Posted by: DD | July 1, 2009

EGYPT AND BUM-F*CK EGYPT

A few weeks ago, I read this news story about a woman whose daughter became a victim of international parental kidnapping 12 long, harrowing years ago in which time she hasn’t seen her little girl since:

Janet Greer can remember with devastating clarity the day that her 3-year-old daughter, Sarah “Dawsha” Elgohary, was supposed to return from a weekend visit with her father. And when Sarah didn’t show, she remembers the exact moment when she realized the child’s father, Greer’s Egyptian ex-boyfriend, had stolen the child away from her.

“Right then, I knew my life was over. I knew he had her. I fell down on the ground. I fell down, because I knew she was gone,” Greer told “Good Morning America” before beginning to cry uncontrollably, just as she had that day. Greer’s ex-boyfriend, Magdy Elgohary, had, without a word, taken the girl to live in Egypt.

She has kept every one of Sarah’s toys but cannot bear to look at them. Her little girl may not even speak English anymore, she said.

“I didn’t see the baby teeth come out. I didn’t see the first day of school. I didn’t do Mother’s Day. Nothing, nothing at all,” she said. “He took that all from me, and he robbed it from her too. He robbed her of her mother.”

It breaks your heart, doesn’t it? If you are a parent, imagine what you would feel if your child was taken from your side and moved to another country where you probably could never see them again. The country’s political system does nothing but throw out red-tape and excuses. They may even cite “what’s best for the child” as a reason to not reunite the mother with her child.

Guess what?

It happens here in the U.S. as well.

Last week the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that Maria Luis, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala, should not lose custody of her children after she had her rights as a parent terminated when she was deported back to Guatemala in 2005 . . . WITHOUT her children, an infant girl and a then 6 year old boy:

In Luis’ case, the Supreme Court said it was not enough for the state to argue that the children would have fewer opportunities in Guatemala. The state also had to prove that Luis was an unfit parent — a burden the court said the state had not met.

The record showed that the state made no efforts to reunify Maria and the children, largely because the State Department of Health and Human Services “thought the children would be better off staying in the United States,’’ the court said.

“But so long as the parent is capable of providing for the children’s needs, what country the children will live in is not a controlling factor in determining reunification.”

Again, I imagined myself in that situation. My son is 7 and of course ZGirl is still just a baby. After five years, my son might still know me. My daughter? She not only wouldn’t know me, but she certainly wouldn’t be affectionate towards me. She wouldn’t understand me as she would speak a different language. I would miss seeing XBoy grow into a young man. I wouldn’t have experienced my daughter’s first laugh, first steps, learning to skip…just IMAGINE it, that total sense of loss would be perpetuated every day you were apart as well as every day after you were together. These little strangers you had loved all your life who may never love you back.

How could this have happened? The foster system will give every allowance possible to a biological mother and/or father  who breaks every agreement, every promise, even the law, just so that the system can do “what’s best for the child”, which is reunification with the bio parent(s); and yet it was this same system who on their high-and-mighty moral pedestal believing that any third world country’s mother simply could not be better than one of our own born and bred citizens of this United States of America acting as a foster parent.

The state’s argument? the children’s American foster parents could give them a better life than they would have in Guatemala.  

We are so fucking full of ourselves, aren’t we? Somehow automatic lawn sprinklers, disposable diapers and video games trump a the bio mother who fought the State of Nebraska for five years to get them home to be with her and her two older children. And hell yeah, she beat the big boys and will be (if it hasn’t happened already) reunited with her children.

She is said to be ecstatic about their final return, but will her broken heart ever heal after having her children ripped away from her at so young an age for so long? In Echoing Greer’s statement in regards to what her ex-boyfriend did to her, the state and the system’s overinflated by ego robbed these children of their mother. Care to guess who will pay the ultimate price for a county judge’s original ruling – no doubt based on prejudice and little else? It’s sickening and probably no one on behalf of the state learned a damned thing.

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Responses

  1. So Horrible. There are so many new worries now that I have a kid & I would die if I lost him in any capacity. My heart goes out to these people.

  2. I have often wondered which would be worse, having your child lost/abducted or having them die. (I am sure parents that have experienced one or the other would say their situation is worse, but I have no idea).

    They both would bring me to such a dark place, I am not sure I could ever recover.

  3. I am of two minds regarding the Maria Luis case, because there are people who come to this country to have their children in order to take advantage of the safety nets that the US provides. But, I think it is totally asinine to assume that the children would be better off in foster care than with their mother. So, I guess my compromise would be, since the children are citizens, why can’t they be their mother’s sponsor for citizenship? Foster care/DCFS would have to keep track of them with foster parents anyway, so why not just let the mother stay and try to get naturalized?

    • I don’t believe Maria had any intentions of making long-term plans for staying in the US, but that’s only my assumption based on the fact that she had two older children who stayed in Guatemala while she was in Nebr working.

      And I’d say that “safety net” failed her miserably.

      • I agree that the safety net failed her miserably. Most other countries allow dual citizenship, so the children should have been able to “choose” whether or not to stay with their mother. And by choose, I mean that their parent should be able to choose for them. Terminating parental rights due to deportation is absurd, high-handed ridiculousness.

      • I came across this today and I have to say that those who don’t know the full story always jump to conclusions. This was Maria’s 3rd time back in the US after being deported 2 times previously. She had no intentions of returning until she got caught. The children she left behind were never coming to the US. She also had no problems leaving her son behind for nearly 2 years after the 2nd deportation. She made that choice. There’s more, but that’s just a taste.

      • Dear “Citizen” (of Lincoln, Nebraska I see), I hope you’ll get a chance and come back to this post since I see that you left an invalid email (fear of losing an argument?). You’re right. I don’t have the full story. And unless you are the foster family, the attorney, the judge, than I would hazard a guess that youd don’t have it either. The children were not ours (The State’s) to take. The end.

  4. Oh, and there’s another guy on the east coast, whose ex-wife took their son to Brazil (I think or maybe Argentina). She was in violation of custody agreements, and he was fighting to get the boy back. Then she died and her current husband wants to retain custody of the boy. The courts there are not helpful either.

    International law becomes complex in these areas, and the opportunistic parents know it. I’d probably just hire myself a hit man to take care of the problem.

  5. This is one of a myriad of reasons I’m really apprehensive about fostering as a whole. When I was in college, I thought I wanted to be a counselor or a cop. Then I worked for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The news we get is highly sanitized, btw. I have nightmares to this day about the things I saw.

    I had a number of international kidnapping cases that I was following for my internship. The vast majority involved Middle Eastern men kidnapping their children. It didn’t matter whether the woman is Middle Eastern or not because children past a certain age in every Middle Eastern country are automatically awarded to the father without visitation rights also being bequeathed. These countries do not recognize any other country’s laws in this regard. Custody agreements from elsewhere are not worth the paper they are printed on.

    Custody cases from elsewhere are more complicated, but you must, must, must have an attorney who specializes in this area to get anywhere. And, that attorney must know how to involve Interpol.

    Some folks may not like the reality, but just not liking it is no reason to ignore it.

  6. This is why I always correct people who tell me that we are giving Sabrina a “better life”. I remind them that different doesn’t mean better. Being with her bio family would have been a blessing for her…so we are providing her a different (and very loving) experience. And it burns my ass when adoptive parents act like they have saved the children they have adopted.

  7. I know, can you imagine? You’re right, too. America is not the be-all-and-end-all.

  8. “We are so fucking full of ourselves, aren’t we?”

    You took the words right out of my mouth, sister.

  9. Excellent article, amazing looking blog, added it to my favorites!

  10. The mother refused to take the baby to a doctor. She then further denied who she was and refused access to the child. The child was in the hospital for a week, and nearly died. She left her son behind each time she got deported and never brought the others with her. The son was found to have been beaten with a belt by the baby’s daddy many times and he was traumatized by it. There was discussion about if the children should go with her, but the boy was a citizen, and the baby had no citizenship. Furthermore, she made it clear, in her own words, she only wanted the baby. The 7 year old “could take care of himself”, just like her 12 and 13 year old in Guatamala who only attended 1st grade then were both put to work. The Feds decided once an for all she was going on her own. She was still provided all kinds of help, and the consulat was informed, but never got involved until termination was finally filed 3 years into the case. She was given a special visa to visit, and she got several visits with the children. She never had anything to do with the boy, only the baby, who was 4 1/2 years old. She knew who Mama Maria was because she talked to her on the phone, but putting a face to the name was a new thing. She didn’t understand who this person was. Mama was the only person she had ever known – the person who I watched doing everything she could to help the littler girl understand who Mama Maria was. Maria after going back disappeared for nearly 5 months. No one could find her and even her attornies were trying. She finally called and gave no reason for her disappearance and placed the blame on anyone but herself.

    The legal decison was a technical one. Basically because of the deportation, she suddenly had more rights to her children, than if she had been a citizen. If she had been in this country the entire time and had acted like she did – not following basic requests to ensure she was getting even parenting education – and treating her children (especially her son) like she could pick and choose, and disappeared for months at a time, termination would have been upheld.

    Those of you who fly in as advocates and only got one side don’t get it. Fine, a mother got her children back. Children who knew her because of he wonderful work of the family caring for them for 3 years – people who had been legal immigrants themselves and were raising them bilingual. But she was just a voice. And the boy was old enough to understand her lack of desire to care for him. She would actually say it to him. He’d talk about it. Now ask yourself how do you think this will affect those children? How would you have felt if you had been uprooted at the ages of 5 and 11 from the only home you’d known for over 4 years?


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