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?