Helping Children Around the World Come Home

Posted by Susan Jacobs
May 25, 2011
Ambassador Jacobs With Officials From Brazil

National Missing Children's Day on May 25 provides an opportunity to reflect on how the United States government works to prevent international parental child abduction. Secretary Clinton recorded a message to commemorate National Missing Children's Day and the Department's other efforts to assist families in cases of international parental child abduction. You may view it here.

As Special Advisor for Children's Issues, I engage with foreign government officials on the issues of intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction. I strive to protect the welfare and interests of children by increasing the number of abducted children returned to their parents, strengthening legal safeguards and developing international relationships to resolve current abduction cases and prevent future ones.

Last week, I discussed with Brazilian officials ways to speed the reunification of left-behind parents with their children. I urged Brazil to hasten their efforts to resolve these difficult abduction cases in a timely manner through the Hague Process. We agreed to establish a working group to focus on international children's issues, and will convene our first meeting this summer. Our efforts with Brazil illustrate the State Department's global commitment to protect children and reunify families. It's my hope that we might all contribute to this mission in some way.

As Secretary Clinton said, "On this National Missing Children's Day, let's continue to stand up, speak out, and do our part to keep our most vulnerable citizens safe. And let's help children around the world come home."

If you or someone you know is a left-behind parent, or would like to discuss preventing an international abduction with our office, we urge you to contact us toll free at 1-888-407-4747or via e-mail at

Please visit our website, join us on Facebook and continue the conversation on Twitter: @ChildrensIssues.



Thomas D.
New Jersey, USA
May 30, 2011

Thomas D. in New Jersey writes:

Madam Ambassador,

Your recent efforts in Brazil and Secretary Clinton's public recognition of international parental child abduction are to be applauded.

You say "Our efforts with Brazil illustrate the State Department's global commitment to protect children and reunify families. It's my hope that we might all contribute to this mission in some way." The facts indicate that the number of abductions and the number of children being retained unlawfully are increasing. Under current policy the Dept of State does not have the tools necessary to get the job done. At a congressional hearing on May 24, 2011 Representative Chris Smith reviewed this problem in depth and pointed out that changes are needed toward which he has proposed legislation, HR 1940. This bill deserves a careful review within the Dept of State and Office of Children's Issues. It would be very helpful to American parents whose children are retained in foreign countries to hear your position regarding this proposed legislation.

Simon W.
Florida, USA
May 30, 2011

Simon W. in Florida writes:

I am waiting for my son Noan to be returned from Brazil right at this moment. I was informed that mine and another case in Rio were to be given priority by the judge after your visit.

What is your expected response time for my Hague Case to begin? What will be your actions if I am still waiting in a month? As the year anniversary of Noan's abduction to Brazil approaches, and despite the fact that all the paperwork for the '6 week Hague Process" was in Brasilia in December last year, what will be your response if the Brasil court claims that my son has been in Brazil too long as a result of their slowness in the case.

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, what is going to be your assistance to my son to help him overcome and recover from the psychological trauma of being alienated from his father for nearly a year, and if the Hague process fails... most likely for the rest of his life?

Gary W.
Missouri, USA
May 30, 2011

Gary W. in Missouri writes:

In the most polite way I can express my concern.

I know the relations with these treaty countries are valuable but in turn I KNOW they need the relations to be secured even more so.

This tragedy of child abduction and retention is easily solved thru the guidelines as outlined in the Hague Convention.

What I dont understand is when the country is Ireland one of our strongest relationships, why is it that our state dept representatives are scared to DEMAND the CA there to return the child when the parent (I) have not only proved I had custody rights and were enjoying them rights at the time of removal but also provided Ireland and the State Dept with an article 15 stating the US as the state having jurisdiction and the judge in MO. is ording the child made available? Even under article 11, I have the right to request a statement of why the delay through my CA but she says she scared it might envoke them?

If were scared to enforce them thru verbal means necessary, I must ask, just what can your Dept do on the behalf of us LBP?

With that question answered as well as we all know the State Dept can, I FULLY back the HR 1940 bill.

Carlos B.
May 30, 2011

Carlos B. in Mexico writes:

The rhetoric from State about how important this issue is, and how highly it is prioritized, will be believed when State stops taking a non-partisan stance in these cases and begins to offer genuine assistance, advocacy and advice.

Making grandiose claims about the advocacy efforts made on behalf of children and families victimized by international child abduction is worse than doing nothing.

If State's position is to sit on the sidelines and act as a paper pusher State should clearly say that so that it is clear to all parties involved that they should look elsewhere for assistance. By making empty claims of advocacy and offering up sympathetic but ultimately useless platitudes that fail to provide any meaningful or material assistance to these families you are creating the false impression that we have a high level and compassionate advocate and are obscuring the fact that we are all ultimately fighting for our children alone and preventing others form intervening to play that role.

New Jersey, USA
May 30, 2011

Vasso in New Jersey writes:

You write: I urged Brazil to hasten their efforts to resolve these difficult abduction cases in a timely manner

My question: What was their response?

We can urge all we want, but it's nothing more than "a sophisticated form or begging" (Bernie Aronson)

New Jersey, USA
June 1, 2011

Kinni in New Jersey writes:

Thank You so much for addressing the serious issue of International Child Abduction.

However, Why is it taking so long for these children to come home?

These are our young, innocent American Children who have been removed from their homes in the US and are subject to abuse by their abductors. Please bring them home to their Left Behind Parents in the US who love and miss them every day. Please recongnize International Child Abductions as a violation of the Hague treaty as well as a crime committed by the countries that protect their abductors.

Please protect our children and bring them home to their left behind parents!

Jimmie F.
November 17, 2011

Jimmie F. writes:

I really value what you’re doing here. Keep posting that way. Take care!


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