10 + years!
It's been a long haul in the search for my 2 sons.
Here is an edited copy of something I wrote on a discussion board...
What happens when an abducted child ages up and becomes and adult? Do they return to the other parent? Are they notified that the other parent has been searching for them? Do they even know they have another parent or other family?
Post #2 BJ
The answer is as individual as the children involved
Great questions, with a good answer! I cannot speak for all circumstances or for all children...only from my own experience over the last 10 years.
First, I would like to give a major shout out to certain members of Peace 4 the Missing
(you KNOW who you are!)
Peace 4 the Missing
Even though I am not comfortable talking about some things at this time...due to circumstances,
there are members at Peace 4 the Missing
that had been very instrumental in helping with my search! Thank You!!!
Do they return to the other parent?
I ASSUMED that all kids these days, including mine, will eventually google their own name (which would lead them to the various sites, posts, and messages I've written them over the years...WRONG!
My oldest son
now admits that he hadn't realized that I considered him missing, and that he never considered googling his own name, because he didn't think anything would be there. He was quite surprised when I sent him links of the sites where I had info, and even more surprised at seeing his picture beside the word missing, everywhere.
(of course, due to current custody laws, my sons were never listed as missing by any organization...they were only missing to me!)
My younger son
was 'cut off' from the outside world as much as a vengeful, alienating, family member could accomplish. His use of a computer was quite limited, and extremely monitored. He is almost 18 and just now learning about things such as myspace.
So if you are a parent in search, please do not make the mistake that I did. Do not assume your child will google their own name, frequent the popular 'kids sites' and find their own name on the internet.
It has been within the last few months that I have had the chance to 'compare notes' with my sons....
My oldest was 9 the last I had seen him. (Now almost 20)
His memory is quite vivid!
(scary, actually...lol. He accurately describes things that I have almost forgotten...such as where various furniture was located throughout our house, books that I had read to him as a child, and the various junker cars I had owned )
My younger son was age 7 the last I had seen him. (Now almost 18)
He was told many lies over the years...he was told things such as:
They 'heard' that I was dead, and that I didn't want or love him. Apparently, whenever he recalled a memory that involved his previous life with me, he was told that these were 'made up/false' memories. He was basically brainwashed.
In the words of my older son...'he was not allowed to think'
The reunification process has been an interesting blessing.
I suppose that since my older son and I are alike in many ways, we are slower and more cautious at finding a 'comfortable zone' with each other. Neither of us are a chatter box...which leaves room for silence at times. We are both quite stubborn, and we are both a wise-a$$
Even though he would refer to me as mom, when talking with someone else:
(Such as 'I'm talking to my mom')
It took awhile before he actually called me mom, in direct reference:
(Such as 'hey mom...when will you come visit again?')
I have no problems with his 'reservations' and do not take offense, as I know it's been a long haul for all involved.
This is not so with the younger...within an hour or 2, I heard 'Hey mom!' every few minutes, from the chatterbox of our family. He didn't even hold much reservation in talking problems about *ahem* guy issues...things that, considering the circumstances, made me blush a bit!
My youngest (3rd) son has learned much about missing children/persons & his young life has been forever touched by my search for the 2 brothers he didn't even know. It was a joyous occasion when he finally got to meet his big brothers!
Both older sons live a few hundred miles away, and even though we seem to be doing well with the 'reunification process,' for now they both prefer to remain in the state that they currently reside in. I think it has been a lot for both boys to take in...especially as both attended a small family reunion recently.
(The reunion went well, btw)
We do, however, keep in contact via skype/webcam, email, and phone.
None of us are good at mailing snail-mail letters.
This reunification will be a work in progress for all involved, but all in all, it is going well.
Do they even know they have another parent or other family?
When I asked my oldest son if he REALLY believed that I had abandoned them...and didn't want them anymore, his response was that he did what he had to, to survive. *emotionally/mentally*
In other words, he had to pretend to believe that. Yet deep inside, he knew that something was amiss!
Again, my younger son was the 'target child'
He was led to believe that the abusive family member was the only person who 'cared' for and loved him. As suspected, he was taught to fear me...only the abusive abductor did not count on him standing up to her when he was older... she did not count on me finally getting a message to him. Nor did she count on his teenage curiosity. She did not expect my older son to get in contact, and let the younger one know that I am an ok mom. She did not count on the love we had for each other being stronger than his fear of her abuse. I thank God that this alienator cannot count!
Thank you to all who has taken the time to 'listen' and encourage me, when I was down...
I'm not sure I could have done this for 10 years, without the support I had found in small online communities such as Peace 4 the Missing!