Parental Abduction – How it`s like to be THE LEFT-BEHIND PARENT


December 14, 2015

Source: lilaclane

Your Experience of Missing-Child Trauma

Your child has been kidnapped or is missing, and here on the internet you’ll find a lot of valuable support, legal information, and contacts. However, there will be many difficult hours where you will feel very much alone — and this page is meant to help you get through those times.
Most child kidnappings involve a parent or relative as kidnapper, and that is the experience of our family. However, if your situation is different — the child has been kidnapped by a stranger, or is missing due to other circumstances (such as a runaway) — this page will speak to your experiences too, so please read on….

THE INITIAL CRISIS
The first few days are incredibly confusing. You’ll receive a lot of advice. Here’s a little more.

ENLIST A GUARDIAN
You need a cool head to guide you. As the left-behind parent, you’re going to be in shock, so your intellectual capabilities will be compromised. Enlist a relative or friend to be your crisis Guardian — you will need them to stay with you and accompany you to all appointments. Ideally, they should take a week off from work to be by your side.

If you have a current spouse living with you, they should not try to fill this role. They can’t — they’re in shock too. You need a third person, someone with enough emotional distance to stay calm.

We can help you recover your abducted child

KEEP TRACK OF YOUR PROGRESS
Start an activity log and keep it up every day. This will be difficult because the world’s going to be pulling you in ten directions at once, but as the hours and days pass, everything’s going to become a big blur — so you absolutely have to keep track. Get a blank book, notebook or ledger; and every day, record the important points of each meeting with police, phone calls with organizations, etc.  If you don’t have an answering machine, pick one up so that you won’t miss any incoming assistance.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Sleep when you’re able to sleep. Eat when you’re able to eat.

Your body is going to go haywire. Eating will be difficult. Your stomach will often be churning. Carry Tums with you at all times, and nibble them when necessary. Your ability to digest food will disappear, so you’ll need to adapt your eating habits. Keep a wide selection of snacks available, and try to eat at every opportunity. For meals, you’ll have better luck if you try lighter fare than usual. A chicken salad will stay down better than a heavy steak. Drink constantly — dehydration causes disorientation.

Child Recovery Agents Parental Kidnapping

Often, you’ll be awake all night, then exhausted the whole next day, so grab your Z’s whenever you can. If it’s 3 pm and you have a gap before a 4 pm meeting, grab the opportunity and lie down. If necessary, take a sleeping pill at bedtime (particularly if nightmares are waking you repeatedly). Sleep deprivation leads to slowed mental processes and, later, paranoia — so you absolutely must get sleep, whenever and however possible.

Since your body and mind are going to be stretched to the limits of endurance, it’s strongly recommended that you go to a 24-hour clinic (or emergency room) and have them prescribe something to stabilize your emotions. A doctor will know what kind of medication can help you get through this trauma. It’s very important that you maintain your sanity no matter how nightmarish the experience becomes.

THE SECOND PHASE
Your emotions will change after the first few days of the crisis. The initial agony is from not knowing from minute to minute. Later, the agony is not knowing day after day.

Most of the time, you’ll find yourself in one of three coping states:

1. INTELLECTUAL STATE. This is the state you need to be in when you’re talking with police, touching base with your lawyer, researching information on what to do, etc. You have to be mentally focused, which usually means that at times you have to push your emotions underneath and try not to think too much about your child except in abstract terms. This state is sometimes forced on you (due to appointments) even when you don’t feel ready. Other times this state will come to you naturally, and you’ll find yourself actively digging through documents and reading information paks.

2. EMOTIONAL STATE. In this state of mind it’s very difficult to focus on anything mentally. Your thoughts are with your child, where they might be, how they might be doing, you miss them and want to comfort them. Crying relieves physical stress, and you’re under tremendous stress, so don’t cut your tears short. If you start to cry, try to sob it out of your system without holding back. Don’t restrict your crying. Enlist your guardian to comfort you — and if you feel the need, hug one of your child’s stuffed animals.

There will be times when you are caught in your reeling emotions, unable to respond to intellectual challenges around you. At these times it will be important for your crisis Guardian to be with you, so they can answer authorities’ questions, help make decisions, etc.

Parental-Kidnapping

 

Seeing the child’s photos or toys around the house may become too painful. Don’t feel guilty if you decide to put away these toys, move the photos, or close the door to the child’s room. You are not abandoning their memory. After all, your thoughts are with them constantly. But you do need some control over your emotional cycles, especially when it’s time to gather information or make decisions — at times like that, a photo within sight may be unnecessary torment. Make adjustments in your home if you feel the need, and don’t feel bad about it. You need to keep your head together, in order to fight for your child’s well-being.

3. DRIFTING STATE. There will be times that you’re so exhausted or in such shock that you don’t feel anything at all. You’ll find yourself staring blankly at a wall, or drifting with no thought as you look right through the book or screen in front of you. This is a natural result of the trauma. It’s a time when your system can regroup — recharging your batteries, so to speak. Your intellectual and emotional states burn extraordinary amounts of energy out of your body, so if and when you enter a listless state, don’t fight it. Drift and let your thoughts remain unfocused. Your body and mind can use this time to recover.

All three of these states will be useful to you, and should occur as a natural cycle. If you find yourself stuck in a counterproductive state for longer than one day, go to a 24-hour clinic and have a doctor prescribe medication to help you cope.

DISTRACTIONS
There will be times when you can do nothing — times when you’re supposed to wait for a callback or the next step in the proceedings. Such times are painful as you wait for the world to acknowledge the urgency of this situation… and the wheels of justice grind so slow they’ll seem to have stopped. If you’re at a waiting point, it’s important not to work yourself into hysteria over these empty minutes. You need to seek distraction, or you’re just going to overstress yourself. You’ll particularly need distraction on Saturdays and Sundays, when cases are often placed on hold.

Television is usually a great relaxer, but at this time it won’t be. As you flip the channels you’ll see cartoons, children’s shows, commercials with children — everywhere you look there will be children, including children who look like or remind you of your own child. So don’t channel-surf. Get a TV guide and select a specific show to watch, then turn directly to that program. Choose shows that won’t assail you with family-focus commercials. Good bets are CNN, Animal Planet, nature shows, or non-family movies. Even better, pick videotapes to watch.

 

 

 GOING OUT
Much of the work of regaining your child will have to do with your phone. You’ll be calling people and waiting for return calls, checking in with lawyers and detectives, and giving updates to family members. Consequently you will frequently find yourself trapped at home. Over time this will make you feel like a freak in a cave. You need to get outside once in a while.

When you go into public with the intention of re-charging your emotional batteries, try not to put yourself into stressful situations. Don’t go to fast-food restaurants; you’ll see many children that remind you of your missing child. Money is an issue now due to the costs of the search, but don’t discount your need to reduce stress. Two visits to McDonalds can be traded for one visit to a nice restaurant, late in the evening, when there won’t be any children dining there.

Parental Child Abduction Kidnapping

Shopping is a major source of stress. Malls and supermarkets are full of child-reminders. Ask your Guardian to do the shopping for you. Alternatively, shop at 7-Eleven late in the evening.

Lest this sound like we’re discounting natural emotion:  there’s nothing wrong with allowing your emotions full expression. But it’s much more comforting to let those feelings flow when you want to (instead of when the world forces it on you), in the security of your home, where your loved ones can comfort you and you can express yourself fully.

Good luck with your search.  May you soon be happily reunited with your beloved child.

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Child abduction issue should be key concern in Japan-U.S. relations


Source: Japan Today

TOKYO —

The issue of international child abductions in Japan should be a key concern in bilateral relations between Japan and the United States.

For years, the international community has been pressuring Japan to abide by international human rights standards in preventing cross-border parental kidnapping.

Japan has been censured for not being a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which protects children from wrongful removal or retention from their habitual place of residence.

Though former Prime Minister Naota Kan announced on May 20 last year that Japan intends to sign The Hague Convention, Japan is the only G8 member that has yet to become a signatory. LBPs (Left Behind Parents) are cautious to find the signing as reason to cheer because changes are also needed in Japan’s family courts for them to be reunited with their children. The continued condoning of both domestic and international child abduction cases can be traced to Japan’s family court.

Japan’s family court often awards sole custody to the parent with whom the child is residing. If the other parent wishes to see their child, permission by the parent to whom custodial rights were awarded becomes necessary.

This means that the parent who takes away the child from the other parent first will be in a superior bargaining position, since the family court overwhelmingly recognizes the status quo of whom the child is residing with.

Many LBPs have criticized the Japanese judicial system for condoning abduction by granting sole custody rights to the parent who snatches the child away first. In situations where cross-border kidnappings take place, the foreign parent is effectively powerless, as the Japanese family court will rule in favor of the parent with whom the child is residing. This has led some bereaved foreign LBPs to refer to Japan as a “black hole for child abduction.”

First, the Japanese government’s stance to become a signatory of The Hague Convention is an indication of changes in favor of adopting international human rights standards.

The move comes at a time when the numbers of international marriages and divorces are increasing in Japan. According to the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, approximately 19,000 international marriages ended in divorce last year in Japan, comprising 7.5% of the total number of divorces in Japan. In 2010, the ratio to divorces to all marriages in Japan was approximately 36%. Children of divorce are at significant risk of losing access to one parent in the current family law system.

Things are finally starting to change at both the international and domestic levels. There are two model cases, one in Wisconsin and one in Matsudo, Chiba.

Japan has stuck to awarding sole custody to one parent following a divorce since the Meiji era. Though some have mentioned this as evidence of sole custody being a part of Japan’s culture, in reality, this system has also created a legal system that condones child abductions.

In addition, on Dec 23, 2011, a girl was returned to her father in Wisconsin after being abducted by her Japanese mother nearly 4 years earlier, the first return of an abducted child from Japan by means of the courts.

She was reunited with her father when her mother, who had been arrested in April 2011 in Hawaii on child abduction charges, agreed to a plea bargain to be released from jail in exchange for returning their daughter to the United States.

The case, which received wide coverage in international and Japanese media, marked the first time for Japanese media such as NHK and Asahi to use the term “tsuresari” (abduction) rather than “tsurekaeru” (to bring home).

Of course, a plea bargain is still not the equivalent of a change in stance in Japan’s family court, but changes are also gradually being implemented in the domestic sphere as well.

Many people following the child abduction issue are closely monitoring the development of a high-profile domestic abduction case in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, to see if a judicial precedent making child abductions an unlawful act will be made.

On April 26, 2011, former Justice Minister Satsuki Eda mentioned three criteria that need to be considered in determining the custody of children after divorce, as stated in article 766, in his remarks to the Committee on Judicial Affairs.

The three criteria are: the abduction of children should be eligible for consideration as child abuse; the issuance of custody rights should favor parents who are willing to allow the other parent visitation of their children (also known as the “friendly parent rule”); and parents who commit unlawful abductions of their child should be at a disadvantage in the issuance of custody rights.

At the domestic level, article 766 of Japan’s civil code, which stipulates legal guidelines for the custody of children after divorce, was revised on June 3, 2011, to include a provision which states that visitation and economic support must be deliberated between the two spouses before divorce papers are submitted.

As stated in the “friendly parent rule,” one of the three criteria underlined by Eda, not allowing visitation, ought to work unfavorably toward obtaining custody rights. In cases where the child has already been abducted, the LBP may offer the abducting parent visitation in fighting to recover their child in court.

In effect, the revision of article 766 is significant, as the abduction of a child by a parent will be in breach of the new provision. This measure, if properly enforced by Japan’s family court, will help prevent the abduction of children by a parent.

However, when asked to recognize the remarks made by Eda, Tatsushige Wakabayashi, the judge presiding over the case, reportedly remarked, “What the justice minister says at the Diet is irrelevant.”

In response, various LBP groups have called for Wakabayashi to step down. Wakabayashi has yet to make a final verdict, leaving both domestic LBP groups and the international community tense anticipating his decision.

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Parental Abduction to Japan: Few options for left-behind parents even if Hague OK’d


Source: The Japan times

Without retroactive effect, treaty will leave past abductions in limbo

Abduction anger: Rep. Christopher Smith (center) is surrounded by relatives of American children abducted to Japan during a September 2010 news conference in Washington calling for swift passage of a resolution on child abduction to the country. 

In July 2003, Paul Toland arrived to an empty home at the U.S. Navy’s family housing facility in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture. Gone were his Japanese wife and baby daughter. What was left was a note: “Contact my lawyers.”

Since then, Toland, a navy commander, has been fighting to get his daughter back — and he’s not alone. Hundreds of other fathers from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and other countries are also fighting the same battle.

“Hundreds of children have been abducted and none have ever been returned (from Japan),” Toland, now based in Maryland, said in a phone interview earlier this year. “It’s frustrating — you know that you are in a losing battle.”

For years, Japan was the object of international criticism for not joining the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction that prevents cross-border parental kidnapping.

But in May, the government announced its decision to begin preparations for signing the treaty, which would make it the last country among the Group of Eight industrial powers to join the international convention.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in October said he would submit the legislation to the Diet when it opens in early 2012.

But for the international community, signing the treaty is only a step in the right direction. A larger problem for many is that the Hague Convention is not effective retroactively — meaning that even if Japan joins the pact, it won’t help parents like Toland.

“Signing the Hague is just a very small step — there is so much else that needs to be done,” Toland said. “The true test will be how many children do they actually return and how well will they work with us fathers in the existing cases.”

U.S. President Barack Obama has reportedly urged Noda to take measures to ensure current cases get dealt with. But Noda has been evasive on that point.

“As indicated, the treaty is not effective retroactively . . . and we are in the middle of making preparations to sign the Hague Treaty, as well as discussing what kind of appropriate measures can be taken for past cases,” Noda said during an interview in October with The Japan Times and several other media outlets.

The recent case in Wisconsin, where Moises Garcia was reunited with his daughter, who had been abducted by his Japanese ex-wife, marked the first time an American child was returned to the United States. But observers believe this was an exceptional case since the child was returned after the mother was arrested in Hawaii on child abduction charges.

Frustrated with Japan’s foot-dragging, Toland and about 100 other left-behind parents in 2010 formed Bring Abducted Children Home (BAC Home), a group specifically focused on children taken to Japan by former spouses. This group has lobbied the U.S. government to put pressure on Japan to deal with the problem. Members have been holding quarterly meetings with top government officials and politicians to get updates and discuss the issue.

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith stressed in an email interview with The Japan Times that the U.S. would continue to make sure that all current cases are settled.

Signing the treaty “is not enough. We must have resolution of the current cases,” Smith said. “Congress will not let up until current cases are resolved. We cannot and will not forget our children.”

Smith, a Republican, has been at the forefront of cases involving international child abductions. In 2009, he played a key role in successfully bringing back a boy who had been abducted to Brazil by his mother from his American father.

To ensure the compliance of the Hague Convention by member states, Smith in May sponsored the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2011, which is being deliberated in the House of Representatives. The bill includes 18 types of action that can be taken by the U.S. president against uncooperative countries, ranging from public condemnation and the cancellation of official visits to economic sanctions.

“Allowing abduction without consequence only encourages abduction — tearing apart families and wounding the hearts and minds of children. Abductors should not be rewarded,” Smith said.

The lawmaker also suggested that Japan and the U.S. sign a “memorandum of understanding” to address the current cases that would not be covered if Japan ratified the treaty.

According to a Foreign Ministry official in Tokyo, this sort of bilateral agreement has been made between some member states and Islamic countries that are not party to the Hague Convention. However, the official was not aware of any discussions in Japan to establish such an agreement with the U.S.

“If asked what we can do about current cases, all I can say is that (the left-behind parent) should use the current domestic law and file a lawsuit to the family court to see or have that child again,” the official explained.

In the past seven months, Japan has been focused on drafting the bill necessary to be submitted together with the ratification to the Diet. The legislation would map out the details of the new “central authority” in the Foreign Ministry, which would oversee treaty-related cases as well as list the circumstances in which Japan can reject the return of the child.

Even if the bill is submitted to the Diet next year as planned, its fate remains murky. Public opinion over this issue is divided and some members of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan are opposed to it, as well. The Japan Federation of Bar Associations has proposed that a three year moratorium be imposed before Japan’s ratification takes effect for preparations and to seek better public understanding.

The Japanese government, however, wants the treaty to take effect “within a practical time frame as soon as possible,” the Foreign Ministry official said. “The longer we wait, the more people will go through difficult times.”

But time is not on the side of left-behind parents.

Toland’s daughter, taken when she was just 9 months old, is now 9 years old. Four years after the abduction, Toland’s wife committed suicide, but instead of giving him — the sole living parent — legal guardianship, the mother of his late wife was granted custody.

Since his wife took their daughter in 2003, he has only seen his child three times: twice in a videotaped courthouse playroom with the grandmother and a courthouse employee while his wife and her lawyers watched through a one-way mirror and once when he was able to catch her on the street just long enough to give her a Christmas present.

And after the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Toland flew to Japan to see his only daughter and make sure she was OK. Instead, his former mother-in-law completely shut him out, refusing to let him even see his daughter, Toland said.

While his daughter remains thousands of kilometers away in Japan, Toland said he hopes that the U.S. government and Congress will continue to put pressure on Japan to make sure that it keeps its promise.

“If you have your own child stripped away from you, your human rights are violated,” Toland said. “It’s not a personal issue to us, it’s a human rights issue. Every parent has the right to their child and every child has the right to know and love both parents.”

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One key to ABP World Group`s successful recovery and re-unification of your loved one is to use all necessary means available

Contact us here: Mail

Join the Facebook Group: International Parental Child Abduction

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

U.S Phone Number: (646) 502-7443

UK Phone Number: 020 3239 0013 –

Or you can call our 24h Emergency phone number: +47 45504271

Bermuda on Congressman’s hit list over child abduction treaty


July 9, 2011 – Source: The Royal Gazette

Bermuda is among the countries that need to be punished for harbouring children kidnapped from the US, according to Congressman Chris Smith.

The Republican has named and shamed the Island as one of about 20 countries failing to abide by an international child abduction treaty.

Mr Smith, who represents New Jersey, said more than 2,400 American children were wrongly being held overseas, calling it a “deeply troubling and growing problem.”

He told the US Congress that Bermuda had carried out a “serious human rights violation” by failing to quickly return abducted children who had been unlawfully removed by one parent. The international treaty states that abducted children should be returned within six weeks for custody hearings as the courts in the country where the child was living have better access to the appropriate evidence and witnesses.

In light of this, Mr Smith is pushing to pass the International Child Abduction Prevention Act bill through Congress to secure the return of abducted children and penalise non-cooperating countries by withholding US financial aid and other assets.

Mr Smith said “the return rates of American children are still devastatingly low” even though more than 80 countries had signed The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

In 2010, 978 children were abducted to Hague Convention signatory countries with only 350 children or 38 percent returned.

Mr Smith, chairman of the House congressional panel that oversees international human rights, said the US would not tolerate child abduction or have patience with countries “that hide abductors behind The Hague Convention.”

The report states that: “Bermuda demonstrated patterns of noncompliance in the areas of central authority performance and judicial performance.”

It questions Bermuda’s application of the Convention when the taking party is not a parent, the challenges in bringing a Convention case to court when the Central Authority is also responsible for representing the state in court for child abuse cases and some courts’ failure to prohibit consideration of the merits of custody in domestic proceedings while a Hague application is pending.

The report details a June 2010 case when the Bermudian Central Authority wrongly said that because the taking person was an aunt and not a parent, the Convention would not apply. The family court then proceeded with a custody hearing and granted the aunt “full care, control and custody” of the child despite the pending Hague application.

The report states: “In November 2010, Bermuda appointed a new Attorney General (Michael Scott) who has expressed his commitment to ensuring that Bermuda is compliant with the Convention.

“At his urging, the court in the above case scheduled a hearing on The Hague application, but the left-behind parent (LBP) withdrew the application just days before the hearing, citing a lack of legal representation and a voluntary agreement with the taking aunt.”

The emotional federal hearing debate, which took place on May 24, included speeches from the parents of children abducted from America.

Mr Smith said international abduction was “a global human rights abuse” that harms children and inflicts emotional pain and suffering on the left-behind parents and families.

He said: “International child abduction rips children from their homes and lives, taking them to a foreign land and alienating them from a left- behind parent who loves them and who they have a right to know.

“Their childhood is disrupted, in limbo, or sometimes in hiding as the taking parent seeks to avoid the law or to conjure legal cover for their immoral actions.

“Abducted children often lose their relationship with their mom or their dad, half of their identity and half of their culture.”

Attorney General Michael Scott and Youth Affairs and Families Minister Glenn Blakeney did not respond to requests for comment.

The US State Department’s 2010 Hague Convention compliance report highlights Argentina, Australia, Austria, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Honduras, Hungary, Israel, Mexico, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey for failing to enforce return orders.

It also states that Bermuda, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Honduras, Mexico, the Bahamas and Saint Kitts are among countries failing to abide by The Hague Convention, by not ensuring swift enforcement of convention orders.

He said: “The convention creates a civil framework for the quick return of children who have been abducted and for rights of access to both parents.

“Under the convention, courts are not supposed to open or reopen custody determinations, but rather decide the child’s country of habitual residence, usually where a child was living for a year before the abduction.

“Absent extenuating circumstances, the child is to be returned within six weeks to their habitual residence, for the courts there to decide on custody or to reverse any previous custody determinations.”

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