Saturday, September 29, 2012

'Den of the Assasin' Best Selling Author On 'Predators Games' And The Magic Of Libraries

The other day, I had an opportunity of spending some time at the amazing New York City Public Library - one of the select locations where I work on my novels or screenplays, which is exactly what I was doing on this particular day. 

Specifically, while sitting in my usual seat 125 located in the Great Reading Room, I continued working on another edit of Predators Games, the upcoming sequel of The Den of the Assassin.  After about 6 hours, and after a stroll around the library's children section, I returned my focus to the firery story that explodes off of the pages . . . taking the reader into the unthinkable after the final words are read in The Den of the Assassin

Truth is, I love to write.  And I love the writing and re-writing process that is Predaotrs Games!

In addition, to say that working in the Great Reading Room or the Map Room gets me very excited  - and allows me to travel into another world - would be an understatement.  

This past time; however, there was something else that tugged at my outside of the story of Tyler Boxter - something that pulled at my mind while sitting underneath the heavens of the grand hall, and then later in the corner room adorned with maps and globes. You see, my mind continued to drift and think about what the land underneath this grand accomplishment that is the New York City Public Libary looked like before the Astor family provided the financial endowment needed to build this - one of the world's greatest libraries.  

What was there?

A giant pond surrounded by sheep!


And today . . . well, I think the statues of Leo Astar and Leo Lenox says it all.

The power of books and the magic of libraries is simply incredible!

I have decided to share this essay about the how amazing our libraries are. Enjoy!

                                                       The Magical Realm of Libraries

Every time I enter into a library I get the feeling I am embarking on another great adventure with some old, dear friends. Our expeditions are truly priceless. Alone or together, I leap at the opportunity to explore the past or the future, to journey to new places or re-visit locations I hold dear, and of course seeing old friends while possibly making new ones - it all begins here, at your nearest library.

I think Malcolm Forbes got it right when he said, "the richest person in the world – in fact all the riches in the world – couldn’t provide you with anything like the endless, incredible loot at your local library." Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American essayist, philosopher, poet, and leader of the Transcendentalist movement of the early 19th Century and known for his speech entitled The American Scholar, that is considered to be America's Intellectual Declaration of Independence, once said "man’s library is a sort of harem." I couldn’t agree more! Emerson’s fanciful insight is supported by his opinion that "some books leave us free and some books make us free." Clearly, a book is a free ticket to anywhere in the universe, and a library is the realm transporter that takes us to new worlds and new dimensions.

It never fails me that right before I enter into a library I think of Mel Gibson’s role as William Wallace in Braveheart. Internally, a little voice in my head screams Freedom! It is no wonder that a library is considered an arsenal of liberty.

I must admit I am drawn to some of the grand buildings that contain some of the most magical of books. My personal favorite libraries are quite diverse, but there are certain libraries that I have visited that really stand out. Perhaps the most intriguing library is a religious library: The Vatican Library. Located in Rome, the Vatican Library contains a majority of the world’s remaining historical Christian doctrines. This has been by far my all-time favorite library to explore. In my own very personal way, simply being inside the extensive and somewhat exhaustive library has made me feel more reflective and closer to God. A separate section of the Vatican Library, and much less well-known, are Vatican Secret Archives, that contain the majority of surviving original scrolls and manuscripts of early Christianity. Call it sacred, or magical, or a holy experience – but conducting research and writings inside the Vatican Secret Archives was one of the highlights of my life. What will follow from my time there is contained in Cloning Christ's sequel, titled Quest.

The Library of the Benedictine Monastery of Melk, known throughout the world for its meticulously kept medieval collection of scrolls and manuscripts is another favorite religious library of mine. I was first introduced to this magnificent library by Italian literary icon, Umberto Ecco, who named one of the protagonists in his well-known novel The Name Of The Rose in honor of the abbey and its famous library "Adso von Melk". Here, I have written several important chapters of Quest.

There are university libraries such as the Christopher Wren Library of Trinity College in Cambridge – with its grand marble floor surrounded by large windows that overlook Nevile’s Court - is an absolute favorite of mine. I feel good sitting amongst the stacks at the Wren. Ironically, one of my favorite and most meaningful books which the library contains is A.A. Milne’s autographed first edition copy of Winnie-the-Pooh – which reminds me of many things, including that in the mist of life’s serious ways, never take anything too seriously.

A library that has really become a part of me – where I have written a portion of every book I have or will publish to date is Columbia University’s Butler Library. For those who may not know this, it is Columbia University’s School of Journalism that awards the prestigious Pulitzer prize for excellence in journalism and does so for good reason: all that is Columbia evokes man’s pursuit of discovery. The Butler Library I know and have come to love is a special place for many reasons. First off, Columbia University’s library system, with Butler being the largest of twenty-five libraries within the system, has one of, if not the most extensive, university collection in the United States. Additionally, there is something very special in knowing that nearly 90 winners of the Pulitzer have been connected to Columbia. And finally, well . . . with some difference . . . is the fact Butler Library is open essentially twenty-four hours a day. Late at night, the library’s stacks have been used for other purposes than reading. Many students and scholars alike have indulged themselves in this grand library located in New York's Morningside Heights community. As for me . . . I have written significant portions of The Production up here, while enjoying a few strolls around the stacks for good measure.

Two stone lions respectively named Leo Astor and Leo Lenox stand protectively on the base of a marble staircase that invites people of all ages to explore new realms. Here on Fifth Avenue between East 40th Street to East 42nd Street in New York City’s Manhattan – what was once the Croton Reservoir – now stands one of the most important buildings in the world: The New York Public Library. Leo Astor and Leo Lenox, sitting defiantly remind me what it means to be a New Yorker. I have always maintained that to be a New Yorker, a person doesn’t necessarily have had to be born in town or presently live there. What makes a person a New Yorker is your attitude and your willingness to celebrate your neighbors’ differences. It is about the way you see the world, and how you try to make a positive difference in it. And it is about the belief you have in yourself, and what you do with this belief. To be a New Yorker is to celebrate new discoveries, seek new understandings, and rejoice and learn from our differences. And no place celebrates what it is to be a New Yorker more than The New York Public Library. Row upon row, shelf after shelf – bound books, rolled scrolls, fading magazines, secretive rooms housing great artifacts – this majestic library is in fact a diary of the human race.

Toni Morrison got it right when she said "Access to knowledge is the superb, the supreme act of truly great civilizations. The New York City Public Library is, in this regards, both symbol and act of what the best civilization has to offer."

The library consists of two very different divisions: the largest book circulating public library system combined with one of the best research libraries in the world. One of my favorite place in all of New York (outside of several great restaurants and Belvedere Castle in Central Park) is the library’s main reading room, known as the Research Library (Room 315). It is one of the primary places that I will go to write when I am working on a novel of a historical manuscript. Every book that I have written to date has had a part of it composed in this majestic Reading Room located on the top floor of the library. It is 78 feet wide by 297 feet long, with a 52 feet high ceiling — lined with thousands of reference books on open shelves along the floor level and along the balcony. It is lit by massive windows and grand chandeliers; furnished with sturdy wood tables, comfortable chairs, and brass lamps. Cicero once said "if you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need". Though not built yet, he must have had this particular reading room in mind. Astronomer Carl Sagan must have just visited The New York Public Library before he said "the library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries."

Under a gilt ceiling that has been likened to an inside-out Fabergé egg, there is a glorious 1598 depiction of sea monsters in the waters of the Indies. Close by is a much savored, renowned 1668 map that depicts modern-day California as an island, an image now sardonically viewed, by some, as a sign of things to come. Welcome to my favorite place located in the New York Public Library - room 117: The Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division room located on the southwest corner of the library’s first floor. Filled with over four hundred and twenty thousand maps, I am absolutely inspired every time I grab the bronze door handles and set foot inside this, the most beautiful of parlor rooms in all of New York, to write, to create, to allow my imagination to travel to different realms. No wonder I have started every book I have ever written in The Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division.

As a man of ritual, there is no library in the world that can come close in grandeur, size, scale, collection, and empowerment than the United States Library of Congress. This research library was established for Congress as part of the accord that transferred the seed of government from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. in April of 1800. After a fire destroyed the Library of Congress’ marginal collection of books, President Thomas Jefferson offered to sell his personal library as a replacement for the lost collection. Jefferson had spent 50 years accumulating books, "putting by everything which related to America, and indeed whatever was rare and valuable in every science". In January 1815, Congress accepted Jefferson's offer, appropriating $23,950 for his 6,487 books, and the foundation was laid for a great national library.

The Library's Jefferson Building faces the United States Capitol Building. As you walk up the main entrance to the building's first floor, you will notice three double bronze entrance doors. They depict Tradition, Writing and Printing (shown in the image on the right). Collectively they represent how man has disseminated and preserved history, literature, religion, and science. As you enter, you will find yourself in the white marble entryway of the West Corridor that leads to the Library's gilded Great Hall.
The Great Reading Room, with its elaborate dome that stretches 160 feet above the floor is the most spectacular reading room that I have ever seen. There are 16 bronze statues set upon the balustrades of the galleries. They celebrate man's continual growth. Included are Moses and St. Paul (Religion); Christopher Columbus and Robert Fulton (Commerce); Herodotus and Edward Gibbon (History); Michelangelo and Ludwig van Beethoven (Art); Plato and Francis Bacon (Philosophy); Homer and William Shakespeare (Poetry); Solon and James Kent (Law); and Isaac Newton and Joseph Henry (Science). Sitting in one of the reading tables circularly set in the main room while surrounded by these imposing figures is quite a feeling. Making it an unimaginably divine experience only requires that you look up, where you will notice a female figure painted in the cupola by Edwin Blashfield representing Human Understanding. The dozen 10-foot-high figures in the circular mural at the apex of the dome, also painted by Blashfield, represent the countries or epochs that contributed to the development of Western civilization. Stained glass representations of the seals of 48 states (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) adorn the eight semicircular windows surrounding the Reading Room. Eight giant marble columns each support 10-foot-high allegorical female figures in plaster representing characteristic features of civilized life and thought: Religion, Commerce, History, Art, Philosophy, Poetry, Law and Science. It is here in this great room that I completed the novel The Den of the Assassin, while also learning that very same day of the death of a famous reporter working for Forbes magazine in Russia, who was murdered gang-land style due to his public sharing of Russian Underworld and Oligarch information that certain individuals did not want publicly released.

There are so many spectacular libraries to see. If you are like me, and consider yourself a ‘librophiliac’ (a lover of libraries), I suggest that you plan your next vacation or two exploring some of the world’s greatest libraries. Below is a list of other libraries that I can attest to as being magnificent, and would be ideal places to plan a holiday around:

The Boston Athenaeum in New York City.
The Boston Athenaeum in Boston, Massachusetts.
The Suzzallo Library in Seattle, Washington.
The Chicago Public Library, Chicago, Illinois.
The Riggs Library, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
The Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington D.C., USA
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT
The National Library of Austria, in Vienna.
The Reading Room, British Museum, London, England.
The National Art Library, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England.
The Queens College, in Oxford, England.
The Sorbonne Library, Paris, France
Biblioteca Angelica, in Rome, Italy.
Biblioteca Di Bella Arti, in Milan, Italy.
Abbey Library in St. Gallen, Switzerland.
The Seattle Public Library
The Los Angeles Public Library 

Regardless of where you go to get your ticket to travel to the magical realms that await you, one thing is clear: reading is as vital as breathing. Assisting all of us passengers as we board the highways of our imagination are the dedicated librarians across the universe willing and able to assist you take flight. In fact, I do not recall ever meeting or speaking to a librarian I have not appreciated. For book lovers and writers alike, librarians are a critical, yet often unheralded part of the wonderful community that is created around your local library. Always welcoming, always inviting, returning to your library of choice is like coming to your second home.

Today, most libraries have had their operating and acquisition budgets substantially reduced, dramatically limiting the number of new books and other entertainment products available to the general public. After school reading programs have been cut. So have ongoing education programs, lectures, and conferences. We're all paying a price. Please do your part in aiding your local library. You can do so by contacting your local government representatives and share with them your opinion that library funding must be increased. You can also contact your local library and ask how you can help. I personally know that nearly every library will direct you on how you can best help. In the past, I have contacted and offered assistance to several hundred libraries across the country. Each accepted my offer to help. And every one of them wrote back to me letting me know how important my assistance was to help them help others. I cherish these letters: they remind me of my responsibility to help as much and as often as I can.

If you're not sure who to contact at your local library . . . well, just walk in and ask your librarian. I'm sure there will be many suggestions on what you can do.

One last word: there is a ticket waiting for you at your local library. Why don’t you go pick it up? Read!
                                                                              * * * 
Peter Thomas Senese is a best-selling geopolitical author and outspoken children's advocate. He is the Founding Director of the I CARE Foundation, which has rescued and safely brought home numerous children who were internationally kidnapped.  Peter Senese has donated 100% of his e-book earnings to help fight against child abduciton, while also making additional significant contributions that have enabled the I CARE Foundation to help bring home kidnapped children. 

His latest novel that critiques everywhere are praising titled Chasing The Cyclone will be released during the Christmas Holiday of 2012. The story is drawn from Peter Thomas Senese's experiences of finding, rescuing, and recovering his own child who was a victim of international abduction. For more information please visit Chasing The Cyclone.

New York Attorney Joel Walter: International Parental Child Abduciton Warning Sign Awareness Key To Stopping Abduction | New York Attorney Joel Walter#!/2012/09/new-york-attorney-joel-walter_29.html#!/2012/09/new-york-attorney-joel-walter_29.html

New York City based attorney Joel Walter knows a great deal about international parental child abduction.  As a member of the I CARE Foundation, Joel roles up his sleeves every day to protect children.

Here is a list of warning signs and wisdom from Joel.

New York Attorney Joel Walter: International Parental Child Abduciton Warning Sign Awareness Key To Stopping Abduction | New York Attorney Joel Walter#!/2012/09/new-york-attorney-joel-walter_29.html#!/2012/09/new-york-attorney-joel-walter_29.html

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Peter Thomas Senese: Iran President/Dictator/Troll Considering Audition For Next Season's 'Dances With The Stars'. Watch Ahmadinejad Dance At The United Nations

  Next Season's 'Dancing With the Stars'
Unemployed Former Iran Troll
    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
         Should He Audition?
          (Watch the Vidoe)

On September 26th, 2012, the day the Jewish people celebrate Yom Kippur, the hate-filled troll known as Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was seen dancing outside of the United Nations after he addressed the world's leaders in the General Assembly (well, he actually addressed those who remained and did not walk out on him).

In my historical fiction novel 'The Den of the Assassin' I touch significantly on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and his desire to destory the west, including Isreal. Much more revolving around this Ahmadinejad will be shared in 'The Den of the Assassin's' sequel, 'Predators Games'.

The troll's view has not changed. In fact, while he has remained in New York and holed himself up at the disgraceful Warwick Hotel ("Boycott the Warwick Hotel"), Ahmadinejad has spoken loud and clear that he anticiaptes a new world order, one with the United States having no voice in it whatsoever, and Isreal not existing.

What a bafoon.

Watch Ahmadinejad ...

Now here is a question: should the troll audition for 'Dances With The Stars'? Hmmm . . .

In reflection, I can't see any other hotel housing this troll the way the Warwick Hotel of New York did. Perhaps it is best that he lay on top of some camel dung.

For more on The Den of the Assassin, please visit Amazon.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Peter Thomas Senese's 'Chasing The Cyclone' Helps Children

I am very pleased to see how Chasing The Cyclone continues to educate parents of children targeted for international abduction.

If Chasing The Cyclone's reviews on Amazon are any indication of how readers are viewing my writing style and the story of a father who loves his son, then I will gladly take the feedback Amazon's reviewers are sharing: with 50 reviews from confirmed purchasers, Chasing The Cyclone has an outstanding average of 4.9 STAR Rating.

Most of all, the many emails and telephone calls I recieve from parents who are at risk of having a child abducted is the most important indicator of all that the novel I had written deeply inspired by my experiences that had the intent to help others is doing exactly what it set out to do: educating parents and other key stakeholders on the issues of abduction.

Here are a few reviews to give you an idea of what some of the critics are saying about Chasing The Cyclone:

"Chasing The Cyclone is a well-written thriller . . . Senese shares myriad emotions by writing in the first-person as he weaves through the action in this suspense-filled story . . . Filled with a plethora of powerful characters and puzzling predicaments and dead ends, the story moves quickly . . . Cyclone will leave you informed and satisfied . . . you will be reluctant to put down." - New York Journal Of Books

"Peter Thomas Senese is a gifted storyteller who takes readers on a heart pounding journey around the globe . . . The writing is raw and the emotions are real . . . The story is filled with twists and turns . . . You will not be able to put it down. It may very well change the way you look at life, child custody, and interactions with your child's other parent. I cannot endorse this book strongly enough." – The Examiner

"Suspenseful! Nail-Biting! Engaging! These are just the outer layers of Peter Thomas Senese's emotionally charged … Chasing The Cyclone [is] an intricately woven web outlined in 400-pages that includes lawyers, lies, international laws and politics, betrayal, court appearances, and how one parent can shrewdly use the innocence of a child as a pawn to exact revenge, to spew hate and to extort funds from the financially able parent. Senese's Chasing the Cyclone_ is powerful because it is borne from experience. It is richly detailed and emotionally wrought with an accuracy that can only be known by those who endured such traumas. Well-written and expertedly executed: A must read!" – V Stevenson, Reviewer at Kirkus

"Peter Thomas Senese now opens the windows on the magnitude of these tragedies in his excellent "Chasing The Cyclone"... As if the fast paced energy of this story weren't enough to satisfy the reader, Peter Thomas Senese demonstrates his quality as a writer of distinction on many levels... this impossible to put down book." - Dr. Grady Harp: Amazon Hall Of Fame Reviewer

"If I had to use one word to describe Chasing the Cyclone by Peter Thomas Senese it would be phenomenal. As in remarkable. Extraordinary. I have read many books over the years, for enjoyment, for education, because I had to, because I wanted to. I cannot think of any other book that comes close to making me feel as I did when I read this book. I believe these feelings will stick with me forever." – Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

And if you're interested, please know I am donating 100% of my e-book royalties to the I CARE Foundation.  

Purchase a copy of Chasing The Cyclone.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Gay Partnerships, Unions, and Marriages and International Parental Child Abduction

Gay & Lesbian Unions:
An Increase In International Parental Child Abduction Cases


As same-sex partnerships, unions, and marriages become more commonly visible as an integral part of our society,  the I CARE Foundation has been contacted by numerous parents of these unions who have expressed concern surrounding their particular partnership’s failure and how the end of their relationship may impact the child or children of the relationship, particularly when one of the partnering parents desires to remove the other partnering parent from the child or children’s lives, and relocate to another state or country.
In another set of words, what I am referring to is 'Inter-State or International Parental Child Abduction'.

On occasions, the communication exchanges the I CAREFoundation receives include queries by a parent seeking insight concerning issues such as jurisdiction, parent-rights, mobility, relocation, and tragically – though not directly stated – legal defenses on interstate or international abduction should a parent be inclined to violate a court order pertaining to parental rights (I offer a heart-felt plea to those who are considering illegal removal of a child: I speak from experience as a chasing parent - please do not do this. The ramifications on your child will be severe).

Obviously, the challenges all children face during divorce or separation are harsh.  When one of the child’s parent’s attempts to break the child’s bond with their other parent, including relocating from one state to another, or in certain cases, relocating without permission to another country (this is abduction), the challenges and hardship that child faces grows exponentially.  Clearly, in all child custody cases, the longer the litigation takes the more strain that is placed on an innocent, defenseless child of a failed relationship.  Unfortunately, there exists a new frontier in family law: how local, federal, and international courts uphold the rights of children to both of their parents in failed gay and lesbian legal unions and marriages.  To say that a legal minefield exists, would be an understatement.

Tragically, in cases of high-conflict separation that include issues of jurisdiction and the upholding of a non-biological ‘birthing’ parent’s rights, the conflict can become extreme.  Everyone suffers. The child suffers. The former partners suffer. And from what I have seen, the pain and anguish for all is extraordinary.

In my capacity as the Founding Director of the not-for-profit International Child Abduction Research & Enlightenment Foundation (the “I CARE Foundation”), our foundation has seen and assisted numerous high-conflict families challenged by issues of both mobility and abduction.  Our activity includes conducting extensive research in the area of child custody and cross-border conflict, working to create (successfully) new laws and government policies directed to help protect children from cross-border conflict, and when possible, assisting in the reunification of internationally kidnapped children.

These cases are never easy. 

In reflection, when I think of the hardships involved in any case concerning mobility or child abduction regardless if we’re addressing a heterosexual or homosexual partnership, the reality is all parties involved face severe emotional, spiritual, and financial hardship no words could ever accurately express.

However, it appears that children caught in the cross-hairs of gay or lesbian partnership custody disputes where there are contested questions of mobility or risk of abduction, or an actual instance of abduction face potentially greater hardship than heterosexual partnerships because of the legal minefield of litigation their parents must navigate through due a wide range of legal issues, including but not limited to questions revolving around local, federal, and at times, international law (or lack of laws and policies) that is specific to same-sex unions.

So if you are a mother or father who is involved in a child custody dispute that originates from a same-sex union, remember that the longer the litigation goes on, the more your child will suffer because litigation of any kind does have a direct, ugly impact on the lives of all involved.  

Now, I do not have my head in the clouds and think that all separations will end amicably.  

However, sharing my birds-eye view of witnessing some of the most difficult, extreme high-conflict family disputes, many involving international litigation, I can undeniably attest that in all of these cases, it is the child who will always suffer no matter what any of the child’s parents thinks (obviously cases of abuse are the exception and should never be tolerated under any circumstance).

Recently, I have been following Erik Eckholm’s of the New York Times fascinating, yet heart-breaking coverage of the story of ten year old Isabella Miller-Jenkins. 

The young girl has two mothers and is the product of a same-sex union that took place in Vermont between Ms. Lisa Miller and Ms. Janet Jenkins in 2002. Isabella was conceived by Ms. Lisa Miller in 2002. The coupled separated in 2003. 

However, since 2009, the child has been living the life of a fugitive in impoverished Nicaragua with one of her mother’s, Ms. Lisa Miller, who under American law, is considered to be a fugitive and an abducting mother now wanted for international abduction.

Unfortunately for Ms. Jenkins, Nicaragua is not a signatory country of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and legal reach under international law appears to be limited.

According to Mr. Eckholm’s New York Times coverage, Ms. Miller no longer desired to allow Janet Jenkins any contact with their daughter Isabella. Since the former couple’s separation, Ms. Miller apparently violated Ms. Jenkin’s rights of custody on numerous occasions that were previously established under Vermont law and upheld in Virginia (where Ms. Miller relocated with Isabella). 

So three years ago, in another act to separate Isabella from Ms. Jenkins, Ms. Miller decided to flee the United States and relocate to Nicaragua without Ms. Jenkins knowledge or permission.

Like the vast majority of international parental child abductions, Ms. Miller had a great deal of help. 

You see, Ms. Miller sought and received the assistance of Mr. Kenneth Miller, the leader of the conservative Beachy Amish Mennonite Church of Stuarts Draft, Virginia.

Under the religious beliefs of the Amish Mennonite, gay and lesbian life is a sin, and apparently Ms. Miller embraced this idea during the child custody dispute she had with Ms. Jenkins.

So it appears that perhaps, and I say this with some reservation, that the possibility exists that Ms. Miller may have adapted a condemnation of her lesbian lifestyle she previously shared with Ms. Jenkins in order to defend against the criminal act of abduction and her desire to not obey a Vermont judges court orders regarding Ms. Jenkin’s access and co-parenting of Isabella once the couple separated prior to the abduction.

Of course, it is conceivable that Ms. Miller actually now believes that her anti-gay or lesbian lifestyle is correct and in accord with her new found Christian beliefs?

However, what is of interest is how religion or persecution for following your religious beliefs will inevitably be used to defend against the act of international parental child abduction by a taking parent.

Today, from what I understand, the child Isabella remains on the run, living a life of a fugitive in Nicaragua (or perhaps someplace else) with Lisa Miller, while the child’s other mother, Ms. Janet Jenkins, continues to seek legal remedy to have her rights of parenthood that were established under Vermont law, and upheld in Virginia enforced.  I would imagine Ms. Jenkins is also deeply concerned about how her daughter is holding up considering that she is being wrongfully detained by Ms. Miller.

According to numerous child psychologist, the Isabella could be seen as a prisoner of a fugitive parent who has been highly abused and neglected, as child abduction is considered child abuse.

Is Ms. Miller using religion and new-found religious beliefs as the basis for her to continue to flee, or could it be possible that Ms. Miller has actually rejected all things connected with a gay or lesbian lifestyle and actually believes living a same-sex lifestyle to be sinful?

Is Isabella safe, or is the life she has had to live for the past three years had a deep and troubling influence on her, and if so, can the impact be reversed or treated?

As for the Beachy Amish Mennonite Church leader Kenneth Miller, he was found guilty of abetting an international parental childkidnapping this past August and is facing up to three years in federal prison.  Mr. Miller’s sentencing date has not yet been determined.

As for the legal issues that present themselves in this case, it is going to be interesting to see if Ms. Miller will be able to remain outside of the United States and the reach of law established by its courts.  Of course it is also going to be interesting to see how a parent’s religion and sexual orientation will be viewed from country to country with respect to international parental child abduction cases.

For example, in cases where a child is abducted to a Hague signatory nation, will a parent who once lived a gay or lesbian lifestyle who had a child from a same-sex union seek protection for an act of abduction under Article 13 B of the Hague Convention by making a claim in a country they abduct their child to that they are unable to receive fair treatment under the laws of the child’s nation of original jurisdiction based upon religion and how their religious beliefs juxtaposes itself with their past or present sexual orientation.

Is the situation for Isabella and other children of abduction who will come after Isabella a mess?

You bet it is. All international parental child abductions are terrible.

Did Ms. Lisa Miller really reject her lesbian lifestyle or is she using her newly embraced Mennonite religious beliefs to push away Ms. Janet Jenkins from Isabella’s life?

I don’t think anyone really knows.

However, one thing cannot be dismissed in cases of international parental child abduction, and that is that in many of these cases, the taking parent carefully creates a plan of abduction that is well thought out, and typically involves the assistance of others. 

Lisa Miller’s abduction of Isabella was certainly well thought out and she was certainly aided as demonstrated by the conviction of Mr. Miller for aiding in Isabella’s abduction.

Again – it is a mess and one terrible tragedy for this innocent child – who remains on the run . . . perhaps in Nicaragua or perhaps someplace else.

Of course there is the argument presented by Ms. Lisa Miller and her supporters that she was acting to protect her daughter from a gay and lesbian lifestyle that she no longer participated in and rejected as sinful.

Not too long ago, one of my pals whom I have been very close friends with for all of my adult life recently separated from his partner.  Together, these two wonderful fathers, ‘Dad’ and ‘Papa’, raised one incredible little girl together who I am convinced will one day have a far-reaching and positive impact on our wonderful world.  Dad and Papa were the definition of two loving, dedicated, kind, nurturing, and caring parents.

Then something happened, and the relationship came to an end.

Did the relationship end because of some ungodly act by one of the men? No.

The relationship ended because their needs and expectations of one another and what they desired from life had changed.

Was there hurt and anger?

Of course, particularly by the father who did not want the relationship to end.

So, what did that upset father do?

He decided at first that since he had some legal leverage associated with the young daughter both fathers raised, that he was going to relocate to another state and severely limit the other father’s rights of custody on their daughter.

And in fact, that is exactly what happened.

Sadly, the relocation occurred without the other father knowing.

And as you may imagine, the situation became rather ugly. Then uglier.

Caught in the cross-hairs was their little daughter who I would often take to the Magnolia Bakery for a “perfect cupcake.”

And my heart broke for my little friend who was more interested in Dora The Explorer and Cinderella than the fighting that took place between her two fathers, who mind you – are both truly remarkable, amazing, loving individuals.

But these child custody cases – they sure know can make anyone look terrible.

I will never forget that while my two friends volleyed in a sea of nasty litigation (that cost them such an enormous amount of EVERYTHING), I had the opportunity of visiting the parent who had relocated with their daughter four months after the initial separation.

It was my first visit since their unexpected relocation.

As you may imagine there was a great deal of frustration that was vented by this particular father (similar to the other father). He shared his feelings about the failed relationship, what was best for his daughter, what was best for him, and the awful litigation that took place.

As we spent the late morning together, I sensed that my friend had a little sense of paranoia that perhaps I came to visit him in my capacity as a director of the I CARE Foundation. 

This was not the case, as I expressed that I came to visit because he too was my friend, and that I was concerned about the overall ugliness that was depleting so much from his daughter’s family’s life.

The key words being that both the young girl had a family: a ‘Dad’ and a ‘Papa’, and that no matter what would occur, both ‘Dad’ and ‘Papa’ were loved by their child, and that as this lovely child’s fathers, they had an incredible responsibility to stop their feuding and to truly act like the remarkable, compassionate, understanding, brave, courageous, and intelligent individuals they were.

Well, as there was a long history between us, one that included my friend knowing I am very direct, my words were accepted.

So too was my suggestion.

I asked my friend if he would excuse himself from the room (and make us lunch) so that I could talk to his daughter alone. I also suggested that he hear the truth of her heart, and asked him to listen in so he could hear my conversation.

And that is exactly what happened.

What was heard?

This little amazing girl just six years old shared that she missed both of her fathers and loved both of them very much.  Remarkably, she understood that parents get divorced sometimes. But she said that even when parents do not live together any more, they should be nice to one another. Real nice.  And she also said that she was taught that her family was different than other families. That her family was really special.  Super Special. Then she said that they weren’t acting really special.  Then she asked me why her ‘Dad’ and ‘Papa’ would lie to her and say that she was part of a special family, when they were so mean to one another?

Now let me say this. Her words about how special her family was resounded within like Quasimodo’s Notre Dame’ bells would cover Paris. 

Indeed her two fathers were both incredibly special individuals. As I saw and still see it, they were brave in saying to the world, “this is who I am” and living the life they each believed in. They were both caring and compassionate and active members of their micro and macro communities. They were successful. They had many friends. And they were incredible – no incredibly ridiculous – as in amazing – fathers.

And somehow these incredible parents, these incredible individuals . . . forgot how incredible they were.

Now as you can imagine, my friend who was in the kitchen hearing my conversation with his daughter realized what his daughter was saying: that it’s okay to not live with my other father, but remember, we’re still a very special family because the two of you are both very special, and the two of you – your my ‘Dad’ and my ‘Papa’, and you have to continue to be special because of me.

I must say, that later that afternoon, after his daughter decided to take a little nap, my friend said something to me that I think is truly remarkable.  And I wrote it down. 

This is what he said. “Sometimes it is easy to forget how special we are.  Raising a daughter as a gay couple requires being special – and holding ourselves more accountable to one another, even in separation for our child’s sake.”

Fast forward four months from the time of that conversation and a true, sound parenting plan was created and actually was working, and working well. Both fathers – my friends – were peacefully and civilly rebuilding the trust that was necessary so they could in fact continue to be the special persons they were.  The healing had begun . . . and in fact the healing really started as soon as the messy, ugly litigation stopped.  In fact, they live in the same town and in the same community (again).  They have embraced the wonderment of being fathers – their daughter’s ‘Dad’ and ‘Papa’.

And though my little friend does not live with both of her fathers at the same time, she is being raised by both of them, and she does see each of them equally, and regularly.

And thank God peace, friendship, and good parenting is prevailing.

As I write this, I can’t help but think how my two wonderful friends acted with great courage and bravery and love for their daughter and found a way – to act in their love of their daughter.

Before I go, I would like to simply say that the nasty  litigation that occurred between my two friends was not necessary.  And they will be the first ones to say this.

But sometimes, when in the midst of child custody cases, parents can get sucked into the vortex of the cyclone of litigation. 

When they do, it is easy to forget the good things you are litigating about: the love and rights of your child.

Breaking the magnetic pull of continuing to litigate is not an easy task. It takes courage. It takes fair play. It takes putting your ego in check. And it takes acting in fairness for your child.

And it may not be easy to do.

But it can be done.  And your child or children will be much better off if you do.

Of course this is not to say that working things out in order to co-parent is easy.  Each separation has its own challenges, and as I stated, it appears that child custody cases regarding mobility present an even harder burden onto the child.

I would like to add this: please remember that open and honest dialogue is always the best choice if your choice revolves around what is best for your child or children.

So in parting, I would like to share that all child custody cases concerning mobility and/or abduction cause extreme hardship on children of the relationship, and this is particularly true in same-sex partnerships in part due to the challenges in law all parties must face.  If at all possible, try to mediate your differences reasonably, fairly, and respectfully with one another, and remember . . . you do not have to be a biological birth-giver, regardless if you are gay or straight, to be one great, loving parent.

One last thing . . . Thanks B and Z for letting me share a part of your story. I am very proud of the two of you  . . . and so happy for your daughter.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Peter Senese & I CARE Foundation Participate In Department of State's Global Leadership Program

The United Nations

On Friday, September 14th, 2012 I had the great privilege on behalf of the I CARE Foundation to participate in the U.S. Department of State's sponsored 'International Visitor Leadership Program' held at the United States Mission to the United Nations in conjunction with the United Nations to discuss the work and research the not-for-profit I CARE  Foundation has been conducting in the area of international parental child abduction prevention (IPCA).

U.S. Department of State

Unquestionably, the initiative by the U.S. Department of State to connect global government leaders with non-government organizations such as the I CARE Foundation to discuss the challenges and potential solutions of IPCA demonstrates a pro-active, solution oriented approach to combating child abduction and trafficking by private and public sector leaders.    

As the Founding Director of the I CARE Foundation, it is with deep pride to continue to see the I CARE Foundation recognized by our global leaders as a preeminent organization actively at the battle-front against the pandemic of international child abduction.  On a personal note, my participation in the International Visitor Leadership Program was deeply satisfying.  You see, six years ago, when I first found myself Chasing The Cyclone of international child abduction, I had made a promise to make a difference so other families would not have to race into the nightmare of abduction.  

Peter Thomas Senese

I am equally committed to that promise today as I was when I first made it six years ago. Along the way, we have created more than a few miracles

The I CARE Foundation

The I CARE Foundation's ongoing ground-breaking, critical research in the area of international parental child abduction has shed light onto many areas and issues associated with international child kidnapping.  Our legislative and policy modification initiatives have had a sizable positive impact on preventing abduciton.  Our dedication to assisting children of abduction has led to the rescue and reunification of many internationally abducted children while also successfully preventing the abduction of many other children.  And our public outreach to educate society, particularly potential targeted parents, has led to the prevention of numerous child kidnappings. Our commitment to build a national and global attorney network of highly qualified lawyers dedicated to assisting at-risk children of kidnapping continues to be highly received by the legal community, and perhaps most of all, our ability to make a difference for others continues to expand and reflect our deep commitment to helping others. 

International Visitor Leadership Program

The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program.  Launched in 1940, the IVLP is a professional exchange program that seeks to build mutual understanding between the U.S. and other nations through carefully designed short-term visits to the U.S. for current and emerging foreign leaders.  These visits reflect the International Visitors’ professional interests and 

support the foreign policy goals of the United States. 

International visitors are selected and nominated annually by American Foreign Service Officers at U.S. Embassies around the world. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs funds and administers the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).

During our specific conference, discussion took place that evolved around the simple question 'How can we as a global society help stop the pandemic of international parental child abduction?' 

A few things stood out immediately.  This included:

1. Unquestionable realization that IPCA is a severe form of child abuse; and,

2. The vast majority of abductions are well schemed plans against a targeted parent; and,

3. Targeted children and parents of abduction face severe hardship; ,and, 

4. Abducting parents utilize the existing legal system to draw out court proceedings; and, 

5. The longer a court proceeding takes, the more difficult it is for a child to be returned; and, 

6. Litigation must focus on narrow focus of jurisdiction established by the Hague Convention; and,

7. IPCA is growing worldwide at an alarming rate; and,

8. IPCA causes severe emotional and financial devastation to all connected to it; and,

9. The economic cost of IPCA on the global market over the next decade will be many tens of billions of dollars.

10. New research and studies similiar to the I CARE Foundation's work must continue, and, utilizing the research findings to initiative new laws and government policies are critical to protecting children.

Chris Morris, Eugene Pothy  &  Peter Thomas Senese

As our conference unfolded, it was with awe that I listened to my friends Christopher Morris and Bryan Mooney, both parents who had children internationally abducted under the rules of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, discuss the severe challenges they have each faced respectively over the past two and three years trying to reunite with their children. 

As I listened to each of these dedicated, loving parents discuss portions of their cases (which I am very familiar with), I could not help but wonder if their children will ever really know how much their fathers love them.  It is my hope that these children of abduction do, because the love Chris and Bryan have for their children has led them to do whatever possible to reunite with their children. 

                                               Dedicated Parent Bryan Mooney and His Children

Both Chris and Bryan's stories of well-schemed child abduction by their childrens' other parent re-enforced the notion that it was necessary for judges to expedite international child abduction cases, and settle the issue of which country has the right of jurisdiction of a child.  

Chris and Bryan's point was made very clear when it was shared that collectively, they have spent over U.S. $300,000.00 between the two of them thus far trying to bring their abducted children home, and their protracted litigation is far from over. 

Critically, Chris and Bryan's conveyance that the spirit of the Hague Convention to be expedited was made to all. 

Eugene Pothy Reuniting With His Son After 9 Years

I was also very happy to hear my dear friend Eugene Pothy, who miraculously was reunited with his abducted child taken to the Ivory Coast and illegally detained for nearly 9 years, speak about the mental and spiritual hardship of abduction of children. Eugene's points of view reinforced Chris and Bryan's point of view that IPCA litigation must be expedited by the courts.

Fortunately, our conference was the right forum to share our view. And the message was heard.

Another very important issue that was discussed revolved around abduction prevention.  Specifically, it became clear that certain countries, for example, Turkey, have the ability of preventing abductions from occurring (736 total IPCA cases under the Hague over the past 10 years) by citizens who possess a right of Turkish citizenship because Turkish judges have the ability of preventing a high-risk child abducting parent from departing the country by all means of departure.  

In contrast, the United States only has the ability to stop a high-risk child abductor from departing the country if that individual is not a U.S. citizen. Thus, individuals who possess duel citizenship in the U.S. and who are determined to be high-risk parental child abductors have limited security screen to prevent them from illegally removing their child from the country.

As some of you may know, members of the I CARE Foundation's board of directors, including Carolyn Vlk and myself worked very hard to have the Department of State disseminate the Department of Homeland Securities' 'Prevent Departure Program' as a tool to be used to help prevent abduction. However, the problem with the Prevent Departure Program is that it only applies to non-U.S. citizens. Thus, the I CARE Foundation's efforts to modify the Prevent Departure Program to include a secure screening list for high-risk child abductors possessing a right of U.S. citizenship appear to be critical to protecting children.

Another I CARE Foundation measure that was discussed and warmly embraced was our initiatives to require all individuals entering into or departing the United States, regardless if they travel by land, sea, or air, to present a current and valid passport.

Overall, the day was very meaningful as a great deal of information was exchanged that inevitably will help protect defenseless children.  It was indeed a great privilege to have been asked by the United States Department of State to participate in such a highly esteemed program to a humbling experience to know that the I CARE Foundation's work is respected around the world.

There is no question that it was yet another day of progress to protect children from abduction.

As for the International Visitor Leadership Program, the IVLP has a luminary list of esteemed participants include:

Afghanistan: President Hamid Karzai (1987)

 Austria: President Heinz Fischer (1964)

 Belgium: Prime Minister Yves Leterme (2002)

 Bhutan: Prime Minister Lyonpo Jigme Yoser Thinley (1987)

 Brazil: President Dilma Rousseff (1992)

 Croatia: President Ivo Josipović (2002)

 Croatia: Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic (1996)

 Czech Republic: Prime Minister Petr Nečas (1994 and 1999)

 Denmark: Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen (1989)

 Dominica: President Nicholas Joseph Orville Liverpool (1985)

 Finland: President Sauli Niinistö (1992)

 Finland: Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen (2003)

 France: Prime Minister François Fillon (1984)

 France: President Nicolas Sarkozy (1985)

 Georgia: President Mikheil Saakashvili (1997 and 1999)

 Germany: President Joachim Gauck (1993)

 Grenada: Prime Minister Tillman Thomas (1986)

 Guinea: President Alpha Condé (1962)

 India: President Pratibha Devisingh Patil (1968)

 Ireland: Prime Minister Enda Kenny (1989)

 Kenya: President Mwai Kibaki (1961 and 1999)

 Lithuania: President Dalia Grybauskaitė (1994)

 Macedonia: Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski (2000)

 Malawi: President Joyce Banda (1989)

 Malta: Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi (1990)

 Mauritius: President Anerood Jugnauth (1981)

 Mauritius: Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam (1986)

 Mexico: President Felipe De Jesús Calderón Hinojosa (1992)

 Moldova: President Nicolae Timofti (2005)

 Montenegro: Prime Minister Igor Lukšić (1999)

 Mozambique: President Armando Emílio Guebuza (1987)

 Namibia: Prime Minister Nahas Gideon Angula (1996)

 Norway: Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (1988)

 Poland: President Bronisław Komorowski (2006)

 Poland: Prime Minister Donald Franciszek Tusk (1993)

 Portugal: President Aníbal Cavaco Silva (1978)

 Slovakia: Prime Minister Robert Fico (1990)

 Slovenia: Prime Minister Borut Pahor (1991)

 Sri Lanka: President Mahinda Rajapakse (1989)

 St. Kitts and Nevis: Prime Minister Denzil Llewellyn Douglas (1990)

 St. Lucia: Prime Minister Stephenson King (1985)

 Sweden: Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt (2002)

 Taiwan: President Ma Ying-Jeou (1971 and 2003)

 Togo: President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé (2001)

 Trinidad and Tobago: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (1998)

 Trinidad and Tobago: President George Maxwell Richards (1986)

 Turkey: President Abdullah Gül (1995)

 Zimbabwe: Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (1989)

 Macedonia: President Gjorge Ivanov (1999)

In leaving the United States Mission to the United Nations, I left reaffirming once again my commitment to helping defenseless children of abduction and their targeted parents.