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October 26, 2008



There's a fair amount of sexism in these cases, and it's insulting that so many people believe a father can't have as much of an unbreakable bond with his child as a mother does. There's this strange assumption that, eh, fathers are just there as a walking wallet anyway, and hey, you can always start another family.

In the late 1970s, my uncle divorced his wife and was granted custody of their 1-year-old daughter. Even in today's more enlightened times, you know there's probably a serious issue with the mother if a court gives custody to the father because the mother is often assumed to be the better caretaker. Not long after the court order, my uncle allowed his ex-wife to take their daughter out for a shopping trip, and with the assistance of his former father-in-law, she took the baby to Florida. Kidnapped, in essence. Florida refused to recognize the New Jersey court's decision, granted full custody to his ex-wife, and ordered my uncle to pay child support without any guaranteed visitation rights.

Very few people took his case seriously, and there were even people who said, "Ah, come on, do you really want to raise a kid yourself? You dodged a bullet. Now you're free." Would they have said the same thing to a woman? I doubt it.

And there's definitely the issue of how much Brazilians value money because wealth does tend to guarantee a better life in Brazil, but that's certainly not the case in the US. Money obviously helps, but as I learned with my own extended family, you can be part of the working poor and still have quality health insurance, access to a decent public school system, a nice house with a backyard and white picket fence, etc.

There's also a real (understandable) cynicism in Brazil about the concept of justice, that someone might be fighting for something because it's the right thing rather than because they have a selfish, ulterior motive. It seems like any cause that one undertakes needs to have a clear, tangible, winnable goal, and if there isn't one or if it seems like a significant long shot or if it puts you at considerable risk for retribution, people scratch their heads as to why you're making the effort. "What do you hope to accomplish? What do you hope to gain?"

Many of my Brazilian friends say that to me when I get pissed off about something, like how difficult I'm finding it to vote abroad and how I'm involving my state representatives and my friends in the local media to try to help me. Their favorite phrase with me is "Calma!" It's depressing that Brazilians have such little faith in the value of doing the right thing because, ultimately, it ends up benefiting society as a whole, but I do understand from a cultural perspective why this apathy and cynicism linger. You can't erase hundreds of years of history overnight.

I wish David much luck in his fight, but he has a number of hurdles to jump.


naaa... vai em português mesmo :D
Sabe o que eu acho que é o maior problema? A mídia brasileira não ter movido um dedinho sequer pra mostrar o que tá realmente acontecendo. As pessoas (maioria, pelo menos) só acreditam naquilo que a Globo mostra, esquecendo completamente de como ela é um rede de televisão manipuladora. Talvez seja porque eu estudei isso na escola, atráves do Collor e de como foi a Globo que o tirou dos poder, mas fazendo acreditar que foram os 'caras pintadas'.. hm.. ok, i do, i do, i do believe!
Meu pai mesmo, infelizmente, acredita tanto na Globo quanto na Veja, por mais que eu diga que ambos são tendecionistas. ;~
Mas é só a Globo da um pitaquinho sobre esse sequestro, mostrar REALMENTE o que tá acontecendo, que as pessoas tomarão as dores do pai e condenarão o padrasto.
Problema é: família influênte. Liberdade de imprensa aqui? hahaha esquece que isso existe.
Esperar que esse 'movimento' na internet, chame a atenção de pessoas influentes&boas, que possam fazer algo mais.
E ah, brasileiro tende a achar que sabe alguma coisa sem pesquisar nada e assim, falam coisas estúpidas.

Ah, o LLL falou de você! *-*'


Cris S.

Having been through a divorce myself, which involved child custody, I am not at all shocked by this terrible story. However, I can´t begin to think of the amount of sorrow and frustration that David must be feeling - my heart goes out to him.

You are doing a great job just writing about it in your blog and trying to make this known in Brazil. When this hits the big news, I bet people will feel they need to do something about it, that is, if there's any justice and humanity left in a society like Brazil.

Has David approached the American Ambassador in Brazil? Has he tried to talk to American authorieties in the U.S.? Since nothing has worked in Brazil so far, maybe he should keep pushing from the opposite side.

May God bless him and keep him strong.


I agree with Amanda above, about the item #1 "This story doesn't seem real". To many Brazilians, if it were real, Globo would have reported it, for them, everything Globo says is true, hence everything Globo doesn't say is not.
Shame on them! And shame on Globo (and the Brazilian press in general) for being a part of the plot by not reporting such an important issue.
I honestly believe that Brazilian people are already strong enough to get rid of this "old influential family" power, but this will not come from the Brazilian media, as it is controlled mostly by old influential families.
This is a matter of international law and family values that are cherished in Brazil as much as in USA (I'm sure Brazilian media would go crazy if it was the other way round), and the authorities omission (specially from the judges) makes the country be (understandably) seen as a "Banana Republic". But how can a country that doesn't respect international laws and, moreover, a father's right, be any better than a "Banana Republic"?
It seems to me that both governments are not responsible for the situation, but are guilty of not exerting enough legitimate pressure over those who are.


Como eu falei e sempre falo...a Bustiça no brasil so funciona pra quem tem grana. Isso é uma vergonha... so por que o padrasto é riquinho que a lei tá do lado dele???
Tente botar esse caso na tv, nos jornais, nas revistas.


I've been sending emails to Bring Sean Home, offering my help, but I don't get any answer. I really, really wanted to do something, I tried to email them to take part in the evente in Ipanema, bua I also didn't get any answer. Please, if you're doing something like events or anything, call me. I offered my help so many times, let me do something!

Paula Pedrosa

I left a comment on Nivea's Blog about Sean. Lets see if she will say something about it. I bet she'll not.It was her friend.
I didn't Know about the case. Anything I can do to help...Count on me.
Paula -São Paulo SP

Paula Pedrosa

I left a comment on Nivea's Blog about Sean. Lets see if she will say something about it. I bet she'll not.It was her friend.
I didn't Know about the case. Anything I can do to help...Count on me.
Paula -São Paulo SP

Rita B.

New article on the case.



Thank you so much for posting this. To everyone I tell this story, they ask the same questions over and over. I pray that this man has his son back really soon.

Ana Paula

A mae morreu acabou a briga devolvam o filho ao pai e fim de papo. A justica brasileira e uma piada.


Concordo com post acima, a mae ta morta, e para mim isso foi castigo de Deus, ela nao deixou o pai ter o convivio com o filho, pois Deus lhe tirou a vida pra mostrar q ela tbem nao podera ter convivio com a filha e o menino ser entregue ao seu pai. E quanto mais essas familias se oporem a lei desse jeito e tbem a lei de Deus pior sera para eles. Acordem voces nao sao mais do que Deus, tudo tem um limite , devolva Sean ao seu pai!

Andy V

Charles DeGaulle já disse: o Brasil não é um país sério. A justiça lá só funciona para os ricos, poderosos ou extremamente sortudos (que são os não ricos e não poderosos que, muito de vez em quando, conseguem algo bom na justiça). Falo de cadeira. Minha família tem um "problema" na justiça que corre há anos e, até o momento, todas as decisões foram contra nós. Não vou falar qual é o problema mas somos nós contra o governo federal. Apesar de não sermos pobrezinhos, brigar contra o governo Lula é como bater contra uma parede, impossível vencer, todos os juízes estão vendidos ao lula e ao seu partido, é terrível. No nosso caso, é o poder que vence, não a justiça. No caso aqui descrito, é ambos, poder e dinheiro. Essa história dessa mãe safada que rapta o próprio filho é surreal. Não posso nem dizer que tenho dó do que aconteceu, essa imbecil que morreu ao dar à luz a segunda filha, mas que parece coisa de Deus que mandou um castigo monstruoso para a família dela, parece, se eu acreditasse em Deus :-). Torço pelo pai e que o filho retorne ao pai, não há nenhum sentido em uma solução diferente dessa. E que Deus (lá vou eu de novo com minha não-crença, hehe) mande também castigos merecedores ao padastro e a estas duas famílias doentes do Rio. Amén.

Ernest Barteldes

As I commented elsewhere, the fact is that Sean is a Brazilian citizen as much as he is a US citizen (I was born and the US and I hold two passports). In the eyes of Brazil, he is a Brazilian citizen and they are obviously trying to protect him.

While Sean is in Brazil, US laws cannot touch him, and that is a simple fact. Of course, paternal ties are supposed to trump anything else, but as another commentator, if Florida can ignore NJ, what about another country?

Now - I agree with the theory that the deceased mom was a spoiled Carioca, and that she missed the good life in Brazil. Some people are not cut out for
suburbia. My mom was the same, and my Brazilian ex-wife behaved similarly when we moved to the US from Brazil (thankfully, there were no abductions
in either case). But let's not speak ill of the dead.

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