Chasing The Cyclone, guest post
'Chasing The Cyclone' Best-Selling Author Peter Thomas Senese Raises Public Awareness of Growing Surge Of International Parental Child Kidnappings As I CARE Foundation Seeks New Laws That Would Protect Hundreds Of Thousands Of Children Targeted For International Abduction
A new study by the I CARE Foundation indicates that as many as 200,000 children residing in North America may be criminally internationally abducted over the next decade by one parent from the other, and the majority of targeted parents are clueless when a scheme to defraud their rights of parenting is enacted upon.
Best-selling author and filmmaker Peter Thomas Senese is truly familiar with what is clearly a rapidly growing, yet little understood form of severe abuse against a child: the act of international parental child abduction (IPCA) that is more widespread than most of us realize. In fact, not only is the international thriller writer perhaps the most published writer and filmmaker covering the subject of IPCA, but in fact, he is a left behind parent who successfully utilized the rules of international law under the Hague Convention to reunite with his child. Choosing to assist other parents and children so they may not face the hardship of cross-border abduction, Mr. Senese created an "arsenal of tools" as he refers to it that other parents can turn to in order to protect their children including leading advocacy efforts to either create or utilize state or federal laws that will prevent child abduction and human trafficking.
Mr. Senese is also the author or the critically acclaimed novel on IPCA titled 'Chasing The Cyclone' and the co-author (along with Carolyn Vlk, writer of the Florida CAPA law) of the highly informative IPCA resource guide, 'The World Turned Upside Down'. 'Chasing Parents', Mr. Senese's 10 part educational film series on IPCA is the most extensive documentary on international child stealing. And under the International Child Abduction Research and Enlightenment Foundation (I CARE) Foundation, Mr. Senese' has published an extensive number of articles and essays on this subject while maintaining one of the most extensive websites filled with a plethora of information on this issue. But perhaps outside of all of this, what makes Mr. Senese and the I CARE Foundation an authority on this subject is not the laws passes or legislative initiatives now under way, but instead, it is the number of individuals - parents and children - who were unexpectedly targeted for or had their child internationally kidnapped that Peter Thomas Senese and the I CARE Foundation helped. And there are many.
So how bad is the problem, and if this is so terrible, why are we not talking about it?
According to recent studies conducted by the I CARE Foundation Mr. Senese is the Founding Director of, and whose impressive Board of Directors includes United States Department of State Hague Convention Attorney Network lawyers Patricia M. Lee (St. Petersburg, Florida) and Joel S. Walter (New York), along with the highly respected Dr. Alex Gimon, Ph.D who possesses a long and impressive professional history in the area of clinical statistical research, child psychology and development, child advocacy, IPCA in the United States, Canada, North America, and seemingly the world, continues to rise at significant and rampant levels that resemble a plague.
Mr. Senese provided commentary, "Perhaps the biggest problem is that until recently, and due to the I CARE Foundation's reports, the public really did not know what the number of international parental child abductions were. In part this issue arose because there was no published forecasted data predicting the measurable number of 'unreported' cases of abduction, which appears to be at least equal to if not significantly higher than the reported cases in international parental child abduction. In addition, the growth rate of abduction over the past few years far exceeds the 20% growth rate we used during our analysis and research study. Our conclusions are alarming, and are based on current trends in population growth, divorce and relationship separation rates, economic issues, immigration and migratory population, new and anticipated abduction prevention laws, government and non-government organization outreach, and a host of other factors.
"Our conclusions point that there could be as many as 100,000 to 125,000 American children either abducted from the United States or illegally detained in a foreign country over the next ten years. Additionally, it is expected that Canada will lose between 17,500 and 20,000 children. Perhaps even a higher number due to the infiltration of immigrants moving there. And finally Mexico could lose a startling number of children. Our conservative estimates based on various criteria indicate that Mexico will lose well over 60,000 children in the next decade. Of this, it is expected that only 10% of all children of abduction will be reunited with their child"
Joel S. Walter, a New York City based litigator who has been practicing complex law primarily in the United States Federal Courts, including international family law, for the past 40 years and who is a board member of the I CARE Foundation added, "One of the greatest challenges parents face, particularly those parents who are in a multi-cultural marriage or partnership, is that when these relationships end, many times the parent who is a non-national of the country they are living in with their child want to return to the country they were born in and where perhaps many of their family members live. Knowing that the other partner will simply not allow them to move to another country with their child, and realizing the unlikelihood of that occurring by obtaining an order from a court of local jurisdiction, they chose to internationally abduct the child. When they due, they have committed a federal crime called kidnapping. And usually, they have committed numerous other crimes as well. The problem is that these schemes go unnoticed and too many individuals get caught off guard, and only find out that an extensive scheme had been orchestrated by the child's other parent. And once their child is gone, it is very difficult to get the child returned home. What parents need to do is become aware of the warning signs of a possible abduction threat. If a parent sees the writing on the wall, then they can act to prevent the abduction. And even that is not easy. Far from it."
I you worried? Perhaps you should be.
Patricia M. Lee, who is a senior mentor attorney for the United States Department of State's Hague Convention Attorney Network and I CARE board of director provided further insight when she said, "The legal environment for parents whose children are at risk of abduction is daunting. To begin with, targeted parents are often not aware of the other parent's imminent plans to abduct their child. All too often local courts may not realize the complex issues involved in these types of cases, and the challenging legal remedies that a targeted or left behind parent faces in order to prevent or attempt to reunite with their child, not to mention the incredible financial burden. Present loopholes in existing laws and policies make it possible for children to be abducted internationally, despite injunctive relief or federal assistance under existing programs."
So what should a parent do in light of these serious challenges. Obviously, educating yourself is critical. And whenever possible, support laws that protect against abduction such as the two U.S. legislative initiatives the I CARE Foundation is moving on.
Did you know for example that a parent can snatch a child out of the country even if the courts take their and the child's passport by simply hopping on a cruise ship and debarking in Mexico or Canada, or any other Caribbean nation by only presenting a photocopy of a child's birth certificate. Or, if the cruise ship seems a little expensive, all they have to do is walk or drive across the border and present a photocopy of a birth certificate. Under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, a child under the age of 16 years old traveling by land or sea abroad is only required to present a photocopy of a naturalization paper. This is crazy in lieu of the number of child abductions we are dealing with. And so as you can expect, Peter Thomas Senese and the I CARE Foundation are working to change this by seeking a modification on the WHTI policy whereas all individuals traveling abroad, regardless of age and type of travel must present a passport.
One other thing that is very impressive about the I CARE Foundation outside of the fact that these caring and knowledgeable advocates are creating more than a handful of miracles, is the fact that they are building a pro bono network of lawyers targeted parents of abduction can turn to for assistance.
How did this all begin?
Joel Walter commented, "I was there from the beginning when, unfortunately, Peter Thomas Senese found himself chasing the cyclone of international child abduction. Eventually, and through tireless acts that always put his child first, this remarkable man not only was able to reunite with his child, but he made a promise to one day help others. And that is Peter Thomas Senese in a nutshell, a person who works tirelessly in order to help others who are less fortunate than him. And I have seen this in so many capacities during the twenty years I have known Mr. Senese. So, the I CARE Foundation was created and funded mind you, only with our director's resources in order to make a difference for other parents because a chasing parent - Peter Thomas Senese - really cared enough about this issue and children. His body of incredible work, including the large number of parents he has helped speaks for itself. But Peter Thomas Senese keeps going. For example, over the past four months the foundation has been working diligently on creating the first international case law database dealing with international abduction. When completed, this will be an extraordinary tool for lawyers everywhere who are seeking to protect children. And at the helm of this important project is Mr. Senese, who volunteers his time and gives of his own resources to help others."
One of the ways Peter Thomas Senese has gone about trying to raise awareness is by penning the deeply inspirational international legal thriller critics are really making a big deal over called 'Chasing The Cyclone'. This is what some notable reviewers are saying:
The highly influential New York Journal of Books said of Chasing The Cyclone, "Chasing The Cyclone is a well-written thriller . . . Senese shares myriad emotions by writing in the first-person as he weaves through the action in this suspense-filled story . . . This novel might also be considered a treatise on international child abduction. Cyclone, while full of actual strategies and resources to assist parents in international abductions, is above all else a love story about a father and son ... From Los Angeles, to Canada, to New Zealand, and eventually, Macau, a special administrative region of China, Cyclone is rife with international intrigue and suspense. The protagonist, Paul Francesco, orchestrates a master plan that he hopes will reunite him with the love of his life - his son. Along the way he finds himself swamped in red tape and drenched in frustration. Filled with a plethora of powerful characters and puzzling predicaments and dead ends, the story moves quickly . . . Cyclone will leave you informed and satisfied . . . you will be reluctant to put down."
The renown Guilty Pleasures Book Review, known as one of the nation's top book critic book review sites by women for women said, "If I had to use one word to describe Chasing the Cyclone by Peter Thomas Senese it would be phenomenal. As in remarkable. Extraordinary. I have read many books over the years, for enjoyment, for education, because I had to, because I wanted to. I cannot think of any other book that comes close to making me feel as I did when I read this book. I believe these feelings will stick with me forever. This story, inspired by horrific events, is about the love between a father and a son. And that love is beautiful . . . Mr. Senese's is evidenced by a large number of sworn testimonials by many thankful parents who Mr. Senese has directly helped in either reuniting with their own child or preventing their child from being internationally abducted. Establishing the I CARE Foundation and being closely involved in the rescue attempts of abducted children is but one of the many impactful acts of Mr. Senese. Clearly, 'involved' for Mr. Senese means financially, emotionally, legally, and investigative support. His selflessness is inspiring. He is hope."
The nationally syndicated Examiner stated, "Peter Thomas Senese is a gifted storyteller who takes readers on a heart pounding journey around the globe through the eyes of Paul Francesco, a father whose 7-year old son is abducted by his mother. The writing is raw and the emotions are real . . . The story is filled with twists and turns that will leave readers scratching their heads, seething in anger, and hugging their children a little tighter . . . I highly recommend Chasing the Cyclone as a must-read. You will not be able to put it down. It may very well change the way you look at life, child custody, and interactions with your child's other parent. I cannot endorse this book strongly enough."
However, book reviews is one thing, and action is another, and Peter Thomas Senese and the I CARE Foundation are not short on acting to help other parents. (note: I am only indicating if this is a Mother - Mom, or Father - Dad, in order to keep the privacy; however, each cited statement comes from a sworn testimonial I have personally reviewed).
DAD, whose child was abducted and living in Africa for eight years speaks of the miracle Peter Thomas Senese created when he said, "On January 16th, 2012 I received a telephone call from Peter Thomas Senese. He said to me that my son was on an airplane 30,000 feet high over Africa and on his way home to the United States . . . As for Peter Thomas Senese, what can I say about this incredible man who led the efforts on all fronts to rescue my son? He asked for nothing other than for me to help others one day when my child was home, he provided financial support, emotional support, and all the necessary legal support required. I will be forever grateful to Peter Thomas Senese and the I CARE Foundation for the selfless acts and considerable kindness."
MOM, who has successfully defended against an abduction threat added, "Chasing The Cyclone and Peter Thomas Senese have assisted me and my family significantly in protecting my daughters from being parentally abducted to Saudi Arabia, where women like myself have no rights. If my children were abducted there, I would never see them again. Ever. Today, I sleep a little better due to the incredible efforts of Peter Thomas Senese, knowing that Mr. Senese has helped ensure my children's safety and has helped protect us from Chasing The Cyclone of international child abduction. Along the way, he has never asked for anything."
DAD said, "Unequivocally, Peter Thomas Senese is a tremendous person of great honor and integrity, he acts selflessly on behalf of children all across the globe, he is honest, sincere, unbowed, and willing to stand up against those that act against others. My abducted child is coming home, finally after all these years, in no small way because of the great assistance I received from Peter Thomas Senese. There is no doubt in my mind the world and our children are safer because tragically, Peter Thomas Senese found himself once Chasing The Cyclone."
MOM, a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy (reserve) and a mother said, "Mr. Senese has assisted me during legal proceedings I have initiated in order to prevent my at-risk daughter from being abducted to Brazil . . . Chasing The Cyclone as a matter-of-fact guide as to the risk factors that may indicate an abduction and legal steps to take in order to prevent this from happening. Today, my daughter resides, and this is in no small way due to the knowledge gained directly from reading Chasing The Cyclone. Mr. Senese's work and network continue to protect my daughter and other targeted children."
Mr. Senese added, "There are no fool-proof warning signs that your spouse or ex-spouse is thinking of taking your child across international borders, with or without your permission and knowledge. However, there are in fact many signs and signals that can provide you with insight that your spouse or former spouse is intending to abduct with your child. Most of all, trust your instincts. If you have reason to believe that your spouse is in the process or is contemplating the abduction of your child, you must not wait: contact your local police and a lawyer familiar with family law and custody matters. You may need to file an ex parte (an Emergency without notice filing) motion to the court of jurisdiction where the child lives, seeking court intervention prior to when the abduction or wrongful retention occurs. Under most laws, the judge will have to hear your application so long as you present enough strong and credible evidence that your spouse or ex spouse is planning to take your child across state or international borders. The most obvious warning sign is if the other parent communicates in any way that they have intent or a desire to remove the child of the relationship out of the country. In most instances, if the other parent threatens you with the idea that they are going to abduct your child, the fact is that in most cases, the abduction is already planned and may be in progress."
So what are the warning signs, and what can a parent do to protect themselves against international parental child abduction?
Please Click Here to see a full list or Warning Signs and Risk Factors. If an international parental child abduction is in progress, Please Click Here
Sometimes it takes one person to make a big difference in the lives of others. When I think about the possibility of 200,000 children disappearing and never coming home, I cringe. I can't imagine this happening to me, nor do I want to. However, awareness is critical, and Peter Thomas Senese is not simply raising the bar on awareness, but in the process, he is helping many individuals he knows, and clearly a very large number of individuals he will never meet but who are thankful that he decided to keep a promise to one day help other parents and their children.
I am happy to share that Peter Thomas Senese is donating 100% of his e-book author royalties earned from Chasing The Cyclone to the I CARE Foundation. The highly anticipated legal thriller is presently available on Amazon for Kindle readers and on Barnes & Noble for Nook readers. Mr. Senese's hardcover novel Chasing The Cyclone will be released wherever books are sold beginning in late May, 2012.