The case of David Goldman and his son, Sean has captured my heart. Sean's mother took the beautiful 4-year-old child you see with his father on the left to Brazil in 2004. She almost immediately filed for divorce. Sean's father, David Goldman of New Jersey, has been trying to see, touch, hold and care for his son ever since. After her divorce, Sean's mother married a Brazilian lawyer. She died in child birth well over a year ago. Sean remains in Brazil with his stepfather.
A powerful report was published today in the Asbury Park Press, a New Jersey newspaper, decrying the inaction and/or inability of United States officials in helping to get Sean returned to his father. You can read it here.
Brazil is one of the nations listed by the U.S. State Department as "non-compliant" with its obligations under the Hague Convention -- a body of law to which Brazil is a signatory. For earlier articles on this Blog about the Hague Convention in general and the Goldman case specifically, click here and here.
How can this loving father be denied access to his son when the only person standing in his way is a stepfather? Even under Brazilian law, when a parent dies, the other biological parent is presumed to have custody. We are not, of course, surprised to know that the man Sean's mother married - the man who claims a right to custody of a child who has a legal father named David Goldman who lives in the United States in New Jersey - is a Hague Convention lawyer. This lawyer is apparently well-skilled at putting up barriers that deter or prevent return of a kidnapped child to the left-behind parent.
Why the difference? On October 31, 2009, a child was returned from China - a child the taking parent (a father) abandoned in an orphanage apparently after selling her passport. The mother was then an illegal alien in the United States. The courage and the proactive tactics of the State Department, together with the help of Sanctuary for Families Legal Center, a nonprofit agency in New York and its multilingual team of lawyers, the Mexican consulate in Beijing, the State Department, Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York and a Chinese private investigator advocate caused a return of this child once a private individual in China recognized a photo that was circulated on the Internet.
Why cannot we unleash some of this proactive power on behalf of David and Sean Goldman?
You can visit the website of supporters of the effort to reunite David and Sean Goldman, http://bringseanhome.org/ here. Do please help them in their efforts to reunite father and son.