The Crime of Family Abduction

I was internationally abducted when I was 4 years old and the reunification with my mother was more devastating to me than the original abduction. I was young so I don’t remember much about what happened but I vividly remember leaving my younger brother behind. I miss the days we could have played together because we both grew up in separate countries and different lives. I expect all children who are refugees, whose parents get a divorce or who were in foster care will have some aspects of these traumatic feelings.

When my mom and I returned to Canada leaving my brother and father overseas, we moved around every year and I was able to compare different schools and I finally found my favourite.

My favourite schools (elementary and high school) were both 3 blocks from my home and had lots of different games or school sports teams (when I was older ) to participate in. Both schools (250 students from grades 8-12) were small so I had ample opportunity to find school activities, games or sports that I would like and eventually the other children/students playing those same games became my friends. It was very fluid and the schools and community provided me with the foundation to heal. I am eternally grateful.

Click here or on the pdf file to learn more or read an excerpt below. There are lots of good resources with a brief description listed at the bottom of the document and I strongly recommend checking them out.

Click here to read this publication written by eight siblings who lived the nightmare of losing a sister or brother. They “wrote this guide for brothers and sisters like us, but in the process, we realized that it may also be helpful for the friends who are trying to support you, the teachers and counselors in school who want to help you, and the family members and even parents who are also struggling with how to cope.”


Society underestimates the impact and implications of children being abducted by parents

1 The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Second National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART–2) estimate that 203,900 children were victims of a family abduction in 1999. Of this number, a staggering 117,200 were missing from their caretakers. A child can be abducted (i.e., unlawfully removed from custody by a family member) but not necessarily missing. For example, if a child is abducted by a parent and taken to that parent’s home in a different state at an address well known to the searching parent, but the taking parent refuses to return the child, that child is considered abducted but not missing.


For some children, this is what happens when they are abducted. Other children are taken by a parent who is regularly cruel and abusive. Still others are taken by a family member (an absent father, for example) they do not really know.Yet others are taken to escape real or perceived abuse. Regardless of the relationship the child has with his abductor, in an instant, the child loses everything: the other parent and family members, friends, pets, school, activities, even a family photo or a favorite toy. This instantaneous loss of community can lead to lasting depression, the loss of a sense of security or stability, a compromised ability to trust oneself or others, and a fear of abandonment.

I was robbed of a life without perpetual innate anxiety, fear, alienation, anger, and paranoia as a default state of mind. At this point, I don’t think I would know how to live without those things, and the fleeting moments it does happen are the most insecure.




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