The story of the kidnapping of Sean Goldman has become much more widely known in the couple of days since the US Dateline report on January 30th.
For those who don’t know, Bruna Goldman took her son Sean ‘on vacation’ to her home in Brazil in 2004. She never returned. David Goldman has struggled ever since to regain custody of Sean.
Although David has US and international law on his side, and has made frequent trips to Brazil, Brazilian authorities have refused to allow him to return Sean to the US. The situation has been complicated by Bruna’s death in 2008, and subsequent battles for custody with Bruna’s Brazilian husband.
It is tragic situation in which David and his son Sean have been treated unjustly.
But one thing that concerns me a little is that nowhere on the Bring Sean Home website is there anything about what Sean wants, or what is best for Sean. In any custody dispute the deciding factor should be what is best for the child. Children are not possessions to be divided up.
Bringing Sean ‘home’ would in fact mean taking him from what he knows as home, to a country he does not know, to a father he by now barely remembers. There is no reason to think that David Goldman is anything other than a responsible and loving father. But there is also no reason to think that his step father does not genuinely love Sean, and certainly no reason to think that he cannot provide for Sean a safe home, medical care, education, etc.
Of course if Sean does stay in Brazil, then Sean’s stepfather will have won in the end by holding out for as long as possible. He is a lawyer, he knows the Brazilian system, and perhaps has been able to use the influence of his powerful family. This was wrong. It is unfair.
But the deciding factor cannot be what is fair or not for the adults concerned, but what is right for the child.
So no, don’t bring Sean back to a home he doesn’t know. Love him enough to let him stay in the caring home he has.