They Are My Children, Too is Catherine Laylle Meyer's powerful account of a mother's ultimate nightmare: suddenly, without warning, to lose her children--and to find that neither the police, nor governments, nor the courts, can help her get them back. It is also a vivid and frightening illustration of how similar violations of parental and children's rights can occur anywhere, anytime, even in the supposedly enlightened nations of the western world.
Despite the decisions of two courts, Meyer has encountered enormous obstacles to even seeing her sons, who her ex-husband abducted in 1994. And every year, tens of thousands more children in the United States and around the world are abducted by their non-custodial parent. The chances of recovering them are slim. This devastating story of the suffering and determination of one woman fighting for her children reveals an all-too-common tragedy of international scope--and lodges a plea for urgent action on behalf of children's rights.
A Note From The Author
When I took my two little boys to the airport in the summer of 1994, little did I know what a tragic turn our lives would take. Little did I know that from that day on my children and I would never be free to talk, to cuddle, to laugh and to love. After all, I was not sending my sons far, to some unknown and dangerous land, but to Germany, to see their father on summer holiday. But my boys never returned. In an instant, their whole world and mine would be shattered and I, their mother, would be unable to protect them.
In four years, I have been allowed to see Alexander and Constantin for only a few hours. In four years, I have never been allowed to be alone with them. On top of that, in the few minutes that I have managed to be with them, I had to witness the anger and resentment of two children systematically indoctrinated to believe that I have abandoned them.
How can anyone who has not lived through this barbaric experience imagine what it is like? How can anyone imagine the torment, the pain, the despair, the sleepless nights worrying and agonizing, not knowing what is happening to your children? How can I rest in peace when my children may be calling for me in their dreams, feeling frightened and abandoned--and I, their mother, am powerless to comfort them?
So that my sons will know the truth, I have written this book. It is our story: an account of the gross miscarriage of justice that has befallen us. When they grow up and are free again, Alexander and Constantin will be able to read these words and realize that I never abandoned them. They will understand that I have always loved them, but that we were caught in a legal system incapable of delivering justice.
In the meantime, other people who will read this book will realize that child abduction is much more common than supposed. Unless urgent action is taken, more lives will be destroyed and more innocent children will see their world fall apart.
In 1994, Catherine Laylle Meyer sent her sons from their home in London to stay with their father in Germany for the summer in accordance with their custody agreement. But at summer's end, he refused to send them back. The English courts ordered the children's immediate return to London under the terms of the Hague Convention. Initially, a German court upheld the English decision. But Meyer's relief did not last long.
Chapter One: Cri de Coeur
My heart is filled.
It is filled with nothing but pain.
In our London home, the three of us were packing in Alexander and Constantin's bedroom. A few hours later my sons would be leaving for their summer holiday in Germany to stay with their father. Little did we know then that this would be the end of our happy and peaceful existence. Little did we know that this would be the very last day we would be free to talk, free to cuddle, and free to love. "You won't touch anything, Mummy? Promise. I have cleared my desk...
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