On this day, children are supposed to celebrate the joys of childhood and their family. However, for left-behind parents, we don’t know how our children are doing or if they are celebrating. In my case, I don’t even know where my children are living, where they go to school or who is taking care of them. Their mother’s address is not correct in the Japanese Family Register which was confirmed by a private investigator that I hired. All I know is that my kids have entered Japan but have not left. Their mother has decided to cut off ALL communications with me and has even refused a Department of State wellness visit to determine the children’s safety. It is hard to celebrate the joys of family when it has been unnecessarily ripped apart.
These are my children: this is Gunnar, my little buddy, and Kianna, my little princess. I often remember the times when I enjoyed life, when I would take my kids camping, canoeing, and to the theatre. They saw their first concert, Peter and the Wolf, with me at the Kennedy Center. I remember my son, when he was just 6 years old, rode 15 miles on a little kid’s bike down the WO&D trail–it was all I could do to keep up. I remember my daughter making pictures and cards for people so she could see them smile.
I would like to take a moment and talk to my kids. I hope this press conference makes it to them in Japan so they know their dad is looking for them. Gunnar, Kianna daddy loves you very much, I miss you very much. I am looking for you, I have not forgotten about you and I never will. I think about you all day and I dream about you all night. I look forward to days when I can hug you again and hold you in my arms. Don’t give up on me. We will see each other again. This is NOT your fault. This should have never happened. No nation will keep us apart.
I know what it is like to lose a parent at their age, when I was just 9 years old I lost my mother who passed away. I had to fight through that. I lost my sister, Kelly, when I was 13. I fought through that too. At 21, I entered the Navy and fought through the difficulties of boot camp. When I was 34, I even fought through colon cancer and a year of chemotherapy. I made it through those challenges in life. But today, I am in the biggest fight of my life, that is to raise my kids, a God-given right. I’m not giving up, oh no, there is no way I am giving up on this fight.
In 58 years, through numerous efforts with the Government of Japan and the Japanese family court system we have not seen one single child returned – not one. Separating a loving parent from a child is not in the best interest of our children. The best parent is both parents. These unnecessary abductions are nothing but despicable human rights violations that need to be corrected, our children are too important for this to happen. These children with dual nationality should be able to enjoy the benefits of both cultures and enjoy the love of both parents and not to be selfishly isolated from one of them.
I am not alone in this struggle. There are hundreds of other victim parents of these tragic crimes. Many are here today, but many are not. We have formed a group called ‘BAC Home – Bring Abducted Children Home’. Left-behind parents from America, Australia, and Canada have formed an organization to raise awareness around the world about abductions to Japan. Go to our website (www.bachome.org) and read the stories. Find out what you can do to help us solve these human rights tragedies being committed.
Later today we, the victim parents, will stand outside the Japanese Embassy, and with a bullhorn in hand reading this resolution word-for-word at the top of our lungs. We will read it again and again. Our message is simple, bring our abducted children home.
Thanks again to my Congressman, Jim Moran, for this much needed resolution.