I learned about David Goldman’s story a year ago. I was touched by it and it spoke deeply to me as a Brazilian woman, as someone who had been married to a foreigner and as someone who loves her children. I also have a strong sense of injustice and I felt I could help him with my knowledge of Brazilian culture and history and my Portuguese skills. And the one year journey of being involved in this case thus began.
Along with many other supporters, many of them Brazilians like myself, our bumpy ride included days of hope, days of fury, days of despair and hopelessness, days of joy, nights with imsomnia, days of sadness, neglecting of work and spouses and friends. My friends noticed I was calling them less. I spent countless hours on the www.bringseanhome.org website. I wrote an enormous amount of letters to politicians, media personalities and bloggers both in Brazil and in the USA. I wrote tons of comments on articles about the case in the Brazilian and American media, defending David.
This case has become the biggest success story I know of engaging a huge amount of people to help someone through the internet. I do not remember the internet being used to mobilize efforts of this magnitude before.
The satisfaction I am having seeing this case solved is undescribable. I always believed in the “sacred”, or natural, right of a mother or father in raising their children, unless there is a major impediment such as drug abuse, mental illness, phsyical and emotional abuse, extreme poverty and neglect. David was a perfectly capable father, and a superb one until his son was ripped apart from him cruelly and drastically.
There was a lot of talk about the best interests of the child. The best interest of a child is to be with a loving parent. Studies have shown over and over that children raised by grandparents, uncles or aunts and step-parents do not get the same quality of attention they get from a parent.
A 9 year old child may think he knows what he wants, but we all know that at the age of 9 you just don’t have the maturity to know what really is the best for you. A parent is the only person who should decide on what’s best for the child, providing they are capable. In the absence of BOTH parents, than it is the grandparents, other relatives or whoever the State determines.
I think Sean will obviously miss his maternal grandparents, his step-father, his nanny and his half-sister, but he will also adjust to his new life and will gradually miss them less. Unfortunately, at this point, the Brazilian family is not showing any signs of emotional intelligence with this case, by spreading more lies and twisting the truth. Instead of trying to build a bridge to David, they continue shooting their own feet. David has said many times he would allow them visitation, but they are confusing their status of GRANDMOTHER and EX-STEP-FATHER with that of a parent. Grandparents and former step-parents can VISIT a child, but do not normally raise them when there is a capable parent. How many times do we all have to repeat that to the maternal family?
With all that has happened in the last few days, there is a strong probability that Silvana Bianchi Ribeiro, the grandmother, and Joao Paulo Lins e Silva, the step-father, will be a bad influence on the child’s adpatation to his new life with his father. We have not seen them praise David to Sean or try to make Sean’s transition easier. If it were my child, I would monitor each and every contact from them until I felt that they could be a positive influence instead of a malicious one. Sean needs time to feel comfortable with his father and regain the bond they once had. David has his extended family (great parents, sister, brother in law, nephew and niece) very close by, and that will help Sean have a sense of belonging.
As a child who was 4 when I first came to the United States with my family and 9 when I moved back to Brazil, I know Sean will adapt quickly. Children are so incredibly resilient, specially when they they have love and protection from their parents. They learn languages, they make friends and adapt to the new routines much faster than adults do.
Watch here for the first steps Sean and David are taking together to have a productive and happy life ahead of them:
Here’s to Sean and David!
One of the trends that I predict we will see growing in the near future is the proliferation of teleworking centers. The word teleworking brings to mind working from home, which is the most common, especially amongst government workers.
The current administration has been making a push towards teleworking, which now involves about 20 percent of the workforce. Typically, people telework only one or two days a week. There is resistance in allowing workers to telecommute every day of the week, because middle management particularly have the “out of sight, out of control” mentality. There is a lack of trust on how their employees will use their time, and visions of them lying on their sofas watching Oprah and eating popcorn come to mind. However, the nature of work has changed considerably. The majority of office work is computer based. Results can be measured by productivity, and not by physical presence in an office.
The advantages of telework are already well known. Less cars in the road, less traffic and pollution. Less dependance on foreign oil, less expenses, less stress. Workers can be close to their children’s schools and participate more actively in their communities.
With the suburbanization of America, people are living further and further away from work. For employers, teleworkers can mean less office space, cutting rent costs. Unfortunately, workers in the service, construction, security, medical and educational fields will not be able to take advantage of teleworking.
With the advancements on technology, such as wide band internet access and high definition flat screens for teleconferencing, you can really do almost everything from a remote location. However, not everyone has the equipment and the appropriate environment at home to work comfortably and in privacy, like those with small children, dogs and no office space except a kitchen table. Add to that the fact that being home alone 5 days a week can be very isolating and boring.
That is when the new concept of teleworking centers comes into play. Teleworking centers are offices located in specific neighborhoods, to cater to office worker within a 5 mile radius. Workers can quickly drive or walk to these centers, where they will find a fully equipped office space. Not only that, they will be able to interact with other workers in a common space such a lounge or a break room. They will have available IT help with their computers. They can be visited by a telework coordinator from time to time.
I think telework centers will change the face of America. You can see the trend starting with the town centers in the Washington DC area. New town centers, replicating the old city centers of the 1900’s, with plenty of walking space, started popping up. Reston Town Center in the Northern Virginia suburb and the Kentlands in Montgomery County, MD, are successful examples. With telework centers in every American suburb, we will improve the quality of life of many people.
My dream teleworking center would have:
1) A private office space with state of the art computers
2) A gym
3) A coffee shop close by
4) A lounge area to socialize
5) A kitchen
6) Secure entrance
7) Restaurants and food services nearby
8) And, last but not least, a NAP room. Yes, you heard it right. A nap room with a timer where people could take a short nap to restore themselves. After all, office work can get boring…and make you sleepy. Quality of life after all!
I had the wonderful opportunity to be present at the Congressional hearing on international abduction promoted by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ). Several congressmen present, as well as Brazilian and American media and the witnesses. The testimonies from the Left Behind Parents were touching and powerful.
David Goldman’s testimony was specially moving. I sat there thinking: everbody knows cases of parents, specially some fathers, who do not want the headache of raising their children, and this man is going through all this trouble just to be able to have a normal life with HIS son.
I also met and talked to some of these left behind parents. And after one year involved in David’s case, I finally met him. My impression of him can be defined by these adjectives: a composed, balanced, warm, classy, good human being. The kind of father every woman would wish for her child. So why, why is this father deprived of raising his own son?
Here is the answer: the selfishness of a jealous second husband, the immorality of the mother’s family, the emptiness, emotional disorder and clinginess of a grandmother, the irresponsability of those who support them and the corruption in the Brazilian Judiciary.
For details on the hearing and to read all the testimonies, go to: www.bringseanhome/forum/showthread.php?t=2222
To watch David’s testimony at the hearing, click here: http://gallery.me.com/costavideo#101263
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