Dec 24, 2009
Rep. Chris Smith, who joined with David Goldman and his son Sean before they left Brazil for the United States, said he was “ecstatic” that father and son were finally together as they should be.
Smith said: “Sean was initially reserved but happy and pleased to be with his father. They had a hamburger and coke, talked about basketball, the snow in New Jersey and friends and relatives in New Jersey.”
Smith said David dialed up his parents so that Sean could say hello to his paternal grandparents who he has not seen for five years.
“When they boarded the plane together David and Sean both turned around, smiled and waved goodbye from the top of the stairs,” Smith said. “There was not one bit of reluctance on Sean’s part.”
Smith also read a statement written by David Goldman before he left for the United States. David Goldman’s statement reads:
Please accept my most sincere and humblest gratitude for getting the truth to the Brazilian and American citizens alike and for your help to make our reunion possible. I am grateful for the so many truly amazing and wonderful people who have put forth an extraordinary, tremendous effort to reunite our family with our beautiful, Sean. Please know that my love and the rest of Sean's family's love for him knows no boundaries and we will go to the ends of the earth to protect him and shower him with every ounce of love that we have. It is now time for our new beginning, the rebirth of our family at such a special time of year. I hope the momentum keeps growing and the attention does not fade because there are more fathers and mothers and children to reunite.
God Bless you all
“For me it’s all about family,” Smith said. “My record in Congress has been about human rights, humanitarian issues and family issues. Hopefully this effort is a harbinger of a whole new era of reuniting abducted children with their left behind parents.
“David Goldman has launched a human rights movement that will help others,” Smith said.
Smith, a Senior Member of Congress and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has been in Brazil with David Goldman since the House recessed on Dec. 18. He expects to depart Brazil immediately and return to Washington Christmas Day.
A unanimous ruling by the Brazilian Federal Regional Tribunal court last Wednesday paved the way for the prompt return of Sean Goldman, now 9, back to his home in New Jersey. The Court ordered that Sean must be turned over to his father on Friday at the U.S. consulate in Rio de Janiero.
Smith has been working to push the U.S. Congress and the Obama Administration to better address international child abductions in Japan and elsewhere around the world. Months ago he introduced the “International Child Abduction Prevention Act of 2009”, H.R. 3240, (bill summary). There are currently over 2,800 American children being held in foreign countries against the wishes of a left behind parent.
“My legislation, H.R. 3240, empowers the United States to more aggressively pursue the resolution of abduction cases,” Smith said. “Our current system is not providing justice for left behind parents or for children whisked away from their mom or dad. Congress must act so that more children are not further traumatized by parental abduction.”
Key provisions of the Smith legislation on child abduction would:
(1) establish an Ambassador-at-Large wholly dedicated to international child abduction;
(2) establish a robust, heavily resourced office within the Department of State to aggressively adjudicate abduction cases; and
(3) prescribe a series of increasingly punitive actions and sanctions the president and State Department may impose on a nation that demonstrates a "pattern of non cooperation" in resolving child abduction cases.
Smith said denial of trade benefits such as the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) coveted by Brazil and others to denial of loans will have a positive effect. Such sanctions would empower the executive branch with real tools to fight for our kids and left behind parents. Diplomatic overtures and admonishing words often do not work.