Dad Gets His Daughters Back After Mom Abducts Them
The article Dad, kids Poland-bound after rulings (Chicago Tribune, 4/26/06) discusses an international abduction case in which a divorcing Polish mother abducted her two daughters to the United States, disappearing with the girls without even telling the dad. I hear of these nightmarish cases all the time and it seems that, regardless of what the law says, it is difficult for dads to win. In this case, family law attorney Jeff Leving scored a big victory, getting the dad his kids back and righting the wrong. According to the Tribune:
A Polish man, whose daughters disappeared and were found to be living in the Chicago area with their mother since last year, took the girls back to his country on Tuesday after a series of legal victories.
Janusz Adamczyk, 39, was reunited with his daughters at a Bedford Park school Monday afternoon. He had been trying to return Gabriela, 8, and Adrianna, 10, to Poland since June, when he learned his wife brought the girls here.
‘It took me a lot of time and effort but finally it seems I’m successful,’ he said before he and the girls boarded a plane. ‘I did this for my kids, not for myself or to prove anything. I know this is what they need.’
He acknowledged it would take time for the girls to adjust, ‘but they need their mother to give them support.’
A weeping Beata Adamczyk, their mother, said in a phone interview that she was en route to O’Hare International Airport in hopes of seeing her daughters because they were taken from school and she didn’t get to say goodbye.
‘I know I broke the law, but I thought I was doing the best for the kids,’ she said. ‘In Poland there is no future for the kids. I’m just so upset.’
The Adamczyks had been involved in an international custody battle after separating last year. They were in the midst of a divorce in Poland when Beata Adamczyk , 37, brought the children to south suburban Summit.
Janusz Adamczyk’s attorneys said the case highlights how more international abductions are ending up in the U.S. court system.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, caseloads regarding international parental abductions grew by 69 percent last year. Julia Alanen, director of the international division, said more people are learning how to reach out for help.
‘There are no really solid statistics [of how often it occurs] because the majority of these cases go unreported,’ she said. ‘But the increased ease of international travel and access has made it easier for people to carry on international relationships. You do end up with international parental disputes.’
Adamczyk reported his children missing in Poland and was connected to an attorney by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
‘This decision, it speaks volumes and sends a message to any parent who wants to wrongfully kidnap a child,’ said Jeffery M. Leving, whose law firm represented the father. ‘This decision communicates that the U.S. will not stand by and support a kidnapper.’
Adamczyk said that after he and his wife separated last year, she and the children moved more than 450 miles from his Tarnow, Poland home. When he went to check on them, he learned they were gone.
‘I didn’t even know she was leaving,’ he said. ‘I didn’t know where my kids were at or nothing.’
Leving said a private detective found Beata Adamczyk living in the south suburbs with her parents and the children enrolled in a local school.
The couple had lived together in Summit before they married, and the girls were born here, court records show.
In court, the girls’ mother argued that she did not want to live in Poland. The girls told a psychologist they also did not want to go to Poland and that the schools were dirty and had broken windows.
But Cook County Judge Barbara Riley said the girls started their education in Poland, were financially supported by their father even after they were abducted, and their mother was wrong to take them without his permission. Riley ordered that the girls be turned over to their father. A petition by the mother to the Illinois Appellate Court was unsuccessful.
Beata Adamczyk said she left Poland to offer the girls a better life. She described a marriage in which her husband controlled the finances and refused to leave Poland, even though they were struggling.
Leving said future proceedings regarding custody would have to be handled in Poland.