As many of you have now heard, David was granted visitation rights after a five hour hearing in Brasilia. He will be able to see Sean in Rio within a relatively short period of time, possibly as early as Monday, assuming all parties cooperate. Congressman Chris Smith will accompany David on this visitation and Embassy staff will be there as well. All of the law suits filed by the Lins e Silvas against David have been stayed for 60 days. David will also have the right to visit Sean in the future as long as he gives appropriate advance notice.
The important aspect of the visitation agreement is that the Hague application for Sean’s return is not affected by this visitation ruling. Judge Salamão will make his decision on the jurisdictional issue (state versus federal) within two weeks. Hopefully, at that point the case will remain in the federal courts and we will get a swift return order for Sean to be sent home, which we all agree needs to happen quickly.
There were many aspects of this mediation hearing that we found troubling, and many things said about David that were unfair and unfounded, but the good news is that it looks very promising for David to see Sean FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 4.5 YEARS, so this decision must be viewed as a positive first step. Of course David’s goal, and the goal for all of us, is for this to lead to full custody for David and for father and son to be reunited as soon as possible.
Folks, we need to keep the pressure up as much as possible on these people, that cannot be emphasized enough. What we are doing is working and is making a difference in this case, there is absolutely no doubt about it. Please continue to send emails, make phone calls, and help spread awareness of this case. There is strength in numbers and the families in possession of Sean are finding this out the hard way. We also need to keep the pressure on the Brazilian government to abide by its obligation to honor and enforce the Hague Convention. Let’s not forget this case represents an illegal retention of a child that is over four years in the making.
And most importantly, these last few days have been remarkable in terms of the support David is receiving, so please keep up your hard work, together we will bring Sean home. The number of website visits, blog posts and petition signatures is up dramatically since the Dateline piece aired, and we now have over 4,300 people signed up for our email alerts. In addition to all of us, we now have support from the highest levels of the US government. Yes, it has taken a while to get to this point but we have been assured by our State Department, Congressmen, Senators and members of the new administration that this case is a priority and that our government will remain steadfast in its resolve to see Sean returned to his father.
Please continue to call your Congressmen and encourage them to join Rep. Chris Smith in sponsoring House Resolution H125. The more Congressmen who sign it, the better.