David and Sean Goldman celebrate Sean’s graduation from Holmdel High School
This time of year thousands of New Jersey families, millions throughout the nation, are celebrating a major milestone in the lives of their teen aged children as they graduate from high school.
Twice this week, Sean Goldman’s graduation from Holmdel High School was described to me as a miracle.
It’s not that Sean overcame a disability or extreme hardship–miracles that should be celebrated. Sean was abducted by his mother, Bruna Bianchi, 14 years ago and taken to Brazil. Bianchi took Sean on what she said was a two week vacation to visit her family in Brazil, but once there, she divorced Sean’s father, David Goldman, and kept the four year old boy from his father. A Brazilian Court granted Bianchi a divorce. A New Jersey Court granted David custody of his son.
When Bianchi died during childbirth four years later, the international child custody case should have been over, under the terms of the Hague Convention which grants custody to a surviving biological parent. But Sean’s maternal grandparents and step-father used their wealth and political influence to thwart—temporarily as it turned out–David’s unrelenting commitment to raise his son.
Congressman Chris Smith’s International Child Abduction Bill Awaits President Obama’s Signature
Sean Goldman, 14, celebrating the passage of a child abduction bill named for him, with Congressman Chris Smith. Photo and graphic via Bring Sean Home Foundation’s facebook page
Legislation that will give the State Department tools to apply pressure on foreign government to return abducted American children that Congressman Chris Smith as been pushing through congress for five years has finally passed both the House and Senate.
The Sean and David Goldman Act first passed the House unanimously last December. With the help of Senator Bob Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the bill passed the Senate with some changes on July 16. On Friday, the House passed the Senate version.
Sean Goldman, of Tinton Falls, was four years old in June of 2004 when his mother Bruna told her husband David that she was taking the boy to her native Brazil for a two week vacation to visit her parents. Instead, Bruna divorced David in a Brazilian Court and married another man, keeping Sean in her native country.
Congressman Chris Smith listens to Patricia Apy, a Red Bank attorney, testify about the need for the State Department to step up the enforcement of the Goldman Act
While most of Washington and the media was focused on why you see the ads you see on facebook yesterday, Congressman Chris Smith and his colleagues on the House Subcommittee on Global Human Rights were focused on reuniting kidnapped children with their American parents.
Smith, as chairman of the committee, called on the Trump administration to step up where the Obama administration failed by imposing sanctions on countries that are not enforcing court orders, including from their own courts, for families suffering from international parental child abduction. Read the rest of this entry »
Congressman Chris Smith, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, will preside over a hearing this afternoon to provide an update on how well the Goldman Act is being enforced. The panel will examine inconsistencies in previous annual reports on international child abduction, which are required by the Goldman Act for the State Department to submit to Congress each year by April 30. Read the rest of this entry »
Congressman Chris Smith has had a very consequential career in the House of Representatives. His accomplishments, a few of which he discusses in this video, are very impressive. When I asked him why he is seeking a 20th term, Smith launched into a passionate litany of the difference his work has made for his constituents in New Jersey, the world, and his passion for the work yet to be done. Read the rest of this entry »
In Dec 2013, left-behind parents, Captain Paul Toland whose daughter was kidnapped in Japan; Bindu Philips of Plainsboro, N.J., whose two sons were abducted to India, and David Goldman whose son was abducted to Brazil and returned after a five year ordeal, joined Rep. Chris Smith in calling for passage of legislation, dubbed the Goldman Act (HR 3212) to help families who have been victimized by international abductions
It is rare for most congressmen to get one of there bills signed into law. Frank Pallone, for example, has only had 6 bills, two naming post offices, become law in his entire 26 year career in congress.
Congressman Chris Smith is #4 of all members of the 435 member House of Representatives in getting their bills through both houses and signed by the president. On Friday, two more of Smith’s bills became the law of the land. Families and children are better off because of Smith’s new laws.
Between ordering airstrikes in Iraq and flying off to vacation in Martha’s Vineyard on Friday, President Obama signed two separate bills sponsored by Smith. One to help prevent international child abduction and return American children now held overseas, and the other targeting $1.3 billion in federal funds to assist families touched by autism.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – “Left-behind” parents came from across the country to watch asMembers of the House of Representatives voted to unanimously pass a bill to help
Bindu Phillips of Plainsboro, N.J. addresses media at a Capitol Hill press conference. From left in rear are other “left-behind” parents Barton Hermer of Texas, Paul Toland of Maryland, Rep. Chris Smith, David Goldman of N.J., Dennis Burns of Colorado, and Arvind Chawdra of N.J.
bring home American children abducted to overseas destinations, said Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), the author of the legislation and chairman of the House congressional panel which oversees human rights.
“The bill gives us continued hope that our elected officials grasp the enormity and the severity of this ongoing injustice and pail inflicted upon these victim families torn apart because their American children have been ripped from their loving arms,” said David Goldman, of Monmouth County, N.J., who waged a five-year battle to get his son back from Brazil. He is one of the lucky parents. H.R. 3212, the “Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2013,” passed 398-0 late Thursday.
Smith has held several hearings on the heartbreaking cases of left-behind parents of American children abducted to India, Japan, Egypt, India, Brazil, Russia, England and other countries where far too few of the thousands of U.S. kids held wrongfully overseas are returned. Not all countries have signed The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the standing international treaty to try to address parental abductions via a civil framework that provides for the quick return of abducted children, and access rights to both parents. Sadly, even Hague signatories, like Brazil, often don’t enforce its provisions.