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When Parents Abduct Their Children

A parent stands in front of the local elementary school, waiting for their child to get out. The child emerges, surprised to see daddy picking them up. Daddy smiles. Scoops up his little princess. Buckles her into the back seat. And drives away. A common, everyday scene. Nothing to raise an eyebrow about, that’s for sure. Only this is no ordinary after school pickup. This is a kidnapping. And this child will never be seen by her mother again…

This happens more often than you might imagine. Many of the missing children staring at you from the back of a milk carton have been stolen by one of their own family members – usually an estranged parent; a parent who has lost custody – and a whole lot more – in an ugly divorce; a parent who may not even truly want their child as much as they want to hurt their ex-spouse. In this case, the children are used as both objects and weapons in the spousal feud.

And what is the impact of this on the child? It’s nothing less than child abuse – no matter how well-meaning the parent may be. It’s a brutalization emotionally and psychologically that can destroy a child’s sense of trust in the world. Many children are told that their mommy or daddy is dead or no longer wants them, no longer loves them. The abducted children are often given new names, new identities, forced to live in hiding. And with an unstable parent, it can even lead to physical abuse.

The abducting parent may stay on the move, from state to state, or even flee the country – making it virtually impossible for the child to ever be tracked down again. And in some case, these kidnapping have been highly plotted with other family members, like some jewel heist.

It’s a challenging issue, especially when the parent abducting the child is, in fact, the better guardian. But who has the right to determine that? The parents? A judge? A jury? And can anything justify the abuse all of this inflicts on the child?

There are many opinions. But we want yours. What do you think? Have you been the victim of such an experience? Do you know someone who has?

Many children go missing every day. Many children are brutally uprooted from their lives, never to find their mooring again. But with your help, insights, and personal experiences, some of these kidnapping might be thwarted.

With your help, some of these children may be brought home again.

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Comments from Our Readers

  "I finally after 4 years of a custody suit got my children awarded solely to me,, and unfortunately, i had to pick them up and do just this exact thing almost to get it accomplished. i was in jail overnight, and it's not the right thing to do, but then there is always two sides to every story. this happened to me back in the seventies, and then,, just as the judge awarded me sole custody, the paternal grandmother walked out of the court room, and my mom followed her: she had the children,, and was headed out of town, thank heavens they caught her,, we proved my ex tried to kill me and was on heroin,, so like i said there are two sides to every story ,, i hope yours works out or who evers story it is works out for the best,, all that matters is what is best for the children. oh by the way, i turned my self in for this act, because i was determined to prove that i would go to every lenght necessary to give my children a good home. i also let the paternal grandparents keep visitation rights after my children were adopted by second husband. after all, it was in the childrens best interest to keep seeing them. i know they loved them very much, and i couldn't take that love away from my children. why would i want to?? parents sometimes are the ones who need to grow up,, " - jesse_jean57, June 23 2009 - reply

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