Bring My Children Home–A Plea From an American Mother of Saudi Children

The biggest fear of any non-Saudi mother of Saudi children is the potential that she might someday lose access to her children. Hands down.

Every wife of a Saudi that I personally know, whether in a happy marriage or not, has the what if in the back of her mind. What if he takes the children, what if he divorces me and kicks me out of the country, what if…what if…what if. This is, in part, what brought me to and keeps me in Saudi Arabia, to be frank.

There are no exit controls in the States. There is no documentation that needs to be shown for a child to travel out of the country with only one parent. There is no one at the airport who can stop it from happening. There is no list for the names of children or parents that will flag a possible abduction. Saudi fathers can easily get new passports and be out of the country before the mother knows anything about it. And once the children enter Saudi Arabia, they are Saudis first and only. The US government has no jurisdiction here in Saudi Arabia and they will not be able to help. This really does happen. It’s not common, but it happens. Because although it’s illegal, there’s nothing in place to stop it from happening.

Please watch the video, share with your friends, sign the petition. Help this mother. She needs all the help she can get. Pray for her and the others like her.

“My children were internationally abducted by their father on November 24th, 2013, during a scheduled, unsupervised visit, in violation of our custody agreement. Since then, I have been desperately seeking help in having them returned. In the US, I have spoken to the FBI, the State Department, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Representative Tom Marino, Senator Bob Casey, and it seems that nobody is capable of helping me. After attempting to contact the Saudi Embassy and the Saudi Consulate in New York every single day for 2 months, I did have a meeting with an individual in the Saudi Citizen Services section in New York on January 13th, who assured me that they would do anything possible to reunite me with my children. I have heard nothing since then, and repeated phone calls have not been returned or have revealed no information, despite the fact that the employees there seemed convinced that Majed had in fact broken Saudi laws in order to obtain the passports he needed to take the children. My hope now is to petition President Obama himself, who is traveling to Saudi Arabia at the end of March, to address the fact that Saudi Arabia is a “safe haven” for parental kidnappers. Please share this video, along with the petition to bring this matter to the President’s attention. I need my children, and they need me. “

change.org petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/president-obama-first-lady-michell-obama-royal-embassy-of-saudi-arabia-help-return-my-kidnapped-children

Local news story about Jessica’s situation: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/12/custody_kidnaping_saudi_arabia.html

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24 thoughts on “Bring My Children Home–A Plea From an American Mother of Saudi Children

  1. This is very sad, if her children are young then they should be with her. However this is a very well known thing with Saudi men. Everyone should learn from this. If you are a non saudi, white, not living in Saudi with hem… you should expect him to take of unexpectedly, especially with children. I will sign the petition InshaAllah.

  2. jessica you say you lived in saudi for ten years, so your husband never kept you and the children there and not leaving. he trusted you when he left saudi with the kids and you. you say he never divorced you back in saudi. that means a lot if he didnt- he doesnt want to disconnect permanently from you and you from the kids. you are the one that divorced. one of the key words in the article you said was ”he was concerned of the boys getting the education that he wanted for them, which is most likely arabic and islam. so that is your problem with your ex husband. he needs to have them educated in his country. maybe stop all this media so you can find a solution to the problem. you have to also think of his feelings also. he wants his boys you want your boys also. compromise. stop panicking you know your ex more than anyone. he thought he knew you but didnt expect you to just up and do what you did. those boys are beautiful and sweet.. tell him you want to find a solution to this problem and you understand it hurts to take the children away from each other and your sorry. tell him you at least want him to send the young one back to you for medical care and you will send him back and you really have to send him back. this is the start of trust. but take the stuff off youtube. so embarrassing for the kids. he loves his kids and if he cares for the young ones health he will agree. just let him start with one boy. and let him know you are sorry and now you know what it feels like. seems it will work slowly, because he likes the states and you also. i know im giving advice to you without knowing the whole picture, but if anything helps your family is worth a try. like UTA she sacrifices to be in her situation for the sake of the family. and most likely it is the same reason- he wants the daughter educated in saudi.

    • Oh man, j…

      I hate to respond negatively to someone who obviously means well, such as you, but so much of what you said is so incredibly flawed, and it absolutely pains me as someone who knows the extent of Jessica’s past and ongoing efforts. On top of her situation, she is also contending with people blaming her from all sides, especially non-Muslims in the states, but also in comments like yours, which insinuate that she had not only done something in error, but that she is the one being inconsiderate, and that she has no right to seek legal recourse or plea for help from our government to protect her rights. I understand that her options are so limited, but she is considering each and every one of them, no matter how slight the chances are that they will succeed.

      Telling her that she needs to be more mindful of the feelings of a man who would do such injustice to her and her son, knowing full well the pain that this would cause Jessica and the children, is disheartening on so many levels. Telling her that she needs to be more mindful of the feelings of the man who removed a child with special needs who requires critical developmental therapy, knowing full well the damage that this will do to the child, and that her only right is to crawl to him and beg for his mercy, or that she is somehow embarrassing her children by informing the public of the truth of their illegal abduction in an attempt to recover them, is adding insult to injury.

      You stated that you don’t know the full story, j, so please understand why it is therefore not always appropriate to make the assumptions you made. Not to mention that the plight of wives in Saudi Arabia is such that she could be placing her freedom and livelihood into his hands if she came to Saudi Arabia as his wife, even just to visit the children. Not every woman is lucky enough to be able to trust her husband, and not everyone even has the opportunity to do what undertheabaya is so bravely doing for her daughter. She is facing the very real possibility that, like women before her, she will not again see her children in person until they are adults, if ever again.

      I really hope you and those like you will reconsider how you speak of people in such situations. You are well-meaning, and thank you for it, but also please be empathetic, please be merciful. She does not need more pain than she has now.

      Lise

    • This is thoroughly disturbing. This is not a place that I will allow people to come to attack, critique, or question Jessica’s experiences, motives, actions, or intentions. She needs support and if you cannot offer it, please kindly keep your thoughts to yourself.
      This man took her children without her knowledge, breaking numerous laws in the process. She doesn’t owe him anything. Nada. Especially not her pity, understanding, or cooperation. And please, PLEASE do not use my situation to try to convince Jessica or any other woman that this is the right thing to do. I’m in hell a lot of the time, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

  3. you are right i dont know what their past was and i did state that i really didnt know. im now assuming he was physical abusive from the way you stress her situation. but i shouldnt even assume that either, but what i do know is that no american has ever had her government help her get her kids out of saudi. the president is not going to go there and mention her at all. maybe clinton would if she was there. but i will eat my words if obama does. there were women that took their case all the way to the top trying to fight for their kids return. it never happened. i say to her to calm things out and wait to think of what is the right direction. petitions dont work with this country and will never work. and i say she knows him best so to think of how to deal with him the best way. my advise is not wrong. and she needs her family to let him know they are on his side and they will not let her keep the kids from him. but she is starting with the one boy that needs medical help. she needs to let him know the other two boys are fine with him and to let the youngest come back for more care and she will send him back because he will miss his brothers. it is important that she send the boy back if he sends him. and im not heartless here. i could write something along the lines of the first comment above. but dont listen to me if you dont want to. but do those things and you will have your one boy before summers up. and that is the start to getting all back. dont think like a victim or you will scare him.

    • j,

      My problem was not with advising her to try to compromise with the father, but rather the language you used and the assumptions you made, saying that she was embarrassing her children and that she needs to be considerate of the father’s feelings, or that the divorce not being finalized means that he still wants her, or that he didn’t expect her to up and want a separation as though it wasn’t a right of hers under any circumstance, et cetera et cetera.

      As for what you say about the petition, we all know that ultimately there is not much that has ever been done successfully in these cases. But suffice it to say that she is attacking this from all angles, and that there is a lot more to this story, especially on the father and his family’s end, than you have read in the news–details that I believe would change your opinion that the only way to sway the father is to buddy up to him for years until he trusts her again, or whatever it is you have in mind as a good resolution for her. But, as she has not gone around telling people these details, let us just agree that those who do not know the full story should not speculate like that. Indeed, even those who do know the full story cannot claim to understand precisely what she is going through or has gone through with her husband. And, yes, this goes for speculating that he was physically abusing her, too.

      She truly appreciates any and all help, but, j, I just ask that we all please be careful with how we present it to her, and to keep in mind that the way we say these things and the assumptions we make can really just further hurt or anger the victims of this case, who are not only Jessica, but the members of her family. They are in a very dark place right now, as you can imagine.

      As I said, I do understand that you have good intentions, and I don’t think you’d want to come off as offensive, so I hope you will understand where I am coming from with this.

      -Lise

  4. Mandi,
    Is there anyway you can put me in touch with the other Jessica so I can get any relevant info and share my source’s with her (privately of course)? I actually have spoken to a very important member of the family (THE MAN TO GO TO) and now the state department is negotiating with him directly. Id like to share this with her. And hopefully support each other, I know no one can share nor understand her pain like I can, and I have been praying for a sister who really understands.

    The other Jessica who has lost 7 children to Saudi Arabia.

  5. Hey, so I am genuinely curious although I didn’t watch the video because it is a pretty personal subject with myself. There actually are laws about parents leaving not only the state to state but also internationally too. If airports are not checking then this is a serious problem. I know his because I have an international family. My father is Dutch and my mother American. My dad used to threaten against taking me away to Europe to my mother and she was always fearful after she arrived in the states after there divorce. However I travelled to Europe many many times throughout my lifetime and I always had to have legal documentation because I was under 17 stating from both parents I was allowed to leave the country. I was checked into airports and my aunt and uncle always had to show identification to pick me up in Schipol (Amsterdam Airport). Is this some sort of lack to follow through with laws or have laws changed?

    • I know it is unbelievable, but there are no exit controls in the USA. You may be asked for documentation proving your ability to enter the country you’re going to, and a minor traveling alone may need proof that he/she has parental permission to do so, because airlines take minors traveling alone pretty seriously, but one parent exiting the USA with his/her child/children will not be required to show anything other than the kid’s passport and proof of ability to enter the destination country. If there were exit controls, situations like Jessica’s and countless other parents would be unheard of. I’ve traveled alone with my daughter a dozen times and she’s also traveled alone with her father internationally, and neither of us have ever been questioned about the other parent.

      • That is really interesting because when I was a kid it was always an issue because my mom had to show documentation that I had permission to leave the country like places to Europe, Asia and my dad was always difficult to get ahold of. I am curious as to if rules have changed or people are just lacking on protection I dunno. Seems weird to me with my experiences but I mean obviously it happens of course just so sad for these mothers.

      • It’s possible she had to show documentation because you were a minor traveling alone. Or perhaps laws have changed. If you’d like verification or more information Google is your friend 😊

  6. No & I feel like I came across more confrontational than I wanted ha, just is so sad and appalling to me this can happen. The threat always existed in my own situation but thank God it never actually happened. I feel so sad now having watched the video for this poor woman. :( Hopefully it will get settled and something can be done for her. Thank you for sharing! :) I love your blog!

  7. to get an american passport for kids both parents consent to it. they both go to the post office and sign or if one can not be there, then a letter notarized will be needed. i think after age 16 no need for it anymore, but not for sure. and im sure jessica’s ex claimed lost saudi passports. no big deal just get replacements. im sure they had no idea of the situation. or didnt care. my kids had expired saudi passports and traveled on them. they make you get originals back in saudi. or at least thats how it was for us.

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