Anniversary Reminders

Today is an anniversary. There are a lot of them, days that sucker punch my emotions and bring me to my knees.

November 28: Zander was handed over.

January 29: I was informed Zander was not coming home for another month.

February 1: Zander should have been home.

February 19: The day You-Know-Who decided to let me in on his shenanigans. 

March 3: The second date of what should have been Zander’s arrival.

There are so many other dates, but these ones are the ones that deliver the impact. I know time will heal these wounds, and one day these dates will come to pass without bringing me down.

I am a strong woman not to be reckoned with; I have already proven this. Reminder dates are easy compared to the HELL I lived through. I don’t want these dates to hold any power over me.

This email was in response to an email I sent him about my concerns with what Zander was telling me over the phone. You-Know-Who consistently refused to work with me during the winter months…if I was an hour late, oh well. I missed my chance. I rarely spoke to Zander in December and January, but when I did, he was repeating horrible things he was being told. So, yes, after 2 months of dealing with it, I couldn’t take it anymore. 

I wonder if I had never sent this email, would he have been motivated to inform me that Zander wasn’t coming home at the agreed upon time of February 1? I wouldn’t put it past him to have us waiting at the airport. I know that he was hoping to have a court decision by then, so he had to delay (aka lie).

I called the U.S. State Department, Office of Children’s Issues…again (I had also called right after Christmas with my concerns). They brushed me off…refused to help…showed no concern or empathy. I called the local law enforcement and they too brushed me off and refused to help. 

However, I also called National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for help. They were full of concern and empathy. At the time that I called, there was still “hope” that Zander would come home, albeit later. I received a Case Manager and given a number. 1287576.

They would repeatedly call me to check up on me, to see if he had made it home. When they found out he wasn’t coming home, they encouraged me to file with the Hague. Of course, they encourage you to work with the country officers you are assigned with the State Dept…who do nothing.

If a parent calls the “proper authorities” with the belief that their child will not come home, they need to be taken seriously. Afterall, we were once married/in a relationship with these people, and we know them.

I mean, look at how clearly and easily he lies…

He KNEW as he was typing this that he NO INTENTION of returning my son. He KNEW that I did NOT KNOW that he had filed for sole custody of Zander without MY KNOWLEDGE. He wanted me UNAWARE of his dubious actions until he had physical proof to parade around in my face.

I wanted so much to get along. He had stopped harassing me for the first time in years. He had stopped making demands. He had essentially disappeared during that large gap between visits. In fact, I lived with my Mom between May and June because we had sold our first home, yet had not purchased our second home. You-Know-Who knew where we were, and knew he was allowed to call anytime. He called about 3 times. Little did I know that his “disappearance” was him planning and premeditating Zander’s abduction. 

He tends to go quiet when he’s planning.

I’m not going to stop pointing out the real story. People need to know…other parents need to know how these abductors think.

Today, I will be fine. I’m alright. These are just reminders. But the biggest reminder that lifts me up is my son. He’ll be walking through the front door any moment now, and my heart will cease being sad. 

 

 

 

A Case of Neglect?

I want to start out with a disclaimer that I am not outright accusing anyone of neglect. Obviously only the experts and professionals can do that; all I can do is lay my evidence and thoughts out.

The definition of child neglect is a form of child abuse, and is a deficit in meeting a child’s basic needs, including the failure to provide adequate health care, supervision, clothing, nutrition, housing as well as their physical, emotional, social, educational and safety needs.

You-Know-Who tried to accuse me of “neglect” because of the educational stance, since I was homeschooling (temporarily). Honestly, there was a lot of confusion when I received that fateful email that contained the Maltese Family Court’s decision on February 19. Family members and family friends alike were telling me that there was something more than just homeschooling. Assuming that he had something else on me, that Zander was being forced to accuse me of beating him or some other horrific crime. 

In America, homeschooling is not a crime.

In Malta, it is.

I researched, found, and downloaded the Malta Civil Code. A parent in Malta can lose parental rights if they neglect education. It’s that simple. Not even taking into consideration that I violated no laws in America, some judge who was not given, nor asked, for the entire story, up and gave this trickster of a man temporary residential custody, with access given to me only if I asked for it. Which would have meant I had to submit myself to the jurisdiction of the lower courts of a foreign country.

I didn’t even know that homeschooling in Malta was illegal until May 2017 when a high government official in Malta explained it to me. Legislation was submitted March 2017, one month after that court decision, for homeschooling to be considered. You can see for yourself here that it’s illegal with no exceptions. North Korea is the same way.

In America, I was a member of HSLDA, and I did everything right and by the book. 

Here’s what I have deduced based off of the facts and what I know about You-Know-Who: I’ve always known that one small mistake on my part, and he would use it ruthlessly to attempt to rip Zander from our loving home. When I pulled Zander out of school, he originally objected, while I did my best to show him the evidence and facts of how wonderful homeschooling can be. In fact, not even 4 months later, he was all for it, and using it as a supposed opportunity to experience a much desired Christmas visitation.

Zander’s abduction was planned far in advance.

Even before the homeschooling issue. Simply put, I had finally given him the ammunition he was searching for. See, I found out something interesting while I was in Malta to bring Zander home.

My court appointed lawyer, Dr. Benjamin Valencio, who I met briefly with my hired attorney, personally knew You-Know-Who because they had gone to law school together. Very briefly. He went to law school for about a year and then stopped showing up. I know him. He was trying to find some way to take Zander from me. He learned what he could, deemed himself an expert, and patiently bided his time.

And I handed the excuse to him on a silver platter. You-Know-Who refused to take me to court in America because he had nothing on me. But in Malta….

It was a whole other story.

I did not neglect Zander. Our own laws would have held me accountable if Zander were not learning.

Yet, my concerns have consistently been tossed to the side. My concerns on Zander handling this back and forth instability from one country to another due to his autism. There were also other concerns. When he came back from each trip, he wasn’t the same. Behaviors would come back. Anxiety would increase. He would cry over what he was told that never should have been told to him. I couldn’t document the first trip because I had just had a baby and was unable to drive for 8 weeks due to complications. 

Then I forgot about it since after a month back home, he was seemingly back to normal. He was very skinny when he came back, and had lost 12.5% of his body weight. Unfortunately, I didn’t document this with a professional. However, if you look at his before-he-left picture next to his after-he-came-back picture…the difference is quite shocking.

Everyone who knows him recognizes the lost “shell-shocked” look on his face. 

Then the following summer, his behavior was not only different, it was neurological in nature and very concerning. He couldn’t stop twitching. It was honestly frightening to watch, and even my Mom told me, “You need to take him to a doctor, now. This isn’t right.”And that’s what I did. I know the picture is small, but it states how the doctor noticed his upper extremity twitching and diagnosed him with an acute tic disorder. He was referred to a behavioral therapist again.

I mean, I have very real concerns with evidence. These trips were negatively affecting him. There is no arguing that fact. But I was helpless…what could I do in a system that didn’t care? 

Before Zander left, he fell down the steps in our home, and I had my husband take him to the doctor (I couldn’t because I had just had dental surgery). He had a minor fracture in his foot. My husband and myself took him to the “bone doctor” (that’s why it says he was accompanied by “mother” and “father”, just so there’s no confusion…I was not with You-Know-Who). The reason I am showing this particular medical document is to look at his weight. He was 77 lbs in October 2016, one month before his abduction.

When I found out Zander wasn’t coming home, all those concerns and fears I had before came slamming to the forefront of my mind. Back then, I had forced myself to overlook them, telling myself he only had to deal with it all for a few months a year. And he always bounced back quickly.

In fact, the time between the last visit and the latest one was a year and a half, the longest he had stayed home since the overseas visitations had started. Zander had matured and grown so much as a person that you almost couldn’t even tell that he was on the spectrum. 

But now that he wasn’t coming home and had to be in Malta for who knew how long, I was scared for my son. I had anxiety over whether he was eating enough, getting enough sleep, etc.

He wasn’t, and he wasn’t.

So my sister attempted to figure out how he was doing. Here’s a screenshot of that conversation.

5 months AFTER he was gone, he was ONLY 63 pounds!!!

And this, supposedly, was him gaining weight. I’m glad I don’t know just how low it went. 

When he came back, we weighed him. He was about 62.5 lbs.

Today, he is 72 lbs.

I am not saying that You-Know-Who deliberately deprived him of enough food. But I do know that he has personal self-esteem issues from being a chubby teenager…and since he views Zander as an extension of himself…

Also, back in 2010, when You-Know-Who stayed at my Mom’s house for a month (during the divorce process), she would make sure to stop by the house every day on her lunch-break. She lived 5 minutes from her job, so this was more than doable. She arrived at noon, and many days, You-Know-Who was still sleeping on the couch while Zander quietly played on the floor with a full diaper. He was only 2. 

One time, my Mom came home only to have Zander lead her to the kitchen. He was hungry. When she asked You-Know-Who if he had eaten, the answer was no. No, because he hadn’t eaten a third of a cut cucumber. 

He was 2.

I think my concerns are real and founded.

Yet my son’s abduction was started because I legally homeschooled him.

Abductors are highly manipulative, highly deceptive, and genius tricksters.

AND THEY HAVE THE ENTIRE LEGAL SYSTEM FOOLED.

MANY WIN.

THIS ONE, BLESSEDLY, DID NOT.

 

Abductor Mentality Continues

Most abductors fit into specific profiles, as determined by the U.S. Department of Justice. You can find the profiles on pg. 2 & 3 of the link. You-Know-Who is a mixture between Profile # 3 & #4, which are the scariest ones in my opinion. For those who are unable to click on the link, Profile 3:

Although only a small percentage of parents fit this profile, these parents present the greatest risk of physical harm or death to the child, regardless of whether an abduction occurs. Parents who fit the paranoid profile hold markedly irrational or psychotic delusions that the other parent will definitely harm them and/or the child. Believing themselves to be betrayed and exploited by their former partner, these parents urgently take what they consider to be necessary measures to protect themselves and the child.
Psychotic parents do not perceive the child as a separate person. Rather, they perceive the child as part of themselves—that is, as a victim (in which case they take unilateral measures to rescue the child)

You-Know-Who tried to convince the court that I was a danger to my child. That he was at risk of psychological harm because:

1: I had him professionally diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum Disorder 

2: I homeschooled him (initially to get away from a school system that refused to follow his IEP to give him one on one time and also repeatedly violated my parental rights, not to mention losing Zander after I warned them that he wanders), but I homeschooled a second year at the request of You-Know-Who, which was easily proven at the trial. Here’s an excerpt of what You-Know-Who and his lawyer wrote as a response:

My favorite part “deprived of a normal childhood”. It completes my point: psychotic delusions.

Oh, but he colluded with me (I realize it was all just an elaborate manipulation tactic to trick me…). 

Walter Angelini was You-Know-Who’s lawyer during the time period that I attempted to stop Zander being sent overseas, and also during Zander’s abduction. He’s “supposedly” an attorney referred by the U.S. State Dept; someone who should know about Hague issues [insert rolling eyes]. I had to go back to the Judge who ordered me to send Zander despite very real reservations to ask him to Order Zander’s Return. During this hearing, You-Know-Who’s lawyer truly believed that Zander’s life was in danger. This judge, who is locally known to favor father’s, actually scoffed at this statement and said, “You and I both know that’s stretching it.”

Honestly the best sentence that has ever come out of that man’s mouth.

In another bulletin article written by the U.S. Department of Justice, something in particular riveted my attention. On Pg. 5: 

One-fifth of parents said they believe the abductor secretly involved the child in planning the abduction; such cases are particularly disturbing and suggest a high level of planning.

As mentioned in my previous post, Zander was most definitely involved, to the point that he blames himself. 

The mentality it took in order to plan and premeditate this doesn’t just STOP because Zander is home. I have been left no choice but to record all conversations. You-Know-Who still likes to blame me for everything. He’s still trying to force the scales in his favor. I’ve got so many examples; it’s sad and pathetic, but most importantly, disturbing.

You-Know-Who gets to speak telephonically with Zander every weekend. He throws out times to my sister, and I agree or disagree. This particular weekend, he confirmed a time with my Mom without consulting me. I had initially not planned on driving to my Mom’s on Saturday, but I changed my plans to accommodate him. He chose 5 p.m.

5 p.m. comes along and he tells Zander, “Listen, I don’t have much charge on my mobile. I’m in Valetta. Remember Valetta? That’s where I’m at, at the moment. You hear that noise? It’s an announcer; there’s a show going on.”

I have no idea why he chose a time knowing he would be busy, or why he didn’t prepare his phone. Not my problem.

Zander and I had plans to go to Walmart, so when he called later (even though he was informed I would not be there), Zander was not available, of course.

The very next day, he calls again. He immediately places the blame on me. 

“I couldn’t talk to you yesterday because you had to go to the store, so you were not home when I called.”

This isn’t the first time he’s done this. Issues with the weather and internet connectivity? My fault. Issues with my computer itself? My fault. Issues with him being busy and unable to actually talk to Zander? My fault.

Everything has been my fault since he was served divorce papers.

I remained helpless as I watched events unfold that led to my son’s international kidnapping. My gut feeling was screaming at me for years, but I kept stomping it down. Told it to behave. Try to get along. It’s ironic that at the moment that I finally accepted Zander’s overseas visits, and assumed You-Know-Who and I could get along…it was all a lie. An elaborate deception.

Zander could have happily visited his paternal family in Malta every summer if not for his premeditated kidnapping.

It’s not my fault.

 

 

 

Stuck Between a Rock & a Hard Place

Today’s blog is difficult to talk about. It’s not easy, as it’s so personal. 

While we were at the mall as a family outing earlier in the week, I promised Zander that I would take him to Walmart to buy a Five Night’s at Freddy’s plushie. Tonight, we had an opportunity to go, just him and I. It’s rare for this to occur because the other two children scream and beg if I leave them behind.

Tonight, the subject of Zander’s abduction came up. I feel caught off guard every time (luckily, it’s only happened about 3 times so far, and only recently). See, I had told myself that I would not do what You-Know-Who had done, and put Zander in a difficult position talking to him about adult, mature conversations. 

I’ve held onto this attitude from the beginning. To me, this man never existed. I never talked about him. I couldn’t. It was for my own peace of mind, to heal. The man was an emotional and mental terrorist. Don’t be mistaken though.. That doesn’t mean that he didn’t exist to Zander. My entire family filled those gaps in for Zander that I refused to discuss. Zander was not exposed to the word “divorce” by myself or anyone in my family. Yet early on, You-Know-Who was talking to Zander about our entire sordid history to a 5 year old. 

It actually started at 3 1/2, but that’s another conversation.

Subsequent emails to this man that it’s never okay to discuss these issues with a child, especially a child with a cognitive handicap, resulted in a stubborn stance of this is my right.

I was 9 years old when my parents divorced, and I know for a fact that my Mom did not have any discussions with me about it. I didn’t understand what was going on. My Dad was never around even during the marriage, so there was no difference to me. Maybe that time would have been more traumatic if my Mom had attempted to explain to me why there was a divorce. Zander was a baby when we divorced. 

You-Know-Who was out of Zander’s life for almost the entire first 5 years. He tried to swoop in like an avenging angel declaring, “I’m the good guy, she’s the bad guy; I’m the real daddy, he’s the fake daddy.”

The only thing this achieved was to create confusion and turmoil in Zander’s young life. Prior to this, he was perfectly content knowing that he had two dads.

It was a helpless feeling knowing that You-Know-Who was having these conversations with Zander. Zander, who was essentially a blank slate soaking everything up like a sponge.

The point is, I saw how this affected Zander even from an early age, and I didn’t want to do that. I told myself and everyone else that I would not discuss with Zander what happened to him, what I had had to accomplish in order to get him back, and the suffering that we all went through while he was gone. He didn’t need to be told any of this.

Zander has been back since September 17, 2017 (when the flight landed on American soil), and I have managed to avoid these conversations for 4 months. From other anecdotal accounts, it’s normal for a child dealing with these issues to take several months to wrap their minds around what happened to them. I think Zander is coming to some realizations on his own. I think he even realized quite a lot from the very beginning. I simply refuse to be the one to bring it up. I refuse to ask him questions. He has brought up a few minor conversations prior to tonight, but tonight was the hardest.

Tonight, Missing posters from National Center for Missing & Exploited Children started it. Zander asked me, “Did I have one of those posters?”

I answered honestly, “No. But they knew about you, and I had a case number with them.”

Zander continued as we walked outside, “Why do Dad’s take their kids away like that?”

I had to explain, “It’s not just Dads who do this. Any parent can take a child away, and we also have too many cases of Stranger Danger cases.”

This whole time, my heart is pounding, and I’m hoping his attention will drift away with the breeze. 

It doesn’t.

“[You-Know-Who] was so nice. But I didn’t want to be taken away like that.”

*heart stuttering*

I mean, how do you even respond to this? I wish I had a therapist on call. We’re sitting in the truck, and my mind is going a thousand miles a minute. What do I do? Zander wants to talk about this, but I don’t. However, I don’t want him to think that what he wants to say is not important. I let him lead. The worst thing you can do with Zander is ask leaded questions that only require a yes and no response…we’ll get to that.

Similar conversations have been brought up before, and I have corrected Zander and explained some things on one basis. And one only.

Zander blames himself.

WHAT? Yes, he blames himself. This is why you never bring a child into these situations. NEVER.

Zander said, “It was all my fault because I said I wanted to stay longer.”

Mommy bear mode clicked into place. First of all, adult to adult, we know it takes years to understand manipulation tactics and controlling ways. The people capable of these tactics are geniuses. Children are not capable of seeing through it.

Me to Zander. “It is NOT your fault. [You-Know-Who] knew better; he knew exactly what he was doing, and it was not fair of him to ask something like that of you. He was planning on keeping you there long before he picked you up, so how can you possibly blame yourself? Besides, you wanted to stay longer after the first visit, and he told you no because he knew you had to come back. Same with the second trip; I know you had fun and wanted to stay longer, but we as adults know what is right and wrong. That cannot fall on you because you are a child.” Zander is quiet; thinking. “Did you bring up staying in Malta for a year, or did he ask you if you wanted to stay in Malta for a year for x, y, z reasons?”

Zander’s instant response was, “[You-Know-Who] asked me, and I took like 2 minutes before saying, yeah….” Zander discussed some details, but it’s still not entirely clear when it was first brought up. He said he remembers talking to Grandma (my Mom) on the phone. He remembers You-Know-Who saying some things, then asking him if he wanted to stay longer. That he asked him all the time, but he never brought it up first. It wasn’t his idea.

Of course, if you hear You-Know-Who talk about it, he says, “It was all Zander’s idea.” Yeah…because blaming a child makes so much sense.

You-Know-Who has told anyone and everyone who will listen that I kidnapped Zander when he was a baby. That’s another conversation for a later time, but the point here is You-Know-Who attempted to convince Zander that his mother who raised him his entire life, was somehow this bad person that he shouldn’t live with anymore. 

What parent in their right loving mind would do something like that?

I hate having to tell Zander that he was internationally abducted. I hate it. I hate this man more than anything, yet…it is so difficult to tell Zander this. 

But it was so easy for this man to say an unnecessary lie to Zander.

There were some other interesting things said. Zander brought up how You-Know-Who tried so hard to convince him that I created “fake news” –

I must be so incredibly powerful and creative to manage this

-and he even showed Zander “evidence” that a judge declared that I kidnapped Zander. My eyebrows reached the stars at this point. “Yes, he showed me this on his phone where it said that you kidnapped me, and he handed me the phone to make me believe it. But I saw that blinking line and I thought to myself ‘what is this?’…and I typed in the letter ‘f’. Then I thought to myself that this is fake, and I hit the backspace and erased it.” Zander is laughing at this point.

Honestly, I don’t even know what to think at this point. There is no such document that I kidnapped Zander. I am amazed at the lengths this man took in order to convince Zander that his mother was some leper of a person. 

I also learned tonight just how much Zander wanted to come home during the trial. What you all need to understand is Zander truly believed he was only going to be in Malta for a year (not that he understood the concept of time). From December 2016-June 2017 (month of the start of the trial), this child truly believed he was coming home soon (I have the audio recordings – evidence that was used at the trial). When Zander finally realized that he may never come home, he was very upset. He was told that it was up to no one except the Maltese judge whether he was coming home or not. Although my Maltese attorney tried to prevent Zander from being questioned by the judge, the judge wanted to speak to Zander.

Zander refused ♥

I wasn’t there, but from what I understand, Zander was taken into a private room with the judge. The judge came back out and threw his hands in the air and explained that the boy refused to speak to him at all. This was noted.

Zander finally let me in on this crucial, pivotal moment.

He told me tonight, “You know that judge who decided if I came home or not? If I had spoken to him, I wouldn’t be here now.”

I’m holding back tears now…as I type this. This innocent little boy honestly believes this. He believes he is truly responsible for all of this.

Then he told me, “[You-Know-Who’s-Wife] was so mad at me because I didn’t talk. Why did she get mad?”

An abductor does not act alone. 

Grandparents are a common ally. New partners/spouses are another. I’m trying very hard not to be angry at these other people. I get that Zander is very easy to love. I also get just how manipulative You-Know-Who can be. He had me despising his own mother; until I met her and realized that she was a wonderful person. 

I’m positive that I am a very hated person. He has them convinced that I’m some horrible person undeserving to mother Zander. He even had his American attorney convinced that Zander’s life was in danger because of me. 

Therefore, I get all of this. I understand. I can’t blame them. They are not at fault just as Zander is not at fault. We are all victims of the delusions of a single man. I suspect he has a real disorder called narcissism; therefore, he is incapable of seeing what he is doing himself. He is convinced himself that I am the bad guy. Because he couldn’t possibly be.

He has everything backwards. He has always described my behavior and actions by describing himself, yet he takes all of his faults and dumps them on me. I’m not a psychologist so I can’t properly explain this…I don’t know the words. For instance, he told Zander that one time while we were in court together, I looked at him like [insert a mean grumpy face where you stare at the other person under the eyebrows < Zander showed me; it was comical]…and I remember that moment very clearly. 

However…

It wasn’t me looking at him. I can’t look at him. Seeing him makes me physically ill. My anxiety spikes through the roof. (he filed last minute to be physically present, much to my horror)

It was during my contempt case [because I was refusing to send Zander overseas]. We were all attempting mediation. Me and my lawyer on one side of the table on the other end, and You-Know-Who and his lawyer on the other side on the other end, with the psychologist beside me at the end of the table. I never once looked at You-Know-Who directly. I did from the corner of my eye a couple of times. He was not happy. And he was letting me know with his grumpy stare. I have 3 witnesses to this. Even the psychologist commented on how he stared at me. 

I don’t understand the psychology behind this, but I do know that something has never been right in that department. I’m just beyond exhausted from it all.

Despite everyone -friends & family alike- telling me that I should talk to Zander, that I should answer his questions, and I should give him the basics of what happened…I just don’t want to. 

“He’s old enough.”

No he’s not.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place.

February 19, 2017

The date that has been scarred into my heart and soul. The day I had been waiting for but never imagined it would really happen. The day I had been preparing for yet still wholly unprepared for.

I now suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder); it yanks me back to that moment after I read the email from my son’s abductor. I can’t breathe, just as I couldn’t breathe in that moment. My heart is pounding, my legs are weak, my vision is going dark, and I can’t breathe.

Grief was suffocating me!

I wake up frequently, and when I do, I check my phone. Because of our history, anytime I see an email from You-Know-Who (let’s just use this reference because I refuse to say his name), I get instant anxiety. It had been that way for years.

After reading the email, praying that this was just some sick joke or horrific nightmare, I jumped out of bed and stumbled to the living room doorway. There are wide steps there which I collapsed onto. I can’t breathe.

I’m shaking so badly that I can barely hold my phone up to call my husband.

He was fulfilling a dream of mine to own a classic car. It was a 1963 Dodge Dart; mint condition other than the front right side. Josh, my husband, answered, and I know I sounded frantic. I didn’t tell him why, but I told him he needed to come home now. I begged him not to buy the car and to just come home.

I didn’t know that he had already bought the car by then.

We hang up, and I sob uncontrollably. The dam finally bursts. This can’t be real. This can’t be happening. How is this even legal?

I’m shaking, I can’t breathe, and my mind is about to explode with a torrent of thoughts.

I wanted to scream and rail to the heavens that this wasn’t right.

It was a Sunday.  The court decision had been decided February 2nd, literally ONE day after Zander was supposed to come home. The whole excuse of delaying his return to March 3 was simply that. An excuse. It was a delay tactic; he was trying to throw the scent off so I wouldn’t be suspicious. 

To this day, I have no idea how long he sat on those papers before sending them my way…on a Sunday of all days. I couldn’t do a damn thing on Sunday.

Except PRAY.

And that’s exactly what I did. I humbled myself like I had never before. I fell to my knees and I begged God to have mercy. I begged Him to bring my son home and spare him, knowing exactly how selfish I was being after he sacrificed his own Son for our salvation. I have no idea how long I rambled on, loudly begging and praying.

Eventually, I stopped. A feeling of immense calm settled over my shoulders. Be calm…and wait. 

My Faith was solidified in that moment of intense grief. It was like a flip had been switched. I was able to call people. I called my sister. I messaged my closest friends. And I began to Research. Plan. March forward. I was never going to rest until my child was back where he belonged.

The first 4 days, I literally could not eat. I could not sleep. I spent days researching. It was in those days that I realized there was very little help. My chances of having Zander returned were slim to none. The government will not help. There is no financial assistance for parents in that situation. 

The only ones willing to help me without trying to scam me came from parents of abducted children. Parents like me.

How is this fair? How is this acceptable? There’s funding and resources and awareness for just about every possible situation, but not this?

America’s STOLEN children??

February 22 (Diary excerpt):

“I broke down tonight sitting in Zander’s room. I picked up  his toys, put away his clothes, laid in his bed. Reminders of him are everywhere. I’m grieving.

There is no hope.”


One of my biggest angst with the Maltese Family Court system is the fact that the other party does not need to be served or even notified to move forward in court. For me, our divorce was delayed for a whole year because I couldn’t serve him with him being in another country. Yet, You-Know-Who can file whatever he pleases, and get away with it….without me ever being the wiser for it. I have no idea the processes for this. Does he declare a statement promising to properly inform me? Do they ask for my contact information, and he then lied about it?

There are still a lot of unanswered questions. However, I have learned that this tactic of proceeding in court without the other parent’s knowledge, is a common tactic used by abductors.

First off, the 1980 Hague Convention Treaty on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction was set into motion for just these situations, to make it illegal to take a child out of his/her habitual residence to forum shop.

Forum shopping is a practice adopted by litigants to get their cases heard in a particular court that is likely to provide a favorable judgement. Indeed, courts have found that the Hague Abduction Convention was designed to deter parents from engaging in international forum shopping in custody cases. Specifically, the Hague Convention attempts to prevent situations in which a parent dissatisfied with current custodial arrangements flees with the child to another country to re-litigate the merits of custody and to obtain a more favorable custody order.

You-Know-Who skewed the facts in order to get his original favorable ruling. Homeschooling in Malta is illegal. This was his basis for getting that ruling. He approached the family court as if Zander were not being educated at all, that I was simply keeping him home all day. In the Maltese Civil Code, neglecting educational rights is a serious offense. The word homeschooling doesn’t even translate in the Maltese language, as I found out 3 months later.

Thank the Good Lord that after all the evidence was presented, the Judge ruled in our favor with some pretty harsh words against You-Know-Who.

The respondent argues that he cannot be found guilty of wrongful retention for not returning the minor after the expiry of the period agreed with the mother, because in the meantime he had obtained a decree issued by another section of the Family Court that authorized the minor to reside in Malta with his father. This Court, however, considers this reasoning as legally unfounded.

The decree that the defendant succeeded to obtain during the mediation process cannot be considered as exonerating the defendant from his premeditated conduct not to return the minor child back to his mother in the United States.

So, there you have it!

There is never any excuse for these abductors.

This is abuse, plain and simple, and not just for the minor children involved, but also toward the Left Behind Parent. I can’t even obtain a Protection From Abuse order because this man doesn’t live in this country. Yet, he can take me to court and get a decree with me being none the wiser.

February 19, 2017 was the worst day of my life. 

The very last thing I ever said to You-Know-Who was this: 

“You won’t get away with this. Say hi to the Hague.”

I am quite happy and content at leaving it at that for the rest of my life. No one can force me to speak to my son’s abductor and my abuser. For my own peace of mind; for my right to pursue happiness and my right to liberty and freedom, I do not have to speak to such a man. And I won’t.

February 19. 

You didn’t win.

You didn’t.

 

Introduction:

Hello World!

As an introduction, I’d like to explain the motivation behind this blog. I’ve wanted a blog for years, but I never imagined that I would finally stop procrastinating to write about this issue. About my son’s story. About our pain as a family. About our journey.

But this is something that needs talked about. There’s not enough awareness about IPCA in general, but definitely nothing on children when they come back.

Probably because most children are not returned…

Without getting into the issue of how politically wrong this is, I wanted our story to be a voice in this movement. I refuse to be quiet on just exactly why International Parental Child Abduction is child abuse.

  Thank you, Representative Chris Smith for making such a declaration. It needs to be heard!

I’m just a parent. I’ve been the primary caretaker since day 1 of Zander’s difficult birth. I’ve been protective of him, not only as my flesh and blood, my firstborn, or even maternal bonding, but simply because the image of him struggling to breath on his own and hooked up to wires and oxygen and tubes his first week of life has been seared forever into my mind.

Something which Zander’s European father chose to miss.

Speaking of…

The Catalyst

The Antagonist

The Abductor

Whatever you want to call him. During our relationship, he was the planner. Friends & Family warned me, but I didn’t listen. He was controlling, possessive, and manipulative. Obsessive. Most of that didn’t change even after the divorce. Every time I moved, he was Google mapping the house and the surrounding areas.  He knew where parks and stores were long before I did.

He would randomly send me emails telling me what my weather was…

So it comes as no surprise that he looks for anything tied to me on the internet. Facebook pages. Public Facebook posts (even though he and all his friends and family are blocked). News reports.

If it’s there, he usually finds it. I have every expectation that he will find this blog.

He once told my sister that I’m not very good at being sneaky or hiding something from him. Let’s just take a moment to reflect on how creepy this is…

Reflecting.. No, scratch that. I know. I’ve known this for years. I’ve always imagined that we have been playing some sick game of cat and mouse. I’ll let you all take a gander on who’s the cat and who’s the mouse.

I have a visual of me trying to run as far as I can from him, yet just when I think I’m in the clear (in my mind), he looms up from the edge of the game board with a maniacal look in his eyes, laughing. The more I run, the more he throws darts in whatever direction I’m running, looming, larger than life.

It’s no wonder that I suffer from anxiety.

No more though. I’m not going to hide anymore. I refuse to be silent. I tried that for years. I let him accuse me of everything under the sun, out of the courtroom and in it. I used to tell myself, this isn’t conducive to the issue at hand….just ignore it.

I lived through his manipulative tactics and lies. I wasn’t able to save my son from it.

So this blog is a voice, for not only myself, but my son.

No matter who reads it.

It’s time to jump off the board I’ve kept myself prisoner on. 

Because he has no power over me. It’s time I live like it.

I named this website just1of1000 because statistically, 1000 American children are victims of IPCA annually.

Zander was just 1 of 1000 of these innocent children. 20% of 1000 is only 200 returned.

So those abysmally pathetic numbers were the muse behind the name.  Zander is JUST. ONE. OF. ONE THOUSAND children taken out of America every year. This is outrageous.

It’s a violation of our Constitutional rights if any Judge orders a child out of the United States of America.

With all that being said, please view this blog as a true story revolving around educational facts and material. Keep in mind that I’m not a tech savvy person, and this blog will forever be “under construction” as I learn more and more every day.

Expect constant changes: Fair warning. 😉