Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Happy Birthday, Sage!!!!!

Today is May 14th, 2013...Sage's 6th birthday in life, and his 5th away from us. It's a beautiful day outside. My own children's birthdays are celebrated in winter, and therefore, our parties are always indoors. I can't wait to one day be able to plan a party for my sweet nephew, outside, where we can play at the beach, the park, have a picnic, and finally celebrate the years with him. Whatever you're doing today, and wherever you may be, I hope you're being celebrated, and loved, and not feeling the tremendous loss that your abduction has impinged upon you. Life has dealt you a difficult and unfair hand, my sweet nephew, but it can be overcome. May you always know that you have options, and as you get older, I pray that you will come to find them. Your family here in the U.S. welcomes you with open arms, and this invitation to come home will never expire. Feliz, feliz, feliz cumpleanos, Sage!!!!!!!! Con amor, Tia Sonia

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Merry Christmas, dear Sage

As another Christmas approaches, it is another one that our family considers what it would be like to have Sage home with us.  Now 5 1/2 years old, I can only imagine how excited he must get as the holiday approaches, and how much fun he would have playing here with his cousins, all of who know of him, but of who he, in return, is criminally unaware.  This year, I have found another small way to keep him involved in the festivities, despite his absence, because despite the slight lift in spirits his daddy might experience with the opportunity to spend some time with family, he remains constantly and acutely aware that the one person he would most like to spend Christmas with is the one person he can't...his little boy.  So for Carlos' gift this year, I decided to utilize my newfound skill and love of quilting.  I worked hard to finish this one quickly so I could give it to him at Christmas, and it's not perfect, but it was inspired by both my love for my brother, his comments in the smoky mountains that my daughter's was "pretty awesome," after sleeping with it, and mostly, by my everlasting hope that we will one day, hopefully soon, be reunited with our sweet, sweet Sage.  The color, primarily Sage green, was chosen by my brother.  I added some photo fabric with pictures of Sage that look appropriately worn after washing.....difficult to see in photographs, but still so special.

I hope that one day I will be able to make one for Sage to enjoy as well.  Until then, Merry Christmas, Sage, my dear, dear nephew.  We love you so much.

Below are the images of Sage embedded in the quilt (black and white):

 And this one...to remind Carlos always who made this for him ;)

Here are a few pictures just for you Sage:

Two of your cousins at Santa's Christmas tree farm :)

Our Christmas tree!

The BIG black bear that your daddy and I saw in the Smoky Mountains

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Snake in the grass...you won't believe this

I talked to my brother today.  After I went on for some time about my own problems, he tells me this:

Elliot (Elliot Quiroz Juarez, his former lawyer in Mexico--made "former" only recently) attempted to file a false document to the courts, forging my brother's signature, stating that Carlos had rescinded his appeal and was "giving up" on his case and his attempt to be reunited with Sage. 

Yes....you read it right.  

Carlos' lawyer, in a childish and illegal at best, vindictive and evil at its worst, attempt to make my brother pay for deciding it was in his son's best interest to let him go and work with another attorney, filed a falsified document trying to destroy his case to bring Sage home.  It was only when his new attorney had gone to the court to work on the case that this attempt was discovered and shut down.  Although there aren't a lot of details regarding consequences at this point, it sounds as though the judge involved has already involved the prosecutor to investigate Mr. Quiroz's actions.  I'm still stunned that he thought he could get away with it, but then again, he wasn't fully aware that a new lawyer had been appointed the day he was let go, so maybe he thought that by the time Carlos noticed it would either be too late or cost him tons in time and energy to fix.  Which definitely would have been true if not for the swift action of the new lawyer.

Wow, right??!  Well, here's the thing...and I know that in the past I've made posts praising Mr. Quiroz and his work to "help" my brother, but I'll get to that...I never really trusted this man.  Without going into all the lengthy details, here's why: 

1.)  He scoffed and often downright refused to carry out the wishes of my brother during the trial in terms of legal strategy.

2.)  When I was in Mexico, I met his girlfriend in each city we visited (three total), and she was NOT the same person between any two.  I know this may be irrelevant to the case, but it tells something about his character.

3.)  He was bleeding my brother dry for money, and producing no results.  Carlos' first (and also current) lawyer had made it through three levels of courts, and won in two of them during the same amount of time it took Mr. Quiroz to lose in one.  

4.) After he lost the trial (just recently), he refused to send my brother a copy of or to submit the appeal until my brother sent him more money (which he didn't owe).  He claimed that my brother's payments during all that time had only been covering his "costs," and not his actual fees (keep in mind there was no contract here).  To get an idea of how ridiculous that was, consider this:  Mr. Quiroz bought a dog that my brother cared for while he was in Mexico.  After Carlos returned to the U.S., suddenly the dog became "Carlos' dog," and because Elliot had fed him for three weeks my brother now owed him $300.00!  He recently sent Carlos an email stating that if he did not send him more money, Justicia was going to die (presumably for lack of food).  

5.) Although he did not have to make the (1.5 hour) trip between Guanajuato and Salamanca as often as he did (or as he claimed he did), even if he had, the amount he claimed he spent in gas was ridiculous...amounting to something like $250.00 per trip (he later added that this included food, tolls, tips, parking (which is free), maintenance, life insurance, car insurance, and his security on the trips)!!!!!!  

And, of course, social networking plays a part in just about everything these days, doesn't it?  Well, after Carlos ceased to retain Elliot as his attorney, both he and I were immediately "un-friended" on facebook.  Hmmm...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A New Season

Another summer has come and gone.  It's been over a year since my visit to Mexico to see my brother, and a painfully and criminally brief visit with Sage.  Another year come and gone, and Sage is still not here.  Instead, he continues to remain under the oppressive hand of his mother and her web of lies, in the most polluted city in Mexico. 

Things have happened since my last post in June, but as had been the case for several of the more recent posts up to this one, they haven't amounted to any real changes worthy of a new post until now.  The case had continued to drag out in Salamanca, where it had been for 18 months, with the new judge (who replaced the judge that had recused himself from the case) until about two weeks ago when she finally made a decision.  It's worth reminding that this decision, and in fact, this entire trial in Salamanca, happened as the result of a desperate (and yet apparently successful) appeal by Ana and her lawyer to overturn the decision made by the Mexican Supreme Court to return Sage to the U.S.  You see, if you didn't already know, Sage's case has already gone through every single level of the Mexican court system once before--from Salamanca, to the State of Guanajuato, to the Supreme Court--resulting in two of them, including the Supreme Court, ordering Sage's return to the U.S. under the Hague Convention.  The only reason it ended up back in the mockery of a court that is Salamanca's is because they appealed that "Sage's voice" was not heard in the initial trial.  Keep in mind that Sage's voice was two years old at the time, and that except for objectively (as in, if there were concrete evidence that he would be in danger for returning) a young child's voice is irrelevant in a Hague case, because a child cannot choose something he doesn't know over the only thing he does.  Nonetheless, the whole thing caused a delay of what is now going on two years...

I won't go into all the details of this last trial in Salamanca, as many of them are already detailed in earlier posts, but from the last post on, here are a few highlights:

1.) The judge who replaced the one who recused himself (because my brother and his lawyer were "bugging him" too much to get things done), was really just as biased as they come too.  She ignored all kinds of relevant evidence, attempted repeatedly to avoid having to fine/jail Ana for perjuring herself, or failure to attend court-ordered visits, and towards the end of the trial, allowed Ana's lawyers to drag Sage into the courthouse.  Without notifying my brother or his lawyer, they performed a "psychological evaluation" of Sage, during which they asked him various questions about his knowledge of "Carlos Bermudez."  This interrogation did not include the presence of any neutral psychological experts, and ignored the fact that Sage provided answers known to be false (for example, when asked how old he was, he stated that he was 7 when in fact he is 5).  When he came out of the room, Sage stated plainly for everyone in the lobby to hear, "I told them what you told me to say, mommy."  This was stricken from the official record because it was stated outside of the "evaluation" room.  These are the same psychological evaluators who in the first trial in Salamanca, used archaic Rorschach tests to decide whether my brother was a fit parent.

2.) Two weeks ago, the new judge published her decision, based in large part on the information detailed above, and in exclusion of mountains of evidence against Ana, that Sage should not be returned to the U.S.  I had been talking to Carlos in the weeks prior to the decision about how he would feel if he lost in this court.  He said that even though it is always better to win, either way it would be appealed by one party or another and have to move up the courts again, and so ANY decision is better than none at all.  In this fact lies the silver lining....the decision has been appealed, and will soon begin litigating in the second level courts (who decided in his favor the first time).  One step closer to a final decision...

3.) There have been many other little (and big) frustrations for my brother, leading to where we are now, that are of little use to delineate.  Suffice it to say that he is weary, and tired, but stronger than you might imagine (unless you know him :) ), and as stoic as anybody I've ever known.  I pray for the day that this long chapter of his life will find its happy conclusion, and he can move onto the next, knowing that no matter what he might face he is strong enough to handle it all.  I'll be seeing him soon, for the first time since my trip to Mexico, and can't wait!  We tried to get his (now previous) lawyer to petition for a U.S. visit for Sage to join us, but were unsuccessful.  I'll be sure to post pictures here for Sage to someday see, as he will be with us in spirit, heart, and mind, as he always is.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Ana Belem Garcia Rayon....your father and mother...you should be ashamed of yourselves for what you've done to Sage.  A five-year old child with a father who loves him as much as Carlos loves Sage should NEVER be kept from him in this way.  You are manipulative, callous, and abusive, and your time is coming for you to reap what you've sown.  Carlos will fight for the right and responsibility of raising his son until the day he returns, and if that doesn't work, Sage will learn what you have done to him anyway.  You will never be successful in denying him half of who he is...in your own words, a "gringo" born in the U.S.  Good luck explaining your web of lies, and I hope you can live with the pain it will cause him.

Sage, we will ALWAYS be here for you.  No matter when you read this, or how old you are, you have a family in the U.S. who is waiting eagerly for your return.  We love you.

Post from another site, written by my brother...

I know, it's been months since I last posted here.  There's a lot going on that's made it difficult to find the time to compose my thoughts.  I will be back soon, but for today, I wanted to make sure this got up...it's a post that my brother left yesterday on another IPCA site:

"May 14th was Sage's 5th birthday.

I sent my lawyer to court to request current pictures of Sage and have them formally ask Sage what gift he'd like for his birthday from his father (since the courts unwillingness to enforce my interim visitation rights prevents me from asking him myself.)

My lawyer wrote the request and the court scheduled a hearing for 5/31 to have Sage come in for pictures and name 5 gifts he might like from his father for his birthday.

The 5/31 hearing did take place as scheduled, but no pictures were taken and Sage was never asked what presents he'd like from his father.

Instead the judge arranged to be out of the office and a court secretary, court psycologlist and the prosecutor "representing" Sage locked themselves into a court chamber alone with Sage (should note, the latter two officials already have a long history of misconduct and ongoing complaints against them related to Sage.)

Behind closed doors and away from the eyes of everyone (including cameras or tape recordings) they bluntly, tactlessly and abusively interrogated Sage asking him questions from a script to his scripted answers which said "I don't know my father," "I don't know who my father is," "I don't know who Carlos David Bermudez is" and, upon being shown my picture saying, "I don't know who that is in the photograph." "He is nothing to me and I am nothing to him."

When they came out from the court chamber my lawyer was waiting after having been kept in the dark as to what they had planned to do to Sage.  Sage immediately said to his mother, also waiting in the lobby, "Mom, I told them what you told me to say" in front of the whole court including the secretary, psychologist and prosecutor.  My lawyer demanded that the court officially make note of the statement but they refused saying that because the statement was in the lobby it wasn't official and stubbornly, and illegally, totally refused to make note of it or their refusal to make note of it.

They created a written summary of the findings and proceedings and passed it around for the parties to sign.  Everyone else signed and it was presented to my lawyer.  He read what they had done and refused to sign it.  He took the original copy and began writing upon it a formal objection and immediate response to the completely illegal proceeding that had just taken place without the presence of qualified professionals in psychology to protect the child's mental well-being and determine the level of alienation, coaching and manipulation that was involved.  The police were called and my lawyer was, once again, threatened with arrest, this time for the supposed destruction of court documents.  The judge, who had skipped out on the hearing, was contacted and my lawyer was ultimately allowed to submit his objections and statements regarding the hearing on the hearing summary.  Among other things he stated that this court case is already totally, and formally, closed and awaiting a decision, and that they had intentionally and illegally conspired to invent a last minute piece of manufactured evidence with which they could ignore all the existing evidence and history in the case and hide behind the "child's wishes" when publishing their, already past due, decision.

I never wanted Sage to be involved in this way.  I never wanted him to be forced to pick sides.  I didn't want him to be used a weapon against his own family.  I have told my lawyers, above all things, that protecting my son from alienation and abuse is their top priority, that they are supposed to protect my son at all times from being used as a pawn and forced to testify on behalf of his kidnappers like some hostage held by extremists.  It is the only thing for which I have, very frankly and clearly, told them, if they fail at, I will fire them.  Not because I am concerned about the legal strategy, but because it is child abuse, and their top priority needs to be protecting my son Sage from abuse during these proceedings.

I am so sorry Sage."

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Running on a Treadmill

You might be asking yourself what the title of this post could possibly have to do with the purpose of this blog.  But then again, some of you may not.  Some of you may know this topic so well in your own lives that you know immediately the connotation.  I suppose I might also have called it "the hamster wheel."  Either way, you can deduce the analogy.  You can run and run and run your heart out on either one, for as long as you possibly can, and at the end of the day, you'll still be right in the place where you started, only more exhausted.

Unfortunately, the update I'm about to deliver falls pretty much in line with what you'd expect after this intro...

As you know if you've been able to keep up with the blog, or at Bring Sean Home, the case of Sage and his father has been at a standstill for months now.  After almost an entire year of testimony, evidence hearings, attempted visits with little to no enforcement, a move to Mexico and debilitating financial setbacks, the judge who had been hearing the case for Sage's hopeful return home requested, on the day before he was to finally make a ruling, to be excused from the case.  At first giving no real viable explanation as to why he requested the excusal, he eventually claimed that it was due to harassment by my brother's lawyers, which led him to believe he could not deliver an unbiased judgment (nevermind the fact that this same lawyer also has other cases before this judge, from which the judge did not request to be removed).  This happened in September.  Since then, the judge who was to decide whether the other judge could be removed from the case also requested to be removed from deciding.  Seriously???  Can you say hot potato?  Or more likely to this has-become cynic, a deliberate game of pass the buck to buy more time.  But I'll refrain from the hypotheticals for now...

Moving on, it has been roughly 5 months since the first judge failed to make his ruling as scheduled, and since then, very little has happened.  Not only with the trial, but with enforcement of visitation orders (my brother has not seen his son since before I saw him for a few minutes while visiting in August), with enforcement of school attendance orders, or even with regards to verifying Sage's whereabouts and condition.  Nothing has happened. 

       That is, until today. 

As I was sitting at my computer sorting through a pool of volunteer requests from my own daughter's school, I received an email from my brother stating that yes, in fact, it has been ordered that judge Jose Francisco Lara Rodriguez, of some court whose official name I do not know, in Salamanca, GTO Mexico, has been excused from his responsibility in the case of my brother and nephew (and yes, this was in fact decided by a third judge, as the "second" judge did also manage to recuse him/herself).  To make matters worse, the ministerio publico (whose bias against fathers or Americans or both has been demonstrated again and again, and is detailed in previous posts) did not attend any of the hearings to determine whether the aforementioned Jose Francisco Lara Rodriguez would be excused.  It was her absence from hearings during the first Hague case, tried initially after Sage was abducted, that allowed the Mexican high courts to declare a mistrial then and start the whole thing over again. 

So, like I suggested at the beginning of this post, these events clearly and quickly do bring to mind the image of a hamster running on a wheel, or, more poignantly, of a heartbroken father running on an endless treadmill, trying desperately to be reunited with his beloved son.  The last time I spoke to my brother on the phone, only a week ago at most, we were talking about the gifts he had attempted to get to Sage during a particular Mexican holiday, which falls right around Christmas and is very similar in terms of its' tradition of gift-giving.  Not allowed to present the gifts himself, despite the "orders" for visitation, Carlos submitted them to the courts as evidence, hoping they would somehow be passed on to Sage.  Instead, they continue to sit in a judge's quarters.
If you've been able to view the videos of Sage on Carlos' YouTube channel, you might recognize one of the gifts--a little ride-in car.  In the video you see Sage riding happily around in it, with his mother lurking close behind.  The other gift, an EXTRA large cuddly teddy bear, had been in my brother's possession since before I visited him in Mexico, as he had never been given the opportunity to present it to his son.  The third gift, a guitar.

And so, it seems that things have returned not-so-swiftly back to square one.  Perhaps a small glimmer of promise lies in the recent acceptance by the Mexican National "Derechos Humanos," or Human Rights Agency of Sage's case.  They will be initiating an investigation, but at this time I am not sure what the possible repurcussions of their investigation might be.  Please send my brother any words of encouragement, and/or any pledges to provide assistance (in the form of letter-writing, phone calls, or financial support) that you can.  Despite his ability to somehow keep things going through all this, I am sure he is once again in a heightened state of darkness and discouragement after hearing this news, and community is so important.

Thank you <3