Parenting Bloggers

Today’s Heroes – The Remarkable, Inspiring Author and Advocate Elisabeth Hirsch

Today’s Hero – The Remarkable, Inspiring Author and Advocate Elisabeth Hirsch

Okay, I am a true fan of my friend Elisabeth Hirsch for she represents all the good things I believe in: a tremendous parent, incredible storyteller, active advocate, and philanthropist who has used her voice to help enrich the human condition while assisting others who might have lost their sight of life’s magic.

Elisabeth inspires me.  And though she may not have realized the magnitude of the words I am now sharing, Elisabeth put a unique fire in me a year ago to fight for children in crisis: that fire leading to the accomplishments of the I CARE Foundation, and the organizations various
accomplishments protecting children around the world from abduction.

For those of you who do not know Elisabeth Hirsch, she is best-selling writer who has written a collection of diverse, enjoyable, empowering, and entertaining books under the pen name E.C. Stilson. When she is not writing, raising money for such notable organizations such as Angel Watch, Primary Children’s Hospital, Pregnancy Resources, or the American Diabetes Association, Elisabeth is speaking for and playing a key role in the healing process for families in crisis who have experienced the loss of an infant or young child.

Remarkably, Elisabeth used the hardships that she and her family faced during one extremely challenging period in their life when she lost her young son, Zeke, and acts so others will benefit from her experience.
And as explored in this interview, Elisabeth’s willingness and desire to help others means that she must go back to those incredible storms whenever she comes to help other families in crisis. As a parent who had to search the world over for an abducted child, and as a person
who, after finding and safely bringing my child home and becoming a highly visible advocate and activist against abduction and trafficking, I know all too well the challenges of advocacy Elisabeth faces because whenever she comes to the aid of those who may be experiencing infant loss, the fiber of her memories are part of her.  Fortunately, Elisabeth Hirsch has such tremendous strength – a strength she has found because of her strong faith in God, her strong relationship and partnership with her husband, the love of her family, and her courage to find her voice.

It is quite remarkable just how much a person can do when they find their voice. Clearly, Elisabeth Hirsch lives in Uhuru, and somehow, I think Noble Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai is looking down from heaven at Elisabeth with a big smile on her face, knowing that this indefatigable women lives unbowed in her morals, ethics, humility, and kindness
– and it all of this – Elisabeth Hirsch makes the world a much, much better place.

Raising four beautiful children with her husband Cade, while running her publishing company Wayman Publishing, Elisabeth came to the aid of the I CARE Foundation this past year and stewarded the message of international parental child abduction prevention. Elisabeth’s help was incredible, as is exemplified by the fact that after nearly 30 years of consistent rocketing growth in the U.S. international parental child abduction rate, the reported rate of abductions dropped by 23% over the past two years – the same period when the I CARE Foundation launched a global abduction
awareness and prevention campaign that utilized the tremendous reach of parenting writers such as Elisabeth Hirsch.

Elisabeth Hirsch is a hero to so many, including her family, her friends, and all those she has directly helped; however,
Elisa’s work, her spirit, and her willingness to help others in need – and the impact she has made, represents all that mankind aspires to be. She is what ‘Today’s Heroes’ symbolizes – and represents the best in all of us.

It is my privilege to share this interview with my friend and hero, Elisabeth Hirsch.

1. You have written several best sellers under the
name E.C. Stilson, including notable titles such as one of the most important
books I have ever read, The Golden Sky. Can you share with us a little about
this story, and what your purpose was in writing it?

I was nineteen years old, already a pregnant mother and lonely wife, when I found out the child I carried had serious birth defects. I wrote everything down, detailing how my baby died and my marriage fell apart, but through it all I found hope, redemption, and even forgiveness in the most unlikely of places.

A few years later, I reread my own words and found miracles that only hindsight could bring. So many amazing things had happened, showing me God was there, always with me, always guiding me.

I knew others going through hard times could read my story and see the miracles throughout their own trials. And understand that at the end of every storm, there is a golden sky.

2. Why did you choose the name E.C. Stilson to pen under?

My nieces and nephews called me “EC” because “Elisa” was hard to say. I always thought that was fun since my first name starts with an “E” and my husband’s begins with a “C.” Cade’s helped me so much with my memoirs, I wanted the “EC” to represent both of us. “Stilson” is my maiden name, and I used it to honor my dad.

3. During World War II, women in the media such as Jacquelyn Saix (one of television’s first producers) and Mary Walsh Hemingway (one of the first women war correspondents) began to transform who, how, and what news was reported, and how this information was shared. Moving forward nearly 70 years, parenting
blog writers are changing the landscape once again on how information is shared and utilized. Which makes the ‘The Crazy Life of a Writing Mom’ irresistible! Can you tell us about this blog and what value do you see in it?

Humor and laughter have more power than most realize. As parents, it’s easy to get lost in the stressful circumstances; we forget how much fun life can be. My blog tries to bring that back, by telling silly stories about parenting, potty training, school bullies, etc. My hope is to help people see how any circumstance can be humorous, if looked at differently. A happy parent, who’s involved with their children, will most likely raise happy kids.

4. How important of a role do parents who write and share their views and perspectives on the Internet play in directing or cultivating public perception or creating new trends?

Parenting blogs have grown substantially in the last few years. When googling terms, it’s amazing how many times I’m directed to parenting blogs. My blog alone has been viewed over 360,000 times. The blogging community has a strong
voice, the ability to be heard more easily by so many people–it’s phenomenal. These writers’ insights and knowledge are guiding others, making them feel less alone in our technologically evolving world.

5. Would you say a mobilized group of parent blog writes has the ability of creating a major impact on an issue or social cause, and if so, can you give a specific?

I think anyone with a strong voice has the opportunity to influence others by standing for what they believe in. Blogging has been a gift to those willing to speak out. With good blog titles and topics, writers now have the capability to be heard. I remember seeing this first-hand when I wrote about my son who died. I went to over 100 other blogs and asked them to join me in a 3-day event where we’d each share stories about our loved ones who have passed on. This event
exploded and was everywhere within the following days. That single event jump-started my writing career.

You can see that promo post here:

http://ecwrites.blogspot.com/2011/09/only-50-more-days-until-golden-sky.html

6. It seems to me that it took a certain amount of courage when you found your voice. What would you tell others who struggle to find the courage to find their own voice, and what could they do to alleviate any fear they may have?

It’s still hard for me to believe in myself and my voice. Even while being interviewed on the radio, or while talking at signings, I’m still nervous. But then I remember why I started in the first place. What was so important that this journey became worth the fight? That’s when I think of my son. I wanted his story out there, something that he’d left behind so he could look down from Heaven and realize I will never forget him. His life was important–it had meaning. That strength keeps me going strong.

We all have stories to tell. The reason we initially started looking for our voices, is the same force that will inspire us to find our way.

7. You are a very humble lady, yet your writing and advocacy has helped so many others. Can you share with us one story of how one of your books helped another?

. . . where to begin. I’ve been so blessed, and many of the things that have happened to me seem a bit miraculous. The one story that sticks out happened in winter of 2011. I’d just started Wayman Publishing and published “The Golden Sky.” It was an emotional time because Cade and I both thought about Zeke’s short life. On November 18th, Zeke’s birthday, we went to his grave and left “The Golden Sky” there. It was my final way of saying goodbye. I can’t describe how that felt. It was very bittersweet. At the time I had a romantic notion that God and Zeke were guiding me. I’d somehow leave the book and then the right person would find it and read it.

Well, it happened! In December I received an amazing email. It started like this:

“Hi, I am sure you do not know me. You see Zeke’s grave is right next to my sister’s grave.”

The email continued, telling me how she’d read my book and now hoped her sister was taking care of Zeke in Heaven! We’re still in contact through Facebook. I’m so thankful that she read Zeke’s book.

8. Losing a young child is a parent’s biggest fear, and it is something you have not only written about, but you have become a teacher, healer, and friend to so many others who have had to face this issue. What are a few important things that you teach others facing this crisis that can also carry over to others not facing this issue?

Keep Going
Some days it might seem simpler to stop facing our problems. But that’s not the easy way out. Giving up and repressing feelings leads to worse problems later on–trust me, I know. Whether you want to be a warrior or a wimp, give yourself time to grieve (and deal with things) so you can eventually find the issue and thus the resolution.

Find the Issue–Find the Resolution
We all go through tough times and grieve in different ways. If we can discover what’s truly upsetting us about any situation, then we can discover how to change things. For example, when Zeke died I had the hardest time thinking that
he’d never grow up–I’d never get to see him become a man. Why? Was there something I could do to make things better? He’d died and the sadness lingered for years, just causing more pain and hurt. When I identified the problem’s
root, I realized I could release his book, in that way his memory would live on even if he could not. By Identifying this deep issue, I found a resolution. And it worked!

The loss still hurts sometimes, but I feel much better, as if I’ve done as much as I can to make a bad situation better somehow.

9. You have helped raise money for such organizations such as Angel Watch, The Pregnancy Resource Center, and Primary Children’s Hospital. Why?

All three of these places helped me and Zeke. The Pregnancy Resource Center encouraged me to continue with the pregnancy. Angel Watch sent counselors to our house. They helped us cope before and after Zeke was born. They also helped Cade and I mend our failing marriage. And Primary Children’s, because that’s the only home Zeke even knew.

10. When the I CARE Foundation sought your assistance by asking you to lend your voice and help steward the messages about the realities of international parental child abduction, you did not hesitate to do so. Why?

I believe in the I CARE Foundation. They fight for the well-being of children, for the solace and strength of parents who are facing terrible tragedies. I don’t know what it’s like to face child abduction, but I do know what it’s like to lose a son. For these reasons and many more, the I CARE Foundation is close to my heart.

11. During the 2012 fiscal year, outgoing cases of international parental child abduction declined by 15% that originated from the United States because there was an increase in abduction prevention litigation. How important is it that other parent blog writers write about social issues that impact children?

Bloggers have more power than they know. If people would band together and write about this, our voices would be heard–and readers would take action. Think about “The Golden Sky”; if a single book–from a previously unknown other–can become a success from a single blogging launch, then imagine how an event like this could raise abduction prevention awareness!

12. Can you name three of your favorite books?

The Bible–because you can’t get better than that.

“Gone With the Wind”–because Scarlett is so real, loathsome and likable–all at the same time.

“The Sum of All Men” in David Farland’s Runelords series. He weaves social injustice into a fantasy story that I’ll never forget. Imagine a world where people could sell their intellect, beauty, and physical strength. Now imagine that same world, where these attributes can be taken by kings, leaving peasants brainless, ugly and physically marred as long as the omnipotent king lives.

13. I just ordered ‘The Sword of Senack’ – a magical YA adventure story about three siblings trying to find one of their lost siblings. Where did this story originate from, and can you give us a little insight?

When Zeke died, my oldest daughter had a very hard time. She’d ask what death is, and why Zeke never came back. I answered the best I could, but when answers no longer helped, I started telling her an allegory. The story is about a brave boy who takes an underwater adventure. “He had to go,” I told my daughter. “It was his destiny.” And through that story, my daughter slowly came to terms with her brother’s death. Few know of the story’s deeper meaning, they just think it’s a fun MG fantasy. But it’s a special book to me, because it represents how my daughter found healing.

14. You’re a wife, a mother, a writer, a publisher, an activist, and an advocate. What do you do for fun that is . . . well, just for you?

I love hiking. I also enjoy playing my violin in the mountains. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does I feel like all of my worries fade–even if only for a moment.

Don’t tell my mom, but I’d also like to get into skydiving. I went once and now I can’t stop dreaming about doing again–it was UNREAL!

15. The word ‘Uhuru’ means to live in freedom by being and living unbowed in your morals, ethics and principles. How important is it to live in freedom? 

Without morals, ethics, principles and freedom of our minds, who are we? If we expect to take life by the reins and truly live, we MUST understand ourselves.  That is true freedom, knowing ourselves and having the strength to be who we are. I’m still trying to learn this myself, but I feel as if writing my memoirs has helped me grow more than anticipated.

Living in freedom may be the single most important aspect of living, because being “free” entails so much.

16. As an accomplished writer who has created an impressive, diverse body of work, what three things would you tell inspiring writers?

Make a Goal and Stick to it!

Many writers don’t go anywhere because they can’t finish a book, or they won’t commit to writing consistently. Even if it’s just a few minutes a day, if someone wants to be a writer they must take the time to write. Writing needs to be taken seriously. Find time. I get up at 5am just so I can write. If I stop being consistent, my writing will suffer.

Don’t Let Anyone Pull You Down

I could probably line a swimming pool with the rejection letters I’ve received.  It’s hard hearing criticism from publishers, editors and even friends. But you have to keep going. Yeah, I could swim in the hundreds of rejection letters I’ve gotten. You know what else I could do? I bet I could make a book using the wonderful letters I’ve received from people who’ve read my books and enjoyed them. I’ve met amazing people. I founded Wayman Publishing. I helped donate thousands of dollars to different organizations. None of that would have happened if I just gave up and swam in my own doubts. Now think of your writing–imagine what you could do!

Find Your Purpose and Hold onto it

Everyone is special. Everyone has something important to offer the world. Once you’ve found what inspires you to write, keep that close. Just like I wrote in question #6: The reason we initially started looking for our voices, is the same force that will inspire us to find our way.

17. When creating a story, how do you map out the direction you’re going?

Since most books are about 60,000 words long, and I write nearly 2,000 words per chapter, I start by creating 30 chapter titles. These must obey the arc of a good story, with the mid-point and climax carefully placed. I usually think
of my resolution and then start my story in the complete opposite place. For example, if my story will end with a confident woman who is financially stable and happy, in the beginning she’ll be poor and insecure. Every chapter must
describe her growth through subplots etc.

18. What is next for E.C. Stilson?

I’m currently working on “Quest for Larin,” the second book in the Mer-son Cycle.

19. What comes to mind from the phrase, ‘Global Citizen’?

I love this concept; it brings such a feeling of unity and hope. This really is a small world. With the way things are going, we’re all so easily connected, unique citizens, all equal with the ability to help each other succeed.

20. Can you tell us something funny that happened to you during your life?

I’ve had so many hilarious things happen to me. But just this morning I talked with a friend about my husband. Cade’s fine now, but recently, he was very ill.  I had no idea he was actually that sick. I kept saying, “Honey, you need
to get out of bed. You’ll feel better.”

“I can’t move,” he groaned.

Was he serious? Suddenly I had a flashback of myself being in labor. I breathed through each contraction. My mom and mother-in-law looked worried, praying for me. Then Cade started hyperventilating in the back of the room. Everyone
gasped.

I was the one in labor! I didn’t have a epidural, thinking I’d save my baby from any drugs. Yet Cade pulled out a damn paper bag, breathing into it, clutching the thing like it held the secrets of life. Then my mother-in-law and MY mother left me as another rolling contraction came. I breathed. Cade breathed. Apparently Cade breathes harder because everyone held his hands and wiped his sweaty forehead! Our families left soon after to get Cade a sandwich–my favorite kind. I couldn’t eat, yet he ate the thing, taking big breathes in between each bite. The ketchup from the sandwich kept falling, splashing beautifully onto a napkin on Cade’s lap, all during my intense contractions.

“I can’t move,” Cade groaned again, bringing me back to the present moment.

We went to the hospital. This time Cade rested in the hospital bed while I watched from the sidelines. “You have an infection in your lungs,” the doctor said. He had such wild white hair, like Einstein. “Another day and you might have died,” he told Cade.

It was my turn to start hyperventilating. I hadn’t thought Cade was sick. I’d been so rude! I sat down and breathed hard, trying to ground myself. My mother and mother-in-law instantly ran over to make sure I was okay. They held my hands. They wiped my forehead. . . .

After the doctor left the room, I caught Cade’s eyes. He kept staring, wondering why everyone was fawning over me when he was the one in pain.

(End Interview)

As I have gotten older and perhaps a bit more thoughtful, I have often thought about God’s will.  In these thoughts, I have come to believe that God so much bigger than any one religion, but the message God shares with all who believe in the Divine’s existence crosses all faiths: be courageous in your life to be kind and compassionate to one another.  In doing so, I think we allow the God each of us respectively believes in to come into our heart and guide our life.

When I think of the goodness of having God’s spirit exist on our earthly world, it is rather easy to see the Divine’s presence in the nature of mankind by simply paying attention to my remarkable friend, Elisabeth Hirsch for Elisa, as she is also referred to, is what is right about this world.

On one final note, my life has become enriched over this past year that Elisabeth and I have become friends.  I not only have been open to the lessons she teaches by her action, but I have been empowered to share my voice.

Elisabeth Hirsch exemplifies what it is to be a Hero for she has made our world a better place for many.  Be inspired – I invite you to read about ElisabethHirsch and Elisa’s publishing company, Wayman Publishing.  Click here to purchase any of EC’s publications on Amazon.

Heroes of Today: Top Parenting Bloggers Marvyn and Mary Cab Tinitigan

Today’s Heroes: Top Parenting Bloggers Marvyn and Mary Cab Tinitigan

A year ago, I had contacted Marvyn and Mary Tinitigan, who operate the delightful parenting – family blog site, ‘Marvyn and Mary’ and sought their assistance in stewarding the I CARE Foundation’s message about the pandemic of international parental child abduction so targeted parents may become educated about the realities of abduction.

Over the year, Mary and Marvyn have been extremely helpful in stewarding the messages of abduction prevention.  Their assistance has made a sizeable difference in the lives of many, including playing a key role in the recovery of an abducted child.

Specifically, a young girl was internationally parentally abducted from New Jersey. Her abductor had hatched a clever scheme that included use of flights to Florida, boarding a closed circuit cruise ship (a loophole under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative) that would stop off in Mexico after visiting several ports-of-call in the Caribbean, debarking in Mexico’s Cancun, driving to Mexico City, where the abductor would then fly with the kidnapped child to Brazil.  However, the targeted parent, who had remained in New Jersey, unaware of the scheme of her ex-husband, read Marvyn and Mary’s various articles about international parental child abduction and the I CARE Foundation’s work.  Immediately, an investigation was launched that quickly uncovered the in-action plan.  And with a lot of effort and a great deal of work, the little girl was removed from the cruise ship and returned to her custodial mother.  Should the child’s abductor – her non-custodial father – gotten into Mexico, their passage to Brazil would have been clear.  And sadly, the child’s return would have been unlikely since Brazil is generally a non-complying signatory nation of the Hague Convention.

Mary and Marvyn’s willingness to get involved and to advocate for others demonstrates not just good citizenship, but undeniably is a demonstrative building block of excellent parenting.  If it was not for their blog writing and willingness to get involved, at least one child’s hatched kidnapping would have been carried out. But it was not because a caring, fun, and intelligent couple with a sense of civic responsibility decided to use their voice and make a difference for children and families in crisis.

I am pleased to share that Marvyn and Mary Tinitigin are Today’s Heroes.  They not only represent what can happen when each of us advocates issues that are geared toward enriching the greater good of others. Indeed, they are my heroes because, with nothing to gain other than the knowledge that they might be able to help others, they got involved.

Outside of their advocacy with the I CARE Foundation, Marvyn and Mary’s blog writing is delightful! Writing and posting as a family – which is awesome – the topics they write about and some of the photographs they share speak to readers around the world.

It is my honor to share with you my interview with Marvyn and Mary: compassionate, kind, thoughtful, and intelligent Heroes of Today who make the world a better place for all of us. When I think of the words ‘human connectivity’, I think of my dear friends Marvyn and Mary Tinitigin.

Here is my interview:

1. Your parent blog site ‘Marvyn and Mary’ is an absolute celebration of parenting and partnership. How do you and Marvyn collaborate on topics and issues you share with your readers?

We don’t really have a formal collaboration process. Instead we have a general idea of what our readers want and we stay true to that. We’re pretty loosey-goosey in that regard. – Marvyn

2. Why did you decide to create your parenting blog? 

Marvynandmary.com was originally a venue for us to share our wedding information with attendees. After our wedding, it eventually evolved into a blog. Marvyn has the know-how, so why not? – Mary

Eventually we were getting a lot of feedback on our posts of not-so-common products, so we took it from there.  – Marvyn

3. How has your writing and blog impacted others?

I’m hoping it gives the readers a few minutes of smiles and laughter. Everybody wants to see more of Jagger, right? – Marvyn

I am hoping that they find something in our blog that will help them in whatever they are searching for. Whether it’s laughter, wanting to relate to another parent or in need of help, I hope they find that on our site. – Mary

4. Parenting blog writers partially consist of mothers who have dedicated themselves to the incredible fulltime task of raising a family. What are the benefits for a stay-at-home mother or father who is considering creating a blog or using social media to have their voice heard?

Networking. We wouldn’t be having this discussion if it wasn’t for that, you know? – Marvyn

I am no longer a stay-at-home mom but when I was, I used our blog to just write about things that interest me like the I CARE Foundation. I also used it as something that I could take out my frustration on. – Mary

5. What are some of the fun or interesting aspects of being a well-respected parent blog writer?

You can take pictures of anything. When somebody gives you a dirty look, the instant response is “Don’t worry, it’s for my blog!” –Marvyn

That you can say anything you want and not worry about what people think – Mary

6. The way society obtains and shares information has changed dramatically over a short period of time. How important of a role do parent blog writers have in educating other parents about issues that they may face?

It is very important. When we were expecting, we looked to the web to provide us with answers that we needed and we wanted to do the same. Marvyn wanted to start writing reviews on products we bought in hopes that it would help people decide on whether to buy it or not, especially when it came to baby products.  We were constantly on Babies R Us reading reviews so we thought why not write our experience on our blog?

7. Would you say that a mobilized and united parent blog community has the ability of creating trends, swaying policy, and increasing the elevation of topical issues?

Absolutely! We as parents have a right to raise our voices because we are fighting for our children’s future. People tend to listen more when raising an issue comes from a parent. They know that we just want to do what is right and want to protect our children – Mary

8. On your blog site’s ‘About Us’ section, you post: ‘Let me write something about us. I promise I will make it entertaining. Come back later, okay?’ So, here is your chance: how about three sentences.

1)
2)
3)….come back later okay? 😉

9. Parent blog writer’s social activism is becoming more visible and influential. What responsibilities do parents have, if any, to become vocal with respect to causes or issues that impact society?

I think parents have such a big responsibility in society. After all, we are raising the future of this country. – Mary

10. How have you used your website to help others, particularly children and families in crisis?

I think your feedback is proof. A perfect example of how our website has helped those in need. –Marvyn

11. You have become visible in your advocacy with the I CARE Foundation to help prevent international child abduction and human trafficking. Why is this important?

Because we want to do anything we can to protect the innocent. It is such a cruel world out there and we want those horrible human beings (if we can even call them that)to know that we are out there, fighting you with everything we have to keep our children safe.

12. Your blog helped prevent an abduction of a young girl taken from the United States to South America. How did you feel knowing that you made a difference for a targeted family? 

We were completely blown away by the news. There were so many thoughts running through our mind. To unknowingly help someone get their daughter back, how do you find the right words to that? We are just so unbelievably happy that the child was returned. We never expected it would be our blog that would be of assistance to something like this. There are so many options when you Google something and the fact that our blog popped up and helped them, it’s just…WOW. It’s an honor really. It gives us comfort in some way that if something like this happens again, our blog and others like ours is able to provide someone with some assistance.  -Mary

13. Can you name three books that have inspired you? 

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. One of my all time favorite book/movie. I was always a believer in fairy tales (I mean, what girl doesn’t right) and that book gave me a hope at a time that I needed it most. Now this book inspired Marvyn too.  We met when I visited my family here in NJ during Christmas break. I was living in California at that time. He found out that my favorite book/movie is The Notebook. When it was time for me to leave, he wrote me this lovely letter that he made me promise not to read until I got on the plane. He pretty much confessed his love for me and that he really wished we could have met in different circumstances because he would have loved to get to know me better. Well, we all know how that turned out. A happy ending for us both =)

Another one is a book called Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo. I don’t know how much of the story is actually the truth but it gave me such hope that when it is our time, we are really going to be reunited with the people we love up there.

And lastly, Chasing the Cyclone, written by my wonderful friend, Peter Thomas Senese,  is another one that inspired me. It’s a story about a father’s love, how he would go to hell and back to get his son back. Reading that book, I never imagined it would introduce us to a great cause but also introduced us to a group of amazing people.

14. What would you tell other parent blogger writers about their role in using their voice to further social causes about children? 

That, believe us, your voice matters. We never knew when we started writing about the I CARE Foundation that our voice would be heard. You always told us, Peter, that our voices are being heard and it is helping, that we are heroes as well. We had a hard time seeing ourselves as heroes just by writing something important. With the news that we helped someone get their daughter back, we still don’t see ourselves as one. It really is all because of you Peter and the I CARE Foundation. You are the hero because with you and the foundation, we never would have had the chance to help give a voice to it. -Mary

15. Jagger seems to always be smiling, and the affection that is shared with him clearly genuine. What are some of the important aspects or techniques of your and Marvyn’s parenting that you would like to share with others? 

We shower Jagger with hugs and kisses every day. We don’t take our time with him for granted. His happiness means the world to us. Some may say he is spoiled but he gets disciplined too when he acts out.  Marvyn has been chatting with one of his aunts who lives in California lately. It’s been a while since they’ve talked. And he’s shown her pictures and one of her comments was the same thing: he is always smiling and looks very happy. I don’t know what we are doing half that time but obviously we are doing something right, right? I guess one thing I can tell parents out there is to not take life so seriously. Look at life through the eyes of your child every now and again. Also, no matter how hard you feel like you have to work so you can buy your child everything they want, remember that all they really want is your time. The material things are not what is important to them. As long as your child is happy and you’re happy, things will work out for the best. -Mary

16. What are three things that you love to do? 

There are just too many to name! This is hard. But I have to choose right? So here it goes: reading, watch basketball with my boys and shopping!

17. I consider you and Marvyn heroes for you acted unselfishly and came to the aid of the I CARE Foundation when we desperately sought assistance from the parent blog writer community to help raise awareness of abduction. You have posted several articles that have made an impact on the lives of others. How important is it for each of us to find our courage and share our voice?

It is so incredibly important to share our voice. You never know who you will reach. Someone out there is searching for something and your blog may just provide the right answer. Never in a million years would I have thought writing about I CARE Foundation would eventually reach that one person who really needed it. -Mary

18. If there is anything you would like readers to know that we have not covered here, what would that be?

That Marvyn and Jagger have more shoes than me!

(End Interview)

Marvyn and Mary Tinitigan demonstrate by act that each of our voices really do matter. They have made a resounding impact on others – something I am sure they will continue to do.  Their son Jagger is very fortunate, for he has two amazing parents that are connected to enriching the human experience by sharing the wonderments of their life.

Heroes can be defined by individuals chose to act for the greater good of others.  The heroic act is the defining moment, not necessarily the final act, but the willingness to act.  In Maryvn and Mary’s case, they have acted to help others, and have made a difference for others.  And that is more than very cool!

I invite you to visit Marvyn and Mary’s website.

– Peter Thomas Senese –

International Women’s Day: Celebrating The Amazing Women In My Life

Heroes. Child Advocates. Nurturing Parents. Freedom Fighters. Novelists. Global Leaders. Friends. Healers. Protectors Of Our Planet. Educators. Global Citizens. 

Today the world is celebrating International Women’s Day!
Every day, I celebrate the amazing women who have touched my life!

I am not a dainty guy by any means. In fact, you could say I am quite the opposite. I have kept my body, mind, and spirit fit and sharp. Professionally, I am active in the technology sector, and have been for a long time.  As a storyteller, it has been said my works have impacted the lives of many on every continent. In my philanthropy I have come to the assistance of many children who are in crisis, particularly children fighting cancer or at risk of, or who have been abducted. Holding true to my perspective that life is filled with magic, I have allowed the ‘Peter Pan’ in me to exist.  Perhaps this is why I fight the way I do with the I CARE Foundation to make sure that all the lost boys and girls in abduction’s Neverland come home.

In reflection, most of all who I am and who I have become, is because of some incredible women who have guided me throughout my life.  I know that all of who I am comes in great part because of some courageous women, who are unquestionably, my heroes.

But there is so much more.

For example, when the I CARE Foundation began our grassroots effort to raise awareness of the warning signs and risk factors of international parental child abduction and trafficking, it was only an amazing group of women who answered our call for help. And help they did!  By stewarding the educational messages of child abduction prevention, these international women – located as far away as the Philippines, Indonesia, South Africa, Kenya, England, Germany, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, and of course the United States – played a major role in a groundbreaking event: they pushed back the pandemic of international child abduction as demonstrated by the reported cases of abduction that had nearly 30 years of consecutive growth: reported abductions originating from the United States declined by 15% during 2011 and 2012!

Now granted, the majority of the parents who stood in the line of educational defense for children originated from the United States – but by the virtue of the statistical impact, it is clear that mobilized women – their hands reaching across international borders – have the incredible ability of changing the world. And this is clearly demonstrated by how a major international family issue – child abduction – has been impacted.

On this note, I would like to thank some of my friends and children warriors from all over the world for what each of you have done to assist children in crisis.  So a special thank you is extended to Maria Henderson, Carolyn Ann Vlk, Patricia Lee, Jennifer Cluff, Amanda Gammell, Patricia McKnight, Wangari Maathai, Haseena Patel, Victoria Vaccariello Swope, Stacey Jo Burns, PJ Schott, Britnee Degenhart, Tiffany Degenhart, Nancy Carty Lepri, Mary Tinitigan, Nanette Bonilla, Angeline De Luca, Annette Fuerriero, Carmen Ducharme Rochette, Jennifer Brooks Nelissen, Linda Blair, Shannon Colonna, Abigail Kidd Mui, Ida Acconciamessa, Lyndsey Doyle, Pamela Mitchell, Ann Marquez, Aprile Mazey, Leslie Warren, Kathy Marrocco, Alicia Yamashita, Sharon Simons, Susann Gehring, Stephanie Seymour, Claire Minnaar, Willa Stock, Elisabeth Hirsch, Katie Smith, Melanie Melugin, Patsy Woo, Bobbie Anne Munsey, Heather Jones, Cascia Talbert, Amanda Coburn, Erica Kloestra, Janice Roodsari, Leah Ison, Rachel Burk, Tamara Vellozzo, Lauren Johnson, Sabrina Dennis, Laura Taft, Ewa Kelly, Erin Henderschedt, Cheryl Bullock, Connie Lee, Gennevieve Elise Derveld, Megan Slattery, Connie Lee, Jilhan Tekinapp, Sher Wheeler, Stacey Stein Eva, Eri Nelson, Kali Panago, Gwen Johnson, Rita Evelyn Yanes, Carol Rita Sylvia, Jullian Steward, Barbara Craig, Patricia Hoff, and of course Amanda of Werdyab, Janessa of Thrifty Nifty Mommy, Jule from Takes a Village, Carlia from Nest Building 101, Natasha from Serenity You, Heather from Proud Book Nerd, Dianna from Free Sample Momma, Jane from Speak Jane Speak, Rondi from WAHM Resources, Stephanie from Random Mommy Blog, Jessica from Naturally Mamas, and so many others incredible international women who I have not mentioned but surely wanted to.

Each of you is right about this world.  Each of you in your own special way bespeaks of the hope of tomorrow and the possibility of true global citizenship. And each of you has impacted my life along the way.

Today the world celebrates International Women’s Day.  Every day, in my own special way, I celebrate each of you.

Enjoy!
Jennifer Husson Cluff
Haseena Patel
Patricia McKnight
Wangari Maathai
Mary Welsh Hemingway and Jacqueline Saix
Carolyn Ann Vlk
Pam Mitchell

In case you might be wondering what I believe in . . . that’s pretty simple.

Kindest regards to all,

PETER THOMAS SENESE

Heroes of Today: Mom-ology Parenting Blogger Jennifer Husson Cluff

A Remarkable Hero: Mom-ology Parenting Blogger Jennifer Husson Cluff

Jennifer Husson Cluff Has Been Voted As One Of Canada’s Top 5 Parenting Bloggers

Over the past few years I have written a series of essays about real-life heroes – incredible individuals who act in kindness and compassion toward others and who inherently, by the nature of their spirits, enhance the lives of those around them. I am fortunate to call each a dear friend. These individuals have made me a better person. They have positively impacted the lives of so many others by direct act or through social activism. Nevertheless, they are what is right about our world.

Jennifer Husson Cluff
Voted One Of Canada’s Top 5 Parenting Writers

Needless to say, I feel honored and blessed to have these remarkable heroes in my life for they have not only enriched my own life, but they have profoundly and measurably made our world a better place. It is my privilege to share with you, insight about my dear friend Jennifer Husson Cluff of Ontario, Canada who not only is an active defender and protector of children in crisis, as well as children with special needs, but who also is one of the kindest, most caring, and compassionate individuals I have ever had the privilege to call a ‘friend’. It is no wonder why Jennifer Husson Cluff has been awarded the honor of being called one of Canada’s top parenting bloggers through her incredible work discussing everyday parenting issues on her blog Mom-ology, but also issues revolving around autism and international child abduction and trafficking. From my perspective, Jennifer Husson Cluff is not only one of Canada’s top parenting bloggers, but she is one of the world’s most prolific parenting writers because through her writing and social media capability, Jennifer has measurably helped save the lives of children in severe crisis.

Before I go any further, let me say this simple thing about heroes: they are ordinary people doing extraordinary things for others during time of need or crisis, and in their act, they seek nothing but to hold the knowledge that they acted in kindness toward another, including individuals they know as well as individuals they may never know. In a hero’s compassionate act, they make the world a better place. And unquestionably, Jennifer Husson Cluff has made the world a better place for others.

Social media has clearly altered the way the world shares information, including a shift away from what may be previously considered traditional media outlets to the more nano-moment overdrive that occurs via social media outlets such as blog sites, TwitterFacebook, etc., etc. The paradigm of this is a massive world of what may be viewed as dormant voices erupted in the media. The volcano, if you will – the highly intelligent, insightful, connected voices known as parenting blog writers.

Speaking from first-hand experience in my capacity as the Founding Director of the I CARE Foundation, I have seen just how influential parenting blog writers are, particularly when they mobilize on a specific issue or cause. Fortunately for many at-risk children and their parents who have been targeted for international parental child abduction, a large and growing number of parenting bloggers decided to share their powerful voices and write about abduction. In doing so, the number of reported cased in the United States declined by 15% during 2012. This was more than a remarkable event. It was a miracle partially created by some extraordinary parents – mostly mothers who parent, who write, who live, who think, who care, and who stood unbowed. Among this remarkable group, and defining all of the above, is Jennifer Husson Cluff.

Over the past year, the I CARE Foundation has worked with Jennifer. Whenever we asked her for assistance in sharing messages that could possibly help families at risk, not only did she say ‘yes’ to our request, but asked ‘what else can I do to help?’

And help she did!

Jennifer Husson Cluff is my hero. She is what is right about this world. I value her friendship greatly and am inspired deeply by her belief in others, but more than anything, I value her incredible, insightful voice – a voice that always thinks of others while also being assertive, thoughtful, and at times, quite funny. And as a parent – there is not a day that goes by that I am not amazed by just how caring and attentive of a parent Jennifer is to her son Connor, who I think is one of the most remarkable young boys I have ever had the privilege of getting to know – in fact, I am blessed that Connor, who sees the world in its purest form – has been willing to share with me from time-to-time his unique, innocent, trusting, and wise perspective about so many things.

The other day, I was discussing with my fellow I CARE Foundation board of director member, attorney Joel Walter the amazing fact that the number of international parental child abduction cases declined by 15%. His words? “The reason why that happened more than anything is because of remarkable women like Jen [Husson Cluff] who answered our plea to help steward the message about abduction. They [the parenting blog writers] played a dramatic role in what was accomplished.”

I couldn’t agree more with Joel’s statement.

In asking Jennifer a list of questions below, I think you will understand just how remarkable a person she is. So with great pleasure, I share with you my interview with my hero, Jennifer Husson Cluff.

1. What is Mom-ology?

Mom-ology is a place where I share anything and everything mom-related… or in reality, parenting-related, as I do have some dad readers too. I originally started writing under another blog name and it was specifically about autism. As time went on, I started branching out into more general parenting topics, which allowed Mom-ology to be born. It allowed me to expand what I wanted to write about. It’s a place where I am able to be me and if that benefits someone else as well, that’s fantastic!

2. You have recently been voted one of Canada’s Top Parenting Blog Writers. Why write and what topics do you focus on?

My main goal in writing is to write about personal issues that may be of interest to others. Becoming a stay-at-home mom after being in the workforce for almost 15 years was a difficult transition in one sense. Though I love my son more than anything in this world, I thought I lost a part of my identity as a person in the workforce. So in creating Mom-ology, and writing about the things I do, it has allowed me to share my voice with others again.

Outside of sharing life living with autism… the good, the bad and the funny… I am passionate about raising autism awareness. As a special needs parent, I learned very quickly how to advocate for my son. Society has a lot of misconceptions about autism, and to help reduce the amount of discrimination and unfortunately, ignorance, the views of society need to change. My goal is to do what I can to change those views… to make life easier for my son, his friends and anyone else on the spectrum.

I have also become a bit of an advocate trying to help raise awareness about international parental child abduction (IPCA). About a year ago, I was introduced to this world that I didn’t know existed. I was an outsider looking in… and I can sure say, I didn’t like what I saw. I have been incredibly lucky to be able to assist the I CARE Foundation in any way I can, as they fight to bring about changes in the laws that are necessary to protect innocent children from the abuse and cruel world that is IPCA.

3. You are a fierce advocate of children with special needs. What benefits, if any, has social media had in furthering society’s understanding of children who are on the autism spectrum?

Thank you for saying that Peter – it means an awful lot coming from you. As you are aware, education is the key for any type of advocacy. In my opinion, social media has been a huge benefit as we try to raise awareness and help change the way society looks at children or adults on the autism spectrum.

Social media has allowed many causes and advocacy programs to reach people that they would have never been able to years ago. There are bloggers out there advocating and raising awareness for autism, as well as organizations such as Autism Speaks, and the information and reach is unbelievable. For example, April 2nd has been recognized as World Autism Awareness Day and a big part of this day is Autism Speaks’ campaign called ‘Light It Up Blue’. Businesses, organizations and individuals from all around the world recognize and participate in this event. It’s something small but it shows that social media is making a difference and getting the word out there. It allows us to share with society and to help people understand. Many times people’s reactions are based on fear of the unknown, but those fears can be reduced simply sharing information and educating society. I like to think that one day my son will live in a world that will accept him for who he is and part of that will be due to the work that advocates are doing today… but we still have a long way to go.

4. You have stewarded the message of international parental child abduction prevention, and have directly played important roles in helping prevent children from being internationally abducted. How would you describe parental child abduction and how relevant is this in society today?

I would say any parent’s worst nightmare would be to have their child abducted. Making it worse would be to know that it was the other parent doing the abducting! It’s hard to imagine that a parent could do that to their child! Aren’t parents supposed to love and care for their children? I know many of you feel the same way as I do and just can’t fathom the idea. However, it happens… and it happens a lot!

International parental child abduction is a form of child abuse… there is no other way to describe it. The short-term and long-term effects on these innocent children are severe. Not only is the child subjected to parental alienation, but studies show there is an increased risk of being murdered by the abducting parent (filicide) and data indicating victims of IPCA are also at a higher risk of suicide.

If you look at the statistics you will see how relevant this is in society today. There may be as many as 20,000 Canadian children and 125,000 American children internationally abducted by one parent from the other over the next ten years. Of those numbers, only about 10% of these children will ever come home!

As a parent, protect yourself and protect your child… I encourage you to take a few minutes and educate yourself about the WARNING SIGNS of IPCA. The easiest and best way to protect these children is to stop IPCA before it happens!

5. You use your blog to educate others about a host of important topics relevant to society today. What would be two of your biggest success stories on how your blog writing has helped another?

One of the things that I love about blogging is hearing from readers. My favorite story by far would be when I was contacted by a mom here in Canada, after reading an article about international parental child abduction that was shared on Mom-ology. This mom discovered that her three children were at risk of being taken to Saudi Arabia by their father. Thankfully the I CARE Foundation was able to ensure that these children remained in Canada where they were safe. I will ALWAYS remember that day… being a part of ensuring these children were safe… that was truly an amazing feeling!

I have had ‘autism parents’ contact me looking for support for their struggles that mainly revolve around dealing with school issues. Most recently, a parent emailed me after their child was forced into a supposed ‘seclusion room’ at school. Many parents are unaware of their rights in these types of situations and even more are afraid to upset the school and the officials. Helping parents to understand their rights and assisting to ensure they are able to access the resources and support that they need is extremely important. In this case it was to protect a child’s safety… to preserve a child’s dignity… and help a parent to realize they need to be the voice for their child and stand up for what they believe is right.

6. How socially influential are parenting blog writers and mom bloggers in particular?

I wish I could remember where I read this, but it was research stating that in 2012 there were 4.2 million ‘mom bloggers’ in North America. Now each of those mom bloggers have a passion that they write about… it may be fashion, food or fighting for a cause… whatever it is, in those numbers, they carry a lot of weight in the social world. Many parenting bloggers are stay at home moms and we use our blogs to share our voice and with the accessibility of the internet we are able to share our message with more people than ever before. I read parenting blogs from all around the world… I don’t go to buy a newspaper anymore… I use the internet to see what is going on in the world.

7. You have been blog writing for a little more than a year, yet in your first year as a blogger you have become considered one of the most important parenting blog writers. Are there any lessons that you can share with other parents who are or may be considering creating a blog?

Mom-ology was not my first blog but it is the first one that I have actually stuck with and made into something that I am proud of. I struggled a lot trying to ‘find my groove’ so to speak. I can’t say exactly what it was, but everything just fell into place. I write about what I love. I wouldn’t be able to do it any other way. I proved that to myself many times over!! I like to think I’m heading down the right path now though because I sure love what I do.

In my opinion, you need to write about what you know… write about what you love! I think with blogging, you have to do it because you enjoy it. If you put too many expectations on yourself you will probably lose interest. Deciding what you want from your blog is also an important step. Do you want it to be a ‘diary’ that you can share with family and friends, or do you have a bigger goal in mind…making an income? Advocating for a cause? Most of all have fun!

8. I would like to play a little word game. What comes to mind when I say, “Finding Your Voice?”

Funny you should ask this question, seeing as it comes up so much in our conversations!

I believe that your ‘voice’ is who you are… your mind, your heart and your spirit. When you ‘find your voice’ you find who you are truly meant to be and what is your ‘gift’, so to speak. There is a passion inside everyone and the challenge is to find it, but when you do, you will know. I guess for myself, I found my voice after I started Mom-ology. It’s been an incredible journey!

9. How has social media changed the landscape of society?

Social media has made some pretty great changes in the world. If you look at the way we interact with each other there are some definite pros and cons. Social media allows us to stay in contact with friends and family like we never could before, but I also think there is a downside to that in that we have lost some of the social skills that used to exist in society. People sit in the same room with each other and converse via text messages rather than a good old conversation. I must admit that I find that funny when I see it happen. The definition of ‘friends’ has pretty much been redefined due to Facebook. How many of your friends on Facebook are really friends? But if you look at the area of social activism, the changes are amazing! Gone are the days of having a small group on individuals trying to fight for a cause…locally. Today, social media allows people to connect on a global scale which only benefits the area of education and raising awareness. Think about the decline in parental abductions. This information is going out over the internet through the I CARE Foundation and bloggers. Parents are finding out about IPCA and the risks through social media. Children’s lives are being protected because of social media! I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty impressive!

10. Three books that have changed your life?

OK, this is really going to show where my life is today! I don’t have a lot of free time to read so when I do, most of my focus goes into learning about autism. The first two books are written by individuals on the autism spectrum and each has taught me so much about my son.

Chasing the Cyclone… well, that’s kind of a given. Now certainly one of my favorite books, it has impacted my life in so many positive ways… as has the author!!

1. Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin
2. Look Me In the Eye by John Elder Robison
3. Chasing The Cyclone by Peter Thomas Senese

11. Your son has a golden retriever named Ollie. How important is Ollie to your family?

As a companion, a helper, a best friend and member of our family, Ollie is our son’s autism service dog. Quite simply, he brings peace back to our lives as he is our extra set of eyes and ears. He has the amazing ability to make a young boy’s tears disappear by sharing a little nuzzle, or a comforting lick on the cheek, and those tears are replaced with sounds of laughter. Things like providing a warm snuggle at night, Ollie helps our son to feel safe and comforted so that he is able to sleep. A simple cuddle can help reduce anxiety and assists with self-regulation (those things we all take for granted) which makes those daily routines more bearable. If you were to ask what the best thing about having Ollie is, our son’s reply would be, and has been, ‘He is my best friend’.

We have had Ollie for almost 4 years and he has made such an enormous change in our lives. He has a big job but he does it so well! As you can probably tell by all that, Ollie is an extremely important member of our family and we are truly blessed to have him!

12. International Parental Child Abduction rates declined for the second year in a row in the United States. How significant of a role would you say parenting blog writers played in raising social awareness so at-risk parents can protect their children?

First off, I am thrilled at this news. When you shared this information the other day it was, as you know, a reality check for me. As a blogger, you don’t generally see the effect that you have on things like social awareness. If you are blogging about healthy eating, you don’t see how your efforts change people’s health specifically… you have to trust that what you are doing is making a difference.

In the case of parental child abduction, getting the word out on a global scale is beneficial for all. With bloggers having access to the internet and the followers through social media sites, it is easy to get messages out on a massive scale. I guess you could say that the numbers speak for themselves. Though standing up for what you believe in on your own is better than not doing anything at all, I think it takes a strong team to really make a difference. The efforts of the I CARE Foundation and the parenting bloggers that have been working with them are making a difference! I am proud to be a part of that!

13. Who or what inspires you?

That’s an easy one… my biggest inspiration is, of course, my son.

14. What should others know about you and your writing?

One of my favourite phrases is ‘Live… Laugh… Love’. There are sure a lot of different ways you can interpret that phrase, but any way you look at it, it’s a great way to live! If I could give everyone the ability to at least laugh each day I would. Laughter is the best medicine… it doesn’t take batteries… and best of all, it’s free.

I would love it if people would stop by and check out Mom-ology… and of course let me know that you stopped by!

15. What would you like to tell anyone who thinks that their voice doesn’t matter or who thinks that they can’t make a difference in their own life or the lives of others?

Never let anyone tell you that your voice doesn’t matter because it does! Even one voice can make a difference. It took me a while to realize that, but thanks to a pretty good friend… namely Peter Thomas Senese… I am able to see that now. If I can make a difference, so can you!

(End Interview Questions)

There are people in this world that make the world a better place by simply existing, and Jennifer Husson Cluff sure is one of them.  Extremely intelligent, humble, considerate to others, a dedicated parent who has found her voice and who has used her voice for the greater good of others, she is what is right about this world.

While I sit here thinking about how I would like to end this interview, I have immediately found myself reflecting upon the time when Jen and I first met.  With a smile on my face, I remember after our first conversation thinking how intelligent and caring she is.  But I also remember thinking to myself, “She really doesn’t realize just how capable she is, nor how important her incredible insight is.”  Well, I can’t say how amazing of an experience it has personally been to see first-hand as Jennifer Husson Cluff, one of Canada’s Top 5 Parenting writers . . . has found her voice.  Undeniably, the world is a better place . . . and my life has been enriched in ways I could never possibly explain.

And Jennifer, should you ever read this – I want you to know you are a true hero in my eyes.

Kindest wishes to all –

Peter Thomas Senese

Author, Filmmaker, Advocate, and Believer In Miracles
Founding Director – The I CARE Foundation

Please visit Mom-ology.

Film ‘150,000 Internationally Kidnapped Children’ To Include Footage of Child Trafficking Rescue

In the face of the dark clouds of international parental child abduction that exist in the United States, Canada, and abroad, the light of hope has begun to make its way through the darkness.

A few significant events come to mind.

Immediately, I think about how a grassroots effort led by caring parents, including some of the most prolific parenting blog writers, has raised awareness of child abduction warning signs, risks, and necessary actions an at-risk parent can take if they believe their child is targeted for abduction.  There is no question that these incredible social media savvy writers have made a giant difference in the fight to protect children.

As some of you may know, a little over a month ago a large number of young girls who were previously enslaved into the sex world of human trafficking in Central America were rescued, freed, reunited with their families, and are presently receiving the necessary care that one day make them whole again.  Obviously, there are no words that can ever express the horror these children faced; however, the road they will journey on will be one filled with the support and care they need so that God willing, they will find the magic that does exist in life.

With respect to these young children, heavy consideration has been put into whether the film footage that was taken during their recovery should be used in the film ‘150,000 Internationally Kidnapped Children’ due to the severity of what they had to endure, amongst other considerations.  This was not an easy issue to wrestle with; however, after speaking at length with numerous advocates, many who are highly informative freedom fighters, we have decided to include the majority of the film footage in the feature documentary as the film coverage included some incredible, intense, spirited, and provocative film important to share with the world.  There is no question that the world really needs to know what goes on first-hand in the world of child trafficking – the brutality of it – and why we must do what is necessary to stop it. In case you are wondering, the film will be extremely conscious and respectful of each child and their family’s privacy, safety, and road to recovery.  We will never show a child’s face nor identify who they are or where they are from. What the viewer will see is the actual planning and eventual rescues that took place.

Obviously, it is not easy to celebrate the rescue of any child who is trafficked because they should have never been kidnapped to begin with.  Yes, there is a silver lining that has come from their rescue outside of the incredible act that each child is safe and free, and that is that a monstrous network was smashed.  That is not to say that another network of traffickers will not emerge, but those individuals who ‘ran’ young girls from country to country in Central America will never be able to touch another child. Thus, many other children who may have been preyed upon by these monsters will never be touched by them. And fortunately, law enforcement has increased their efforts in light of what occurred to destroy any other networks that exist.

God willing, inclusion of these events in ‘150,000 Internationally Kidnapped Children’ will keep pressure on the international community to continue strong efforts to protect young children, mostly young girls in Central and South America (and boys in China), when the full details of what occurred and what occurs is shared. On this note, there are no words that can ever express the gratitude of the heroic efforts put forth by some of the most amazing men and women I know who acted with sheer heroism to rescue these children nor the physicians and support teams who continue to provide critical care to them.  You are all what is right about this world.

On a separate note, I am thrilled to share that reported cases of international parental child abduction has declined in the United States by 15%. from 2011 to 2012.  This is tremendous news, particularly since there was a previous 15% decline in reported IPCA cases from 2010 to 2011.  After 30 years of sustained increased of reported cases of international parental child abduction in the United States, we are moving in the right direction – but make no mistake, no child should ever be abducted, and every kidnapped child must be brought home!

Kind regards to all,

Peter Thomas Senese
Founding Director
The I CARE Foundation
Author of Chasing The Cyclone

International Child Abduction Risks During Christmas Holiday Season

I and my fellow board members of the I CARE Foundation have been sharing for several weeks now that the Christmas Holiday Season is one of the most active times of year when children are internationally abducted by one parent from another.

Jennifer Cluff, who was recently voted as one of Canada’s Top 5 Mom Bloggers recently wrote an incredible article about Christmas and child abduction risks that I think every parent should read.

Seriously friends, international parental child abduction is only three degrees of separation away from affecting you or someone you may know.  Sadly, if a child is taken or illegally detained abroad, there is only about a 10% chance they will ever return home.

I CARE Foundation Protects Children From Abduction

On top of the actual kidnapping, the mental abuse placed on this child is so severe.
Read the Mom-ology article.  It is that concise and informative.Don’t let abduction happen to you.  Take some time and educate yourself!

Happy Holidays – Seriously …. let this be a happy holiday.  Don’t find yourself Chasing The Cyclone of abduction.

Peter Thomas Senese
Founding Director
The I CARE Foundation