There’s nothing worse than having your worst fears play out in front of your eyes, but that’s what is happening to a mother from California. According to a news release from Feb. 20, a mother alerted the courts to the fact that her children were worried that their father would take them on vacation to Lebanon but never bring them back.
Despite her insisting that there was a risk to her children, the judge determined that the father could take the children out of the country. The vacation was only supposed to be two weeks long, but the children still haven’t been returned to her. They were taken on Jan. 4, 2017.
Her ex-husband now faces federal charges that accuse him of parental kidnapping, but he has not given in to orders to send the children back to America. Interpol, which is also involved, has the three children, ages 6, 13 and 14, listed as missing children internationally.
The children’s mother, now 40, moved to Florida to be closer to family while fighting to bring her children home. This case is just one out of around 1,130 open cases involving missing children in other countries.
The struggle in this case comes down to one major factor. Lebanon is not part of the 1980 Hague Convention. The Hague Convention requires countries that are part of it to return children in accordance with custody decisions from the United States. This mother went as far as to bring up a case in a Lebanese court. So far, she’s won but has not seen her children. The case is on appeal.
Cases like this are hard to handle. Parents who are worried about their children facing abduction should collect as much evidence as possible to help them convince the judge that their children are in potential danger. Only doing that will prevent them from being removed from the country with a court’s approval.
Source: Florida Today, “Merritt Island mom fights to bring back children abducted to Lebanon by their dad — in 2017,” Isadora Rangel, Feb. 20, 2018