By A.J. Llewellyn
I love children and the nieces, nephews and assorted godchildren I have in my life are very important to me. As an author, they have inspired both Baby Kimo and the twins Kamaha and Keli'i in the Phantom Lover books (13 and counting). My niece is the model for Baby Daphne in the Black Point books I co-author with D.J. Manly.
When D.J. first suggested that our red-hot Black Point husbands Thomas and Matt should have their own child, I was all over the idea. However, I felt there should be a tug of war with the surrogate mom, an idea D.J. ran with.
I've seen this situation happen over and over again with friends where surrogate mothers and even sperm-donor dads have fought for custody rights.
Watching the dreadful circus that unfolded in Rio de Janeiro this morning with the long custody battle over 9-year old Sean Goldman, I realized how lucky Kimo and Lopaka were that they managed to get custody of their son Baby Kimo pretty easily. But that's fiction.
If you haven't been following this case the bare facts are this: A Brazilian woman, Bruna Bianchi married New Jersey resident David Goldman. They had a son, Sean. When Sean was four, she took an alleged two-week vacation to Brazil with her son.
And never came back.
She divorced Goldman, married another man and fought, with her powerful attorney husband Joao Paulo Lins e Silva, any efforts her former husband made to even see his son.
For five years, David Goldman has petitioned the courts for visitation and for a custody order to be enforced. And then Bianchi died in childbirth.
Up until the last month, this drama has played out privately. Like many custody battles, the details are shocking and cruel.
Both Bianchi's mother and her widower fought Sean's return to his father until they ran out of options this week.
What disturbed me today was how some newshounds supported the family that abducted Sean Goldman and kept his father from even seeing him for 5 long years.
In my Phantom Lover books. Kimo has magical powers. He was able to fight wrong with the help of his ancestors.
David Goldman isn't so lucky.
It isn't the first time a high-profile US child abduction case has hit international headlines (remember Elian Gonzalez?) but what disturbed me in this emotional tug-of-war was how the Brazilian family who profess to love Sean Goldman behaved this morning.
Forced by the courts to return Sean to his father, Lins e Silva, who has been able to use his legal and financial clout to prevent David Goldman from having contact with his son - in spite of several Brazilian court rulings in Goldman's favor - chose to parade the child he claims to love through the streets, the boy crying and frightened all the way to the US Embassy.
I've read all the reports and watched extensive coverage of this case and it is clear that if Joao Paulo Lins e Silva truly loved his dead wife's little boy, he would never have put him through such public trauma.
He was given much more private means of returning Sean. In the end, it is apparent that his motives are not for the love of Sean, but for the love of winning.
In spite all the hoopla, New Jersey rep Chris Smith who has helped David Goldman in his quest for justice since the beginning and was present this morning when they were reunited, said that once Sean was over his terror of the crowds, he and his dad were thrilled to be together.
"They were calm, smiling, they started talking about basketball."
Smith was also present the first and last time David Goldman got to see his son in February and said that visit too, showed the father and son adored each other.
I am certain that once the dust settles and Sean is comfortable and safe, David Goldman will allow Sean's maternal grandma to see the boy again.
All of this heartache - on both sides - could have been avoided if the child hadn't been stolen in the first place.
I feel strongly that David Goldman should not have just forgotten his kid or given up on him as some in the media suggest. He loves his son and the photos of them together from five years ago show a loving bond.
This is a story of love and I for one, am impressed that David Goldman never gave up on his kid like so many dads do. He is no deadbeat. He hasn't moved on and fathered a bunch of other kids by a bunch of other women.
He is a man who loves his son.
I hope they get to cement that bond in peace and without further interference from the family in Brazil. I heard this morning that they don't plan to contest this arrangement anymore.
Perhaps they have finally woken up and realized their only resource is to make peace with the man they denied for so long.
I am not sure how merry this Christmas will be for either side, but I think Sean's return to the father who loves him devotedly might just mean that for him, it is a very happy day indeed.
What do you think?