On Fire

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I don't often get too riled up about the news. But this? This story grates on every last nerve in my body.

In case you haven't been following this throughout the YEARS it has been going on, long story short: David marries Bruna. They have a son, Sean. When Sean is four years old, Bruna tells David she is taking Sean on a vacation in Brazil to visit her family. She is supposed to be back in two weeks, but never returns. (Note: This is called kidnapping.) David files charges and begins court proceedings to try to get his son back.

Meanwhile, Bruna remarries a rich Brazilian businessman, and builds a cushy new life for herself and Sean, not thinking for one moment how she has taken this boy from his father. Then, what do you know? She dies during childbirth. Instead of being returned to the U.S. to live with his dad, courts repeatedly keep Sean in Brazil with his stepfather, even though the rulings all seem to go in David's favor. Stepfather's side argues that Sean is happy, has been living with his stepfather for most of his life, and that he should be left alone because he wants to stay in Brazil. Oh, and Sean is now nine. Nine years old! This shit has been going on for FIVE YEARS.

Throughout it all, David has flown to Brazil and back a bajillion times to try to bring his son home, only to face another setback that keeps the boy with his stepfather. Repeatedly, David thinks he's going to get his son back, only to have his hopes dashed. What an emotional rollercoaster. Not only that, but what a waste of time. It has already been five years. Every day that goes by is another day that David and Sean are apart. Every day is another inch of space between them, another mile in the road to repairing their relationship.

This is the biggest clusterfuck of a situation. What is the deal with the Brazilian justice system? I mean, seriously. Remind me to never, ever go to Brazil. I wouldn't want to take the chance that I would find myself at the mercy of their courts.

Let's recap what this story has taught us:
1) If you want to kidnap a child, do it, and then flee to Brazil.
2) Don't forget to kidnap a child who is as young as possible. That way, the child will view you as his parent, and the courts will argue that the child is accustomed to this life, and is happy, so he should stay with his kidnapper.

The judge, who blocked the latest ruling that stated Sean needed to be returned to David within 48 hours, said today that he wants to put Sean on the witness stand. They want to hear from Sean and figure out what he wants to do.

A nine year old.

A nine year old who has been kidnapped, and has been living with his stepfather since he was four.

Surely these judges are smart people. Surely they can see how messed up this thinking is? Yes?

I understand that this child has a life in Brazil, and that he is probably happy. But it doesn't make it right. The only reason Sean was given the opportunity to get so comfortable in this situation and grow attached to his stepfather is because of the Brazilian government's mishandling of this case from the very beginning. The court is responsible for this mess. And it is its duty to fix it.

I just can't stop shaking my head. The whole thing is ludicrous. It's like saying that Jaycee Dugard should have stayed with her captor, because after all, she had been there for 18 years and she had made a family for herself; she had kids. Why not keep things status quo?

Ridiculous. It infuriates me. I'm all fired up.

Bring this child home.


Julia December 18, 2009 at 10:55 AM  

Reminds me of the woman who kidnapped her kids and went to Japan. When the father (who had custody) went to Japan to get them, he was put in jail for kidnapping! Japan doesn't recognize the international child abduction laws (Hague Convention 1980), so the gov't thought the mother should have the children.

There need to be REAL international standards for this kind of stuff.

Deanna and Rick December 18, 2009 at 12:01 PM  

Heather, I hear you, everytime I read this story my blood boils as well.

This pisses me off, that we will go out and help other countries (even when they don't ask for it) yet WE NEVER are there for our people when we need it!!!

Why after 5 years, that a country like Brazil is making us to look like a bunch of buffoons?

brooke @ claremont road December 20, 2009 at 12:56 PM  

I have also followed this story for the last few years and it infuriates me. The fact that it is STILL dragging on is only making the Brazilian justice system look worse and worse. I feel so terrible for this poor father who just wants his child back and has gone to so many lengths to make it happen, only to be slapped in the face over and over again.

@Deanna and Rick, I have to disagree -- Brazil is only making itself look like the buffoon. Our government has tried to help this man, but there is only so much they can do when the child is on Brazilian soil. Their land, their laws, unfortunately.

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