I read an article about the struggle of Sean Goldman’s father, David Goldman in the Brazilian magazine Época (03/07/09). I concluded the text was not fair on the father’ side. It showed that the participation of the mother (Bruna Bianchi) in the life of a child is the only participation that matters. The father who has the son removed from his life should “think about the child” and simply accept the current circunstance. He should let the mother decide if the son will have a father or not, as if the son was her property.

And what if the situation were reversed? If the father decided to go away and take the child to his country of origin, would the reaction be the same? Would people think about the years of cohabitation and the emotional ties that were formed, or would everybody fight to return the child to the suffering mother?

It is a shame that people still think that a child needs only his mother, while the father is seen as just the one who supplied the sperm. The article made it clear that, as soon as the mother left the country with the child, the father should understand--for the well being of the son--that it would be better for him to catch an airplane and come weekly to Brazil to visit. Say, every two weeks.

If the father were to come to Brazil to have contact with the child, he would have had to agree with the change made by the mother and would lose, therefore, the chance to live with him, because, let’s remember, he lives in another country.

The father came quickly to Brazil after the mother died, because he was certain he could take the child home this time. It seemed obvious: the mother had died, the father was alive. He found ways to finance lawyers and travels and that was criticized also.

Would not the mother do the same thing in a similar situation? Why is it that if a mother was to move mountains to raise money then she would be doing it to fight “for her son”, but if it is the father “it is for the money”?

David is the father of the child. Whether the parents relationship didn’t worked well or the mother left the country in bad faith, it makes no difference on the father-son relationship. David still has the right to exercise his fatherhood. Moreover, after the mother’s death he has the sole right to define the child’s destiny and not the relatives or the step father.

What is the problem if the woman works out of the house and the father stays at home to take care of the child? Does a child like a father or a mother who works outside the home any less? He was an involved father, so much that he was staying with the son while the mother went to work. He was the caregiver most of the time and suddenly was separated without anybody thinking about the “socio-emotional bond” on that occasion.

There is no evidence that the father had been aggressive or dangerous.

After we have children, we do not always have the same freedom to travel as before. At least we should not have if taking a child. The mother was unhappy, she wanted to go away, but she thought only about herself and did not matter that the son would have an absent father.

I am sure that the boy has good stepfather and the maternal relatives, good caregivers. They are people whom Sean loves. The grandmother lost the daughter; she helps to take care of the grandson who has no mother. It’s is very sad. If she were separated from the grandson it would mean still greater sadness for her. But why is it not sadness for the father to be separated from his son? I am a stepmother and I know that it is quite possible to come to love a child of four years, but how is the love of the stepfather so true, and the love of the father so invalidated?

To maintain, even at a distance, a link between the child and his father, would not be important to help the child to keep the English? But they make a point of saying that the child hardly remembers of his native language, possibly in order to present one more factor that could make a change in custody more difficult.

Now it is alleged that much time has passed and the socio-emotional contact is all in Brazil. This is a low blow. It is obvious that a long time of the child’s life is in Brazil and taking him away immediately is no longer viable. However, he is 8 years old and will be very capable of adapting quickly and well to the changes as long as he is not pressured by someone who does not want him to leave. If the father receives the right to take him away, I will be totally in favour of them having the opportunity to live together in the United States to rescue the relationship and form an emotional bond. The child would come to Brazil to spend school breaks with his maternal family. After a while, if the child wishes to return and live in Brazil, fine, if the father agrees. Then they could still spend school breaks together. At least they would have the opportunity to live together, in spite of the former abrupt separation.

The child is very well in Brazil. He has a loving family, an attentive step-father, an excellent school, but none of this can be more important than a present father.

The father preferred to follow the law in order to get the son returned to his country of origin, but the years passed and now the boy has his emotional bonds in Brazil. In this case the father becomes the villain, guilty of wanting to change the life of his son. The Brazilian family members are invalidating the father. Is this good for the child? Saying that the father doesn’t work, that he was a terrible sexual partner, that he is only interested in the son’s money—is this for the good of the child?

I read in the Estado de São Paulo (03/08/09) that the father is giving up his right to the son’s inheritance. It was even necessary for him to do this. Why can’t people believe that a father might just want to be a father? Why is it that just the mother is seen as someone who fights for the child with no second intentions?

After so many years, the return of this child to his original country needs to be gradual. Should the father win the right to take him, the ideal would be for him to stay in Brazil a few months, having regular contact with the son in order to form a bond. In meanwhile the maternal relatives and stepfather should not make any opposite pressure on the children and only think of the well being of the child, and so follow the judicial decision that the child will return to the United States with his father.

If they want the father simply and naively understand that the son is already settled in Brazil, let’s see if they will also understand and accept an eventual court decision to allow David to take his son back home.

Roberta Palermo

Family Therapist

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