Hi from Sarah Cecilie Finkelstein Waters. I live in New York with my husband, John, and we are the parents of two young boys, I work in the non-profit field. I was abducted as a child by my father and I disconnected from my mother from the ages of four to eighteen.
I found my way back to my mother and it was not easy to reconnect after all those years apart. I tell parts of my story in these pages, and I am here for others who struggle to connect with a parent or a child they have been separated or distanced from for a long period of time. I now have a good connection with both of my parents, and that is my goal for all parents and children out there. I feel whole once again.
Hi from Linnea Kralik. I live in Austria with my husband and three children. My siblings and I were taken from our father when we were very young, and our mother convinced us that he wasn’t a good father. We believed her for many years, and only after a long time did I realize that my mother had exaggerated many of the things she said about him. We reconnected and I enjoy spending time with both of my parents and their big families now. It was confusing and painful to go through what I went through, and I’m so happy to be in a better place now.
A short history about the founding of The Kids Link by Sarah Cecilie:
I am the the co-founder of The Kids Link, established in New York City in 1997. I was parentally abducted from Norway to the U.S.A. as a 4-year-old, and did not reunite with my left-behind parent (my mother) until I was 18.
I formed The Link with the help of Child Find of America, a missing children´s organization in New York State. After discovering that at the time there were no resources whatsoever for parentally abducted children who were going into adulthood with unresolved issues, broken bonds with family members, and identity and cultural issues that needed to be addressed, I wrote and sent out copies of my first newsletter to 500 children and adults who had experienced parental abduction.
The response was incredible. I was overwhelmed by the influx of letters, phone calls and emails from others in my situation and requests from the media for information about parental child abduction. I even got a letter from a prison inmate who had been abducted as a child!
The Link was originally established as a forum for children who were parentally abducted as children. Resources existed for parents, with a focus on parental rights and issues, but in 1997 nothing existed that focused on healing broken bonds in families that experience abduction or custody traumas.
Amazingly, we kids were expected to live happily ever after once we reunited with our families and entered adulthood. But in actuality it is often after the abduction and reunification with the missing parent that many problems and issues come to the forefront. A forum was needed for adults who had been abducted as children and for the increasing numbers of children who were affected by high-conflict custody battles. Their parents and other family members needed support in reconnecting with kids who had been separated from them by physical and/or emotional distance as well.
In the past 10 years I have been part of a Congressional press conference in Washington, spoke at the founding dinner for the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children in London, appeared on CNN, Northwest Afternoon and others, and have been interviewed by Ladies Home Journal, The Washington Post, & Norway´s Aftenposten & Dagsavisen. I have conducted a Fulbright research project on parental abduction in Norway, where I lived for ten years. I am writing a memoir about my abduction experiences, due out in 2017. It is rewarding to speak out about the damage high-conflict custody battles causes to families.
The need for resources is great. More and more families will be affected by divorce and abduction in the years to come, and resources that focus on these families are sorely needed.
Drop me a line. I welcome your emails, articles, suggestions and anything else you would like to share.
Regards, Sarah Cecilie