Jade and Leo divorced when their daughter Meri was 8 years old. Shortly after the split, Leo failed to return Meri after a weekend visit. When Jade’s phone calls went unanswered she became worried and went to Leo’s apartment, only to discover he had moved with no forwarding address. Over a year had passed before Jade called Child Find. She said it had taken her the better part of that year to discover that Leo had taken Meri to Mexico. She had recently learned he was driving her into the United States daily, to her school just over the border. Now that Jade finally had been awarded custody, she was unsure of how she should handle the reunification. She feared that over the past 15 months Leo had been telling Meri that her mom was no longer interested in her. Child Find’s caseworker worked with Jade preparing for the reunification process, providing resources for mental health and support issues. Jade was encouraged to think through her options and next steps regarding her role in Meri’s future relationship with Leo i.e. What would be the consequences of pressing charges? Denying access? Were there safety issues? Was there a chance of re-abduction? Talking it through with her caseworker, Jade was able to create a plan she believed would be in her daughter’s best interest. The day before she and local law enforcement were scheduled to pick up Meri at her school, Jade called Child Find for emotional support – to talk it out one more time. A month later her caseworker received her email:
I wanted to let you know after quite the ordeal I was successful on picking Meri up. Her reaction was amazing and she simply said mommy I have been waiting for you. Law enforcement was very helpful and I couldn’t be more grateful for all the help people were so willing to give. I was asked by law enforcement if I wanted to press charges and because of our conversation the day prior I decided against proceeding with charges. I wanted to thank your organization for the service you provide. Meri is doing amazing in her new school and has joined a summer basketball league. I know that she misses her dad and really wishes he would return to the states for a visit and I support her in her feelings and I am working hard to help facilitate the continued growth of a relationship between her and her dad. I just wanted to let you know we have a very happy ending.