Maggie & Son Antoine

The first picture was taken on April 16, 2022 when we hosted his 1-year birthday party in Central Park, 10 days before he was abducted. The second picture was taken on November 2, 2022 the very same day when we reunited.

My whole world collapsed when I was in the airport being notified that the abductor took my son and onboarded an international flight. Since that day, I have been struggling with all the emotions to pull myself together. While I know that I am not going to be beaten up, and that I’ll do everything to fight for my baby’s return, I have been looking for a community, one that we can relate to and support each other during the journey. I have support from family and friends, but the whole situation is just too complicated for them to comprehend thoroughly.

I connected with Jules and Randall from Shine The Light through a virtual conference hosted by Istand Parent Network. They immediately took interest in my case and have kept frequent contact with me on the status of my case ever since. They both have similar situations with their child(ren) being taken but they‘ve decided to devote themselves to help other parents prevent abductions and bring their kids home. What a great cause! I feel I can count on them at any time of day or night and they are always available to lend an empathic ear to hear my struggles and provide valuable advice. I have also been able to connect with other left-behind parents in those bi-weekly support calls. It is no longer a community to me. It is a family.

When the foreign court ordered the immediate return of my son under the Hague Convention, I shared the wonderful news with my Shine The Light family. They were so excited and guided me through until my son was physically in my arms. It is THE best moment that I can hug and kiss my child again!

For those parents who are still struggling in this complex and frustrating process, I know it’s tough, but please do not give up. Reach out to the right professionals whether it’s the right lawyers, or the right therapists to get the assistance that you need. And most importantly, there is always a place in Shine The Light where you will be able to get support and valuable advice. Lastly, please take care of yourself, as you need to be healthy and ready for the day of reunification.