THEY ARE MY CHILDREN, TOO by Catherine Meyer

THEY ARE MY CHILDREN, TOO

A Mother's Struggle for Her Sons
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Two young boys abducted by their father, their mother unable to visit or telephone, the courts delaying custody or visitation decisions as years pass—it’s a horror story. With divorce rates remaining high, tales such as this one grow more common. Separated from her husband, the author lived with her sons in England, their father in Germany. The two boys visited him regularly during school holidays, and Meyer gloried in the idea that her sons would be Euro-children, fluent in three languages (English, French, German) and comfortable on or off the Continent. In the summer of 1994, the boys headed for a scheduled vacation with their father and never returned. They live today in Germany with him and his extended family, who used the authority of local courts to override international agreements regarding abducted children. Why? The boys were discriminated against in England and taunted as “Nazi,” the relatives charged; they also claimed that while Meyer worked she left her sons in the care of strangers. She disproved all the accusations, but not to the satisfaction of Germany’s courts, which give weight to children’s preferences. Meyer’s sons, although only nine and seven years old, “expressed a strong desire” to be German—Meyer believes because they had been manipulated by their father and taught to hate her. When her German and English lawyers could do no more, she pursued her case in the British Parliament, the French Cabinet, and finally through the media in England and France, where a version of this book first appeared. She also joined international activist groups like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Now married to the British ambassador to the US, she is able to speak to her children by telephone occasionally but has not been allowed to visit. A somewhat hysterical tone weakens Meyer’s arguments, but overall this is an eye-opener regarding the international swamp that can turn Euro-parents into bureaucratic victims. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen.

Pub Date: May 7th, 1999
ISBN: 1-891620-15-0
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1999