For this month's Readers' Review: "Drown" -- the debut collection of short stories by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Diaz. Twenty years ago, Diaz published ten heart-breaking tales about a fragmented family from the Dominican Republic finding their way in 1980s America.
David Goldman and his Brazilian wife, Bruna, led what appeared to be a happy life in New Jersey. Then, in June 2004, Bruna took their young son Sean to Brazil for what she said would be a two-week vacation. Once there, she told her husband she was staying in South America – and keeping Sean. Her actions set in motion an international firestorm that reached the highest levels of the U. S. and Brazilian governments. Both Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama would intervene before the standoff came to an end. It would be nearly five years before David Goldman saw Sean again. He talks with Diane about his battle to bring his son home.
- Congressman Christopher Smith U. S. House of Representatives (R-New Jersey)
- David Goldman advocate to prevent international child abduction
Author Extra: David Goldman Answers Your Questions
Mr. Goldman stayed after the show to answer a few more questions.####
Q: I have the opposite problem. I am originally from Cameroun and I’m planning to take my 6 year old daughter visit my parents in Africa this summer. My ex-wife is concerned and is against this trip. How do I reassure my ex-wife that I have no intention whatsoever to keep her daughter away from her? Should I contact the State Department in advance to calm her fears?
– From Omar via Email
A: I would advise you to seek legal counseling. If you can, try to get mirror orders from courts in both countries that have a limited or specific duration of travel. Speak to an international attorney or someone who has expertise in legal issues focused on children. Speak to the State Department to see if they can recommend anyone within Cameroon who can help you if you need it. Thank you and good luck.
Q: My understanding was that she was from a rich and prominent family in brazil…does David think that she missed the old lifestyle she had enjoyed and in the end didn’t care to live the comparatively modest life in new jersey? I really admire david for his tireless efforts on behalf of his child.
– From Anne via Email
A: That’s an absolute possibility. She did say that in Brazil, she is “known.” We were just a typical family raising a child and perhaps she did want that sort of socialite lifestyle that she had in Brazil. But I’ll never truly know if that was the reason. Thank you for your question and thank you for your support.
Q: I have yet to hear an explanation as to exactly what had been motivating the mother’s family to keep Mr. Goldman away from his son and to retain custody of his son in violation of court orders. Please explain why the mother’s family had so strenuously ensured that Mr. Goldman could not take his son home for so long. – From Andrew via Facebook
A: It’s all been answered and it’s all in the courts. If you take a look at our Website, you can research court documents there and look at other opinions. We’re also helping other families there. Because of my wife and her family’s social status in Brazil, which they were open to the media about, they considered me some poor gringo. How could a wealthy, powerful family lose and not get what they want, and allow some gringo to win? For them, it was never about Sean – as evidenced when they paraded him through two blocks in Rio right before I brought him home. That’s something that still haunts him.
Q: Several listeners asked if there is a way to donate to other families who are in the midst of similar custody battles.
A: For anyone who wants to know more about the actions and efforts we’re putting forward to help other families who live and breathe this tragedy of having child abducted, please visit our Website. Thank you very much for your support and attention.
Read an Excerpt
From A Father’s Love. Copyright 2011 by David Goldman. Excerpted by kind permission of Viking.
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