A parent reflects. Ceci´s mother writes about being a parent of an abducted child

This is a letter from Sarah Cecilie’s mother about how it is to have lost contact with Sarah Cecilie for fourteen years.

December 2016, Oslo, Norway


It is almost impossible to find words to describe how it felt to lose a child, not knowing anything about her well-being or where she was.

When my husband took Cecilie at age four, it was constant worry and torture mixed with hope that her father soon would let me get in contact with her. Days, nights, weeks, months and years went by, and I received not more than four cards. In three of them was a small little picture and a few words that told me very little. I gave those pictures and envelopes to the detectives in the hope that they could trace the address, but they were not successful.

I did everything in order to find her, and when she was six, I did find her in New York. It came to a court case. The result of this hearing was that I was granted the right to see my daughter two times each week until the school year was finished. Then I was to take her for a summer visit to Norway, and bring her back to New York in the fall for a final custody trial.

But one day, when I came to pick her up for a visit, she was gone again. her father had taken her and left. No one knew where they had gone.

When I finally got in contact with her again she was a young, independent woman of 18. I had the great pleasure to meet the most wonderful young daughter a mother can dream of. It is now my hope that I can do something good for her in the years to come.

It was not easy for either of us at first. But we worked hard at it, and our relationship is now a warm and open one.

It is heaven for me to finally have the opportunity to speak with her. I love her just the way she is! She is fighting for what she believes in, and in doing that she makes the world a better place to live in. I wish there were many of her kind around.

It is hard for me to think about what she went through all these years. She has lacked the stability that every child is entitled to benefit from, but she came out of all these difficult years with dignity and strength.

My precious daughter; I respect and love you very, very much!

You are wonderful!

I am very lucky and thankful to be your mom,

Tone Finkelstein

PS-To the parents who have experienced this terrible torture: We must appeal to the national and international community to take these cases much more seriously. Otherwise, there will be an increasing number of children around the world not getting their born right to have contact and care from both parents.

Religious groups and leaders play a very important role in hiding kidnapped children. A strong appeal from all the parents who have experienced this torture must be given to these leaders as well as to the women in these groups who for the most part are the caretakers of these kidnapped children. The religious groups often put themselves over the law in so many societies all over the world. The time is more than mature to give a strong appeal to their leaders from a large group of parents.

Legislators and judges should put other cases aside when a child’s right is at stake. The time factor is a crucial one, their priority should always be the children. The legislators should also see if the written laws in these cases need to be changed, both on a national and international level.