Welcome to Three little birds! This site is made for Mirabelle Spitzer, Lucas Spitzer and Robin Spitzer

Dear Mirabelle, Lucas and Robin,

This site is made for you so that you know that opa and oma, Tante Daphne, Finn and Kirse, Tante Rens, Tante Femke and Tante Ischa, and all your other family and friends and schoolmates in Holland still think of you, miss you and love you very much.

You are always welcome to contact us!

Webmaster: info@threelittlebirds.eu

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Lucas birthday

Lucas I wish you the best with your birthday: good health, happiness, good friends and good results at your school. Now you are eighteen. You are adult. On the photos below you were only two and a half. It was in the summer and we went a day to the beach of Haamstede.  It was a fine day. We were happy together. You can see it on the photo. Then you could still sit near to your mother.

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Robin’s birthday

Many happy returns of this day dear Robin. I wish you much success in your rugby sport and at school, I wish you happiness with family and friends and I wish you a good health. Again the sun is shining right above our heads as I said, when you were only three years old and you were longing for the feast of your birthday. I always have to think of that, when it is your birthday. You are sixteen years already. As a memory to the Netherlands I print the photo’s below. They have been made on “Kinderopvang Sjakie”. I wish you a good day!

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Mirabelle’s birthday

Happy birthday and many happy returns of the day!!! Your nineteenth birthday already again. I wish you much happiness and health.I like this photo so much. It must be in Australia, because at the Roosestraat there was not a window behind the washing machine.

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Mirabelle you hurt me

Mirabelle you hurt me, but  will always love you

First of all I am not accusing you Mirabelle nor did mamma. You had to accuse mamma of hitting you. We, and also mamma, were convinced you had to. I know for sure that it was not you who wanted to say so. You were/are not like that.

The night after the second conversation with school I couldn’t fall asleep. Two things preyed on my mind. First of all, I saw all the time that one sentence in mamma’s fare-well-letter “Mirabelle you hurt me”.

It was mamma’s pain, a mamma who felt so miserable after Mrs. Van H. told her Mirabelle went to her teacher to say her in tears that her mother hit her so much. Of course, mamma knew that it was not you Mirabelle, but it was the kidnapper who made you to do so. But it was terrible for mamma and also for you, Mirabelle, that you had to say so. I felt so miserable that I stopped the discussion with Mrs. Van H. the day before.

Yet I had to do something with it, I felt. Because it was obvious that the three of you were brainwashed, because also the second so-called American pediatrician who called mamma and said to mamma that you asserted mamma had abused you and that you never wanted to go back to mamma in Holland anymore.

And I also felt not at ease that the kidnapper would be informed before the correspondent of the International Social Services should do her work. He already manipulated Mrs. X. of Jeugdzorg, so that she immediately believed him without doing any search after mamma. I was convinced that the kidnapper would manipulate someone for a second time. I decided to call Mr. G. of Jeugdzorg the next day. Only very late I fell asleep.

Then I still trusted Mr. G., he seemed sympathizing. Later I would discover that it was all sham. He was not at all sympathizing. He acted sympathy and I was so naïve to believe him!!!!

 

The call with Mr. G.

It was not late that morning, that I called Jeugdzorg.

“Please can you give me Mr. G.”, I said to the receptionist of Jeugdzorg.

“You are speaking with Mr. G. “, Mr. G. said after some moments, when the receptionist connected him with me.

“Oh Mr. G., I could not sleep this night because I feel very concerned that the kidnapper must be informed before the ISS-correspondent would start her work”, I said. “I am sure that that will go wrong.”

“Yes, but it is the procedure. I can imagine you are very afraid after all you experienced.” Mr. G. said sympathizing. “But suppose we don’t inform him, in that case the correspondent would unexpectedly stand before his door. Then the kidnapper certainly won’t do his best to cooperate.”

“I can imagine that he must be informed beforehand”, I said, “but please let him not give the time to fix the show. I don’t trust the kidnapper at all. I warn you.”

“I will make a note of it for the report”, Mr. G. said reassuring to me.

“Ahum, I have still another subject which occupies me a lot”, I said quickly. “It concerns the complaint of Mirabelle about her mother. It’s very important to write that she was saying so, because she was brainwashed. I certainly know it wasn’t she who said so. She had to say. And in the same way the children had to say to the second so-called American pediatrician that Judith was hitting them and that they didn’t want to go back to her. I know for sure. It was that complaint which hurt Judith in such an extent that she wrote it in her fare-well-letter to Mirabelle. She was really upset by that. It was her trigger to commit suicide, because her children had to accuse her.”

“Did you talk about it with school?” Mr. G. asked.

“Yes, I talked about it with Mrs. Van H. But I noticed she was very nervous and upset by it. But I don’t want to blame her, because it was the kidnapper who behaved so badly. I could have said the same in her situation”, I said.

“Oh, you needn’t be concerned about Mrs. Van H. “, Mr. G. interrupted me, “it is her profession to deal with these matters. I think you have enough to your head to be still concerned about Mrs. Van H. too.”

“Okay”, I said like a little child. “These were my two points which I wanted to stress to you. Will you please give attention to these two points, because they are very important for the children and for us? I will send you a copy of Judith’s fare-well-letter to prove that it hurt her.”

“I will make a note of it and I ‘ll discuss it with Mrs. X.”, Mr. G. said. “You can write it to Mrs. X. too, while you send her a copy of Judith’s fare-well-letter.”

“I’ll do so. And thank you very much for your time”, I finished the call.

 

The mail to Mrs. X on the twelfth of June 2009

This I wrote to Mrs. X.

Dear Mrs. X.,

 

This morning I realized that the part of Judith’s fare-well-letter that was meant for Mirabelle, namely “Mirabelle you hurt me, but will always love you”, is immensely important, because Judith felt it as that Mirabelle was giving evidence against her.

Because you don’t work on Friday I spoke with Mr. G. about it and I arranged with him that you will make a note in the report how this took place at school and how Judith experienced the accusation. I send you a copy of Judith’s fare-well-letter.

 

Best wishes,

Heleen van der Stoep

 

When I read this mail now, I realize that Mrs. X. could go her own way with my mail. Of course, I wanted to stress that you were brainwashed, just as I did with other mails I sent to her and about which I will write later too. But she could use this mail for another purpose. Oh, how naïve I still was at that time. What did I say before? What will do an organization which made such a mistake that it made a person die?… Pay attention how Jeugdzorg is treating our case. Pay attention how they cover their terrible mistake.

 

The mail of Mrs. X. on the seventeenth of June 2009

Dear Mrs. Van der Stoep,

 

I cannot open Judith’s fare-well-letter.

Mr. G. and I are of the opinion that it isn’t good that Mirabelle would read this letter. I understood Judith reproaches Mirabelle having hurt her, because she told she was beaten by her. I fear Mirabelle will not understand anything of it. And it is of importance not to make Mirabelle responsible for everything which happened. Each of the adults have their own responsibility and Mirabelle is not to blame for it.

It appeared from the e-mail that Mirabelle is already involved in the conflict between you (mother’s family) and the father. That will be the exact purpose of investigation for Jeugdzorg. How much are the children involved in this conflict, how does this conflict damage them, how do they cope with this conflict with the decease of their mother and how she died. How to prevent that Mirabelle and the two other children will be caught in a cleft stick between the two families and feel themselves responsible for the situation which came into being.

Next week I will take a day to make a report for the Raad voor de Kinderbescherming. I will make use of the facts, when I write this report.

Best wishes,

Mrs. X.

This mail made tante Daphne and me for some reasons very, very angry. First, Mrs. X. first made the most terrible mistake by giving priority to blame mamma. Her task is to protect children. Well then, her first priority was to get you back to mamma, but she did nothing of the kind. She believed a kidnapper on his blue eyes, so that she decided it was not worth to see if he had spoken the truth with his allegations against mamma. Her second blunder, a second neglect of duty of this woman. And after these two blunders she dared to send me this terrible pedantic mail with suppositions about us which weren’t true at all. A third incredible action. And this stupid word conflict, which proved she was unable to judge a situation, a fourth defect. She misses any insight of her position and her behavior. We felt extremely offended by her. Therefore we sent her an answer, although we realized that a person like her without any sense of responsibility, not to speak about moral responsibility, would not understand our reaction.

 

The mail tante Daphne and I sent to Mrs. X. and Mr. G.

Dear Mrs. X and dear Mr. G.,

 

This is a reaction to the mail of June the seventeenth. We are considerably embarrassed by your bad description of our intentions and concerns considering the children. The report that you are going to make exists as a result of our concerns about the children. It is of great importance for the good fulfillment of this case and also for the wellbeing of the children that our concerns will be communicated correctly.

On the one hand we think exactly the same about the case as you do: of course Mirabelle is not to blame of what had happened. None of the children. Probably we won’t ever let her read this letter. Certainly not as a child!!!!!! We do want and wanted only to make clear to the children that Judith loved them, that she did her best for them and that we love them and terribly miss them. We don’t want to damage them still more.

On the other hand, we think your use of the word “conflict” very awkward and you are totally wide of the mark. This whole record is just so unpleasant that you can’t speak and couldn’t speak about a conflict. A conflict namely implies two parties which together started a quarrel. In this record it is only one man who is carrying out actions.

And why did we send you Judith’s fare-well-letter? In our second conversation, Mr. G. wanted to make an inquiry into the fact why the children did have to give evidence against their mother with the so-called second pediatrician in America. That giving evidence against their mother would be mentioned as a point of concern to the Raad voor de Kinderbescherming.

“But”…….Daphne then said: “Mirabelle had to give evidence against her mother already at school”. And then it must have been far more difficult for her, because she still had all her persons of attachment around her in the Netherlands (what do you think of Judith?). How terrible must she have felt?

All this went as follows. The kidnapper wanted or required that school would come into operation with the so-called child abuse that he asserted to have taken place. School said she never received signals of abuse. The kidnapper was claiming school in that way that school was saying that she only would come into action if a complaint is coming from one of the children. And this happened: the complaints followed. From Mirabelle. So Mirabelle had to give evidence already against her mother in the Netherlands (Mrs. Van H. had wanted to talk about it with Judith alone, because she had her doubts. Because of the kidnapping all was accelerated in that unhappy conversation at school on that seventeenth of February).

We sent you the fare-well-letter with the concerned sentence “Mirabelle you hurt me, but will always love you” to show you how painful Judith experienced Mirabelle’s complaint in that conversation at school on the seventeenth of February (so actually the brainwashing of Mirabelle by the kidnapper). She clearly interpreted it as giving evidence against her. All the other complaints during that conversation at school  came from the kidnapper and were experienced less by her.

Both school and Boddaert declared to us to be totally surprised by the abduction, exactly because there was not any talk of a conflict between Judith and the kidnapper. Also Judith and we were totally confused and surprised by the abduction.

Once again, Judith was adopting an open attitude, let the kidnapper stay in her home, wanted so dearly that he and she should educate the children together in the Netherlands. In other words: she hadn’t anything to hide. If she would have abused she would not have had that open attitude (can be confirmed by school and Boddaert), then she wouldn’t have asked for assistance with assistance-organizations to support her with her education, then she hadn’t offered the kidnapper Mirabelle was allowed to live with him (can be confirmed with school and Boddaert). She trusted him and felt immensely deceived, because he stayed saying to her to come and live in the Netherlands to educate the children together (can be confirmed by school and Boddaert). All her actions were contrary to what he is claiming, namely that she is abusing the children. Nevertheless, she considered the kidnapper’s caprioles as a reaction to the fact that she was going to live with her new friend. Until she got that last poke by means of that telephone call of the second (so-called?) pediatrician in the late evening…

 

Not only Judith’s open attitude confirms the absence of a conflict, but also the kidnapper’s promises to Judith and to school that he was going to live in the Netherlands. The kidnapper all alone established a conflict by inventing a not existing treatment and a not existing abuse and spread this about at school, Boddaert and Jeugdzorg. School and Boddaert assured to the kidnapper they never had any suspicion of a threatening situation and stayed with this point of view.

 

Besides we state with much stress we don’t want to bring the children into a situation in which they would have the feeling to have to choose between their father and us. We do want to remind you another time, that our first wish is to speak to the children one time to say them that mamma loved them very very much and that we love them very much. Just this is what the kidnapper obstructed already from the very beginning of his criminal actions. After having said this to them we had the intention to leave them with their father to guard them for compulsive brainwashing. You convinced us that a constant contact with the social network in the Netherlands must be preserved for their well-being. We owe you thankfulness therefore and we want to do everything to bring that about.

 

Our opinions about the kidnapper can be seen separately from the love the children feel for their father. This love of the children for their father and our opinion about the father can exist beside each other without conflict. What is more: with all our heart we grant the children a good tie with their father.

It is a pity and it is hurtful that you entirely missed our opinion about this. Our great point of care in this case is clearly that there is a father who is confronting his children with a non-existing conflict and compelling them to make a choice between their father and mother (even now she has died); an awful choice which should never have had been a choice!

 

Here still some questions:

  1. The ISS will do an investigation after the well-being of the children and also the ISS will intermediate so that they will bring about a good contact between us and the children. Do we also receive information during the procedure and are we allowed to participate in it? By the way, we think it very important that on the one hand there is a constant assistance for the education of the kidnapper and that on the other hand we think it important that the children are protected.
  2. Speaking about information: we should appreciate that we are seen as a fully-fledged partner, who has a right to get all information. Why don’t you give us the address? It gives us the idea you are covering a kidnapper while we are duped as victim from the actions of the offender. Three organizations need this address. The Central Authority to propose an arrangement concerning grandparental access, the Centre for International Child Abduction to look at the relevant legislation of the state concerned, and the pension scheme of Pension Fund “Zorg en Welzijn” to pay out an orphan grant to the children.
  3. We give information now. What about the privacy of our family?
  4. A question belonging to question 3, namely the request to don’t put Judith’s fare-well-letter into your dossier. Mr. G. promised me already.
  5. If you thought the Raad voor de Kinderbescherming is thinking about a return in this complicated case, why didn’t you act quicker then? In the opinion of the Centre of International Child Abductions this procedure will cost a year at least. We think it shocking that if a return is necessary (in the case that the situation of the children is alarming), it may be that the time necessary to work around something will be too short.

The Centre International Child Abduction supposes that the kidnapper by conducting a smearing campaign against Judith could cover himself totally by article 13b of the Hague Convention of International Child Abduction.

 

Best wishes,

Daphne and Heleen van der Stoep

 

I have translated this mail entirely, because we could have succeeded doing something for you if Jeugdzorg had done what we asked in the mail.  

It was Anne van den Berg who was very critical of the actions of Jeugdzorg. She already realized that the kidnapper figured out his kidnapping far before by falsely accusing mamma of abusing you. As a matter of fact, in Article 13b of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, ratified and signed by the US and the Netherlands was written: ‘Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding Article, the judicial or administrative authority of the requested State is not bound to order the return of the child if the person, institution or other body which opposes its return establishes that 13b there is a grave risk that his or her return would expose the child to physical and psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation.”

The kidnapper had two trump cards, you know: mamma’s wrong borderline diagnosis and her work in the prostitution. So such a mother could abuse her children, like before the borderline mother of Savannah did with her new partner (I told you Savannah’s story before). This article 13b would cover him if Jeugdzorg would help him. And Jeugdzorg did!

Anne van den Berg was the first one who said to us that Jeugdzorg was manipulated by the kidnapper. It was she who from the very beginning was not very positive about the assistance-actions of Jeugdzorg. Later more and more people were convinced Jeugdzorg was manipulated by the kidnapper and that Jeugdzorg tried to save her imago by covering up her mistakes by the protocol.

In this mail tante Daphne and I refer to the typical Kafka-effect: “Why don’t we get the address? Isn’t the offender covered up while we are duped as victim from the actions of the offender?”

Many times, we were confronted by this Kafka-effect. The first time was at school on the day mamma was called by the kidnapper that he took you with him and that she wouldn’t see you anymore. She and later tante Daphne, opa and I were treated like abusers, while there was one person who was really abusing you by kidnapping you. One of the most serious ill-treatments in the world.

In this mail we were only very irritated by the acts of Jeugdzorg. At that moment we didn’t understand yet that Jeugdzorg didn’t want at all listen to us and didn’t want to help you at all.  Bit by bit we would learn that hard lesson.

 

How did Mrs. X react to the above mail on the 24th of June 2009:

 

Dear Mrs. Van der Stoep,

 

I only used the information with the aim of restoring the contact with you for the report.

 

Might you still have formal questions then you can take contact with Mr. G. after the 24th of July.

 

Best wishes,

Mrs. X.

 

This answer again is entirely meaningless and doesn’t refer to any of our concerns expressed in our mail. Up to this day it makes me so angry that Mrs. X. didn’t anything for the three of you and how she treated us. Up till now I think it unbelievable that such a person is allowed to act in these responsible cases. The next time I will tell you about our observation that you were brainwashed by the kidnapper more and more. More and more the (grand) parental alienation took place and we stood there, made totally powerless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Second conversation with school

Our second conversation with the Johan Friso school on the eleventh of June 2009 at 14.00 h

Opa, tante Daphne and I parked our car near your school at the Chico Mendesring. As the times before it was strange for me to see that school. The school you once attended. The school that was totally absent when mamma died: not any teacher or girl-friend or boy-friend were present on mamma’s farewell. The school, where Mr. Van de L., the headmaster, received tante Daphne and me in such a horrible way, when we just needed support on that sixteenth of February 2009. But also the school, where Mrs. Van H. showed emotion and grief for mamma and the three of you. And now we walked again to your school, expecting that Mrs. Van H. would be as kind and sympathizing as she was the time before.

Again we walked through your school towards the same room where we were received the last time. We decided that we wanted to give mamma’s death announcement. So, we handed over the death announcement after we entered.

“Here you are”, I said after we had shaken hands.

Mrs. Van H. opened the announcement in an absent-minded way. “What a special announcement”.

“Yes”, we wanted to do it in a personal way”, tante Daphne said.

“We have done everything ourselves”, opa continued, “and we organized the farewell in a restaurant instead of in a cold crematory-room”.

“And all the people who came were served a high tea, just as Judith would have done. Treating her guests in a hospitable way”, I said, seeing mamma before me when there were guests. She always wanted to spoil her guests, because she liked to receive guests.

Mrs. Van H. looked at the announcement in a silent way. “It’s a beautiful announcement”, she said. Mr. Van de L. didn’t say anything.

A silence fell. Not a silence for the person who died. No an uneasy silence as if we were not so welcome as the time before. Was the face of Mrs. Van H. sympathizing with us the time before, now her face looked masked.

 

What was exactly what Mirabelle said about mamma

I started to talk about Mirabelle’s complaint about mamma: “Mrs. Van H. I would like to come back at Mirabelle’s complaint about Judith with Mrs. T. What struck me the last time was, that you said Mirabelle’s complaint was especially about William who would have hit her so much, while she is positive about Judith and said Judith didn’t know how she has to do it. There was a difference with the first time, when Judith was still alive and was present on that seventeenth of February. Then you said Mirabelle complained it was especially Judith who hit her so often. Judith was very shocked by it and later it must be very hard for Mirabelle when she discovered that it was her complaint, that made Judith so desperate”.

“No, you have a wrong interpretation”, Mrs. Van H. said in a nearly arrogant way.” I certainly said Mirabelle complained about William as well as about Judith towards Mrs. T.”.  She nearly said it angry to me, but recuperated saying: “I can imagine you were mistaken, because you were emotional. And then you may hear only the most negative”. She didn’t say that it must have been hard for Mamma or for Mirabelle later. And now she said that William as well as mamma abused you. Now I heard a third interpretation.

So I felt not convinced, but didn’t say anything more. Especially, because I saw Mrs. Van H. was keeping off the subject. Again an uneasy silence fell. The atmosphere was totally different from the last time. And you may believe it or not, I felt some pity for Mrs. Van H. and then I didn’t realize why. I decided to finish the subject. Only from intuition.

 

The causal connection between what school said and Mirabelle’s complaint

“Do you see the causal connection between what Mrs. Van H. said to the kidnapper, namely that the protocol is that you can only report a complaint of abuse with Jeugdzorg, when one of the three children would express a complaint’, tante Daphne was saying with stress, waiting some moments, “and what Mirabelle did the other day?”

“It looks like a connection, but it may also be a coincidence”, Mrs. Van H. said and Mr. Van de L. said: “I don’t believe there is a causal connection”.

They said things like that we think there is a causal connection and that we are now in the mood to think things like that. I felt that the situation was totally different from the first time that we spoke with them. Then they were speaking freely about what occurred to them. Now they were defending themselves. They felt attacked by us and especially Mrs. Van H. behaved differently from that first time: she was close-mouthed now, as if someone had been very angry with her and she had to defend herself.

 

Educational report

The conversation went on with difficulty. No spontaneous and emotional Mrs. Van H. anymore. And her headmaster was as closed and non-empathetic as that 16th of February 2009, when tante Daphne and I were at school to inform if there were signals of the approaching kidnapping. We had the feeling we were in some kind even dangerous for the two.

“I know from my study that it is good when children change from school, that an educational report is written about the children. You can write about their results at school, but also about their social behavior”, tante Daphne spoke very professionally. “Maybe it is the unique occasion of making note of the kidnapping and the death of their mother. The teachers of the new school of Mirabelle, Lucas and Robin are informed then about the terrible situation of these children.”

Always tante Daphne stressed to us, that it would be very important that school should write this report, because this was a legal occasion to ask attention for your horrible situation. We didn’t think that the kidnapper would say to the new school he kidnapped you before mamma’s death and that the kidnapping and the false accusations were the reasons of mamma’s death.

“Oh, I should like to write such report for the other school with a point of concern”, Mrs. Van H. again said spontaneously.

I recognized the old emotional Mrs. Van H.

But Mr. Van de L. said: “I think it wisely to talk it over with Jeugdzorg. I only want to do that under the direction of Jeugdzorg. Mrs. Van H. looked dejected.

A new proof how powerful Jeugdzorg is. School as well as Boddaert danced attendance on Jeugdzorg. It was a pity that School as well as Boddaert were so afraid of this organization.

 

Threelittlebirds

“Two of Judith’s girl-friends offered us a website to post messages for Mirabelle, Lucas and Robin. There is also the possibility for pupils of your school to cooperate. It would be very nice if the children could communicate with their friends from the Dutch school. We should like if school wants to join in”, I informed the two.

“How do you see that?”, Mrs. Van H. asked.

“There will be a special page on the website for the pupils of the school, on which they can write”, I said enthusiastically.

“And the website will be called Threelittlebirds”, opa said. “We saw Judith as a beautiful bird, who was flying away. Mirabelle, Lucas and Robin are her little birds.”

“That’s nice”, Mrs. Van H. said and noted this information on a piece of paper. In some way she sounded a bit more cheerful.

“Okay”, Mr. Van de L. broke off Mrs. Van H. “we will talk it over with the rest of the teachers. You can take up contact with us about it.

I was shocked by the unpleasant intervention of Mr. Van de L. He always found a way to break off when there was something positive. He always hesitated to do things himself and wondered if it was allowed. He didn’t risk to undertake things because he was afraid of the responsibility. He didn’t want to be responsible for things ‒ and he was afraid of big bad wolf Jeugdzorg. What a pity he didn’t take the responsibility to allow Mrs. Van H. writing an educational report. What a pity that he didn’t take the risk to let write his pupils messages to you. It would have been so pleasant for you.

Do you still know, that I mention people who were courageous and tried to do things for you? It is so important in these situations. Mr. Van de L. didn’t belong to them. As school had been more courageous, maybe the rest of the Netherlands had reacted, but school didn’t do anything. Kept everything silent. To protect the good reputation of the school, I think.

 

Mr. Van de L. telephoned with the kidnapper

“Ahum”, the headmaster coughed a little, “I still tried to call with the kidnapper, but he didn’t take the phone. Later he called himself, but it was hard to understand.”

“Oh, it is that American-English, which is not always to understand, because of the different pronunciation”, I said.

“Yes, the conversation was rather short, because of that. I said him, that the children at school made drawings and wrote letters for Mirabelle, Lucas and Robin”, Mr. Van de L. said.

“Well”, the kidnapper said, “Mirabelle is busy writing a letter to the children from her class.

“But up till now, we didn’t see that letter of Mirabelle”, Mr. Van de L. said with contempt.

“Yes, and many children made drawings and wrote letters for Mirabelle, Lucas and Robin”, Mrs. Van H. said with regret in her voice. “For many children their sudden leaving was nearly traumatic. That’s why we proposed that they could write letters and make drawings, which we could send to them. But we didn’t hear anything from them up till now.”

I looked at her. Had the feeling that she would have done more if she was not stopped by her director. Then she would have been to the hospital to say mamma she was a good mum. But she didn’t, and now she saw what happened. I assume she would not think it was you who didn’t want to write or communicate with your schoolfriends, but she didn’t dare to express her thoughts and feelings. No, I had the feeling that in some way she was punished by her open behavior and emotions of the last time we spoke with her. Now we missed that open-minded attitude. She behaved like a robot, governed by her master. Had she been the director or headmaster of the school, maybe school and parents may have reacted more strongly at your kidnapping.

“It is a pity for the children, Mirabelle didn’t write yet. But I’m afraid that Mirabelle doesn’t know her father promised she would write.,” opa said. “I don’t know if he would appreciate she would have still contact with her schoolmates”.

“We have put the drawings and letters in a farewell-box and if the children will come back to the Netherlands, I will give them the box”, Mrs. Van H. said again with disappointment. It was the disappointment of all those children who thought they could communicate with you.

 

The decorated table and chair

“Do you know”, Mrs. Van H. said, “that the children of Mirabelle’s class decorated her table and chair, because tomorrow it’s her birthday? Table and chair still stand there empty and none of the children will sit on them, because they are hers. They still hope she will come back some day.”

“Oh, how difficult for those children”, tante Daphne said.

“I am positively surprised she was so beloved by her schoolmates”, I said.

My brain projected an image of Mirabelle with all those girl-friends. Every time you were invited by girl-friends. Just like your mother, when she was a little child, mamma always had friends too. It also made me sad, because I realized how much I missed mamma and the three of you and at the same time I was so very proud of mamma and the three of you, because you were missed so very much by others too.

 

Mirabelle’s bike

“Mirabelle left her bike at school; it is still there. That bike too has a symbolic function for the children. No one dares to touch it, because it is hers”, Mr. Van de L. said.

“Well, leave it there if it has still that function”, I said.

“After the summer holiday we will take away the bike”, Mr. Van de L. said. “Then the attention for the subject has become less”.

“I think, that Mirabelle would be glad if that bike is given then to someone who needs it. The same would Judith say”, I said with conviction, because I knew for sure mamma and you would say that Mirabelle.

“I’ll do that”, Mr. Van de L. said.

We made the appointment that I would take up contact with Mrs. X. of Jeugdzorg about the educational report and the farewell-box and I should take up contact with Mrs. Van H., when the website “threelittlebirds” would be ready. Then we said good-bye. I think the farewell-box is still with Mrs. Van H., as much later when opa had written the book “Judith” we still had a conversation with school and then Mrs. Van H. was herself again and said that the farewell-box had not got lost because she kept it safely at home. She will wait for you to give you the letters and drawings. I know for sure. Once.

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Important to know

The three of you have still a right to an allowance for orphans. I informed  after it this afternoon. Till you are 21 year old you have this right. Your mother worked for it.

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Finally an appointment with Jeugdzorg

Finally, our second appointment with Jeugdzorg on the tenth of June 2009

We rushed with our car to Dordrecht. Tante Daphne and I first sat together rather a long time to write down questions for Mrs. X. and her manager. I was so glad with the help of Anne van den Berg of the International Center of Child Abductions that one of the things I certainly wanted to propose was that Jeugdzorg, International Center Child Abductions and International Social Services would work together to do something for you. I was convinced that Jeugdzorg would be helped by the professional knowledge of abductions by the International Center of Child Abductions.

Just in time we arrived in the same street and before the same building as we were that twentieth of April, fifty-one days or more than seven weeks before. We were referred to a small room at the left, where we waited for Mrs. X. and her manager Mr. G.

We laid down our papers and also, I must tell, the big photo of the four of you. Mamma sitting on the ground with the three of you between her legs. The three of you leaning against mamma and smiling towards the photographer, the neighbor of the Frank van der Goesstraat. It was such a relaxed photo on which you could clearly see, that the three of you felt happy with each other, that I always took this photo with me to every conversation, which would follow in the future. I wanted to stress that mamma and you were no numbers of dossier so and so. I wanted to stress that the three of you were nice children who need help after the abduction and the death of their mother.

Just as we had put down everything on our table Mrs. X. entered. She gave us a hand.

“How was your holiday?”, we asked.

She told she had been to Turkey to visit the places from out of the bible. Full of her own holiday she doesn’t inform after our case. She was still talking about her holiday as her manager entered the room.

“How are you?”, he asked.

‘This man immediately asks after us’, I thought. I told him about my call to the Central Authority and the two calls with Anne van den Berg of the International Center of Child Abductions. “It struck me that Anne van den Berg knows so much about abductions”, I said, “is it not better to work together with The Center of Child Abductions?”

Mr. G. and Mrs. X. looked in some way uncomfortably to each other, were silent for some moments and then Mr. G. got up to speak: “I had contact with the International Social Services Department in our country about the possibility to examine the situation of your grandchildren, mmm your niece and two nephews”, he continued looking to Daphne by who he was criticized so much on the twentieth of April.

‘How strange, they are not enthusiastic to be helped by Anne van den Berg’, I thought. But I wanted to know more about the International Social Services and I quickly asked: “Can you explain what the International Social Services can do for the children?“

“The International Social Services have correspondents all over the world”, Mr. G. said. “You can ask for an examination for in your case the three children. International Social Services works all over the World and has correspondents all over the world. International Social Services has a mediating function and will mediate between the kidnapper and the left family.  Our question is incorporated in a so-called reporting in which you have to describe shortly what happened and what is your question of concern in this case”.

“You said you received this information in the Netherlands?”, Daphne asked. “I supposed already you wouldn’t call with the United States?”.

“Yes, there is an office in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. But I think we can’t do such a reporting. I think it’s the work of the Raad voor de Kinderbescherming.

‘O my God’, I thought, ‘it will still last longer’. And I asked: “Why on earth can’t you make up a report?’

“There is a difference between Jeugdzorg and the Raad voor de Kinderbescherming,” Mr. G. said, “for instance, Jeugdzorg discovers that it is better for a child to be placed into care than to stay in a situation in which the child is abused by his parents. Up till that conclusion it is the work of jeugdzorg. But then Jeugdzorg has to present this case to the Raad voor de Kinderbescherming, because the case becomes a juridical matter then which has to be dealt in Court. So, we do the practical work and the Raad voor de Kinderbescherming does the juridical part of the work. And I think this reporting will also be a juridical act. Therefore we have to present the content for this reporting to the Raad.”

I felt uneasy by the thought that it would take still more time and thought of Anne’s remark “Speed is the essence with abductions.” “I hope it won’t take too much time for it is already four months ago that the children were abducted,” I said.

“By the way”, Mr. G. said, “it is not an abduction.”

It is not an abduction???

“It is not an abduction?”, Daphne exclaimed.

“No, we talked it over with the jurist of Jeugdzorg”, Mr. G. continued, “and she said it is not an abduction because the children had already American passports and mother was saying that father was a good father and Child Protection Boston said there was no physical danger with father. And last but not least, mother didn’t report the crime.”

“It can’t be true”, I moaned. “You will say, that father was permitted to take the children with him without asking Judith? Then it is possible that father takes the children with him and no one can’t do anything to it?”

“It is like that,” Mr. G. said, “juridically father is in his right.”

‘I will ask Anne’, I thought, ‘she knows such a lot about abductions. And she didn’t say that it wasn’t an abduction’.

“Despite it isn’t an abduction the case of your grandchildren may be called concerning”, Mr. G. said as an answer to my desperate reaction. “I feel responsible for your grandchildren and I want to beseech De Raad voor de Kinderbescherming to ask for help with the International Social Services.”

In some way or other I had to think about what Mrs. R. of Child Protection Boston wrote in her mail: “The FBI could not arrest M. due to the fact that there was no complaint filed with Interpol and we had Judith telling us that she ‘had no concerns about M’s parenting abilities”. I felt so disillusioned that maybe it couldn’t be a kidnapping. In my feeling it was totally wrong, because poor mamma wasn’t consulted at all about the kidnapper’s taking away the children. Worse: she was so hurt by the smearing campaign of the kidnapper, that she felt so very, very, very desperate that she committed suicide. Only mamma’s pain made me feel so sad and angry after this stupid conclusion of Mr. G. and his jurist of Jeugdzorg. I followed the rest of Mr. G.’s explanation with difficulty.

Also tante Daphne reacted emotionally: ”A father who takes his children illegally, without the agreement of mother, cannot be a good father. Especially, because he brainwashed the children and accused the mother falsely of abusing her children. And what is worst, separates them from their mother and her family. As an educationalist I know from practice how damaging this separation is”.

“Yes, it is a traumatic experience for the children”, Mr. G. agreed, “which will have consequences for the rest of their life. But you said he is brainwashing the children. How do you know”?

“By the way I surely know he already did in the Netherlands!”, tante Daphne exclaimed.

“How?”, Mrs. X. asked.

“When Mrs. Van H. of school said to the kidnapper”, tante Daphne was now looking with her large eyes fiercely towards Mrs. X. speaking with stress, ”she didn’t have received any signals of abuse with the children and only would go to Jeugdzorg, if one of the children would come with a complaint of abusing.” Here tante Daphne paused and continued after some moments: “The following happened: the next day Mirabelle complained with Mrs. T., her teacher, that she was beaten by her mother. There is a causal connection between what Mrs. Van H. said and what Mirabelle had to do to push school to report with Jeugdzorg!”

An awkward silence fell. It seemed Mr. G. and Mrs. X. were shocked by what tante Daphne told. Later we would understand why.

“We have to think about which had to be mentioned in our reporting for the ISS”, Mr. G. said uncertainly. Which examination do you think the most urging?”

“I think it very important the correspondent examines how the children are. If they are not in danger with their father and if the father thinks their fate important”, I said.

“The correspondent must look if the contact with us can be restored as soon as possible, because as I said, that concerns me a lot. Judith had died and they are totally cut off from us”, tante Daphne said resolutely.

“And how will it be done as the Raad does the reporting?”, I asked.

“At first the kidnapper will be informed, that an examination will be done after his children”, Mr. G. said.

I was shocked. I thought of the kidnapper, who always succeeded to claim people for his own interest. “Oh no”, I said, “he would be able to manipulate this correspondent as he did with so many people before!” I thought of Mrs. X., who was convinced mamma was abusing you and of Mrs.R. in Boston.

“Officially we have to inform him”, Mr. G. said. “But now we shall talk over what we need further for the content of the report, so that we can forward this  to the Raad voor de Kinderbescherming”.

We decided that Mr. G. would ask the Raad voor de Kinderbescherming to take care for the report of the correspondent. I had to make a chronological survey of the times I took care of you. And further I had to make a copy of mamma’s testament in which she had written that first the kidnapper must be appointed as your guardian in the case she would die. She appointed tante Daphne as your second guardian if the kidnapper was unable to take care of you.

“I have still a question from my brother-in-law, who was our spokes-man, when Judith was still in hospital”, I remembered at the end of the meeting. “He stressed me to ask about what you have talked over with Mrs. R. of Child Protection Boston? He learnt that Mrs. R. had heard from you”, now I looked at Mrs. X. “everything what M. had said to you”.

Mrs. X. looked up from her notes. “We have only talked about the guardianship”, she said sharply, “and I have said that the dossier had been closed”.

In an uneasy way we took leave of Mrs. X. and her manager. Why did they want to regulate everything themselves? And how could it be possible, that they think it wasn’t an abduction?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Best wishes for 2019

My dearest Mirabelle, Lucas and Robin. I wish you all the best for 2019, that is health, happiness, pleasure with good friends, success at school, on your work or in sports.

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Anne van den Berg; finally assistance

Mrs. X of Jeugdzorg chatted and chatted but did nothing

Mrs. X. of Jeugdzorg promised us to make a new appointment as soon as possible to do something for the three of you.

At first, I believed her. I was glad: she would help to see how you were and to get in contact with you! We were so concerned about the three of you. But soon I started to hesitate, as the time passed on and on without any reaction from the side of Mrs. X. ‘Why such a silence?’, I thought. And: ‘Was Mrs. X. of Jeugdzorg really so worried about you? If they did, why not hurry?’ This terrible situation was the result of her stupid approach. Mamma would not have made her fatal decision, you would happily live here with her.

After some long days of waiting, I decided to send this woman a mail to ask what she had done for you. Well, this time I had to wait only one (!) day. “I’m going on holiday now”, she wrote. “I’ll be back in two weeks”. She proposed to meet on the tenth of June. This date was three weeks later! Still three other weeks!!

Further she wrote that they deliberated with International Social Services and that we could take up contact with the Ministry of Justice. I was totally disillusioned: we wanted so dearly that someone did something for you and again we had to wait. This woman missed every sense of urgency.

And why taking up contact with the Ministry of Justice? Which department? With whom? What for?

It sounds unbelievable if you look to her behavior, but it was Mrs. X. and her team leader who on that twentieth of April 2009 stressed it was important that we would get in contact with you. It was Mrs. X. and her team leader who asserted that it was good for you if we would try to mail with you, to phone with you, to talk with you. Well, it was only words. The practice was that you were abducted in February and that they had done nothing yet in May. No, this is not entirely true: they had a chat with people of International Social Services!

 

The Ministry of Justice

What I dearly wanted was that the kidnapper would let you get have contact with us, so that I could ask you how you felt. I wanted that he would give me the opportunity to say goodbye to you, to say that you were always welcome with us, to say that we would always love you. Nothing of this happened, however.

When Mrs. X. was back from her well-deserved vacation, she informed me that it was not the Ministry of Justice I had to approach but the Central Authority, a small department of the Ministry. ‘Why not two weeks earlier?’, I thought. Again a delaying tactics? It looked like. “This Central Authority occupies itself with abductions or kidnappings”, she wrote. “Maybe they can do something for you”.

 

The call to the Central Authority

The next day I called the Central Authority and got the same man on the line who spoke with mamma on the sixteenth of February and who sent her forms by mail on that 16th of February. He was totally aghast to hear about the death of the young desperate mother to whom he had explained that she could try to get her three children back with the help of the Central Authority.

I told him about the bad role of the abductor, who had falsely accused her, and the incomprehensible role of Mrs. X. of Jeugdzorg, who believed him without doing any investigation. I could not see his reaction, but I saw him sitting there behind his desk shaking his head, confused.

“You can try to get an arrangement of grandparental access to your grandchildren”, he said. “I often took care of the three”, I said. “Oh, then it must be possible to get an arrangement of grandparental access on the base of the family life you had with your grandchildren”, he said. “I will send you forms, which you have to fill in and you must write the whole abduction-story, get copies of their birth-certificates and of their passports”, he listed.

And then he gave me an advice that appeared to be very very helpful. He said: “What I can especially advise you is to call with the Centre of International Child Abductions. This Centre exists of professionals and volunteers with much knowledge of abductions. They are especially appointed to assist parents or grandparents whose children or grandchildren have been kidnapped. I can only say you that you will be helped by them in a good way”.

The man was so kind and sympathizing with everything what had happened to you and mamma. He was in every respect the opposite of Mrs. X.

I thanked him for everything he explained to me. I did not lay down the telephone but I immediately called the Centre for International Abductions.

 

Anne van den Berg comes on the screen

It was a woman listening to the name Anne van den Berg who took up the phone. It was Friday morning the fifth of June. I heard the voice of a woman of my age.

“You are speaking with Heleen van der Stoep”, I said. “Mr. K. of the Central Authority advised me to call your Centre of International Child Abductions”.

“Yes”, she said. Please tell me your story”.

Well, I did, the whole story. At that moment, in 2009, it was a short story. It is 2019 now, and the short story has swollen to a big novel. And yet, also that day there was a lot to tell.

About the abduction. About the fatal conversation of Mrs. X. with Judith. “No”, I said. “It was not a conversation. There was a woman sitting there who without any investigation believed an abductor, was convinced of Judith’s guilt”. And I added: “That three children were kidnapped had no importance, there was a mother who earned to be severely punished. Mrs. X. was not a representative of an organization that helped children, Mrs. X. was a judge”.

Anne sniffled. “You are telling me nothing new”, she said. “I am working here as a volunteer since a long range of years, and I know stories like this. But a Mrs. X. who is so stupid to let herself use as the instrument of a kidnapper is new. This has not happened before, neither in Holland nor anywhere else in the world, as far as I know.

I continued, told her about the so-called American pediatrician who called mamma to tell her that the children had spots of ill-treating on their bodies. Told her that the children said they didn’t want to get back to their mother. Told her about mamma’s suicide some hours after the “conversation” with Mrs. X.

“Terribly”, was Anne’s reaction.

“We have been six weeks in hospital till she died”, I said.

Once again Anne said: “Terribly”.

Then I told her about the Boddaert and about the school of the children, that the kidnapper had compelled the school to make a report of abuse based on what Mirabelle had said to her teacher. And that Mrs. X. wanted to involve an International Service Correspondent.

Anne listened closely, said she had only telephone service and could not do more, but that this story was so terrible that we, and with we she meant also you, three kidnapped children, needed help as soon as possible.

I already noticed that Anne was sympathizing and at the same time very quick-witted. “You must feel very concerned as a grandmother who took care so often of these children”, she said.

“I feel so responsible for them and I can do so little for them”, I answered. “They must feel so sad without their mother, because they were fond of their mother. I can know this, because I was there every week for three days. Now they are there in America not speaking English, not having their mother or us, nor their friends or guinea pigs. I cannot imagine what they are going through. For me it is already so much, and I still have my husband and my other daughter, family and friends. They have only their father who does these things to them!”

“You can set up a website for your grandchildren”, Anne said.

“It’s already done”. I told her of the website Femke and Ischa set up. And that one of my first pieces on that website was about mamma. How sweet she was for her children and how much she loved them. That I was so very concerned you would really think mamma was abusing you. That the false accusations about mamma hurt me so much.

Anne advised me to fill in the forms as soon as possible. “I must advise you not to report the kidnapping at the police station. In the beginning, kidnappers don’t feel sure. They are still apt to communicate with the left family”.

I heard only new things. Which Dutch family knows particularities about abduction?

“You must focus on an arrangement of grandparental access”, Anne continued. “It happened that a mediator who talks with both parties can succeed in that. And he can also make clear to the kidnapper that his act will not be respected by his children in the long run”. And then she took a deep breath and said: “You must try to get in contact with this man”.

“We don’t want to let imprison the kidnapper”, I said. “Not only because Judith didn’t want, but also because in that case our grandchildren would not have a father either. But it would be great if a mediator can reach an arrangement for us”.

Anne stopped our long call by saying that I would be called as soon as possible. And she repeated that we needed help in a case which was “extremely complicated”, to quote her.

 

Anne becomes our focal point

My telephone call with Anne had been Friday. The next Tuesday morning she called me. Otherwise than Mrs. X., she had not taken a long break for a holiday.

“I told about the abduction of your grandchildren with my colleagues”, she said. “I must first say that Loes, who still spoke to your daughter on that very 16th February, was very touched by the sad story of Judith and her kids”.

I swallowed: what a difference with the attitude of Jeugdzorg!

“The rest of my colleagues thought the case very sad too”, continued Anne. “But also very complicated. Because of the death of your daughter of course, but also because of the false accusations by means of Jeugdzorg with which the father tried to cover himself”, she said.

And then she said something that would appear to become very important for us: “I proposed my colleagues to become your focal point and they agreed immediately.”

Inside I cheered. “I appreciate it very much that you want to do this. I must admit I felt already at ease to tell you the whole story”, I said.

“We must arrange an appointment in your house as soon as possible”, she answered, “to talk the case extensively over. And you are allowed to call me every time when you will meet with difficulties concerning the case”, she said resolutely. We arranged that Anne would come on Wednesday morning the seventeenth of June.

From that very moment the ball got rolling. Anne revealed herself as a person with a lot of juridical knowledge, because she studied law. And as she has worked as a high tax inspector she knew a lot of financial affairs. And as a result of her work at the Centre of International Child Abduction she knew a lot of everything around abductions. And as if this was not enough, she was very sharp and especially critical, no one could take her for a ride. However, she was also a person who was able to empathize with people whose children/grandchildren were kidnapped, and I think this was of great importance too.

Speaking about importance, the first thing she said that Tuesday was a sentence we read often on our journey to find justice, justice for you, for us, but especially for your poor poor mother: “Speed is the essence”. And she explained it. “How longer the kidnapper has the children with him, the more he is able to brainwash them by blackening Judith, but maybe also you. Because……..it is important for him that the children cover his deeds by believing and telling everyone that their mamma and you are abusing them”.

“Speed is the essence”. I thought of Mrs. X. with her vacation and a behavior that was the opposite of speed.

“What threatens is a parental or in your case a grandparental alienation. That means that the children, who have only a kidnapper to listen to, are apt to believe their mother and you abused them. They have not anyone there who objects these lies.”

I trembled by the thought you would think mamma and us abused you, but at the same time I realized the brainwashing started already in the Netherlands when Mirabelle told her teacher mamma beat her in such a terrible way.

I told Anne about Mrs. X. and the offer of Jeugdzorg to involve International Social Services.

“They work slow and I haven’t got satisfying experiences with abduction by them”, said Anne. “But perhaps they can do something for you”.

After Anne finished this telephone-call, all her information made me  a spinning head. Her repeated words run through my thoughts: we had to hurry. Could we still save this horrible situation?

 

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