International Travel Child Consent Form and Parental Child Abduction Prevention

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Child Custody Fights, Divorce, Summer Vacation and International Travel Child Consent Forms: The I CARE Foundation

The I CARE Foundation: Dedicated To Stopping International Parental Child Abduction

When parents are involved in high conflict child custody disputes, especially those of an international nature, where a child may be traveling abroad… parents need to think carefully and be very aware of the risks involved for their child in relation to international travel.

International parental child abduction associated with child custody disputes and litigation related to travel permission granted by a court is commonplace.  In reality, if a parent wants to abduct a child and not return them, they have a good chance of succeeding and not returning with the child.

Often, parents involved in international child custody disputes and who may be targeted for abduction think that their child is best protected from abduction when there is a court agreement in place for the child to return if the other parent is granted travel.

I speak from personal travel when I tell you that unless there is an international travel child consent form that has immediate ramifications attached to it, then a parent and child targeted for abduction are in serious risk. Abduction is not in the best interest of a child.

Often the best agreements do not work because they do not take into consideration a wide range of abduction-related defenses a taking parent may use. This is true despite the best intent of lawyers and judges trying to come up with a smart solution during child custody litigation.

Unfortunately, there are many times when a targeted parent consents to travel with their spouse or partner – not knowing that they are a target of abduction.

They are tricked.

Remember, fraud, schemes, and conspiracy to fraud and kidnap a child are commonplace in international parental child abduction.

In essence, they travel with the child and other parent to another country. Once abroad, the other parent puts into action a plan to permanently remove the child from the other parents life. Often the best efforts of a targeted parent fail.

International parental child abduction is complicated.

The Hague Convention offers civil remedies for children and parents of abduction. However, the process can be difficult at times and often does not work due to the complexities of law and the limited support a targeted parent may receive litigating their case to reunite with their child.

The best way to prevent abduction is to stop international parental child abduction.

The I CARE Foundation has created a unique International Travel Child Consent Form intended to assist ensure the child’s return home should there be an abduction.

With a significant number of international child abductions that will occur this summer based upon wrongful detention of a child abroad, the I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form may be one of the best tools available to assist parents and children at risk of abduction.

The travel consent form for the child must be signed and notarized by both parents.

Please visit the I CARE Foundation website to download a free copy of the International Travel Child Consent Form.

Parents involved in child custody disputes, separation or divorce must be proactive in protecting their children.  Being proactive is the best way to protect your child.

Please visit The I CARE Foundation.

To read more about my writing and novels, including ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ please visit my official website.

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Kind regards to all,

Peter Thomas Senese

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Scams and Fraudulent Acts Used To Kidnap Children During Summer Vacations

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Peter Thomas Senese Discusses Parental Child Abduction Summer Scams:  Ways Abductors Fraudulently Trick Targeted Parents In Order To Kidnap Children

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THE ARTICLE 13 CONSENT OR ACQUIESCENCE DEFENSE: PETITIONERS CONSENTED TO OR ACQUIESCED IN THE REMOVAL OR RETENTION.

I have previously written that during the summer school break children are at the highest risk of being a victim of international parental child abduction.  Often, cases of international child abduction that occurs during this time of year is when a parent initially travels with their child abroad with consent from the child’s other parent. Often, the other parent (typically unsuspecting of any acts of abduction) will travel with scheming parent who is in reality, in the process of fraudulently planning an international child abduction.  Once the scheming parent arrives in the country they are visiting, they unleash their abduction scheme, which can include legal petitions stating that the other parent had in fact consented to a relocation before they left the child’s country of original jurisdiction, or had subsequently agreed to relocate while in the new country.

This is a very serious matter, and I know many parents who were victimized by abduction under The Hague Convention’s Article 13 – Consent or acquiescence Defense.

During the coming summer … parents traveling abroad really need to understand some of the do’s and do not’s!

Under Article 13(a) of the Hague Convention, the court is not bound to return a child if the respondent establishes that the petitioner consented to or subsequently acquiesced in the removal or retention. Both defenses turn on the petitioner’s subjective intent, but they are distinctly different. The defense of consent relates to the petitioner’s conduct before the child’ removal or retention, whereas the defense of acquiescence relates to “whether the petitioner subsequently agreed to or accepted the removal or retention.” The respondent must prove these defenses by a preponderance of the evidence; however, even if one of these defenses is proven successfully, the court nonetheless retains discretion to order the child’s return.

Courts have expressed that such consent can be proved successfully with relatively informal statements or conduct. Because consent requires little formality, courts will look beyond the words of the consent to the nature and scope of the consent, keeping in mind any conditions or limitations imposed by the petitioner. Conversely, the Friedrich v. Friedrich (Friedrich II) court held that acquiescence requires “an act or statement with the requisite formality, such as testimony in a judicial proceeding; a convincing written renunciation of rights; or a consistent attitude of acquiescence over a significant period of time.” The following are some of the most common arguments and actions that parents use in their attempts to prove or disprove the defenses of consent and acquiescence.

1.      Authorization To Travel.

Often, a respondent produces a signed “Authorization to Travel” document as evidence that the petitioner gave consent for the child to change residences. Courts rarely accept this as evidence that the other parent consented to the child’s removal. In Mendez Lynch v. Mendez Lynch, the court held that an Authorization to Travel, which allowed the children to travel freely, did not indicate that the other parent gave up his legal rights of custody. There, a father signed a broad Authorization to Travel that allowed the mother of the children to take the children out of Argentina. The court held that the “evidence [was] clear that the written consents to travel were given to facilitate family vacation-related travel, not as consent to unilaterally remove the children from Argentina at the sole discretion of Respondent.”

2. Words And Actions Of Left-Behind Parents.

Courts frequently echo the warning of the Friedrich II court that “[e]ach of the words and actions of a parent during the separation are not to be scrutinized for a possible waiver of custody rights.” Here, a third-party claimed that Mr. Friedrich stated that he was not seeking custody of his child because he lacked the means to support the child. The Sixth Circuit responded that, even if the statement was made, it is “insufficient evidence of subsequent acquiescence.” Additionally, “isolated statements to third parties are not sufficient to establish consent or acquiescence.”

3. Nature Of Children’s Removal.

When the abducting parent removes the child in a secretive fashion – for example, during the night, while the other parent is away, or without informing the other parent – a court is more likely to find that the other parent did not consent or acquiesce to the child’s removal. In Friedrich II, the Sixth Circuit stated that “[t]he deliberately secretive nature of [the mother’s] actions is extremely strong evidence that [the father] would not have consented to the removal of [the child].” One court referenced the abducting parent’s “deception,” which prevented any acquiescence by the left-behind parent.

For more information on International Parental Child Abduction in the United States, please visit the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues website.  In Canada, please visit the Ministry of Justice. You may also visit the I CARE Foundation or the official website of Peter Thomas Senese’s Chasing The Cyclone for extensive information on abduction.

Remember, each of us can help protect children by raising awareness of IPCA.  I invite you to read just how important it is to stop abduction by reading ‘Testimonial letters about Peter Thomas Senese and the I CARE Foundation’.

~Peter Thomas Senese

Preventing Abductions When Children Have Dual Citizenship And Two Passports

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I CARE Foundation Director Peter Thomas Senese Speaks About 
Dual Citizenship And International Child Abduction

Many U.S. citizen children who fall victim to international parental abduction possess dual nationality. Being aware of the child’s other parent’s possession of a secondary passport issued from that parent’s country of origin is critical in preventing abduction because children abducted abroad usually travel outside of the country on their foreign passport. Preventing the issuance of your child’s secondary passport to a foreign country is possible, but not guaranteed, based upon the country of origin of the child’s other parent and their laws. Nevertheless, it is important to strongly note the majority of international parental child abductions that occur are carefully planned schemes that attempt to catch the targeted parent off guard. A parent intending to snatch a child may use an assortment of reasons in order to obtain the secondary passport. Certain countries require signatures of both of the child’s parents, while many require only the signature of the parent that possesses citizenship to that country.

In scenarios where only the parent who possesses citizenship to the country the child has a right to secondary citizenship to can apply for their child’s passport, the grave risk and reality is that if abduction is planned, the abducting parent will attempt to conceal the existence of the secondary passport from the other parent. Additionally, in cases where dual signatures are required, it is possible that the taking parent can fraudulently submit the other parent’s signature to the passport bureau of the other country as generally there are limited documentation controls in place set up to validate the application request.

Of troubling concern is the fact that the United States does not possess border exit controls, thus there are limited ways to ensure that a child departing the country is doing so without violating a custody order. Granted, there are certain government programs that exist that have worked extremely well, such as the Prevent Departure Program; however, there are restrictions to such programs such as the Prevent Departure Program, including that a person considered to be a high-abduction risk cannot possess a right of American citizenship. Thus, if a parent who is planning to abduct a child possess dual citizenship, they cannot be placed on the secure screening list established to protect against international kidnapping. Additional difficulties abound, including the reality that a U.S. court has limited authority in obtaining records from a foreign embassy or consulate to determine if a parent has requested or obtained secondary passports for a child.

While the Department of State will make every effort to avoid issuing a U.S. passport if the custodial parent has provided a custody decree, the Department cannot prevent embassies and consulates of other countries in the United States from issuing their passports to children who are also their nationals.

All is not lost if you act thoughtfully. For example, you can ask a foreign embassy or consulate not to issue a passport to your child. On numerous occasions, I, or one of the attorneys associated with the I CARE Foundation, have accompanied a targeted parent and personally visited a foreign embassy or consulate and requested that a secondary passport not be issued in the name of the child due to an abduction threat.

If traveling to an embassy or consulate is not a possibility, I suggest you contact the consulate, locate a supervisor who oversees their passport issuance program, and speak to them about your concern for abduction and specifically state you do not want that country to issue a passport. Immediately after that telephone call, you must submit a written request, along with certified complete copies of any court orders addressing custody or the overseas travel of your child you have. From experience, I strongly suggest you also include your marriage certificate, your child’s birth certificate, and any other relevant documentation that establishes your marriage or legal partnership and establishes that you are the parent of the child or children. In your letter, inform them that you are sending a copy of this request to the U.S. Department of State.

If your child is only a U.S. citizen, you can request that no visa for that country be issued in his or her U.S. passport. No international law requires compliance with such requests, but some countries will comply voluntarily.

With respect to your requests to a foreign country, there is one thing I would like to share from experience: you are likely to get more cooperation at times if you or your legal representative schedule an appointment in person. This is something I have seen first-hand in my capacity as a director of the I CARE Foundation.

But what is dual nationality?

The concept of dual nationality means that a person is a citizen of two countries at the same time. Each country has its own citizenship laws based on its own policy. Persons may have dual nationality by automatic operation of different laws rather than by choice. For example, a child born in a foreign country to U.S. citizen parents may be both a U.S. citizen and a citizen of the country of birth.

A U.S. citizen may acquire foreign citizenship by marriage, or a person naturalized as a U.S. citizen may not lose the citizenship of the country of birth.U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship or another. Also, a person who is automatically granted another citizenship does not risk losing U.S. citizenship. However, a person who acquires a foreign citizenship by applying for it may lose U.S. citizenship. In order to lose U.S. citizenship, the law requires that the person must apply for the foreign citizenship voluntarily, by free choice, and with the intention to give up U.S. citizenship.

Intent can be shown by the person’s statements or conduct.The U.S. Government recognizes that dual nationality exists but does not encourage it as a matter of policy because of the problems it may cause. Claims of other countries on dual national U.S. citizens may conflict with U.S. law, and dual nationality may limit U.S. Government efforts to assist citizens abroad. The country where a dual national is located generally has a stronger claim to that person’s allegiance.

However, dual nationals owe allegiance to both the United States and the foreign country. They are required to obey the laws of both countries. Either country has the right to enforce its laws, particularly if the person later travels there.Most U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, must use a U.S. passport to enter and leave the United States. Dual nationals may also be required by the foreign country to use its passport to enter and leave that country. Use of the foreign passport does not endanger U.S. citizenship.Most countries permit a person to renounce or otherwise lose citizenship.

Information on losing foreign citizenship can be obtained from the foreign country’s embassy and consulates in the United States. Americans can renounce U.S. citizenship in the proper form at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.

Two Parent Signature Law for a Passport

As stated earlier, The United States does not have exit controls on its borders for holders of a valid passport. This makes preventing a passport from being issued to your child without your consent very important. Generally, if your child has a passport, it can be difficult to prevent the other parent from removing the child to another country without your permission.

U.S. law requires the signature of both parents, or the child’s legal guardians, prior to issuance of a U.S. passport to children under the age of 16. To obtain a U.S. passport for a child under the age of 16, both parents (or the child’s legal guardians) must execute the child’s passport application and provide documentary evidence demonstrating that they are the parents or guardians. If this cannot be done, the person executing the passport application must provide documentary evidence that he or she has sole custody of the child, has the consent of the other parent to the issuance of the passport, or is acting in place of the parents and has the consent of both parents (or of a parent/legal guardian with sole custody over the child to the issuance of the passport).

EXCEPTIONS:

The law does provide two exceptions to this requirement: (1) for exigent circumstances, such as those involving the health or welfare of he child, or (2) when the Secretary of State determines that issuance of a passport is warranted by special family circumstances.

Prevent Departure Program

Since 2003, United States citizens have had available a very effective international child abduction prevention tool called ‘The Prevent Departure Program’. Unfortunately, many parents at risk of having their child internationally abducted are not aware that this incredibly useful tool is available to them.

In the aftermath of 911, the Department of Homeland Security’s ‘Prevent Departure Program’ was created to stop non-U.S. citizens from departing the country. The program applies to non-US citizens physically located in America considered individuals at risk of child abduction. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) oversees this program and it is monitored 24 hours a day.

What the ‘Prevent Departure Program’ does is provide immediate information to the transportation industry, including all air, land, and sea channels a single point of contact at Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and provides a comprehensive database of individuals the United States believes may immediately depart to a foreign country.

The program only applies to aliens, and is not available to stop U.S. citizens or dual U.S./foreign citizens from leaving the country.

Under Section 215 of the ‘Immigration and Nationality Act’ (8 U.S.C. 1185) and it’s implementing regulations (8 CFR Part 215 and 22 CFR Part 46), it authorizes departure-control officers to prevent an alien’s departure from the United States if the alien’s departure would be prejudicial to the interests of the United States. These regulations include would-be abductions of U.S. citizens in accordance to court orders originating from the child’s court of habitual residency.

If the abductor and child are identified, they will be denied boarding. In order to detain them after boarding is denied, there must be a court order prohibiting the child’s removal or providing for the child’s pick-up, or a warrant for the abductor.

In order for an at risk parent to participate in the program, all of the following must be demonstrated:

  1. Subject may NOT be a US citizen; and,
  2. The nomination must include a law enforcement agency contact with 24/7 coverage; and,
  3. There must be a court order showing which parent has been awarded custody or shows that the Subject is restrained from removing his/her minor child from certain counties, the state or the U.S.; and,
  4. The Subject must be in the US; and,
  5. There must be some likelihood that the Subject will attempt to depart in the immediate future.

With respect to the established guidelines listed above, note that in order to request the listing of the other parent, that person must be an alien of the United States. The program does not apply to US citizens at risk of leaving the country.

The second mandate states a request to place an individual’s name on the Prevent Departure Program must include support by a law enforcement agency or from the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues, which has the authority of requesting for the Department of Homeland Security to list a suspected child abductor on the ‘Prevent Departure Program’.

The third criteria: possessing a custodial order, is essential. Regardless if the other parent has joint custody or rights of visitation, critically, you must make sure that there are injunction orders in place prohibiting the child from being removed from the jurisdiction of habitual residency. Unfortunately, many international parental child abductions are well planned out in advance of the actual abduction, and the targeted parent has no idea that an abduction is in progress until it is too late. This is why it is essential for parents in partnership with non-nationals to be fully aware of the warning signs associated with a potential international child abduction.

The fourth criteria states the obvious: in order to prevent an alien-parent suspected of abducting a child on U.S. soil, that parent must be on U.S. soil.

The fifth criteria requests that the applying parent demonstrate that the alien-parent has demonstrated the likelihood of abducting the child across international borders in the immediate future. Remember – you need to document and record as much evidence as possible.

For many parents who face the risk of having their child abducted and removed across international borders, the nightmare that both targeted parent and victimized child face is unbearable.

The Prevent Departure Program is not for everyone and should not be abused; however, in situations where an abduction threat is real and the targeting parent intent on abducting a child is a non-US citizen possessing the capacity to breach court orders and abduct a child of a relationship, the Prevent Departure Program may be a useful tool.

Be aware that if a person has a right of U.S. citizenship, including possessing sole American citizenship or dual citizenship, they cannot be placed on the Prevent Departure Program (The I CARE Foundation is hoping to have the government change that policy since individuals who possess singular citizenship do abduct children abroad).

CONCLUSION:

The I CARE Foundation has assisted many families in crisis who are at risk of having a child internationally abducted from the child’s country of jurisdiction based upon one of the child’s parent’s scheme to remove the child by obtaining a secondary passport. In many of these cases, the targeted parent did not know that the other parent already possessed a secondary passport for their child. In certain situations the parent possessing a right of citizenship to another country did not need the other parent’s signature, and in other cases, a passport signature of the targeted parent was forged on the foreign passport application for the child.

Targeted parents and attorneys overseeing an abduction prevention case need to be aware that when there is an abductin concern that they should immediately contact the consulate where the child’s other parent is a national of and request if a passport has been issued in the child’s name. There are times when the consulate or embassy may provide this information. Often this is not the case.

In all cases where a secondary passport is a concern, one of the legal strategies the attorneys associated with the I CARE Foundation have successfully implemented is to seek an emergency order from the court possessing jurisdiction of the child whereas, the petition requests that ‘responding parent’ (parent believed to planning an abduction) provide formal documentation from the consulate or embassy of their country of origin that grants the consulate or embassy permission to answer a court subpeona concerning the issuance of a passport (the consulate or embassy is not required to do so even if a subpeona is issued), or, that the court order the responding parent to provide an official letter from their country of origin stating that neither a passport for the child has been issued from that country and no application for a passport has been submitted.

During the emergency application, the targeted parent (the ‘applicant’) has sought a host of measures, including seeking for the court or the applicant to take possession of the child’s American passports; and, for the child being placed on the United States Passport Issuance Alert Program; and, for either removal of child access or limited, supervised access of the targeted child by the parent suspected of child snatching. If the Prevent Departure Program is applicable, attorneys have previously sought for the court to request that the U.S. Department of State petition the U.S. Department of Homeland Security place a person considered a high-risk child abductor on the secure screening list to ensure that person does not travel outside of the country with the child unless permitted to do so by court order.

Obviously there are many other steps that can be taken, but one I think worth sharing is the concern that a parent traveling by land or sea across international adjacent borders (For the United States this means travel to Canada, Mexico, or certain Caribbean island-nations) with a minor under 16 years of age does not need to present a valid passport for their child at the border-crossing (valid passports are required for all travelers regardless of age only when traveling abroad by aircraft) as established by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Thus, a parent planning to abduct a child could do so by boarding a closed circuit cruise, or by simply driving across the border. It is critical that an attorney attempting to prevent abduction familiarize themselves with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative loopholes and present these issues to the court they are litigating over. One other good idea is that they present to the court the statistical realities of child abduction return, including whether a country that appears to be a likly inbound country is a member of the Hague Convention, and whether or not they are a complying country. Of course, that’s not all that should be presented to the court. A few other important issues include the potential for severe abuse to the child; and, the severe abuse to the targeted parent, the cost to litigate; and, the ability for the taking parent to disappear abroad, including departing the country they initially ‘landed’ in, and travel to another country; and finally, the likelyhood that a child will be returned.

I invite you to read Summer Vacations and International Parental Child Abduction and to visit the official website of the U.S. Department of StateI CARE Foundation and Chasing The Cyclone for more information about abduction.

One little word of advice: the majority of parents who have had their child abducted never saw it coming. Do not stick your head in the ground and think this cannot happen to you. Educate yourself.

– Peter Thomas Senese –
Founding Director – The I CARE Foundation

A Mother’s Love: A Heroic Rescue of Son Who Was Victim of Parental Abduction

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I am pleased to be able to finally share the wonderful news that my good friend Kalli Atteya has safely reunited with her young son, who was previously internationally snatched by the child’s father during a despicable and cunning scheme that lured Kalli and her son to revolutionary Egypt two years ago (the abduction took place on August 1st, 2011) under the guise of the extremist father, Mohamed’s, claims that his mother was dying and that she wanted to see her grandson before her death.

Kalli’s efforts are nothing short of heroic.  The love she holds for her son is what is right about our world.

This is what occurred in short form.

Kalli had met Mohamed (an Egyptian national reported to be part of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood) in 1999 while he worked in a restaurant in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. A year later they married. And a year later, Niko was born (2001).

“Three months after our boy was born, he left,” Kalli Atteya told FoxNews.com. “He moved back to Harrisburg, and he dated many, many women. I tried to save my marriage but it didn’t work. Basically, he married me for a visa.”

Finally, in 2005 Kalli was granted a divorce from the child’s father, who quickly moved from the United States to China, leaving Kalli – who is a few classes short of receiving her Masters in Education, alone to raise her young son.

During the next six years, Kalli kept in touch with Mohamed in order for her child to know his estranged father under remote circumstances.

Then, in 2011, Kalli and her son’s nightmare occurred.

Mohamed was able to convince Kalli to travel with their son to Egypt in order to see his alleged dying mother.  What was really going on unknown to Kalli was that Mohamed was planning to snatch his son, and bring him into the world of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Shortly upon Kalli and her son’s arrival, Mohamed’s long-planned scheme went into place and culminated with him tossing out of the car Kalli and her sister Maria (who traveled with her sister and nephew from Pennsylvania to Egypt), while they were on a desolate road while in route from Alexandria to Port Said on August 1st, 2011.

Kalli stated that Mohamed had complained of car trouble and forced herself and her sister (Maria Panagos) out of the car in extreme heat, leaving Niko, himself and a driver to speed away. “Mohamed threw me off on the side and ran to the car. I remember seeing Maria dragging behind the car as my son pounded on the windows. It was so unreal to me. At that very moment, I knew this was all preplanned.”

And so, Mohamed, disappeared into the turbulent sea of the Egyptian Revolution, leaving Kalli and Maria (what am amazing sister) looking into the foreboding eye of the cyclone of abduction.

Unfortunately, at the very same time in Egypt, the Spring Uprising also essentially tossed out any rule of law, and despite the fact that Kali was able to obtain an array of national court orders and arrest warrants against Mohamed, the political atmosphere resulted in nothing being done against Mohamed for his act of abduction.

In the meantime, Kalli was rightfully petrified for her life, as threats by Mohamed were not to be taken as hot-winded words, but a reality.

Still she persisted. How could she not? She had a child to protect: one whom she loved with all of who she is.

Perhaps that’s the one thing about being a targeted parent of international parental child abduction that most others don’t really know: as a parent you know you’re about to chase the cyclones of the biggest storms conceivable – you know you’re going to get battered if you are lucky enough to simply walk out of it – but you do it anyway because love is worth risking everything for.

Welcome to the world of international parental child abduction where schemes such as Mohamed’s are the norm, not the atypical.

In fact, young Niko is quoted by Fox News as saying, ”“My Dad forced me to be Muslim, which I did not want to do.”

“My son told me [it was] to make him a Muslim,” Atteya stated when asked why she thought her ex-husband snatched the boy. “He said that we lack the morality and the values that their system has. And he said that Americans were so violent, he said we are a rotting society.”

So just how did Kalli regain her son?

Well, she traveled to Egypt on three separate occasions, only letting her most trusted friends familiar with her intent to know what she was doing.

Along the way, she sadly paid over $100,000.00 to a company that helps recover internationally abducted children.  According to Kalli that company took her money but did nothing.  Fox News added, ”Kalli turned to a Norwegian company for help. With each new bit of hope came a new charge until she had spent more than $100,000, depleting her savings and funds borrowed from relatives. Still, she seemed no closer to reuniting with her son.”

As you may imagine, Kalli’s despair and concern for her son grew as her funds quickly depleted.

But there was one thing that Mohamed did not bank on: the unbowed love Kalli had for her son, and her will to bring her son home.

Along the way, Kalli kept certain government non-government organizations abreast of her plans, always making sure that whatever she was doing, was in fact, legal and in accordance to international law (I applaud this act at the highest level).

As to the exact details of how Kalli was able to find and reunite with Niko, needless to say, she walked a hire-wire act that included finding, watching, and planning on when and how to approach her son, who was being carefully guarded – yes guarded (remember, the reality is that children of abduction are in fact ‘prisoners’).

In fact, there were a few times that Kalli actually got to close to Mohamed for comfort. Fortunately, he did not recognize her underneath the veil of the Burqa she was required to wear in Muslim-controlled fundamentalist Egypt.

With careful timing and awareness of Mohamed’s whereabouts, Kalli had a limited opportunity to rescue her son.

Her plan came together as Niko was exiting the school he was attending that Kalli had successfully tracked him to.

Seeing her son on the street as school was letting out the children, Kalli quickly approached her son while she wore her Burqa.  Eyeing him, she said, “Niko. Its mommy. Come with me quickly.”

Under the dark veil, the child saw his mother’s piercing blue eyes. He knew it was his mother. He listened.

“My first reaction was [to wonder] if that was my mom or not, and then I saw her eyes,” Niko said. “I thought, ‘Thank God. I’m going to finally get out of here. I’m going to be free.”

Quickly walking to a rickshaw, Kalli put her on the back seat of the three-wheel bike commonly found in Egypt, and peddled as fast as she could away from the town where the child had been detained.

Once the school was a distance away, Kalli changed Niko’s clothing.  ”I dressed him up as a girl. We made it back to a safe house,” she told Public Opinion.

But the journey was far from over.

Now alone in Egypt with her son, and knowing that the father would soon be looking for her and her child, Kalli needed assistance from home, while trying to create a plan that would cause Mohamed to misdirect his own fanatical search.

United State Department of State officials have publicly stated that they are aware of Atteya’s case, but declined to provide further details due to privacy concerns.

“One of the Department’s highest priorities is the welfare of U.S. citizens overseas,” the statement reads. “This is particularly true for children, who our most vulnerable citizens.”

Read what you will into this statement, but one thing was certain: Kali was going to operate within the rules of international law. And today, with the assistance of her friends combined with the unbowed love and courage she has for her son – both mother and son are home.

How lucky are they?

Well, according to heavily reliable sources, Mohamed Atteya and his henchmen have attempted to track down anyone who assisted Kalli bring her son home, leaving a trail of heavy violence in his path, as he and his goons have attacked anyone he thinks may have helped his ex-wife.

Mohamed Atteya, 38, who speaks Arabic, English and Chinese, and is wanted by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security Service for making false statements and providing forged documents to obtain a U.S. passport, amongst a series of criminal complaints against him.  Should he attempt to enter the United States, he will be immediately detained.

In the meantime, the friends of Kalli celebrate openly her and Niko’s return.  It has been a long road for mother and child, but for all those who have supported them.

When Fox News shared part of the story today of how Kalli reunited with Niko, it was time to finally share the news we have guarded carefully to our vest.

With reflection on Kalli’s story, the question must be asked: How far are extremist parental kidnappers willing to go?

Below is a portion of a story I shared yesterday concerning this very topic. I am including it here for further reading.

There is a significant and growing side of international parental child abduction that makes me shudder at the very notion of kidnapping I am too familiar with: the alarming act of cross-border parental child kidnappings committed by political extremist and religious zealots.

It has taken a while for society to grasp the notion that when one parent illegally removes a child from the child’s country of habitual residency, this is a cruel criminal act of kidnapping.  And the abducted child is not simply with one of their parents, but instead, is a hostage held by an abductor who generally does not have the child’s best interest in mind.

Tragically, and most alarming is the reality that children of abduction are being put into extraordinarily dangerous situations.

Previously, I have shared the reality that filicide – child murder by a parent – along with suicide amongst child abduction victims is a real issue.

So where does the use of a child come into play amongst political extremest, social revolutionaries, and religious zealots?

What I am about to share should not be classified as a rare occurrence. They are not.

Let this image sit with you for a moment: a young girl is internationally kidnapped by one of her parents: a parent who possesses extreme religious beliefs that all things born from the West are evil, including his daughter.  In that parent’s religious zealot fever, he thinks that the only way to have penance is to do the unthinkable. Meanwhile, the young girl’s mother, frantic at knowing the truth of the monster who took their child, along with knowledge of his intent, seeks any way to rescue a child now taken to a world where women have no rights, and foreign women have even less.

But here is an innocent child now delegated to becoming a sacrifice.

Welcome to the unforgivable world of international parental child abduction.

Now imagine a young boy abducted to the nation, if you can call it that, in the midst of a bloody civil war in impoverished Africa. The child was taken by his mother, who left him behind, as a bargaining chip in the conflict between two of that nation’s leading militant tribes. As bombs exploded and casualties rose, the child is taught to think that his left-behind parent not only did not love him and that he was an evil man; while the brainwashing ordeal unfolded, war’s bloodshed continued to fall.  And for the father who searched, he knew that returning back to the country his child was held hostage could lead to his immediate death, and further harm to his family that remained in his country of origin.

So here is another innocent child delegated to becoming a pawn in a nation’s civil war.

Welcome to the brutal world of international parental child abduction.

A young child just learning how to ride a bicycle is snatched from a Norman Rockwellesque mid-America town and taken to a nation of zealot fundamentalist revolutionaries who preach intolerance for the West.  The child is taught to hate the peaceful world he was taken from.  Gone is the loving, peaceful, and gentle world he was born and raised in. In its place is a world filled with daily bombings and gunfights, violent protests that lead to deadly stampedes, and an unforgivable God (the God the kidnapper teaches his child is not a loving God, nor does it represent the kind God taught in Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths).  As this child lives an imprisoned life terrified by everything around him, his left behind parent knows that entering the world of the brutal abductor in order to find her child if caught means entering a world so brutal, that your imagination’s notion of brutal punishment and torture, simply could not conjure the realities that would await her if caught.

Sadly, another defenseless child imprisoned into the worst of nightmares. Except it is his reality.

Welcome to the world where the God worshipped is a God filled with hatred.

And do not think that a child is not at risk of death. They are.

Perhaps this reality is the one singular thing that drives all child abduction prevention advocates the most: the hope to prevent the death of a child either at the hands of their parent abductor, or at their own hands later in life due to the brutal psychological trauma they endured during the time of their abduction.  I know my own activism in this arena is greatly due to my desire to help protect children from all forms of harm.

As you can see, the common denominator in the scenarios I presented above is that the child was used as a pawn to advance the abductor’s own agenda.

This is something that occurs in every international parental child abduction case.

For the taken child, they are indeed brought into a harsh world that emotionally and spiritually resembles the lonely, wind-swept barrier prison known as Alcatraz.  Short-term and long-term trauma is real. So too are the challenges the majority of children face going forward.

One of the things that appears to not have been spoken about in the dialogue concerning international parental child abduction is the general view by the abducting parent that life in the country of the child’s habitual residency is one that they often dislike, or in some cases, despise.

In these types of situations, the abductor’s (who is nearly always a foreign-born national living in another country) resentment toward most things in the country they are residing in prior to the act of kidnapping grows significantly.

Eventually, some of these parents sermonize their view to the child: preaching – and brainwashing – their views to a child is a necessity for all abductors since they need to justify the act of kidnapping to the child under the guise of ‘liberation’.

And extreme cases of ‘liberators’ does exist, creating a potentially greater danger to society than what anyone is talking about.

The question needs to be asked: What are the long-term social risks if a zealot abductor kidnaps a child born in the West, removes that child to a nation of political and religious extremism which the abductor is an active part of, and who evangelizes the messages of hatred and intolerance toward the child’s country of previous habitual residency to the point that the child buys into the parent abductor’s sermons as ‘liberator’ that is preached in order to justify the international abduction?

Well, we have a potentially serious problem on our hands.

Make no mistake, all forms of international parental child abduction are severe forms of child abuse.  Under no circumstance should child abduction be tolerated.  Fortunately, this notion is beginning to take hold by society due to the stewardship of the realities of abduction by concerned parents and advocates alike.

In fact, by raising awareness of international parental child abduction the cross-border kidnapping rate has declined in the United States by 15% per year for two years in a row, after nearly thirty years of steady growth.

So our voices are making a difference in the United States.  And unquestionably, the United States Department of States’ Office of Children’s Issues has to be given a great deal of credit in their outreach efforts attempting to increase the threat of abduction amongst targeted parents.

Nevertheless, our children remain at great risk. For example, imagine being a mother who living in the United States trying to prevent your daughters from being abducted to Saudi Arabia – a nation where women have essentially no rights. Or a father trying to find your child is Japan or South Korea – nations known to not return abducted children. The realities and hard-truths are disheartening: between the reported and unreported cases on international parental child abduction, it is estimated that only 10% of all kidnapped children ever come home.

In ending this article I would like to share this message: as the summer approaches, now is the time that would-be abductors are planning their scheme to illegally snatch their child.  Raising awareness of the risk factors and knowing the warning signs of abduction are so important.  Parents involved in multi-cultural relationships are particularly at risk of abduction.  The last thing any parent wants to do is find themselves Chasing The Cyclone of abduction.  The best defense against abduction is to educate yourself.

One final note: as the Founding Director of the I CARE Foundation, I am pleased to share with you that the children I mentioned above in the examples I provided are all now at safely home.  Since inception, the I CARE Foundation has assisted a large and growing number of children and their families at risk of abduction. Our work continues.

Click here to read more about The I CARE Foundation.
Click here to read more about Chasing The Cyclone.
Click here to visit the official website of Peter Thomas Senese. 

Parental Child Abduction: Imagine A Life Destroyed In 24 Hours Or Less

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How easy is it for an abducting parent to legally remove a child from one country to another without the child’s other parent consenting to such move?

How does evil fill the hearts of an abductor, who only seeks to have an outcome they desire, no matter what the emotional, spiritual, and financial costs involved for the targeted parent and the children?

How extensive is the malice?

What I am about to share in the shortest detail demonstrates the sociopath behavior and pure malice of a parent who knows how to utilize the legal system to legally remove a child from one country to another without the other parent’s consent, and then further remove that parent’s access rights all because the taking parent no longer desires to live in the country of the child or children’s habitual residence.

Now imagine having every part of your life destroyed in less than 24 hours. Think it can’t happen? You are wrong!

So Much For The Wedding Vow – I Will Destroy Your Life – And This Is How
(Based Upon A Real Life Scenario)
  • American male citizen marries French female citizen in the US three years ago.
  • American citizen is a young attorney.
  • French citizen does not work.
  • The couple has two children, both born in the United States and under the age of 2.
  • Father, though practicing law, works from home on most days in order to provide care for children.
  • Mother is unhappy living in the United States and states that she wants to return to France with children.  Father wants to remain in United States, where children have lived, and where he is a practicing attorney.
  • Father compromises and travels for month-long visit to France with wife and children in hope that continued access to wife’s country of origin will satisfy her.
  • Mother makes numerous threats that she is going to take children and move to France without Father.
  • Father fears that children will be removed from America without his consent.
  • Mother has financial wherewith all and support system to relocate to France without children’s father.
  • Father discovers that children’s mother has been investigating how to remove children from America (abduction).
  • Father discovers that children’s mother has a large amount of concealed money in Europe he was previously not aware of.
  • Mother hides children’s US passports from father.
  • Mother escalates threats to children’s father that she is leaving for France with children, stating
    there is nothing father can do about it (all while living together. No divorce
    proceedings at this time).
  • Father discovers children’s mother has been in contact with French embassy. Father’s concern that mother is in possession of French passports
    for children that he did not authorize or sign for increases significantly based on direct statements of mother that it does not matter if father has American passports and that nothing he can legally do will stop her from leaving America with children.
  • At no time have there been any claims of accusations that father has made any verbal threats or acted in any capacity of abuse; whereas, mother has made numerous threats of abduction and has demonstrated a violent temper in front of friends and family of couple.
  • Father discovers children’s mother has a second phone which he was not aware of, providing mother with ability to communicate with others without father knowing.
  • Then late yesterday —– Thursday —— Mother threatens that she is taking children and moving to France immediately. Father informs wife he is going to file for divorce and seek court to ensure children are not illegally removed.
  • Hours later, mother makes police report against children’s father claiming that father made dangerous threats against her and
    children and that she fears for her safety.
  • Father becomes aware of wife’s deceitful plot and that she is at police station.
  • Mother makes late afternoon police complaint against husband.
  • Mother tries to lure father back to house in order to have him
    arrested. Unknown to wife, father is able to see police car at house waiting for him to come back via video security system.
  • Mother’s FALSE claim of domestic abuse sets up a 13B Hague Defense should
    she abduct.
  • Clear intent by mother to have father arrested today by police.
  • While father is arrested for domestic threats, wife, who is in possession of French
    passports can legally departs for France with children as father sits in jail
    cell.
  • While in jail, mother has the opportunity to clear out all finances of
    partnership.
  • Mother, who has means to disappear with children in France and Europe
    creates legal defense to have French courts sanction abduction under best
    interest of child due to father’s arrest.
  • Father faces major legal fight to reunite with children, which will take a significant toll on his  professional life.

In essence, by making a false police report and seeking for her husband’s arrest on a Friday with hope that her husband will be detained over the weekend, the children’s mother, who is in possession of French passports could depart the United States legally with her children since there is no court order restricting her or the children’s departure. In addition, the claim of domestic abuse toward her and/or her children provide mother to seek new jurisdiction of children and their custody in France.

Tragically, what you have read above is not an isolated act, nor do false claims of abuse occur solely by women against men. In the world of international parental child abduction, it is the norm for an abductor to make false claims against a targeted parent.

If you noticed in the brief scenario described above, the abductor had planned her scheme carefully – from moving money to Europe, to concealed phone calls, to illegally obtained passports, to a malicious scheme that would prevent her husband to file any court action to restrain her from leaving the United States by making a false police report in hope he would be arrested and detained long enough for her to get to an airport and depart with the children of the marriage.

And in the meantime, the targeted parent has been arrested, had his children taken from him, had his assets taken, and is now Chasing The Cyclone of abduction. All in less than 24 hours.

The only thing that is a bit different about what I described above is that in the scenario shared above, the abductor did not plan into their illicit scheme on obstacle: THE I CARE FOUNDATION and the organization’s understanding of abduction, and how to stop it.

And so on this day, there was no abduction though clearly there was an long-planned, well thought out scheme to do so.   And today there was no arrest based upon a false complaint.  And today, two young children have not been tossed into the storms of international abduction. And an innocent parent who loves his children did not sit in a jail cell saying to himself that his biggest nightmare came true. And most of all, children who were about to be put into imminent danger . . . were not in good part because of the I CARE Foundation and one really good parent who was willing to do what was necessary so his children would not be used as pawns in some horrible scheme.

It is days like today, when your actions and all you have experienced actually help another parent that makes it worth continuing the good fight.

For more information about international parental child abduction, please visit the I CARE Foundation website and the official website of Chasing The Cyclone.

Respectfully,

Peter Thomas Senese

The I CARE Foundation

Today’s Heroes: Top Parenting Bloggers and Advocates Marvyn and Mary Cab Tinitigan

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Today’s Heroes: Top Parenting Bloggers & Advocates Marvyn and Mary Cab Tinitigan

A year ago, I had contacted Marvyn and Mary Tinitigan, who operate the delightful parenting – family blog site, ‘Marvyn and Mary’ and sought their assistance in stewarding the I CARE Foundation’s message about the pandemic of international parental child abduction so targeted parents may become educated about the realities of abduction.

Over the year, Mary and Marvyn have been extremely helpful in stewarding the messages of abduction prevention.  Their assistance has made a sizeable difference in the lives of many, including playing a key role in the recovery of an abducted child.

Specifically, a young girl was internationally parentally abducted from New Jersey. Her abductor had hatched a clever scheme that included use of flights to Florida, boarding a closed circuit cruise ship (a loophole under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative) that would stop off in Mexico after visiting several ports-of-call in the Caribbean, debarking in Mexico’s Cancun, driving to Mexico City, where the abductor would then fly with the kidnapped child to Brazil.  However, the targeted parent, who had remained in New Jersey, unaware of the scheme of her ex-husband, read Marvyn and Mary’s various articles about international parental child abduction and the I CARE Foundation’s work.  Immediately, an investigation was launched that quickly uncovered the in-action plan.  And with a lot of effort and a great deal of work, the little girl was removed from the cruise ship and returned to her custodial mother.  Should the child’s abductor – her non-custodial father – gotten into Mexico, their passage to Brazil would have been clear.  And sadly, the child’s return would have been unlikely since Brazil is generally a non-complying signatory nation of the Hague Convention.

Mary and Marvyn’s willingness to get involved and to advocate for others demonstrates not just good citizenship, but undeniably is a demonstrative building block of excellent parenting.  If it was not for their blog writing and willingness to get involved, at least one child’s hatched kidnapping would have been carried out. But it was not because a caring, fun, and intelligent couple with a sense of civic responsibility decided to use their voice and make a difference for children and families in crisis.

I am pleased to share that Marvyn and Mary Tinitigin are Today’s Heroes.  They not only represent what can happen when each of us advocates issues that are geared toward enriching the greater good of others. Indeed, they are my heroes because, with nothing to gain other than the knowledge that they might be able to help others, they got involved.

Outside of their advocacy with the I CARE Foundation, Marvyn and Mary’s blog writing is delightful! Writing and posting as a family – which is awesome – the topics they write about and some of the photographs they share speak to readers around the world.

It is my honor to share with you my interview with Marvyn and Mary: compassionate, kind, thoughtful, and intelligent Heroes of Today who make the world a better place for all of us. When I think of the words ‘human connectivity’, I think of my dear friends Marvyn and Mary Tinitigin.

Here is my interview:

1. Your parent blog site ‘Marvyn and Mary’ is an absolute celebration of parenting and partnership. How do you and Marvyn collaborate on topics and issues you share with your readers?

We don’t really have a formal collaboration process. Instead we have a general idea of what our readers want and we stay true to that. We’re pretty loosey-goosey in that regard. – Marvyn

2. Why did you decide to create your parenting blog? 

Marvynandmary.com was originally a venue for us to share our wedding information with attendees. After our wedding, it eventually evolved into a blog. Marvyn has the know-how, so why not? – Mary

Eventually we were getting a lot of feedback on our posts of not-so-common products, so we took it from there.  – Marvyn

3. How has your writing and blog impacted others?

I’m hoping it gives the readers a few minutes of smiles and laughter. Everybody wants to see more of Jagger, right? – Marvyn

I am hoping that they find something in our blog that will help them in whatever they are searching for. Whether it’s laughter, wanting to relate to another parent or in need of help, I hope they find that on our site. – Mary

4. Parenting blog writers partially consist of mothers who have dedicated themselves to the incredible fulltime task of raising a family. What are the benefits for a stay-at-home mother or father who is considering creating a blog or using social media to have their voice heard?

Networking. We wouldn’t be having this discussion if it wasn’t for that, you know? – Marvyn

I am no longer a stay-at-home mom but when I was, I used our blog to just write about things that interest me like the I CARE Foundation. I also used it as something that I could take out my frustration on. – Mary

5. What are some of the fun or interesting aspects of being a well-respected parent blog writer?

You can take pictures of anything. When somebody gives you a dirty look, the instant response is “Don’t worry, it’s for my blog!” –Marvyn

That you can say anything you want and not worry about what people think – Mary

6. The way society obtains and shares information has changed dramatically over a short period of time. How important of a role do parent blog writers have in educating other parents about issues that they may face?

It is very important. When we were expecting, we looked to the web to provide us with answers that we needed and we wanted to do the same. Marvyn wanted to start writing reviews on products we bought in hopes that it would help people decide on whether to buy it or not, especially when it came to baby products.  We were constantly on Babies R Us reading reviews so we thought why not write our experience on our blog?

7. Would you say that a mobilized and united parent blog community has the ability of creating trends, swaying policy, and increasing the elevation of topical issues?

Absolutely! We as parents have a right to raise our voices because we are fighting for our children’s future. People tend to listen more when raising an issue comes from a parent. They know that we just want to do what is right and want to protect our children – Mary

8. On your blog site’s ‘About Us’ section, you post: ‘Let me write something about us. I promise I will make it entertaining. Come back later, okay?’ So, here is your chance: how about three sentences.

1)
2)
3)….come back later okay? 😉

9. Parent blog writer’s social activism is becoming more visible and influential. What responsibilities do parents have, if any, to become vocal with respect to causes or issues that impact society?

I think parents have such a big responsibility in society. After all, we are raising the future of this country. – Mary

10. How have you used your website to help others, particularly children and families in crisis?

I think your feedback is proof. A perfect example of how our website has helped those in need. –Marvyn

11. You have become visible in your advocacy with the I CARE Foundation to help prevent international child abduction and human trafficking. Why is this important?

Because we want to do anything we can to protect the innocent. It is such a cruel world out there and we want those horrible human beings (if we can even call them that)to know that we are out there, fighting you with everything we have to keep our children safe.

12. Your blog helped prevent an abduction of a young girl taken from the United States to South America. How did you feel knowing that you made a difference for a targeted family? 

We were completely blown away by the news. There were so many thoughts running through our mind. To unknowingly help someone get their daughter back, how do you find the right words to that? We are just so unbelievably happy that the child was returned. We never expected it would be our blog that would be of assistance to something like this. There are so many options when you Google something and the fact that our blog popped up and helped them, it’s just…WOW. It’s an honor really. It gives us comfort in some way that if something like this happens again, our blog and others like ours is able to provide someone with some assistance.  -Mary

13. Can you name three books that have inspired you? 

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. One of my all time favorite book/movie. I was always a believer in fairy tales (I mean, what girl doesn’t right) and that book gave me a hope at a time that I needed it most. Now this book inspired Marvyn too.  We met when I visited my family here in NJ during Christmas break. I was living in California at that time. He found out that my favorite book/movie is The Notebook. When it was time for me to leave, he wrote me this lovely letter that he made me promise not to read until I got on the plane. He pretty much confessed his love for me and that he really wished we could have met in different circumstances because he would have loved to get to know me better. Well, we all know how that turned out. A happy ending for us both =)

Another one is a book called Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo. I don’t know how much of the story is actually the truth but it gave me such hope that when it is our time, we are really going to be reunited with the people we love up there.

And lastly, Chasing the Cyclone, written by my wonderful friend, Peter Thomas Senese,  is another one that inspired me. It’s a story about a father’s love, how he would go to hell and back to get his son back. Reading that book, I never imagined it would introduce us to a great cause but also introduced us to a group of amazing people.

14. What would you tell other parent blogger writers about their role in using their voice to further social causes about children? 

That, believe us, your voice matters. We never knew when we started writing about the I CARE Foundation that our voice would be heard. You always told us, Peter, that our voices are being heard and it is helping, that we are heroes as well. We had a hard time seeing ourselves as heroes just by writing something important. With the news that we helped someone get their daughter back, we still don’t see ourselves as one. It really is all because of you Peter and the I CARE Foundation. You are the hero because with you and the foundation, we never would have had the chance to help give a voice to it. -Mary

15. Jagger seems to always be smiling, and the affection that is shared with him clearly genuine. What are some of the important aspects or techniques of your and Marvyn’s parenting that you would like to share with others? 

We shower Jagger with hugs and kisses every day. We don’t take our time with him for granted. His happiness means the world to us. Some may say he is spoiled but he gets disciplined too when he acts out.  Marvyn has been chatting with one of his aunts who lives in California lately. It’s been a while since they’ve talked. And he’s shown her pictures and one of her comments was the same thing: he is always smiling and looks very happy. I don’t know what we are doing half that time but obviously we are doing something right, right? I guess one thing I can tell parents out there is to not take life so seriously. Look at life through the eyes of your child every now and again. Also, no matter how hard you feel like you have to work so you can buy your child everything they want, remember that all they really want is your time. The material things are not what is important to them. As long as your child is happy and you’re happy, things will work out for the best. -Mary

16. What are three things that you love to do? 

There are just too many to name! This is hard. But I have to choose right? So here it goes: reading, watch basketball with my boys and shopping!

17. I consider you and Marvyn heroes for you acted unselfishly and came to the aid of the I CARE Foundation when we desperately sought assistance from the parent blog writer community to help raise awareness of abduction. You have posted several articles that have made an impact on the lives of others. How important is it for each of us to find our courage and share our voice?

It is so incredibly important to share our voice. You never know who you will reach. Someone out there is searching for something and your blog may just provide the right answer. Never in a million years would I have thought writing about I CARE Foundation would eventually reach that one person who really needed it. -Mary

18. If there is anything you would like readers to know that we have not covered here, what would that be?

That Marvyn and Jagger have more shoes than me!

(End Interview)

Marvyn and Mary Tinitigan demonstrate by act that each of our voices really do matter. They have made a resounding impact on others – something I am sure they will continue to do.  Their son Jagger is very fortunate, for he has two amazing parents that are connected to enriching the human experience by sharing the wonderments of their life.

Heroes can be defined by individuals chose to act for the greater good of others.  The heroic act is the defining moment, not necessarily the final act, but the willingness to act.  In Maryvn and Mary’s case, they have acted to help others, and have made a difference for others.  And that is more than very cool!

I invite you to visit Marvyn and Mary’s website.

– Peter Thomas Senese –

Celebrating The Women In My Life on International Women’s Day

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Heroes. Child Advocates. Nurturing Parents. Freedom Fighters. Novelists. Global Leaders. Friends. Healers. Protectors Of Our Planet. Educators. Global Citizens. 

Today the world is celebrating International Women’s Day!
Every day, I celebrate the amazing women who have touched my life!

I am not a dainty guy by any means. In fact, you could say I am quite the opposite. I have kept my body, mind, and spirit fit and sharp. Professionally, I am active in the technology sector, and have been for a long time.  As a storyteller, it has been said my works have impacted the lives of many on every continent. In my philanthropy I have come to the assistance of many children who are in crisis, particularly children fighting cancer or at risk of, or who have been abducted. Holding true to my perspective that life is filled with magic, I have allowed the ‘Peter Pan’ in me to exist.  Perhaps this is why I fight the way I do with the I CARE Foundation to make sure that all the lost boys and girls in abduction’s Neverland come home.

In reflection, most of all who I am and who I have become, is because of some incredible women who have guided me throughout my life.  I know that all of who I am comes in great part because of some courageous women, who are unquestionably, my heroes.

But there is so much more.

For example, when the I CARE Foundation began our grassroots effort to raise awareness of the warning signs and risk factors of international parental child abduction and trafficking, it was only an amazing group of women who answered our call for help. And help they did!  By stewarding the educational messages of child abduction prevention, these international women – located as far away as the Philippines, Indonesia, South Africa, Kenya, England, Germany, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, and of course the United States – played a major role in a groundbreaking event: they pushed back the pandemic of international child abduction as demonstrated by the reported cases of abduction that had nearly 30 years of consecutive growth: reported abductions originating from the United States declined by 15% during 2011 and 2012!

Now granted, the majority of the parents who stood in the line of educational defense for children originated from the United States – but by the virtue of the statistical impact, it is clear that mobilized women – their hands reaching across international borders – have the incredible ability of changing the world. And this is clearly demonstrated by how a major international family issue – child abduction – has been impacted.

On this note, I would like to thank some of my friends and children warriors from all over the world for what each of you have done to assist children in crisis.  So a special thank you is extended to Maria Henderson, Carolyn Ann Vlk, Patricia Lee, Jennifer Cluff, Amanda Gammell, Patricia McKnight, Wangari Maathai, Haseena Patel, Victoria Vaccariello Swope, PJ Schott, Britnee Degenhart, Tiffany Degenhart, Nancy Carty Lepri, Mary Tinitigan, Nanette Bonilla, Angeline De Luca, Annette Fuerriero, Carmen Ducharme Rochette, Jennifer Brooks Nelissen, Linda Blair, Shannon Colonna, Abigail Kidd Mui, Ida Acconciamessa, Lyndsey Doyle, Pamela Mitchell, Ann Marquez, Aprile Mazey, Leslie Warren, Kathy Marrocco, Alicia Yamashita, Sharon Simons, Susann Gehring, Stephanie Seymour, Claire Minnaar, Willa Stock, Elisabeth Hirsch, Katie Smith, Melanie Melugin, Patsy Woo, Bobbie Anne Munsey, Heather Jones, Cascia Talbert, Amanda Coburn, Erica Kloestra, Janice Roodsari, Leah Ison, Rachel Burk, Tamara Vellozzo, Lauren Johnson, Sabrina Dennis, Laura Taft, Ewa Kelly, Erin Henderschedt, Cheryl Bullock, Connie Lee, Gennevieve Elise Derveld, Megan Slattery, Connie Lee, Jilhan Tekinapp, Sher Wheeler, Stacey Stein Eva, Eri Nelson, Kali Panago, Gwen Johnson, Rita Evelyn Yanes, Carol Rita Sylvia, Jullian Steward, Barbara Craig, Patricia Hoff, and of course Amanda of Werdyab, Janessa of Thrifty Nifty Mommy, Jule from Takes a Village, Carlia from Nest Building 101, Natasha from Serenity You, Heather from Proud Book Nerd, Dianna from Free Sample Momma, Jane from Speak Jane Speak, Rondi from WAHM Resources, Stephanie from Random Mommy Blog, Jessica from Naturally Mamas, and so many others incredible international women who I have not mentioned but surely wanted to.

Each of you is right about this world.  Each of you in your own special way bespeaks of the hope of tomorrow and the possibility of true global citizenship. And each of you has impacted my life along the way.

Today the world celebrates International Women’s Day.  Every day, in my own special way, I celebrate each of you.

Enjoy!
Jennifer Husson Cluff
Haseena Patel
Patricia McKnight
Wangari Maathai
Mary Welsh Hemingway and Jacqueline Saix
Carolyn Ann Vlk
Pam Mitchell

In case you might be wondering what I believe in . . . that’s pretty simple.

Kindest regards to all,

PETER THOMAS SENESE