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A new Year
The media, of course, had lots of questions, some I could not answer but the most important I could. I was asked do I have a message for my daughter? YES! YES, I DO!
Again, I have a general idea of a region but no address, no city, no contact. Against me, the game of control and deception continues. Again, again, and again, hope, hope, and HOPE!
Its a clear cycle now.
“Dear Babycakes! I did not expect to be posting again this year another birthday message from afar! But here we are, still apart and not able to enjoy what should be a wonderful day together. Since the amount of time that has passed is so great and I did not know your current likes or hobbies, picking the theme for your cake was challenging. So I decided to make something that would send you a message. The heart represents the pain and separation that we are both experiencing on such a deep level. You on one side celebrating this milestone birthday (sweet 16), whereas I am on the other side waiting patiently! Gathering whatever tools necessary to mend our hearts. I know this drama will eventually come to an end and there will be a time for everyone to heal. I will not stop until this happens. Each day that passes takes me one day closer to seeing you again. My birthday promise to you is that things will be ok in the end. I know right now they seem so extreme and due to the choices of others, it has added more and more complications. But with love, positive thinking and motivation we can turn the complications around and put our hearts back together. I hope wherever you are that you have an amazing sweet 16 and I look forward to having a second celebration with you soon! Happy Birthday!
Love always, Mommy”
In May of 2018, I traveled to Washington DC with one of my best friends to met a group of other parents who were going through the same thing, International Parental Kidnapping.
It was at this trip and meeting Senator Mitch McConnell that I was able to regather my lost hope of the situation and get some fire back in my core to make the next moves.
Suport continued to pour in !
This was ONE year after I filed my Hague case in the Netherlands.
Reminiscent of my experience in Turkey, the amount of time passed from filing to hearing continued to be devastating to everyone involved.
Finding balance, strength
I myself had to go through another Birthday, without contact with Emma. I stayed positive by going to do one of our favorite things we loved to do together.
RIDE ROLLER COASTERS!!
Court time! AGAIN!
One step forward, Four steps back!
Leaving yet again to another country for a court date, this time not only to gain access to Emma but to try to get her help. It was very clear that the amount of time passed and the amount of running and hiding was creating more trauma. I was also learning more about other extreme situations and details that any Mother should never have to hear that her daughter has been subjected to.
Or so I thought!
I would randomly run across things in the city to give me hope, I took them as positive signs. all was going to be ok and I would soon be able to see her. To help her!
The day before court,
ADDED EMOTION – As I was preparing mentally for the hearing, full of hope for a positive result, a separate horror was slipping in. I had been receiving news back home that my mother was not doing well. She had progressively started to decline in health and on this day it looked very grim. They had to rush her to the emergency room for treatment. Here I am on the other side of the world and can’t get to her. I had to have hope she could make it through because I had to stay and fight. I got a message to her that I was waiting to maybe see Emma the next day, this made her happy. She wanted me to tell Emma she loved her very much.
She had hope!
All of the motivation I had built up to stand in front of the judges had now turned to worry but more so urgency. Another of my main goals in this fight, was to not only reunite mother and daughter but also GRANDmother and granddaughter. My mothers health was slipping fast!
Urgently, time needed to be on our side.
On The day of court, Emma was scheduled to see the judges alone first thing in the morning. Later in the day, the actual case was to be heard, this one would include Michael and I. Unlike Turkey, I did not have any court-ordered visiting time before. I had to debate if I should show up early in the hopes to get to lay eyes on her. Remember, I have not seen her for 3 years at this point. I had to weigh the pros and cons of how it would affect both of us psychologically. I knew for any type of reunion with meaning would have to be lead with a special therapist that knows how to deal with parental alienation.
Is this Turkey all over again? Would anyone show up? Ever?
Surprise! Michael did show up for the afternoon session.
I was told that Emma did not want to show up in the morning due to anxiety.
I was so in shock that he actually, for the FIRST time in 3 years and in 3 countries, was present when being ordered to do so by a judge!
I went into this hearing with that same drug, hope. First, Michael’s attorney put in a motion for a change of venue due to their address not being the Hague but in Amsterdam instead. But if you remember I never knew exactly WHERE he was living or if in fact, he was still in the Netherlands. Until this hearing itself, we did not know his exact address. Let’s also remember, I was given an address in Turkey during their court procedure. It was proven they were not there, only using it to throw off the chase. Why would I trust ANY address at this point?
The second thing is his attorney requested Cross Border Mediation. Now in the Netherlands mediation is a HUGE thing! They even use it for parental kidnapping cases. If you look at Europe and how open and easy it is to hop countries, Cross Border is similar to a situation of crossing states in the US, except there you are changing countries. It seems the way they use this mediation process has proven most successful for them. They catch the leaving partner fast and negotiate a settlement with haste to solve the situation.
Of course, our case was EXTREME and did not just involve a recent kidnapping from a neighboring country. But in fact a case so extreme that the father had a Federal Warrant for his arrest and had been on the run since 2015 (its now 2018). Now, I am a big fan of hope but actually lumping our case into their success rate seemed a bit ridiculous. I was not confident that any chance of an agreement would be able to be reached.
But it was my decision in the end.
My gut Instinct ran with the hope side! It was most important to get Emma in front of professionals that could help her.
Winning or losing was not important but help was!
I agreed with my gut!
I left the court half confused as to what just happened but also I had hope and was excited for the possibility of getting Emma the help she needs. I felt this was the most important thing at this point! Not dragging her back to the US after so much trauma, but more so get her help. I didn’t care at this point if I had to move to the Netherlands myself. Of course, I longed so much to see her but more so I wanted it to be under the proper guidance and support. At this point, I had not seen her in 3 years, so it would be a very emotional and anxiety-filled meeting.
The court adjourned at the end of the day saying it would rule in 2 weeks regarding the jurisdiction change to Amsterdam but in the meantime, we could make an appointment with Social Services for a visit and set up the schedule for the guardian. We would then wait on a date for cross border mediation.
Here I am in another country, again, waiting. I still have not seen or talked to Emma but at least I knew she was close because her father actually showed up. I was more excited about actually having professionals help her through something this intense.
Again, like Turkey
I toured the country, taking in the food and culture, but everywhere I went I always looked for her on the streets. Always wondering if we were in close proximity, what if I ran into her, would I even recognize her, so much time has passed. Would I run up to her, or watch her from afar, being afraid to traumatize her more. After doing so much research on the psychology behind our story, I knew how the children have to adapt to the situation and the intensity they live in day to day to survive. As a protective parent, it would be such a hard decision, but I continued to look at every corner and every tram and bus with hope.
Although everything that was case related was becoming a disaster quickly.
No matter where I go, I will find a sunset to look into!