Reps. Smith, Wolf & Left Behind Parents Unveil Bipartisan Bill to Fight International Child Abduction
Left behind parents from across the country joined Rep. Smith (NJ-4th) and Frank Wolf (VA-10) at a press conference today to unveil the “International Child Abduction Prevention Act of 2009” in front of the U.S. Capitol Building.
Left behind parents from across the country joined Congressmen Chris Smith (NJ-4th) and Frank Wolf (VA-10) at a press conference today to unveil the “International Child Abduction Prevention Act of 2009” in front of the U.S. Capitol Building.
David Goldman, the father of kidnapped American boy Sean Goldman who is being held in Brazil, and other left behind parents who traveled from as far as California and Florida, spoke about the pain of not seeing their children for years, if ever, after an abduction, and expressed support for the bill (Click here for bill summary).
“Over 2,800 American children are being held in a foreign country against the wishes of their American parent,” said Smith, who in June pushed legislation through the House to require the Department of Defense assist left-behind U.S. service members, and has legislation pending to revoke U.S. trade preferences favorable to Brazil until they comply with international child abduction law. “Most of these cases have been dragging on for years—years of loving relationship and happy memories that these parents will never get back even if they do see their child again someday.
“Abducted children loose their relationship with their Mom or their Dad, half of their identity, half of their culture, are at risk of serious emotional and psychological problems and have been found to experience anxiety, eating problems, nightmares, mood swings, sleep disturbances, aggressive behavior, resentment, guilt and fearfulness, and as adults may struggle with identity issues, their own personal relationships and parenting,” Smith said.
Original cosponsors of the bill include Frank and U.S. Reps. Alan Mollohan (WV-1); Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-5) Bob Inglis (SC-4) and Loretta Sanchez (CA)..
Goldman explained how challenging his five-year fight to be reunited with his son has been.
“The bill is critical because it provides the State Department the tools it needs to assist us,” Goldman said. “Sadly, Sean is just one of 65 kidnapped children in Brazil. We need this bill to help all the left behind parents of thousands of kidnapped American children in countries all over the world.”
Another parent, Patrick Braden of Los Angeles, spoke about his three year fight to see his daughter, Mellissa, age 4.
“I’m here because I love my daughter,” Braden said. “If your child gets taken to Japan, you may never see them again. We are left to go bankrupt—emotionally, physically and financially—and still not ever be reunited. But we are unable to stop trying to bring our children home. We can’t give up on our kids. They are American citizen kids with U.S. constitutional rights that are stripped from them.”