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Offline SageDad

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Evansville's Missing People: Life without Adam
« on: July 21, 2011, 01:32:00 AM »
Evansville's Missing People: Life without Adam
Adam Shahin was taken by is father to Egypt 3 years ago without is mother's consent.

By Jared Council
Posted July 16, 2011 at 9:53 p.m., updated July 16, 2011 at 11:39 p.m.

http://www.courierpress.com/news/2011/jul/16/life-without-adam/#

EVANSVILLE — On April 9, almost three years after Evansville resident Charity Shahin last saw her son Adam, she wrote an email to his Egyptian father asking if she could she at least talk to him.

According to Charity Shahin, 33, Yasser Shahin responded: "Adam has a new life. Don't mess with his head. Please leave him alone."

Adam Shahin was almost 4-years-old when his father took him out of the country without his mother's required consent.


MOLLY BARTELS/Courier & Press Charity Shahin cries as she talks about how she hasn't seen her son, Adam, since 2008, at her home in Evansville on Thursday, June 23, 2011. Shahin's husband at the time, Yasser Shahin, fled the United States with Adam, who was 3 at the time, for his home country of Egypt in 2008.

Adam Shahin seen here in Egypt in 2010, was taken by his father, Yasser Shahin, right, from the United States to Egypt in 2008. Adam was 3 at the time. Adam's mother, Charity Shahin, has not seen him since then.
"I just wish I could hold him in my arms," she said.

The U.S. State Department Office of Child Issues says cases like Adam's are becoming more common. In the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2006, some 642 foreign abduction or wrongful retention cases were filed. In fiscal year 2009, the most recent year of data, that number was 1,142.

"There are definitely some complexities associated with international abductions," said Maureen Heads of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, a nonprofit aid group. "You're dealing with foreign governments, foreign laws and, at times, countries that may not recognize this as a problem or a crime at all."

Like missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer, Adam Shahin is on the national missing persons' list, but his case demonstrates that grief can still be widespread and deep, even when his loved ones know his location.

Adam was a soccer-loving Spiderman fanatic who had everyone's affection and little, if any, fear, his mother said. He would swim without "arm floaties," Shahin said, scaring her when he plunged into pools from diving boards. He surfaced every time.

"He was just brilliant," said Shahin about the brown-haired, brown-eyed boy who knew how to log onto PBSkids.org by himself at age 2. He also showed some musical propensities, likely because his constant companion and older sister Ashley played tunes all the time.

One summer night in 2007, Shahin walked in on him and Ashley singing Rick James' "Superfreak."

"She's a very kinky girl," Shahin recalled Adam singing, shaking his fingers and using a broom stick as his microphone.

"They were inseparable," said Shahin about the siblings, a day short of being exactly 11 years apart.

That was the last summer they spent with Adam, and Shahin suggested that time doesn't always heal.

"Adam was born on July 11 and Ashley was born on July 12," Shahin said, weeping. "And ever since he's been gone, she's never had a happy birthday because it's too hard on her."

Foreign flight

Charity Shahin depicted Yasser Shahin as a money-hungry gas station owner who insisted that his son grow up a Muslim. Charity said she wore headscarves and went to Mosques at his request, but, "It wasn't for me."

An email sent last month to Yasser seeking comment for this article was not answered.

On Nov. 8, 2007, according to court records, Yasser filed for divorce.

The couple had earlier divorced in 2006 and then remarried "for the children," Shahin said, but the second time around Yasser filed for divorce, she said.

"He thought by filing he would get custody of Adam," she said, "and he wanted to ensure Adam would be Muslim."

Before the divorce was finalized, Yasser picked up Adam for weekend visitation in April 2008 and fled the country while Charity was hospitalized.

"It's obvious that this was thought out and planned," said Evansville Police Department detective Robert Waller. "Dad got visitation, got an emergency passport and exited the country through Chicago."

According to the U.S. Bureau of Consular affairs, effective Feb. 1, 2008, "U.S. passport applications for children under the age of 16 require both parents' or legal guardians' consent."

Charity said she didn't consent.

She said she wondered how Yasser was able to leave with Adam under that provision. Through research and correspondence with the Consulate of Egypt in Chicago, she discovered that foreigners with U.S. born children may apply for passports with only one parent's consent.

Officials at the consulate could not be reached for comment.

Life without Adam

Shahin said she's seen Yasser's postings on Facebook, including pictures of Adam swimming, blowing out candles on his fifth birthday and even participating with his father in demonstrations that swept the North African nation earlier this year.

She said the postings confirm that Adam's alive and his location, which is better than the alternative.

But it's still painful.

Adam's second cousins still ask for him. His former preschool staff members do, too, Shahin said. One even brought his colorings and school work to her. Mixed emotions followed.

There is an international effort to deter and resolve such abductions.

Titled the 1980 Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, or the convention, 68 member countries work together (to varying degrees) to return children to their "left-behind parents."

According to Office of Child Issues data, 1,621 children were abducted to, or wrongfully retained, in foreign countries in fiscal 2009. Of the 434 children returned to the U.S., 74 percent came from convention partner countries.

"In some of The Hague convention countries that have a very good system in place, the likelihood of return is very high," said Heads.

Egypt is not a convention member.

What can be done?

When Yasser Shahin failed to appear for a divorce hearing in June 2007, Vanderburgh County Superior Court gave Charity Shahin sole custody of Adam.

Little can be done with that declaration.

"We just can't go in and pick (Adam) up and bring him back, even though we have custody orders from Vanderburgh County courts," said detective Waller.

Waller noted that local police are working with government and non-government officials to facilitate a return, but very little can be done with Egypt not being a convention member.

This leaves Charity Shahin with two options: Wait until Adam travels to a convention country, or go to Egypt and fight for custody in its court system.

If Adam's passport is reviewed upon entering a convention country, his missing person listing in the international crime database should alert officials, Waller said, and they could prohibit further travel.

"They cannot detain Yasser," Waller said, "but they could detain Adam and hold him until mom could get there."

That's if Adam enters a convention country.

Success via the second option seems more unlikely, Waller and Shahin said.

"First off, I'm a woman," Shahin said about fighting for custody in Egypt. "Second off, I'm an American, and I'll definitely lose."

With those being the only paths to seeing her son while he's still young, Shahin acknowledged the chances are slim. And according to the Office of Child Issues, the more time that passes, the worse the situation becomes.

In its 2010 annual report to Congress, the office said: "If and when children are reunited with their (left-behind parent), the reunification process may be difficult. They may find that they no longer have a relationship with that parent or even a common language."

The report goes on to state that children abducted when very young may not even remember life with the left-behind parent.

Shahin, fighting to hold back tears as Ashley, soon to be 18, turned in a swivel chair and looked, said: "I just pray that he hasn't forgotten any of us."
“What you seek is seeking you.”
― Rumi

Offline M.Capestro

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Re: Evansville's Missing People: Life without Adam
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2011, 08:32:44 AM »
Quote
According to the U.S. Bureau of Consular affairs, effective Feb. 1, 2008, "U.S. passport applications for children under the age of 16 require both parents' or legal guardians' consent."

Charity said she didn't consent.

She said she wondered how Yasser was able to leave with Adam under that provision. Through research and correspondence with the Consulate of Egypt in Chicago, she discovered that foreigners with U.S. born children may apply for passports with only one parent's consent.

In other words, the Consulate of Egypt aided and abetted the kidnapper by issuing the passport without the consent of both parents.

Something needs to be done to require consulates based in the US to follow US law when issuing passports otherwise what good are US exit controls if the consulate's home country only requires one signature for the issuance of passports. Perhaps we can suggest this be added to H.R. 1940. If a country is seeking financial aid from the US, this is one of the requirements the country must meet in order to be provided that aid.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2011, 08:34:19 AM by M.Capestro »

Offline rmakielski

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Re: Evansville's Missing People: Life without Adam
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2011, 12:35:42 PM »
Quote
Something needs to be done to require consulates based in the US to follow US law when issuing passports otherwise what good are US exit controls if the consulate's home country only requires one signature for the issuance of passports.

Of all the countries I have traveled, US and Mexico are have the most lax exit controls. If a child's passport was issued prior to any conflict between parents, which was the fact in my case, there is no check. There need to be a standardized check for minors traveling. Not only will this help prevent abductions but can also help prevent some forms of human trafficking.
I place the my children rights above my own; Children have the right to have a relationship with both parents; I stand against domestic violence and child abuse; The amicable return of Abducted children is the best solution; I will obey the laws of the United States

Offline Rpaikin

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Re: Evansville's Missing People: Life without Adam
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2011, 02:13:53 PM »
Canada is lax, too. The airlines have to get strict about this. I know of many examples where single parents leave the country with kids on vacation (or whatever) and are never asked for letter of authorizations. And even if they do ask, they would accept anything on a piece of paper. What is the solution? Notarized letters. Airlines must ask for notarized letters. The notary should also authorize who is the parent. Any comments on this?

Offline ProudDaddy

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Re: Evansville's Missing People: Life without Adam
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2011, 03:06:43 PM »
Quote
According to the U.S. Bureau of Consular affairs, effective Feb. 1, 2008, "U.S. passport applications for children under the age of 16 require both parents' or legal guardians' consent."

Charity said she didn't consent.

She said she wondered how Yasser was able to leave with Adam under that provision. Through research and correspondence with the Consulate of Egypt in Chicago, she discovered that foreigners with U.S. born children may apply for passports with only one parent's consent.

In other words, the Consulate of Egypt aided and abetted the kidnapper by issuing the passport without the consent of both parents.

Something needs to be done to require consulates based in the US to follow US law when issuing passports otherwise what good are US exit controls if the consulate's home country only requires one signature for the issuance of passports. Perhaps we can suggest this be added to H.R. 1940. If a country is seeking financial aid from the US, this is one of the requirements the country must meet in order to be provided that aid.

Brazil also grants citizenship (and a passport) to anyone born on foreign lands to a Brazilian parent. And the other, non-Brazilian, parent does not have to agree on the passport issuance. Other countries do likewise and the US State Dept cannot interfere as the matter belongs to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Offline M.Capestro

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Re: Evansville's Missing People: Life without Adam
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2011, 04:19:47 PM »
Brazil also grants citizenship (and a passport) to anyone born on foreign lands to a Brazilian parent. And the other, non-Brazilian, parent does not have to agree on the passport issuance. Other countries do likewise and the US State Dept cannot interfere as the matter belongs to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

I don't believe this is accurate. It's my understanding that Brazilian Consulates based in the US require the signature of both parents to issue / renew Brazilian passports.

Offline Rpaikin

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Re: Evansville's Missing People: Life without Adam
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2011, 04:30:46 PM »
Japan also does this. They will give a travel document to the child of one Japanese parent.

Offline ProudDaddy

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Re: Evansville's Missing People: Life without Adam
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2011, 04:31:41 PM »
Brazil also grants citizenship (and a passport) to anyone born on foreign lands to a Brazilian parent. And the other, non-Brazilian, parent does not have to agree on the passport issuance. Other countries do likewise and the US State Dept cannot interfere as the matter belongs to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

I don't believe this is accurate. It's my understanding that Brazilian Consulates based in the US require the signature of both parents to issue / renew Brazilian passports.
Well, this is what I've been told. I will check with an acquaintance of mine who is a Brazilian diplomat. I will let you know.

Offline momoftwo

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Re: Evansville's Missing People: Life without Adam
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2011, 03:12:37 AM »
All of the stories and all of the facts seem to suggest that, no matter how vigilant a parent may be (if they're lucky enough to suspect ahead of time that their child is at risk for IPCA), if the other parent has it in their mind to do something like this, there just are absolutely not enough controls to prevent it, short of abducting the child him/herself to another location in the original country.  That, of course, is only an option however if the parent wants to have their official custody taken away and be sent to prison.  It just disgusts me to read the statements made by OCI in these types of articles or interviews...with all of their feigned concern and sincerity. 

Offline ProudDaddy

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Re: Evansville's Missing People: Life without Adam
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2011, 08:03:08 AM »
Brazil also grants citizenship (and a passport) to anyone born on foreign lands to a Brazilian parent. And the other, non-Brazilian, parent does not have to agree on the passport issuance. Other countries do likewise and the US State Dept cannot interfere as the matter belongs to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

I don't believe this is accurate. It's my understanding that Brazilian Consulates based in the US require the signature of both parents to issue / renew Brazilian passports.
Well, this is what I've been told. I will check with an acquaintance of mine who is a Brazilian diplomat. I will let you know.

OK, this is what my acquaintance told me:

- The Brazilian citizenship is granted to anyone born from at least one Brazilian parent, no matter where the birth takes place (in Brazil or elsewhere).

- There is no distinction in citizenship by being born in Brazilian or any foreign land.

- This is an "automatic right" and the parents don't have to request it. Nor can they reject it (and there are some interesting stories here).

As for the Brazilian passport issuance:

- if the child's custody is shared by both parents then both have to request the passport for the child. This is done by filling in and signing an specif form.

- the Brazilian parent must go in person to a consulate with the form in order to request the passport.

- if the non-Brazilian parent cannot go to the consulate as well his/her signature must be notarized.

- if the custody of the child belongs to only one of the parents then the non-custodial parent's permission is not necessary.

- in this case the custodial parent must show up court documents proving the custody rights. The docs must be notarized as well.

- it doesn't matter if the custodial parent is non-Brazilian.

Sorry for the confusion (and hopefully I am not creating more of it...  :rolleyes:)

Offline SageDad

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Re: Evansville's Missing People: Life without Adam
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2011, 01:40:24 PM »

OK, this is what my acquaintance told me:

- The Brazilian citizenship is granted to anyone born from at least one Brazilian parent, no matter where the birth takes place (in Brazil or elsewhere).

- There is no distinction in citizenship by being born in Brazilian or any foreign land.

- This is an "automatic right" and the parents don't have to request it. Nor can they reject it (and there are some interesting stories here).

As for the Brazilian passport issuance:

- if the child's custody is shared by both parents then both have to request the passport for the child. This is done by filling in and signing an specif form.

- the Brazilian parent must go in person to a consulate with the form in order to request the passport.

- if the non-Brazilian parent cannot go to the consulate as well his/her signature must be notarized.

- if the custody of the child belongs to only one of the parents then the non-custodial parent's permission is not necessary.

- in this case the custodial parent must show up court documents proving the custody rights. The docs must be notarized as well.

- it doesn't matter if the custodial parent is non-Brazilian.

Sorry for the confusion (and hopefully I am not creating more of it...  :rolleyes:)

Luckily in the US it's very hard to find a notary that's willing to fraudulently notarize something...  :rolleyes:

Afterall, in order to be Notary in the US you have to be at least 18 years old and take a 3 hour class.
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Offline Rpaikin

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Re: Evansville's Missing People: Life without Adam
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2011, 09:49:01 AM »

Luckily in the US it's very hard to find a notary that's willing to fraudulently notarize something...  :rolleyes:

Afterall, in order to be Notary in the US you have to be at least 18 years old and take a 3 hour class.
[/quote]

I get the sarcasm. . The lawyer I use for notarizations keeps a copy of the relevant papers (eg. First page of passport). The airlines should keep a copy of the notarized letter. This way, fraud can be detected. Your ex probably will not have the first page of the passport. And who can fake signatures that accurately?

If it is found that the child travelled with fake documents, this should be treated as travelling on a fake passport. Extradited to the place of origin.

Offline SageDad

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Re: Evansville's Missing People: Life without Adam
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2011, 03:01:27 PM »

I get the sarcasm. . The lawyer I use for notarizations keeps a copy of the relevant papers (eg. First page of passport). The airlines should keep a copy of the notarized letter. This way, fraud can be detected. Your ex probably will not have the first page of the passport. And who can fake signatures that accurately?

If it is found that the child travelled with fake documents, this should be treated as travelling on a fake passport. Extradited to the place of origin.

Except once someone gets out of the country with a child basically no one cares what kind of fraud they committed to do so.

With rare exception, in order for something to be considered a crime in Mexico, the act must be committed in Mexican territory so it doesn't matter how much fraud they committed to get past immigration, border patrol and airline safeguards.  While, in theory, the US could request extradition in such a case they rarely request extradition for the actual abduction of the child, so I think it highly unlikely they will request it for some documentation fraud.  Unless the abductor steals some money or something of "real value" while taking the child the USDOJ isn't all that interested in pursuing extradition.
“What you seek is seeking you.”
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Offline StrngConviction

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Re: Evansville's Missing People: Life without Adam
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2011, 04:55:31 PM »
Liberty and Justice for ALL .
 huh?
Oh I meant Justice for whom they see fit to be justified ...
 wait , that aint the way its suppose to be !
 ya , we know Gary , hush .
 deadhorse
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Offline StrngConviction

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Re: Evansville's Missing People: Life without Adam
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2011, 05:05:23 PM »
With even the DHS  Border Patrol Dept Officer telling the State of Missouri's OCI( while they were investigating her for child neglect) that she intended to forge my name to abduct the children to Ireland and even advised them to take the police with them , all they did was withhold the information from me  .... Ya
Sweet justice . And now that she is there living with whom the US considers a "menace to society " and with warrants for bad checks and ongoing investigations by federal officials  for meth and heroin operations ,Ireland is going to let my Son decide whats in his best interest ......
Ya lets see how far your false passports will get your children . I can almost guarentee you only as far as the abductor plans on taking them and no further .
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