LTWH LOGO LARGEChild abductions are hard to deal with.  The thought of a child been ripped from the only life they have ever known is a nightmare of any parent.  The most common form of child abduction, is parental child abduction, meaning one parent has taken, detained or concealed a child from the other parent.  It is all too often a common occurrence that society somehow feels ‘safer’ when the abductor is a parent of the child.  These abductions do not garner the attention and support that non-family abductions do, regardless of the fact that they are just as dangerous, and exponentially more complicated to resolve.

I have recently had the privilage of coming across an organization set up here in Canada by the father of Alexander and Christopher Watkins, Stephen Watkins.  The organization he has formed is iCHAPEAU.  The information below has been taken from their site, and they have TONS more to offer as well as a great support system for families who are the victims of international parental abduction.  Please take a look at their site, and facebook page … it is well worth your time.  This is a group that we can all get behind and begin working to change our laws here in Canada.

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This is a statement that we need to ensure society understands.  Parental child abductions create just as many scars and bruises as actual physical abuse, but tragically, the abuse is mental and emotional, and these are not types of abuse that are easy to single out and address.  What an abducted child goes through during a parental abduction is horrifying and will leave a lasting footprint on the child’s soul.

In some cases, a child is told that they are just staying with the abductor a little longer than usual, or are going on a vacation, and in the more severe cases, the child is often told that the other parent has been harmed, or does not want them any longer.  In extreme cases, children are forced to take on new identities and travel frequently to remain unfound.  The negative impact this has on the child is tremendous.  Abductions leave the child feeling confused, like they have to choose between their parents, like they have betrayed one or both parents or like they are the cause of all the fighting.  Let’s be honest here, when a family is divided in divorce, the children involved are the only ones that are subjected to the fighting constantly.  The fighting that occurs when their parents are together, and the things one parent says about another parent when they are apart, these children are the only ones hearing everything from both sides and are in the middle without any relief, and this has lasting effects on the child’s life.

Parental Child Abduction is Child Abuse 01The longer the child is missing, the more concern surrounds their emotional well being.  Removing a child from their home and community is detrimental to the child’s health, normally a child would have their family to support them through the change of being in a new community and school.  Children are made to feel safe and accepted after a move, ensuring that the experience of moving is not one that will harbor long term negative emotions.  Now imagine what a child will feel when they are moved away and have contact cut off with their family, especially if the child is then isolated, not placed in school and has limited social interactions for fear of being discovered.  Imagine the fear and confusion that would cause an adult, then remember it is 10,000 X worse for a child.  During the time when the child remains missing, they are being alienated from the left behind parent causing feelings of being betrayed by the non-abducting parent, as well as preventing younger children from bonding with the other parent.

It cannot remain forgotten that even after a successful recovery, that child’s life has been forever altered.  The child comes home and is surrounded by all the things the abducting parent has conditioned them to feel are negative.  The child is unsure of their place in the family, and can be essentially stripped of their abilities to have trusting relationships.

Emergency BinderIt is always important to be proactive when you share custody of a child with an ex.  You can, and should, create an ‘emergency’ binder, with all of the information law enforcement would need quick access to should your child ever be abducted. I make two binders and give one to a family member or close friend.  Things that are important to include in your binder are:

  • Current information of your children with photos, descriptions of distinguishing features of each of your children, your child’s fingerprints (these are super easy to get done as part of an ID kit, or at a local missing child agency).  I also include any medical conditions which the children may need medical treatment for.  Copies of birth certificates are also greatly helpful.  Including children’s health care numbers and social insurance numbers will also come in handy should your child be abducted.
  • Current information about the opposing parent such as their current job, their family and friends information when available, their current residence and living arrangements, their passport number or photocopy, their driver’s license number or photocopy, their immigration information if applicable, their email account information, their cell phone information, and contact information for any friends or family residing in a foreign country.

It can be easy to forget to inform all of the right people when concern for your child’s safety is heightened.  Be sure that your child’s school, babysitter, camp, daycare etc, are aware of the custody arrangements and HAS COPIES of these custody orders.  Without copies on file, the opposing parent can walk into one of these places and take your child out legally.  The school’s etc. cannot detain the child from the opposing parent unless they have copies of the court order.  Make sure that these people understand who is allowed to pick your child up and what to do if they are presented with a situation that has not been approved by yourself.  Make sure these people can reach you at any time.

Having an ongoing conversation with your child is also vitally important.  Tell them that you love them, and would never leave them.  Explain to them that if you were harmed in any way, their grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. would be there to talk to them in person.  Make sure they know how to contact you at any time if they find themselves in a situation where they do not feel safe.  Keeping our children informed in a casual age appropriate manner goes a long way to develop your child’s instincts about situations that aren’t quite right.  Encourage them to follow these instincts and assure them that if it turns out not be a situation to worry about, that you will still love them and be proud of them for speaking out.

The first thing we can do to begin to turn this situation around, is to educate ourselves on what some of the signs may be when a parent plans to abduct a child.  There are some indicators which may premeditate a parental abduction.  Some signs to look for would be:

  • An opposing parent having already kidnapped the child
  • Direct or indirect threats have been made about the removal of the child
  • Direct or indirect threats to harm the opposing parent, child or themselves
  • Someone with a history of controlling and or violent behavior, which may escalate to a stalking/harassing behavior
  • An opposing parent showing high levels of hostility, anger or resentment
  • Parents whose many arguments consist particularly regarding custody, access and parenting
  • An opposing parent may have familial or other connections in another country and has expressed interest in returning to said country
  • A child who has made comments that an opposing parent has told them they were about to move somewhere.
  • An opposing parent has made significant changes in their life, including quitting their job, selling their home, and/or liquidating their assets, closing bank accounts, applying for a passport and/or VISA etc.
  • An opposing partner continually raises unreasonable concerns of a child’s safety and well-being while in the other parents care
  • There has been a court decision that an opposing parent is angry about

Parental Child Abduction is Child Abuse 02Not every parental abduction will be proceeded by these symptoms, and not all of these symptoms guarantee a parental abduction will occur.  The best tool you have in determining if your child is at risk of parental abduction, is your instinct, so follow it.  If you become very concerned that a parental child abduction may occur, it can be possible to get a court order to prevent the other parent from travelling with your child.  You can also possibly get a court order prohibiting the other parent from applying for a passport for the child  and/or ordering the child’s passport and travel documents be held by a third party (ex. Lawyer).  You can also talk to your lawyer about options such as supervised visitation to limit the opportunity for the opposing parent to abduct the child.  Taking these measures though needs to be well thought out, as doing so may inflame an already volatile situation.

If you find yourself in a position where your child has been abducted by an opposing parent, immediately follow these steps:

  • Call 911  – One thing that we in Canada are doing right, is to not require a waiting period of time to report your child missing.  In other countries, you have to wait until the next date you would have had custody of your child to report them missing.  This gives abductors days to disappear and greatly hinders law enforcements chances of finding the child quickly and before they leave the country.
  • Make law enforcement aware if you suspect your child may be taken outside of the country, and/or is at risk of harm.  Make sure to convey these concerns to law enforcement so that they can take the right course of actions to help bring your child back to you safely. After making the report to police about your child being abducted, make sure you get an incident number, the name of the officer taking the report and a phone number to call for follow-up from law enforcement.
  • Document any and all communication you may receive from the abducting parent, their family or their friends, and be sure to document when there began to be a complete lack of communication.  DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT.  I cannot stress this enough.  You will never remember the details of the entire situation if you don’t document them from the very beginning as they happen.  Documenting is a simple way to ensure that all authorities and lawyers receive the same, precise information and will make things 500% easier when the case begins to come together, showing the true nature of the abducting parents behaviors, thoughts and reasoning.
  • Have your emergency binder on hand to disseminate vital information to law enforcement as quickly as possible.
  • If you feel your child may already be outside the country, contact the Central Authority within your province to determine if you can commence a Hague Application.  It would also be beneficial to consider filling out the Initial Intake form to request additional support and assistance.

Parental Child Abduction is Child Abuse 10Depending on the circumstances surrounding the initial abduction, criminal charges may be laid, civil enforcement proceedings may be started or both processes may be initiated at the same time.  However, the first and primary concern is to locate your child, so don’t be surprised if charges are not laid right away.  Get advice from a lawyer, and follow their suggestions.  You will need to advocate for yourself and on behalf of your child.

After the immediate shock of an abduction begins to subside, there are other ways to continue locating your child and further advancing the case with more help and information.

Flag Your Child’s Records

  • Flagging your children’s school records means that you and law enforcement will be notified if the child is registered in a new school and their records are requested.
  • The Canadian Border Services Agency has the ability to issue an ‘alert’ on the passport of a missing child or a suspect in a missing child case.  The request to set up this alert must be requested by law enforcement, and cannot be requested by the searching parent.  If a police report has been made, the case has been confirmed and there is believed to be a risk that the child or suspect would attempt to leave the country, then law enforcement may ask the Canadian Border Services Agency to place the alert.  Canadian Border Services Agency officers will be alerted if your child’s or the abducting parent’s passport is used by someone trying to cross the border, and may be able to prevent them from doing so.
  • Medical Records.  Let your child’s doctor know about the abduction in case your child’s medical records are requested.
  • Passports Canada.  If you are the parent/legal guardian and you are “Concerned for the safety of your child, or fear that an unauthorized passport application may be made on behalf of your child under 16 years of age.”, your child’s information may be added to the Passport Canada System Lookout List.  What this will do is alert staff that further attention is required when processing the child’s application, “ensuring all legal documents are viewed, that there are no restrictions on the child’s mobility or other information that would prevent a Canadian passport being issued in the name of the child.  To have your child added to the Lookout List, visit the nearest Passport Canada Office or Canadian government office.  You will need to provide the following documents to Passport Canada ensuring that your children will be placed on the Lookout List:
    • The full names and birth dates of both parents and the child.
    • Copies of any custody-related legal documents.

Parental abductions can be very complicated.  Each abduction and circumstances surrounding the abduction is unique and decisions about how to proceed, find and recover the child will depend on a number of factors.

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It is your responsibility to bring the abduction to the attention of criminal (ex. Law enforcement.) and civil (ex. Private lawyer) authorities.  All of this generally happens at the same time, which again reinforces the benefit of having an emergency binder already prepared, making the process as easy as possible for you.  You will not want to be trying to track down birth certificates, phone numbers etc., when your mind is already frazzled with the shock of your child being abducted.

The factors which will determine the course of action taken include:

  • Whether or not you know where your child has been taken.  This will help determine the appropriate organizations and authorities to involve.
  • If you have a custody order or agreement in place, and what this custody order says, ex. an order with dates and times to each parent’s access to the child will be easier for law enforcement to enforce.
  • Whether or not your child has been taken to another province, as you may need to register your court order in the other provinces as well, or you may need to make an application for a court order that requires law enforcement in that province to locate the child and enforce the existing order.  The goal here is to ensure that law enforcement are armed with the correct court orders allowing them to maintain the authority to enforce the order in the province which the child has been taken to.  Don’t let this overwhelm you, your lawyers will be able to ensure that the correct steps are taken.  For those who are concerned about their financial ability to hire a lawyer, Legal Aid is available.  You won’t have to go through this process alone, and Legal Aid can quickly determine your eligibility for their program.
  • You will need to ensure that the custody order you have is the most recent order granted.  It can be possible for the opposing parent to have sought a new order without your knowledge.  Your lawyer will quickly be able to track down the most recent order, or you can check with the courts yourself.  It is a simple process, go to the court house in your local area and request a document search, they clerks will be able to pull up every piece of paper ever submitted regarding the custody of your child, and for a small fee can copy the most current order for you.
  • Remember that your child’s safety is law enforcements number one priority and supersedes any custody agreement.

Parental Child Abduction is Child Abuse 08Authorities will obviously play a big role in the search, recovery and reunification of your child.  It is important to voice your concerns to law enforcement, and also important to trust that they know how to do their jobs and are working to return your child just as you are.  Developing a good relationship with law enforcement involved in your child’s case can be a crucial aspect to ensuring what needs to get done, is done, and can do a lot to reinforce that you are not alone during this horrific time.  Some tips to ensure you have a good working relationship with authorities are:

  • Understand that the police will ask you questions regarding your child, the abducting parent and the history of your relationship.  You must be COMPLETELY honest with them.  It can be instinct for the left behind parent to become self-protective and leave out information which may place them in a negative light.  The police are not there to judge you, they are there to help you, and by giving them the complete history of your child and former partner, you are only aiding in their ability to quickly and safely resolve the situation.
  • Consult with authorities on any individual search efforts you plan to make.  They may have information you are unaware of, and doing so behind their backs can hinder their ability to help you and your child.
  • Develop a relationship as quickly as possible with the lead investigator in your case.  You may want to involve a non-profit agency to help you make this connection.
  • There will be times when authorities seem like they are not sharing much information with you. Trust them, there is most likely a very good reason for the officers to protect their investigation.
  • Remember that everything from your past with your ex will come to light eventually, and it is best if these things are explained in full right away, rather than waiting for them to be brought up by a third party.

While trusting the authorities and their judgement calls on how to best resolve your case, this does not mean you cannot ask them questions.  If you are unclear or unsure of anything that is going on, ask.  The authorities are there to help you in your time of need, and they will be open to listening to your questions.  Some things you may want to ask police are:

  • Discuss with law enforcement about whether or not to release any information regarding the abduction to the media.  Doing so can at times make things harder for police and therefore take attention away from your abducted child.  They are trained in how to proceed with these cases, and should the time come to speak with the media, they will coach you on how to best do so.
  • Ask law enforcement whether or not you should be contacting the friends and/or family of the abducting parent to try and locate or gather information.

Parental Child Abduction is Child Abuse 04It is important for left behind parents to understand that things won’t just ‘go back to normal’ when their child is returned home.  The reunification process is a long and sensitive one, based on the length of time the child was missing.  There are things which left behind parents can do to make reunification as positive and easy for a child as possible, and there are resources left behind parents can access to make this transition.

When your child comes home, it is best to consult with professionals regarding the reunification process as soon as possible.  You will want to include professionals such as child psychologists, play therapists, forensic pediatrician, social workers and law enforcement in your reunification team.  There are steps a parent can take to begin the process on the right note.  When your child is located, you will need to consult with law enforcement about their plan of action.  This may require travel, obtaining a lawyer in the location where the child is, attending court and most of all, waiting.  Remember that your child’s safety is law enforcements top concern.  How long your child has been missing is what really dictates how the reunification process proceeds.

You will need to take many things into consideration while you are reintroducing your child into the family.  Some important things to consider and plan for are:

  • Your child should be given an explanation, in an age appropriate manner, of what is taking place and why.  Don’t let your child be held by their own fears and fantasies.  Honesty is crucial.
  • Some suggest preparing a recovery kit.  You can include photos of the family and some of your child’s favorite things.  If your child has been missing for a considerable amount of time, the professionals working with you on the reunification process may show your child current pictures of you and the rest of your family before you are even reunited.  This is also the time when these professionals can take the opportunity to identify and address any false stories that your child has been told about you.
  • Ensure that you and your family have privacy throughout the reunification process, media should not be around as it will only add to the stress and tension and can be detrimental to your child.
  • This next thing will be the hardest part of what you need to do to ensure you have a successful reunification with your child.  Avoid the temptation to immediately reunify with your child.  Remember that they were ripped out of their life, taken on the run, and now are being dropped back in the family that they have been conditioned to think are bad people.  It is important that your child understands what is happening and is supported 100% in making the reunification as stress free as possible.  When the reunification does occur, it should be in a private environment.
  • When the child is being recovered from the abducting parent, it is extremely important to avoid having the child witness the arrest of, or forceful recovery of the abducting parent.

Parental Child Abduction is Child Abuse 06Once your child and you have been reunified, you will be faced with the task of legally dealing with the abducting parent.  This process is going to be emotionally charged and exceptionally volatile.  It is important that you consult with your lawyer in regards on how to proceed and take the advice of professionals.  The biggest question will be whether or not the abducting parent will continue to have access to your child.  You may need to discuss whether supervised access is needed to mitigate the risk of another abduction.  You will need to obtain a new custody order, laying out the exact access the abducting parent has to your child.  Again, consulting with your lawyer will be necessary.

Once your child has settled back into life with your family, it is important to remember a few key things that you can continue to do to allow your child to continue healing.

  • Do not criticize or bad mouth the abducting parent.  You may not understand how your child feels about that parent, and the abducting parent may have been the only one your child has known for some time.
  • Depending on the amount of time your child and yourself were separated for, you must consider how confused your child may be about everything that is happening surrounding them.  They will be confused about their relationship with you, their relationship with the abducting parent, and truth about what has happened.  It is so important to take all the time a child needs to process and come to an understanding of what has happened.
  • Give your child time and support them in uncovering and understanding their own feelings.  Don’t overwhelm them with information, what they need directly in the time after their recovery is a calm and collected environment where they feel safe to express their emotions and voice their concerns.

Parental Child Abduction is Child Abuse 07Regardless of how, when or why a parental abduction occurs, it is a traumatic, and highly charged event.  It is every parents’ nightmare, and sometimes we as parents would rather not think about these things happening to our children.  However, we need to begin making parental child abduction a topic that parents are comfortable with, and are able to educate themselves on.  No one wants their child to be abducted by a stranger at the park, so we educate ourselves, and in turn our children, on how to avoid this type of situation and what to do if they find themselves in this situation.  We need to ensure that we give our children the information they need if they are ever abducted by a family member.  Now I am not saying you should tell your children “If Mommy/Daddy ever abducts you …”, but we can have conversations with our children and talk about how they can react if someone they know takes them somewhere without Mom or Dad knowing.  Another crucial aspect of parental child abduction, is the awareness it raises in how co-parenting needs to change to ensure that are children are not disadvantaged by having parents who are no longer romantically together.  Parenting needs to be done as a whole, and needs to be consistent, regardless of what parent your child is with.  They need to follow the same rules in both homes, and they need to look at their parents as equals to be respected and trusted.  I know that spending the rest of your life constantly seeing your ex is not your personal choice, but together you have brought a beautiful shining light into this world, and in 95% of separations, you both want what is best for your children.  Keep the lines of communication open.  Be prepared for some give and take, and understand that the sooner you can come to terms with how things need to be, the sooner everyone can move forward and heal, your children included.

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  1. so helpful. my babe girl was abducted also.
    God bless ALL

  2. What if your children were held in a country that doesn’t care what foreign countries say? I sent my 2 children to their daddy in Russia 11 years ago for the summer and he refused to send them back because he didn’t want to pay Child Support. I went to Russia to try to exercise my rights as their mother and sole custodial parent and bring them back to Texas,but was flat out told nobody cared what the US said. They weren’t leaving until he wanted. They’re still in Russia and I haven’t seen or heard from them since.

    • Tameka I am so sorry for your situation. Please email me at – I believe I may have a few contacts and resources that could be beneficial for you and help bring your children home.

  3. Hague does not work. My two children(aged 11&9) were abducted back to Finland in December 2003(accosted after achoolvand dragged into his vehicle)and despite his alcoholism and violent tendencies Finland refused to return them to me. Estonia his native country and also a Hague participant declared my children citizens without consulting me allowing him Sole Custody and charging with Felony Kidnapping for leaving Finland with them in January 2003. My husband KICKED ME AND THE CHILDREN OUT OF THE MARITAL HOME iN FINLAND in a middle of a night blizzard, yet my allegations with sound evidence were treated as the rantings of a scorned woman. He was right and I was wrong simply because I am a US Citizen. To date I have never heard from my children again. Hague looks good on paper, but in real life is useless. If it worked as it should my children should have been back home safe with Mommy within 6 months at most. Instead their supposed homeland failed them and abandoned them to a unbalanced psycho.

  4. The legal system fails countless chilldren and I was one of them.My younger sister and myself were illegally retained in Germany ages 5 and 7 in 1999 by our father after summer visitation ended and taken to his native Ukraine in 2000. Our birthplace was Germany but we were US Citizens like our mother with no father on our Birth Certificates. Legally he didn’t have a leg to stand on and our mother was awarded SOLE CUSTODY in both America and Germany yet no one did anything to assist her getting us back. Our father was an alcoholic and generally someone you would’t want to leave even a dog with. He placed us at orphanage twice and our mother was still not allowed to retrieve us. Our repatriation came in 2005 when our mother traveled to Kharkov to personally rescue us. She located us at school,fled to Kiev with us,and we flew home back to America on 72 hour Emergency Passports granted after much pleading to the US Embassy. We had to go into HIDING to avoid Interpol which our father sicked on us and remained hidden until 2012 when my sister turned 18. If the legal system worked like it should German authorities would have returned us to our mother in August 1999 but unfortunately the court system rarely considers the best interest of the child.

  5. My three children ages 7, 6 and 3 have been abducted by the father, after mediating an agreement of custody. The father has full legal sole giving me parenting tone with them and full access to medical and educational records. It has been over two years since I have seen my children because the father his new girlfriend and his family are concealing they’re whereabouts from me including phone contact. The father moved them out of our jurisdiction but under the 100 mile range. When I knew what school they attended before the father took them out of that school I had went to speak with the principal at that time she had told me that the father handed the school a “order of protection” they gave a copy to me however even with the current order from the court, also shoowing proof that I was never served that order. They still denied me access to even the records. I contacted the district office super, I has all contacted Pima County Sheriffs Office to make a report of missing children. However the sheriffs assigned violated ARS of AZ. They refused to list the children missing and the school had finally told me after 6 months of lying to me about the children transcripts telling me that they never got sent to the new school and some schools don’t require them. I told the super that the sheriffs are involved then she finally told me that they got sent to Coolidge unified school district. I spoke with the detective and Sargent assigned to my case , the detective advised me to go to that district show proof of who I am with court order so that’s what I did. I met coolidges school district super then she had to speak with coolidges legal departmart also needed contact info of the Detective. I provided the info for her. I ended up locating my children myself doing some investigation myself. I spoke with the dective gave him the info. He spoke with the father got the details of the case from his side. Even though the father did not have permission from the court and has violated our court order even the father telling the detective that he did not want me to have any info relating to residence school and phone contact the detective has still done nothing. He states that the children are not missing because he spoke with the father, he would not tell me where he had moved the children too, the detective was also trying to serve me with the order of pertection even though that order was nof served within the year issued , in the state of Arizona if your order hasn’t been served within the year of issuance that order is not any longer valid. The detective also while speaking to me wanted to violate my 4th amendment by making me go to his station and give him my phone for a “phone download” stating that it will show proof o-when and how many times I was trying to get in contact with my children treating me like the criminal. I refused to provides my phone however I did print up emails and text messages but I guess it wasn’t good enough because the detective put in the report that I failed to corporate with law inforcement also that it looked like a cut out parts of my conversation and added my own things in the prold I provided. The detective refused to tell me where they resided that it wasn’t his job to tell ne that info I needed to hire an investigator for that. During all this going on I was and still am being harrassed by the father’s new girlfriend making up and defaming my charactor by malignant false police reports saying I tried to run her off the road then she assaulted me in our local neighborhood store. I had witnesses at that time stating what I told officers to be true. I had her arrested and waiting for our court date on that case also a couple days later I had an order of protection place on me from her even though she assulted me. I contacted the children’s school at this time because school started, well guess what they are no longer at that school. So I contacted the detective back she then once again did not list the children as missing but yet again spoke with the father even going to the new school to see the children. He told me the children looked good. I also petitioned the court to enforce our order regarding my parenting time. The judge issued an order granting me three therapeutic visits for one HR per visit on the count of me not seeing or talking to them for over two years. I get my first visit on the 28the of this month. The father stated to the judge of his current address in queen creek AZ and testified of the children going to a school located in Coolidge district. However I contacted that school they are not enrolled there but I did get the info from the detective about the school in Marana az I went to that school and I was also blocked access until I started to throw out all kinds of court orders and AZ revised statues then their tune changed however it was to late the father yet again moved the children so I contacted detective again and this time he stated he forgot to tell me that the father removed them from that school they are living in queen creek telling me they are going to that very school that I spoke with earlier. The detective then told me the father told the court that he was in the process of moving back to queen creek and the children were in the process of going to this school in Coolidge unified. I then argued the facts and the detective read the court order and quickly changed the subject after I caught him lying to me. I then asked when the children were removed from the school he had seen them at in Marana AZ but be could not give me that info because he stated he never asked. So another words he “forgot”to tell me that they no longer attend that school and didn’t fully investigate my case along with violating AZ revised statues and many law inforcement guidelines/protocalls. I do not have income to hire an attorney so I went through legal aid how ever they closed my case gave me a answer as to why they couldn’t help is because they do not take cases like mine. I have exhausted every place that I could think of t.p.d, the sheriffs, the governor, victim rights, legal aid, FBI, the Marshall’s, missing and exploited children , domestic violence agency’s and many many more. I have no body else that I can think of so I’m trying john Walsh with Americas most wanted the news channels and even maid missing children flyers. I doNT know what else I can do so I’m feeling angry lost and sad all in one.

    • Hi Danielle – can you please email me at immediately – I would like to speak to you about your case, I don’t know if I can help legally, but I do know that I can provide you with support. I really hope to talk to you soon.

  6. I wish you all that something good will happen in your cases,
    My daughter wich have lived with me alone for 2½ years (she is 4 and the first 1½ years i lived with her and her mother) did not get returned 3 weeks ago.Her mother has strong BPD and eating disorder.
    She is not used to be alone with her mother (they usually meets 3 hours a week). I have charged her for Child abduction and started o coustudy trial.
    i guess you have it worse, my doughter at least wont go to another country,
    but not seing her and not knowing what mindgames her mother will play on her hurts really bad.

    Thanks/johannes G

  7. Hi

    I have used one of your pics from here on my website for an article – My issue of abduction of child done through the legal process by the resident parent.

    Please let me know if you have any objections to me using the picture.



  8. Hague extraditon treaty is a JOKE!15 years ago my 6 year old daughter vanished from her school. She didn’t go to daycare after school but nobody thought to notify me until I went to pick her up that evening. Police pulled the security footage from her school and my worst nightmare was confirmed. The secretary remembered that “a tall White man with a really heavy accent came in and said he wanted to see her”. My child is biracial Black/White and barely resembles me her Black mother so the secretary assumed his demands were legit because she looks like him and summoned my child. The secretary then turned her back to resume working and in that time my child’s father had swooped her into his arms and quickly carried her out of the school. As you can probably guess he is a foreigner aka non-US Citizen and I didn’t want him to find me or my child. He is a Greek Citizen and I met him while in US Army. I lived with him in Greece and Cyprus but fled with my 4 year old when his threats and physical violence became too much. He threatened to kill us both if I ever left though so I fled to a small rural town under assumed identities. He tracked down my mother and bribed her with $5,000 to reveal my whereabouts planning to use my child to force me to return to him. 3 days after she vanished my child called from Syria(where my ex grew up and has family) to say she was never coming back to me and never loved me. Every day since has been a nightmare. 3 countries on your list Cyprus,Greece,and United States all ruled my child was stolen from me and needed to be given back to me but 2 countries Cyprus and Greece have also let my child come and go freely and repeatedly without enforcing the return order. There reasoning? She is considered a Greek Citizen and cannot be detained against her will. Keep in mind I NEVER agreed to her having Greek Citizenship and don’t understand how she got it either. Along with Greek Citizenship her name was also changed because it “sounded too Black”. As close as I got to action is 2006 when Interpol learned my then 11/12 year old was going to be in Cyprus for several weeks in November and notified Cypriot authorities. The exact response was “we will locate the child and ask if she wishes to be reunited with her mother or return to the United States.she is mature enough to have her wishes respected.” What do you think she said? All I received was a few up to date pictures,identifying info,and assurance she was “not being held against her will”. When I expressed frustrations about the games being played and reminded Cypriot authorities I had initially fled Cyprus back in 1998 because they refused to allow me to leave legally to potentially save my and my child’s lives or charge him for his various abuses against us I was suddenly notified that their ruling giving me Sole Custody in 2003 was actually null and void because in 2000 they had received “extensive evidence of unfitness” from a maternal relative that I strongly suspect is own my mother who as I said before was bribed by my ex to reveal my whereabouts. They also contacted Greece and told them these lies so that authorities there also reneged on acknowledging my rights as mother and former primary caregiver. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back and I decided to just walk away and let my child be happy wherever she wanted to be since not even the courts thought she needed a mother. During the Arab Spring I managed to contact her through Red Cross and she assured me she wanted absolutely nothing to do with me and wouldn’t ever return to the United States.As of 2014 she is in medical school in Greece by the most reliable information.I am no longer searching or longing for her because I now know I was fighting a battle that could not be won. I understand the pain of parents still in the struggle and am posting this to share my story and let them know they are far from alone in their despair. God Bless.

    • Please considere going to your daughter in person and hearing what she said on the phone in person anyone could’ve been in the room with her and face to face is different. I will be praying for you and your daughter to be reunited and your family restored God bless you your baby needs you forever and doing the best job you can and being there for her if you can and thinking about her is all that you’d ever need to do to be a good mother you haven’t forgotten your child

  9. Also for understanding and helping the parent cope I recommend
    “A Kidnapped Mind: A Mother’s Heartbreaking Memoir of Parental Alienation” by Pamela Richardson. In the years after I decided to just let my child be wherever it was that she wanted to be and was happy I became bitter and angry beyond words that something I had carried in my body for 9 months and wouldn’t hesitate to give my life for wanted nothing to do with me. I hated my child frankly for choosing her daddy over me even though it was me who risked jail abroad from my native country to get us away from his crazy ass and held down 70+ hours per week of work in an attempt to compete with the lavish life she had become accustomed to from my ex . I was given this book by a member of my congregation that knew my struggles and after reading it my attitude towards my child changed completely. I realized that MUCH more than her physical being had been stolen from me but also her mind and soul. I realized my own mother,her maternal grandmother,and my ex had conspired to take her away for their individual selfish reasons and my child was just that…..A CHILD that could not control what happened to her! I began to view seeing her going willingly into the arms of my ex at her school the day she was abducted as a confused little girl doing what she was told rather than deliberately turning her back on me and her refusal to come back to the United States in 2006 as a logical and predictable response after having lived 2/3 her life outside this country instead of once again rejecting me. It helped me come to terms with a lot of suppressed emotions and finally begin to heal.

  10. Someone posted on your site a while and I have just now been led to it by adult son. The poster speaks of a child taken to Sweden and ordered by International Court to live there and a deadbeat mother. That is my youngest child. Her Daddy STOLE her from Texas in 1996 when she was 2 after badmouthing me in court since before her birth because I was a single minority mother of 5 children and he didn’t want my baby growing up with my older children. I didn’t appreciate how he disparged and devalued my older children so we broke up before my baby was born. He would come see her sometimes but didn’t nothing for her. The courts made me give her to him for overnight visitation starting in late 1995 and before longj my baby was speaking Swedish despite promising she was American and he should use English. She came back after being with him acting strange and not wanting me or her brothers and sisters around her.In August 1996 he took her for the weekend and I haven’t seen her since. He flew to Stockholm with her and gave her to his Mama. In 1997 courts declared I had abandoned her even though I didn’t have any clue where he has taken my child and gave custody to his Mama. I had to hire a detective to find her and it took 4 years! She was living with his Mama in Stockholm. I reported her missing and for a few years she was on sites like yours until my ex found pictures taken of her in 2002 anar
    2005 taken by the detective and called me out of the blue in 2007 to demand I take down the posts NOW or he wouldn’t even tell her she has a American mother. By then she was living with him,his woman,and their children. I did what he said but she remains in Sweden till this very day brainwashed and uninterested

  11. I was just told by police that my children ages 9 and 6 were a civil matter and I must go through the court system in my home state to get them back even though he refused to return them to me after their spring break visitation with him! I am the custodial parent and have a court order and can’t the the POLICE to lift a finger to help me! My children have now been missing for 50 hours and all I was able to do was file a show cause hearing in Juvenile Domestic Relations Court and contact my lawyer who is trying to get an emergency hearing!! In the meantime I don’t know where my children are and they are missing school!!

    • I have seen that happen a few times Chavon and it is complete bullshit. I can’t even begin to express the anger I have when I see this happen, it’s a civil matter?! It’s a fucking civil matter when you are attending court and working with the system, it stops being civil the moment that court order is violated. Wouldn’t it be a different story if it was their children?

  12. From The United States to Eastern Europe in 2000

    What it means to be an abducted child. Imagine you are a little child,just 7,8,or 9 years old,and you are trapped in a country where no one speaks your primary language, cannot see your mother,and no one cares when you say you want to go home. Imagine yourself on a bitterly cold December day when you are staring numbly out of a frosted window,engulfed by utter loneliness. You are trying and trying to remember the face of the mother you haven’t seen in over a year since she came to this strange land and in desperation you begged her,” Mommy,take me home!” She promised you that she would if only she could. Devastated beyond words your arms fell away from her warm comforting body and you couldn’t even stop choking on sobs long enough to say farewell. Now nearly two years later and you are coming to terms with her betrayal. Mommy,mommy,tell me why. Was I bad too many times? Did I make you mad? Mommy,mommy, please,what did I do? A few years later when you have buried all the hurt and resentment deep inside of your soul to prevent it from stealing your sanity,you see your mother again and she asks why you treat her so coldly. “What did I say? Don’t you remember what Mommy promised you all those years ago?” She doesn’t understand that is because of her earlier promises that you are so cold. She promised you would be together again someday,back in the United States, the home where you had desperately wanted to be every single day. Mommy, Mommy,you lied. The promises from your mouth were nothing but heat of the moment ramblings. Mommy,mommy, your adoring baby boy is all grown up now and he hasn’t cried himself to sleep in years……

    • Why did you have to go and make me cry? Truly a heartbreaking and poignant recollection through the eyes of a child. Everyone always asks the parents how they feel about the situation, but few ever think to ask the child themselves about what it was like to be gone.

  13. Until you have risked your freedom and everything you worked hard for in life,to fulfill the tearful pleas of a little 5 or 6 year old child, who basks in any gentle genuine concern showed to her and does not want to return to love with her mother, you or no one else can judge a parent for their actions. “Please,PLEASE,don’t make me go! She hates me! All she cares about is her brother’s kids! You say you love me,but she don’t EVER say that to me! Do you love me? Do you really?” the child begs and you’re supposed to simply pretend ignorance and do nothing? Terrified of her mother’s anger ,the interrogations that would come,suffering from psychological neglect resulting in delayed emotional development, and wetting her bed every night. The child absolutely did NOT want her mother anywhere near her. It was not a safe place,but by the laws of the United States, the foreign national father is an International Fugitive hunted by Interpol for taking the child to the safety of growing up in a healthy environment away from the United States. Although he bothered to go DIRECTLY to the US Embassy as soon as getting off the plane to confirm the whereabouts of the child,explain his actions,and arrange well health examinations at his residence. The country eventually rules TWICE that the child is NOT to go back to the United States due to risk of harm for the rest of childhood and cancelled the passports issued to the child. Even when the child as a teenager of 12 firmly declares to a American tv program broadcasting the incident she will NEVER go back to the United States and is nothing except GRATEFUL to her father. Even when the child has been heard with terrified screams throughout the court house rejecting a supervised visit with her mother. Even then the child was still “missing”. Not a soul who called her abducted and missing knew anything about WHY,but the opinions and misinformation continued until just last year when the 19/20 year old walked into the US Embassy and said” I was NEVER lost,but for those who think I was,I am here to confirm that I AM HOME,happy and healthy, safe and sound, and I won’t EVER go back to the United States. ” If you ask the mass majority of allegedly abducted children they will say the same,that they are HOME and NOT kidnapped or missing. There are at least two sides to every story.

  14. I have a question about parental abduction. I have a son who is now 28, his mother kept me from him since he was 3 1/2, we were not married, but I gave him my name and signed his birth certificate. I tried everything I could and found she had enrolled him in school and kept him under a false name. Is there anything I can do after all these years.

  15. My daughter was abducted by her other mother (she has 2 moms) when she was 8. We both have legal rights to her. She was taken from NY to Mexico for a month then forced to live in AZ with my ex’s new girlfriend.
    My ex was ordered to return my daughter to me, she has been gone for a month.
    Now two and a half years later, my daughter continues to want absolutely nothing to do with her other mom. She is now 11 1/2. My ex is claiming that I am performing “parental alienation” however, I have been diligent at keeping my personal feelings away from my daughter. The courts don’t see the emotional abuse my daughter suffered or continues to suffer at the hands of her other mother therefore causing her not to want anything to do with her.

  16. I am just sick and tired of all the interference in my parental abduction case. This case is so corrupt it’s mind boggling. I guess it’s ok to pay off Judicial system and that system hide the truth from detectives. Fooling everyone I come in contact with. Worse my Daughter testified against her Father in court and he still walked away laughing while she cried in June 2010. He forged my order of protection from 2002 which was really a Violation. I was told by courts and INS/ICE that my then Husband had committed such crimes as Human Trafficking. Moreover, he and his family were actually illegals from Mexico! Fbi didn’t even know his real name. Fbi background check reviled his birth certificate, social security card and family members were tied to Human Trafficking crimes and falsified documents to keep it all secret. I was even told that the only reason I am not dead is because I am considered family for giving birth to a child. My child is the link keeping them in the US so thus Parental abduction was foretold to be possible. They promised they would act immediately if this occurred and it didn’t happen. He currently has a green card after abduction of our Daughter. How did this happen with my having sole custody and 2 special orders of protection? It took several years before anyone believed me to make a Parental abduction police report. The police report was removed from police system and my Daughter removed from missing and exploited children list! I even was contacted by FBI agent that made threats after e-mail contact to head quarters claiming Parental abduction. I have had police leave my Daughter at the scene with several court orders(return child orders). I worked very hard sleeping in my truck at the police station through police threats. I have been arrested on false charges for asking for a missing child report. I am still being refused police reports, even help locating my child through child support tracker. Child support calls security to have me removed. I have place a fraud report with food stamps agency. I found he is getting assistance for my Daughter. He claims I abandoned her so he receives money from the State of IL. My Divorse decree and 2 special orders of protection. Nobody even will tell me where and when was court held without me present. I thought once you try to get a green card under false pretense and FBI catches you, it couldn’t happen a second time under false pretense again! Where is all the help that was promised and when is anyone going to make a arrest to return my Daughter now 13.

  17. My Wife took my Daughter to the US of A , she is a legal citizen (she got her citizenship 3 years ago) , she crossed her illegally as my Daughter doesn’t have a Passport and she is not in process to become a legal resident

    Anywho she got mad one night (12 days ago) and took her , I have no clue on how she got her across the border but she did , I am going to the Psychiatrist and Psychologist battling depression and anxiety which started when her mom first threat to leave me

    I have never ever hit or abuse my wife or daughter , in fact I spend with her 7 days a week as of my wife only spends 3 because of her “job”

    What can I do ?? I do not wish to get my wife in any trouble all I need is to know what is going on with my daughter and get her to talk to me , I have never ever been apart from my Princess (I call her that way) and this is just killing me , I have to know what is going on and I have to hear or read something from her , I can’t cross the border and I don’t know what to do

    please help . . . Thank YOU

  18. Is there a support group for parents to talk and share experiences once they have lost all hope of getting their child back to Canada?

  19. My friends kids were stolen by their mother and took in another state and she took away contact so he cannot see his kids but he’s afraid if he files a report that she will win because she is the mom but she does not take care of her kids at all and does drugs all day and doesn’t have a place to live or a job, should he follow report or will they automatically give the kids to her because she is the mother despite how she is not truly a mother

  20. well my girlfriend brought my kids to Wisconsin for her son’s wedding that’s on 9/16/17 and was supposed to return home (New York ) just a few days after the wedding . She went early with my 6yo daughter first on 8/7 on a plane and then returned without my daughter to pick up my boys on 8/17 saying that she and his wife to be wanted to surprise her son . I didn’t think anything of it at the time . well ever since she picked up the boys I have not been able to establish any contact with her . the only way I know anything is that my 23yo son that went with them has texted me from his phone telling me that she said she’s not returning with the children . I haven’t seen or heard from her or the kids since 8/17 is this considered kidnapping ?

  21. What can you do for me in uninted states I have a daughter who mother abducted her in Aug of 2016 I have gone to everyone no one will help me. She took her to Houston from Alabama and has made no effort to contact me or let me know how my daughter is doing even sent a picture I was the child’s parent her mother was suffering from drug and alcohol addiction she failed drug test in texasdays after arriving and is not mentally or emotionally able and was not able the entire time she lived with me after our daughter was born she was only 18 mos old she will be 3 in febuary

  22. I haven’t seen my kids, spoke,or be with them for a little over 2 years. I’m from AZ my ex wife took them out of state to Oregon and California and Mexico with her boyfriend. I have the divorce decree were l have joint custody, no restringing order, or non-contact order. At first l though she had full custody but l was wrong. I want my kids back they are in danger and abuse by the ex and boyfriend. Is a nightmare dealing with this not knowing what to do. I want to call the police and filed a abduction order but l don’t know what l need to have to get it going the order…..

  23. This just happened to us for the 2nd time. She drove by us and kept going without bringing the child to us. She didn’t go to jail the last time. She had him 91 days. The cops never help us. The 2 counties say the other has to do it.

  24. please help me I’m trying to find daughter JULIANA, I’m her mother and her father room her from me for a whole year now… wjat ki d of help can i get to get her back

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