Cosponsor the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2013

From: The Honorable Christopher H. Smith
Bill: H.R. 3212
Date: 10/8/2013

Cosponsor the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2013

Co-Sponsors:  James Moran, Michael Burgess, George Holding, Joseph KennedyDan Lipinski, Mark Meadows, Juan VargasBrad Sherman, Frank Wolf

Organizations:  National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Bring Sean Home Foundation, BacHome, Kizuna Child-Parent Reunion, The Japan Children’s Rights Network, iChapeau Association, Children’s Rights Council of Japan, James Moran, Michael Burgess, George Holding, Joseph KennedyDan Lipinski, Mark Meadows, Juan VargasBrad Sherman, Frank Wolf,

Dear Colleague,

I urge you to cosponsor the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2013 (H.R. 3212).  Please respond by Thursday, October 10, at 10 am.

Most, if not every, member of Congress has constituents suffering the pain of separation, crippling worry, and interminable waiting caused by international parental child abduction.  More than one thousand outgoing international child abductions are reported to the State Department Office of Children’s Issues every year.  Abducted children are at risk of serious emotional and psychological problems and have been found to experience anxiety, eating problems, nightmares, mood swings, sleep disturbances, aggressive behavior, resentment, guilt and fearfulness, and as adults may struggle with identity issues, personal relationships, and parenting.

In 1983, the U.S. joined the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abduction in order to have a non-criminal, legal framework for the quick and orderly resolution of abductions.  However, 40% of abductions occur to countries where the Hague Convention does not apply.  Even where it does apply, less than half of our children are coming home.

David Goldman and his son Sean know this only too well.  Sean’s mother took him on a two week vacation to Brazil only to arrive and call Sean’s father to tell him that their marriage was over, that she was staying in Brazil, and that she was keeping Sean there regardless of David’s custody rights as his father.  It was a textbook case of “wrongful retention” abduction—a clear violation of the Hague Convention.  Although Brazil was a signatory to the Hague Convention and should have returned Sean to the United States within 6 weeks, David and Sean suffered numbing setbacks and delays in Brazil’s courts for 4 years.  David was never allowed to see his son; Sean was deprived of his right to see his father.  Even after David’s wife died and David was the only living parent, Brazil still would not return Sean to the United States.

The House of Representatives intervened and passed legislation (H. Res. 125) spotlighting the issue of international child abduction and calling on Brazil to abide by its commitments under the Hague Convention and immediately return Sean Goldman to the United States.  There were multiple press conferences, congressional letters and trips to Brazil.  Multiple levers were pulled and eventually Sean came home.

While the State Department’s cumulative case numbers are conceded to be incomplete and unreliable, we know there are at least one thousand new international abductions every year in which children are taken from the U.S. to a foreign country and separated from their American parent.  All of these children need assertive intervention from our government.

To that end, I have introduced H.R. 3212, to empower the President to respond with a range of a dozen mutually reinforcing sanctions against a country that has been persistently non-cooperative in the resolution of abduction cases.  My bill would also empower the Secretary of State to enter into Memoranda of Understanding with non-Hague countries for the quick and orderly return of American children who have been abducted to countries that are not signatories to the Convention, including the children of U.S. servicemen and women who are kidnapped from parents serving overseas.  H.R. 3212 will also ensure that the State Department, which is already designated by U.S. law to facilitate Hague Convention cases, is more accountable to parents and is reporting all relevant information that will assist U.S. judges in determinations of custody and travel for children when abduction is a risk. The State Department must advocate on behalf of U.S. citizen and left-behind parents and their children.

Now is the time to act.  We can and must do more when a country refuses to return abducted American children.  We can and must do all we can to bring our children home.

If you have any questions about the Goldman Act, please feel free to contact Piero Tozzi at (202) 225-3765 or or Allison Hollabaugh at



Member of Congress


Member of Congress

In a previous posting we had provided an email address to send your information to, but instead please submit your application via the following link:

Here is a link to video of the protest at the Consulate-General of Japan booth at the Aki Matsuri festival at the Bellevue College Main Campus in Bellevue, WA:

Thanks to Jeffery Morehouse and Randy Collins of BACHome for their hard work on this.  They have contacted all 85 Senate offices that have not yet co-sponsored Senate Resolution 543 and are continuing to follow up with them, and they need your help with this effort.  Please contact senators you are constituents of and ask them to co-sponsor and support this legislation.
The following is a link to the site with contact information for the Senate offices, and we have also republished it below for your immediate reference.

Contact Your Senator About Intl. Child Abduction

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

In 2011 at least 1367 American children were abducted by a parent to a foreign country. Most will never have a chance to come home to their families and communities in the U.S.

You can help today by emailing your U.S. Senator(s) and urging them to co-sponsor Senate Resolution 543

Here’s how:

1) Use the chart below to find your Senator(s)

2) If they haven’t already co-sponsored, click the email link to their staff member

3) Email them* (Optionally you can call)

4) Ask your friends and family to do the same by sending them this link.

With your commitment to help we can create change to protect families in the future and help bring abducted children home now.



Subject Line: S. Res 543- International Parental Child Abduction

I am a registered voter and a constituent. I would like the Senator to co-sponsor Senate Resolution 543

because American children need to be protected. In 2011 alone, at least 1367 American children were abducted by a parent to a foreign country.

Sincerely Yours,

[First & Last Name]

[City, State]


URGENT: The Deadline to Contact Your Senator(s) to Co-Sponsor S. Res 543 is in 16 days, 9 hours, 45 minutes

First Last Name State First Last e-mail address Phone            (202 Area Code) S. Res. 543                      Co-sponsor Status
Mark Begich AK David Ramseur 224-3004
Lisa Murkowski AK Nathan Bergerbest 224-6665
Richard Shelby AL Kevin Kane 224-5744
John Boozman AR Toni-Marie Higgins 224-4843
Mark Pryor AR Sarah Holland 224-2353
Jon Kyl AZ Tim Morrison 224-4521
John McCain AZ Elizabeth Lopez 224-2235
Barbara Boxer CA Ariana Reks 224-3553 Sponsor
Diane Feinstein CA Richard Harper 224-3841 Co-sponsor
Michael Bennet CO Sergio Gonzales 224-5852
Mark Udall CO Casey Howard 224-5941
Richard Blumenthal CT Ethan Saxon 224-2823
Joe Lieberman CT ? ? ? 224-4041
Thomas Carper DE Olivia Hayden 224-2441
Christopher Coons DE Halie Soifer 224-5042
Bill Nelson FL Marin Stein 224-5274
Marco Rubio FL Victor Cervino 224-3041 Co-sponsor
Saxby Chambliss GA Brandon Bell 224-3521
Johnny Isakson GA Chris Sullivan 224-3643
Daniel Akaka HI Nick Ikeda 224-6361
Daniel Inouye HI Mary Yoshioka 224-3934
Chuck Grassley IA Kurt Kovarik 224-3744
Tom Harkin IA Rosemary Gutierrez 224-3254
Mike Crapo ID Ken Flanz 224-6142
James Risch ID Chris Socha 224-2752
Richard Durbin IL Ms. Erum Ibrahim 224-2152
Mark Kirk IL Gretchen Blum 224-2854 Co-sponsor
Daniel Coats IN Terry Snell 224-5623
Richard Lugar* IN Keith Luse 224-4814 Co-sponsor
Jerry Moran KS Jason Wiens 224-6521
Pat Roberts KS Theda Owens 224-4774
Mitch McConnell KY Reb Brownell 224-2541
Rand Paul KY Brandon Brooker 224-4343
Mary Landrieu LA Libby Whitbeck 224-5824 Co-sponsor
David Vitter LA Josh Hodges 224-4623
Scott Brown MA William Wright 224-4543
John Kerry** MA Jeremy D’Aliosio jeremy_d’ 224-2742 Co-sponsor
Benjamin Cardin MD Katharine Beamer 224-4524 Co-sponsor
Barbara Mikulski MD Erin Neill 224-4654 Co-sponsor
Susan Collins ME Peter Halvorsen 224-2523
Olympia Snowe ME Don Green 224-5344
Carl Levin MI Michael Kuiken 224-6221
Debbie Stabenow MI Doug Messana 224-4822
Al Franken MN Jeff Lomonaco 224-5641
Amy Klobuchar MN Marian Grove 224-3244
Roy Blunt MO Brian Diffell 224-5721
Claire McCaskill MO Jason Rauch 224-6154
Thad Cochran MS Will Todd 224-5054
Roger Wicker MS Sarah Drake 224-6253
Max Baucus MT Brittany Beaulieu 224-2651
Jon Tester MT Tony McClain 224-2644
Richard Burr NC Cynthia Ramos 224-3154
Kay Hagan NC Rikkia Ramsey 224-6342
Kent Conrad ND Nathaniel Luvtosky 224-2043
John Hoeven ND Josh Carter 224-2551
Mike Johanns NE Erin Jeffery 224-4224
Ben Nelson NE Ryan Ehly 224-6551
Kelly Ayotte NH Brad Bowman 224-3324
Jeanne Shaheen NH Joel Colony 224-2841
Frank Lautenberg NJ Allison Peters 224-3224 Co-sponsor
Robert Menendez NJ Ryan Sellinger 224-4744
Jeff Bingaman NM Jeffry Phan 224-5521
Tom Udall NM Matthew Padilla 224-6621
Dean Heller NV Josh Finestone 224-6244
Harry Reid NV Jessica Lewis 224-3542
Kirsten Gillibrand NY Elena Broitman 224-4451 Co-sponsor
Chuck Schumer NY Erin Vaughn 224-6542
Sherrod Brown OH Doug Babcock 224-2315
Rob Portman OH Brent Bombach 224-3353
Tom Coburn OK Jeremy Hayes 224-5754
James Inhofe OK Joel Starr 224-4721 Co-sponsor
Jeff Merkley OR Will White 224-3753 Co-sponsor
Ron Wyden OR Isaiah Akin 224-5244
Robert Casey PA Damian Murphy 224-6324
Patrick Toomey PA Dan Adelstein 224-4254
Jack Reed RI Carolyn Chuhta 224-4642
Sheldon Whitehouse RI Ben Weiner 224-2921
Jim DeMint SC Robert Moore 224-6121
Lindsey Graham SC Matt Rimkunas 224-5972
Tim Johnson SD Karen Kunze 224-5842
John Thune SD Jason VanBeek 224-2321
Lamar Alexander TN Erin Reif 224-4944
Bob Corker TN Stacie Oliver 224-3344
John Cornyn TX E. Grace Smitham 224-2934
Kay Bailey Hutchison TX Coalter Baker 224-5922
Orrin Hatch UT William Castle 224-5251
Mike Lee UT Miriam Harmer 224-5444
Mark Warner VA Manica Noziglia 224-2023
Jim Webb VA Marta McLellanRoss 224-4024
Patrick Leahy VT Tim Rieser 224-4242 Co-sponsor
Bernard Sanders VT Huck Gutman 224-5141
Maria Cantwell WA Spencer Launer 224-3441
Patty Murray WA Lauren Renee Overman 224-4607 Co-sponsor
Ron Johnson WI Alan Elias 224-5323
Herb Kohl WI Harry Stein 224-5653
Joe Manchin WV Mr. Lee Garton 224-3954
John Rockefeller WV Nate Adler 224-6472
John Barrasso WY Amber Bland 224-6441
Michael Enzi WY Wendy Gnehm 224-3424


If you are in the Seattle area, come join in the protest at the Consulate-General of Japan booth at the Aki Matsuri festival at the Bellevue College Main Campus 3000 Landerholm Circle SE, Bellevue, WA 98007. Contact Jeffery Morehouse with any specific questions. We will meet up at the Tully’s Coffee at 3080 148th Ave SE, Bellevue, WA 98007 to hand out the “Black Hole” t-shirts in advance.


Parents urge Japan to return abducted children

BY  · JULY 10, 2012 · NO COMMENTS

Jeffrey and Mochi

Imagine getting a phone call stating that your children have been kidnapped. Your spouse has taken your kids to Japan, using the country’s laws to maintain custody. Every day becomes an exhausting task of contacting government officials to help, but little is accomplished.

This scenario is very real to Patrick McPike and the parents of nearly 400 abducted U.S. children living in Japan. Including Japanese children, an estimated 10,000 have been abducted by parents within Japan.

Japan has never returned any of them.

McPike traveled with his family to Japan to complete an assignment for his company. His marriage strained and his wife did the unthinkable.

“It seemed like a good opportunity to provide my wife’s family with an opportunity to spend some time with their grandchildren while they were still young,” McPike said. “When my assignment was up and it was time to come home, my wife abducted the children.”

McPike’s wife cut him off from communication with his two sons, Kai and Koh. The children became victims of Japanese law, which treats child abduction as a custody dispute rather than a felony crime. His wife is living in Japan, but could not be reached or found for comment.

Japan’s view of child abduction is different from the rest of the world. They are not a member of The Hague Convention – a treaty designed to return internationally abducted children to their home nations – and their courts favor one parent having sole custody. In 90 percent of cases, the rights go to the mother.

Japan is revising laws to open the possibility ratifying The Hague, but these changes may not be a total acceptance of The Hague in its current form.

“If we look at the domestic laws submitted by the government in order to execute the Convention, changes have been made with current Japanese public opinion and family court practices in mind, and it is questionable whether the intent of the Hague Convention has been incorporated,” said Takao Tanase, a professor who specializes in Japanese law.

During a U.S. Department of State briefing on U.S. child abductions to Japan, Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell spoke about persuading Japan to join The Hague.

“The President also very strongly affirmed the Japanese decision to enter into The Hague Convention,” Campbell said. “He asked that these steps be taken clearly and that the necessary implementing legislation would be addressed.

“This is a human tragedy, that unless you get to experience and get to know these brave parents, it’s just impossible to imagine,” Campbell said.

Getting Japan to join The Hague would be helpful, but McPike says it will not be enough, by itself, to bring back all the missing children.

“The Hague is not enforceable,” McPike said. “The decision to comply with a Hague return is determined by the courts of the abducting country. To solve the problem requires reform of the Japanese system.  They need to hold courts and judges responsible for following the law.  They need to enforce kidnapping laws consistently and they need to provide for joint-custody.”

There have also been concerns about the lack of action from the U.S. per policy, the U.S. Department of State has not formally requested from Japan the return of any abducted U.S. children.

Kai and Koh together laughing in happier times. (Courtesy photo.)

Susan Jacobs, a special adviser for children’s issues for the U.S. Department of State, said that individual cases are raised with the permission of parents and the parents are updated on these discussions. However, most parents say they have not been told of their personal cases being discussed with Japanese government officials.

Ironically, Japan refuses to return U.S. children but they want their own citizens who are abducted to be returned. From 1978-1981, about 16 Japanese teenagers were abducted by North Korea. Five of those children were returned and about six have died. The others are still missing. Japan has come to the U.S. and the U.N. asking for help to get North Korea to return these children.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama have met with Japanese families and assured they would provide help. Yet they have not met with any U.S. parents about their children being abducted to Japan, giving the appearance that they are more concerned with helping Japan.

Parents also question efforts by the U.S. Department of State because of the Mary Lake case.

In 2005, William Lake’s daughter was abducted by his ex-wife and taken to Japan. No one in the Lake family was Japanese, but William’s ex-wife knew of Japan’s custody laws.

On August 24, 2011, Mary Lake went to the U.S. Consulate in Japan and spoke with an official who told her to return home to her abductor since she did not have the money for a plane ticket to the states. Pressure was put on the U.S. Consulate and they aided Mary Lake’s effort to go home to her father the second time.

The return of Mary Lake gave parents of abducted children a small glimmer of hope for their own cases. For McPike and others like Jeffrey Morehouse and Randy Collins, getting their children back has become a daily job.

Morehouse and Collins serve as regional directors for Bring Abducted Children Home (BACHome), an organization established in 2010 to raise awareness of the missing U.S. citizen children kidnapped to in Japan.

Both men testified before the California State Senate Judiciary Committee for Senate Bill 1206 – Child Abduction Prevention. This is just one of many hearings they have attended to gather support.

During his testimony, Morehouse explained that he dropped his son Mochi off with his ex-wife for a parental visit in 2010. His ex-wife had threatened to kidnap Mochi before but the passport policy stated “when both parents have custody of the child, and the child is taken out of the country by one of the parents without consent of the other parent, it is punishable by criminal law.”

The Portland consulate violated the policy and provided his ex-wife with the passport for Mochi. Six days later he received a phone call from the police telling him his wife and child were missing. His wife kidnapped their son to Japan.

“In that moment, my life was shattered,” Morehouse said. “My days became consumed with dealing with local law enforcement, the U.S. Department of State, Japanese consular officials and anything I could think of to find my little boy.

“Every morning I wake up twice. The first time, I rush out of bed and prepare to get him ready for school. I can hear his voice in my head and my heart skips a beat. And then I really wake up and realize he’s still missing. The ongoing nightmare continues. The last time I held his hand, the last time I heard his voice was on Father’s Day 2010 and I’m still spending every day trying to locate my son.”

Morehouse, Collins and the other members of BacHome continue to exhaust their resources to locate their children.

They recently wrote a letter in advance of Clinton’s July 8 trip to Japan. Urging officials to help return their children, it was addressed to the Prime Minister to the Los Angeles consulate, four other Japanese consulates, members of the media, the Department of State, White House Office staff, all U.S. Senate offices, and members of the House of Representatives.

During Clinton’s visit about 40 parents of abducted children in Japan participated in a rally attempting to secure her help in pressuring Japan to address the issue of child custody.

Parents will continue to fight and hope that those in charge take notice and urge Japan to return their children.

“Imagine that tomorrow your child is going to be abducted,” Collins said. “What would you do today to prevent that from happening tomorrow?”

“I haven’t seen or heard from my son in almost four years. I don’t know what he’s thinking. But I did everything my government told me I was supposed to do to protect my son. I did everything that the courts told me to do to protect my son. Nobody protected my son.”

Very well written, by Douglass Berg of Bachome:

BACHome (Bring Abducted Children Home) parents and members sent Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., a letter concerning his upcoming meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister. BACHome is urging the Vice President to publicly address the ongoing issue of children taken from the United States and abducted to Japan. At the time of BACHome’s letter to Vice President Biden, there were 123 known active cases, involving 173 American children who remain detained in Japan by their abducting parent.



BACHome (Bring Abducted Children Home) parents and members sent Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., a letter concerning his upcoming meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan. BACHome is urging the Vice President to publicly address the ongoing issue of children taken from the United States and abducted to Japan. BACHome is also encouraging the Vice President to discuss this heartbreaking and grave issue while in his private meeting with the Prime Minister.

Currently the U.S. Department of State has been successful in resolving zero cases. At the time of BACHome’s letter to Vice President Biden, there were 123 known active cases, involving 173 American children who remain detained in Japan by their abducting parent. Neither diplomatic or political means nor the Japanese courts have been able to come to a positive resolution concerning not just American citizens abducted to Japan, but from other countries as well.

The closed-door negotiations between the U.S. Department of State and the Japanese governmen have come to a crawl. During his testimony at a July 28th Congressional hearing, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Dr. Kurt Campbell made a comparison to the similar problem we had with Germany in the 1990s and how it was resolved. At that time, U.S. President Clinton stepped in making strong, public statements, which then lead Germany to take action and resolve open cases. Today, the Obama Administration finds itself experiencing the same ongoing problem with Japan. BACHome and other parents hope Vice President Biden will take up a similar leadership role during his trip to Japan.

Vice President Biden will be meeting with Prime Minister Naoto Kan, between August 22nd and August 24th. The Prime Minister is scheduled for a future visit to the United States, in September 2011.

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Phone: (703) 300-3411