The preparations before our appointment with Wendy
We go back to the time of preparation of our appointment with our lawyer Wendy van der Stroom. You see, the case was complicated. For two reasons.
First reason. Because mamma didn’t live anymore, there was a big juridical problem. The question was: who was allowed to start a procedure to get you back to Holland? It might be possible you would feel safer and happier in Holland than in a completely new world as the United States, but it might be possible too that you felt more comfortable there with your father. We had mind-bending questions. Is the kidnapper able to give you the necessary love and structure to bring up the three of you after such a tremendous trauma? We had our doubts considering the brainwashing we indicated and the cutting off of everything which remembered of mamma. As tante Daphne was taught in her study it is very bad that everything which had to do with mamma was eliminated and put in a negative light. It is very bad for children to cut them totally off of everything which had to do with one of their parents. No, we should like that not only the kidnapper would have the right to decide what was the best for you, but also we, as the representants of your mother.
Once, in the past, mamma chose tante Daphne. “If case I will die”, she said, “O want you to take the responsibility for my children”.
We desired to get the conviction that your being in the States was good for you. If not, we would have tried to find a solution. The best solution for the three of you. At any case we should have liked for instance that you would spend your summer holidays in Holland to keep in touch with mamma’s family and your native country.
How to manage it?
Asking for your return was only a juridical conception, because when it was not necessary we didn’t want you really to come back. It depends of your situation with the abductor. But if you would stay in the United States, we should like that there was done a check after your well-being after the kidnapping and the sudden death of mamma.
Second reason. The case was complicated too because of the two juridical systems: in the United States there are other laws than in Holland. What’s more, in this case we also had to do with a federal state with different juridical systems in each of its 50 separate states.
Anne contacted two juridical professionals
So there were two problematical reasons. First: the case was complex because of mamma’s death. Secondly: the case was complicated because of the two different juridical systems of the Netherlands and the United States. We needed juridical advice.
Anne contacted two well-known professionals, two specialists in their discipline.
The first one was professor Ted de B., professor at the Amsterdam University in private international law and the comparative law of private law. He would advise us for the juridical question of the return of you.
The second one was the well-known American professor Merle W. She is professor at the University of Oregon in domestic laws, family laws, international and comparative family law, family law policy and the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Merle W. informed us about the juridical rules of the US in connection with International Child Abductions. Anne knew her, because she met Merle at the many conferences around the Hague International Child Abduction Convention
Ted de B.
Ted de B wrote: “What an awful story! If I should present this story to my students, they should think I have got a too big phantasy. When I look at this case I see that the mother had the sole parental authority of her children and the father only recognized his children, that was all. And when I look at article 8 of the Hague Children’s Abduction Convention it is possible that “persons, institutions or bodies” who argue that a child has been kidnapped or has been detained contravene the rules concerning the authority, can ask for a return of the children. I always thought that these “persons or institutions“ ought to have a right of authority to be allowed to ask for the return of abducted children, but strictly speaking there has not been written any condition for that in article 8. So it is to defend that either the grandparents or the sister may appeal for return”.
So he said that it was not absolutely necessary that one of the parents asked for the return of you. In the Hague International Child Abduction Convention has not been written any condition it is only permitted to parents to ask for your return. We wondered what Wendy would do with this news. Would it be possible that tante Daphne received the shared custody or would it be possible that the Raad would take the temporary custody? Would it be possible that either tante Daphne or the Raad would ask for your return?
- that it is possible that grandparents are granted access in case they can prove that it is in the best interest of the children, despite resistance of the father.
- she didn’t think that the Central Authority played an important role in managing this grandparental access.
- it depends of the jurisdiction of the state if the judge will charge mediation to the parents of abducted children. In some states the judge will only charge mediation if both parents want to cooperate, in other states when both parents have a wish for mediation.
- in the US is a preference for the custody of the biological father. If none of the children brings an action against this custody, the judge would choose for the biological father.
- temporary custody is possible, but then it is important that the Raad voor de Kinderbescherming or tante Daphne would receive this temporary custody.
- concerning article 13b of the Hague child Abduction Convention -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 or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation- it is well-known that the position of the abductor is not too strong.
- and the court in the US will wait until the Dutch court will have judged. But it is possible that within six months the abductor can get custody. That depends of the jurisdiction of the state
- and the American judge would contact the Dutch judge for a safe return of the child.
- she wanted to help us, if we decided to prosecute in the US.
Merle W. wanted to assist us if we should go for a procedure in the US. She gave us a lot of information about the juridical situation around abductions in the States. She advised us to make speed, because the abductor might ask for the custody after you stayed six months in the US. What was striking in the information of Merle W. was that she said that article 13b of the Hague International child Abduction Convention was not a too difficult point, because it was usual that kidnappers use this article to cover their act of abducting. And usually the judge doesn’t take that seriously. However, your father did it very clever: he approached Jeugdzorg. And there worked Mrs. X. Mrs X, who trusted him blindly. Any research if he spoke the truth? Really, not necessary, she was so experienced that she intuitively knew who can be trusted and who not. When she discovered who the abductor really was, she behaved like a spineless person, too cowardly to confess she had made a mistake that cost the life of a young mother. She and the people she cooperated with covered their selves behind their protocol. The same protocol also protected an abductor and harmed three innocent children. Children, however, were not their concern, despite the name of their organization: “Youth care”. The concern of Mrs. X was Mrs. X.
In the following blog more about Jeugdzorg.