom. If she loves her enough, she would see her more often in Leah’s eyes. Leah’s no longer a young infant where you could get away with Amber being gone with no visitation, she’s 4-5 years old now. I have a 3 year old daughter and you definitely couldn’t pull that over on her, she would see right through that one.

      Leah needs to be able to see her mother because how is she going to feel when all of a sudden Amber’s out and suddenly back in her life? That’s a shock on the system right there. They need to keep the relationship going, doing this requires visits.

      Garry’s making up dumb excuses, I can see right through that BS. Paperwork gets lost….resubmit. It doesn’t take a year and don’t take it out to the public with Twitter making some dumb remark that Amber hasn’t seen her kid while making it seem like Amber’s the bad guy. What a douche.

  • micro OP

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with Leah seeing her mom in jail. It’s her harsh reality, allow her to process and learn from it over the years, while knowing her mom still cares

  • mary

    A mess, everyone’s suffering in this situation

  • Amber

    The thing is, Amber made this choice. By making the decisions she has since having Leah, she has given up the right to make decisions in Leahs life and Gary can do what he wants.

  • AMommy&AWife

    As a child my mother was in jail about half my life. I’m glad my dad never took me or my siblings to see her in that situation. My mother never wanted us to see her like that either. I still had a strong bond with my mom. (She’s out now) I love her to death and she’d do anything for any of her kids. We had communication through letters and sometimes phone calls. It IS possible to still be in your child’s life even if you can’t see them.

    My husband is military and has been deployed while our daughter was young. Phone calls and letters are what we got. I’m pretty positive her development was just fine. She still knew her daddy as soon as he came back.

    And I know if for any reason I was put in jail there is no way I’d ever want my child to see me in that situation.

  • Sweet Venom

    Amber made the right decision when she decided to go to jail. Rehab was not working and I can guarantee she would be like Jenelle right now, bouncing in and out of rehabs. She did a GOOD thing, why is everyone still hating on her? Yes she was a nightmare before but she is slowly turning her life around and hopefully when she gets out we will see a complete change. Unlike Jenelle, Amber always wanted to see Leah. It broke my heart when Gary always kept her away from Amber.

  • Allison

    It would probably upset Leah to see Amber being led to & away in handcuffs by prison guards.

  • neacy

    so… according to dr drew kids being taken a to prison is good for their development. im sorry Gary is not my fav person in the slightest… but you get sent to prison you lose the right to be parenting your child at least for a whole. Leah seems to b doing just fine… this is on of the few good things teen mom is showing kids, screw up take drugs you go to prison. Leah shouldn’t have to go through that she has a parent she knows loves her and is doing better without Amber. all Amber ever did anyway was put he on a crib or on the couch or bed while she layed around screaming…

    • W

      If a little child wants to see its mother and you don’t allow it, then the child will probably feel helpless, abandoned and/or punished – no matter how great your intentions are. Is that really better for the child?!
      Amber might not have been the greatest mother, but no matter if we like it or not: she is still Leah’s mother and Leah knows that. If you want to punish Amber (who is already punished by being in jail), don’t do it by punishing her daughter.

  • ohmygeez

    Gary is such a douchebag. Go choke on a donut or something.

    • Kara

      I don’t hope he chokes, but I agree that he’s a douchebag.

  • Vicky

    It really annoys me that everyone hates on Gary! He is a single dad who does the best in the situation he is in. Amber is a loose unit and Gary has always put Leah first and wanted to protect her from the unstable environment her mother lives in. Amber chose to go to jail so that’s the life she is in poor Leah shouldn’t be punished more by seeing her mum in jail. If it was a man in Amber’s situation in jail for drug problems with a history of domestic violence and the mum kept the child away everyone would cherish her decision. It works both ways! Do your thing Gary you are a great dad and Leah is lucky to have 1 parent who puts her needs first.

    • Louise

      Gary is a great dad, but keeping Leah from her mother will only hurt her.

  • Kara

    Gary, please take Leah to see her momma.

  • Al

    As a young child my mother was in prison. My gr

    andma took me to see her as often as possible….though it was hard to leave, I’m glad I got to spend time with her. It would have been worse to not see her at all. I hope Gary takes Leah to see her mommy. It would also help Amber to see her. Not being able to see your mom is worse than seeing her in jail.