It is twelve years today since I last saw my youngest daughter, Sarah. At the time, she was twelve years and thirteen days old. In a few weeks when Christmas arrives, I will have not seen my Daughter for more than half of her life.
And what atrocity occurred to warrant this segregation of Daughter and Father?
Her Mother and I divorced.
Weeks after our divorce, her Mother remarried, and later had a child with the other man. Sarah became the “lost” child, as her Mother began to fabricate a life for her new family. Apparently, unnoticed by her Mother, Sarah slipped into a life of vice and crime, and like all divorced Fathers, I found out about it too late. Upon learning of her situation, when I telephoned Sarah’s school principal, I was informed that Sarah was “a child at risk.”
I telephoned her Mother and suggested that Sarah reside with me, where Sarah could be monitored and have oversight while she corrected her ways and got on with her schooling. Within seven days of that conversation, her Mother absconded with our child, fled across three State lines, and took up residency in a jurisdiction where I had no reach.
Had I done those same actions, there would be Amber alerts, wall to wall television coverage until the child was found, and then, I would have been swiftly incarcerated. But, because it was her Mother that broke the same Federal and State laws that I am bound to, there would be no repercussions, no enforcement and no consequences.
Her Mother would rather destroy the child, than co parent with me.
And I would have to start over, again. Except this time, I would have to restart the documentation to ensure access to our child with another country, another state, another government and another school.
The slippage of time would rob me of her 13th through 21st birthdays. I would not know of her milestone events, her health, her academic awards, or her graduation. There would be no Christmas or holidays together, and my Father became collateral damage, unable to see his Grandchild. This would be in addition, to whatever lies the child was told about me.
When the telephone went unanswered at our scheduled calling time, her mail began to be returned. Scrawled in her Mother’s handwriting on the envelopes and packages were the words “no longer at this address”.
It would be years before I could classify her Mother’s actions as “Parental Alienation.” I’d always treated her Mothers actions as nothing less than child abduction, albeit the discovery was after the fact.
A parent knows within minutes, sometimes hours, when their child is abducted. An alienated parent doesn’t find out until much later.
The parent of an abducted child has multiple law enforcement agencies chasing down leads, investigating sightings and sharing information. An alienated parent has to do their own leg work.
The parent of an abducted child fears for their child’s life. An alienated parent fears that the child will never recover their life.
The parent of an abducted child knows that the longer it takes, the less likelihood the child will be found. An alienated parent usually starts at this point, as they learn of what has already occurred. They are playing from behind the moment they discover that their child has been “abducted”. For me, it was almost nine months before I uncovered that Sarah was “a child at risk”. A perpetrator given nine months head start knows that the authorities have little chance of catching them.
It is too late for my youngest daughter, Sarah. If She is still alive, She is now an adult who chooses to have no contact with her Father. It is reasonable to assume that Sarah was told lies by her Mother, which She accepted as truth, as I was not physically present to refute them. My only hope is to wait until my daughter questions one of those lies, and then seeks me out to verify. I pray that Sarah has better critical thinking skills that Her Mother. Sarah’s Mother is also the daughter of an alienated Father.
Before we were married, her Mother and I were walking along the beach together when we ran into her Father. In the weeks thereafter, Sarah’s Mother sought clarity over the horror stories that Her Mother had told, and her Father refuted them. When Sarah’s Mother independently verified her Father’s version, She learned that Her Mother had manufactured the stories about her Father, in order to cover up immoral sins. Sarah’s Mother choose not to repair the relationship with her Father, because She could not accept that her Mother’s account of her Father’s absence in her life, were all lies.
It is twelve years today since I last saw my youngest daughter, Sarah. At the time she was twelve years and thirteen days old. You can diminish the actions of her Mother to “Parental Alienation” as much as you like, but as her Father, this is the story of the abduction of my youngest daughter, Sarah.