International parental child abduction are, unfortunately, all to common these days. As a matter of fact, they are becoming so common The Hague Convention was updated in 1980 to set guidelines for signing nations to follow in cases of parental abductions.
Unfortunately, not all signing countries actually abide by the protocol and the United States does little to help left-behind parents enforce the rules. So sometimes desperate parents take matters into their own hands.
Like Steve Fenton of California, whose son was taken to Mexico by his estranged wife and never returned. Fenton tried to follow of the procedures set in place for this situation but felt he was being stalled by both his own government and that of his Mexican national wife.
Several members of his parental abduction support group told him in confidence the only solution would be to go get his son himself, that the government officials would only make empty promises until he finally gave up, but Fenton was determined to play by the rules.
For a while. Until he realized they were right.
Now Steve Fenton shares the story of a father desperate to have his son returned from another country and the daring measures he took when the Courts and two federal governments failed him in his August 2011 book Broken Treaty: The True Story of a Father’s Covert Recovery of His Missing Son From Mexico.
Fenton’s story is a heartbreak from the get-go. I shiver even trying to imagine how he must have felt in those months he was without his son. And I seethed right along with him as he battles official after official, both American and Mexican, trying to right a wrong all to no avail.
Broken Treaty is a great book, up until the last couple of chapters or so when it becomes an awkward attempt to wrap up the story. And, truth be told, there’s a couple spots in the book where Fenton comes across as a bit of a braggart and name-dropper. But, fortunately, this is minimal and easily tolerable (skimmable, if necessary), making Broken Treaty an interesting and educational read – especially for separated or divorced parents whose spouse is not a natural born citizen of their residential country.
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