Miami International, today.

It is a very sad story that breaks my heart every time I think about it. My only son Tyler was taken from me by force after I sent him to visit his father in Africa for the summer in 2001 and he promptly filed for custody in Kenya after the summer was up, essentially "stealing" the child from me. He is an American citizen & at the time of the ordeal, I had contacted the State Dept. in Washington for help, but there was little they could do since it had become a court case which had to play itself out.

I went over to Kenya where I once lived, to fight this court case all by myself. I was young & naieve and was sure I was going to leave the continent with my son in tow. The case & airfare & hotel for a month cost me a fortune, coming from a third world country & meager income. The ordeal left me traumatized still to this day. I lost to a powerful man in Kenya who has the means to pay off everyone including the judges. He ended up getting custody until the kid is 18 & I didn't stand a chance. My father had wanted to join me in Kenya at the time only to kidnap the child back & told me not to bother with a court case in a corrupt country, I was wasting my time & money. He had already lined up a few Muscle men from the Ugandan army to help us cross the borders & break the father's knee-caps (as he put it).
In the end, I felt like that was too risky to all our lives so I tried to do it the right way through the legal system & declined my Dad's offer.
The judge ruled against me as he expected, but ruled I get him for the summers until 18. So, I get a few weeks a year & even sometimes, the father will not honor that, but I will never put myself through another court case I decided long ago.

Last year, The father did not send my child - changing schools was the excuse. You can imagine how happy & excited I was today to see my son again after two years. He is a smart, handsome young man and I am very proud of him. Of course I never want him to return to Africa, but my son insists to return every time, as he has grown close to his father over the last years & says if I don't send him back, he will find a way to return. It is always bitter sweet to see him for I know it wont be long before he is gone again & his departure always leaves me broken-hearted & on edge. Ever since 2001, the constant terrible realization that I have no immediate family to share my life with hits me like a ton of bricks and makes me a very sad gal. I hate my single solitary life mostly on Holidays like Christmas or birthdays or Mother's Day. I really wanted to be a full time mother to Tyler. Even though I am surrounded by people all the time, there is that persistent emptiness.
Since motherhood didn't work out the way I expected and deep within, has eaten away at me for years, I am reluctant to have another child. The pain associated with the loss of something you love so much is intense but I find the positive - like my friend Catdance would say: "at least he is not dead and there is much hope left".
Finding a life partner & lifetime friend to fill the void left by my son's absence has proven to be even more difficult. Life is tough when you struggle on your own, but I continue to roll with the punches and am beginning to love my independence & freedom.



Sandy A. said…
I am happy that you are getting to spend time with Tyler! Maybe when he is older he will chose to come live with you. He is a nice-looking young man!
Thank you so much Sandy, Tyler & I will have a great summer, I hope you do too. Come by & visit when you are in Belize again.
Sandy A. said…
I will, thanks! Want to check out Caye Caulker more!
Lizette said…
Welcome back cousin Tyler...it's great to have you back again!!! Will see you and cousin T in Caye Caulker for Lobster Fest!!
Beach Bum said…
Thanks for sharing some painful history. I can't even imagine what you went through. But Tyler is a handsome kid. I hope things work out.