NEW YORK (WABC) — Sean Goldman was just a boy when he captured the nation’s attention.
His mother took him from New Jersey to Brazil and said they were never coming home. It took years and multiple court rulings for his father to finally get Sean back.
Sean is now in college and on Thursday he marked the anniversary of a law in his name that helps fight international child abductions.
“It took me a week and a half after coming home to call him Dad,” said Goldman, recalling the time when he was reunited with his father after five years apart.
His mother had kidnapped him to Brazil and when she died, Brazil allowed his stepfather to raise him.
“It’s just a very confusing time for a kid coming through borders from different countries, completely different cultures,” said Sean. “It’s like your whole world gets flipped upside down.”
But Sean’s father David Goldman, who is from Tinton Falls, fought for years to get him back. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) was instrumental in that reunion.
“This picture, I took it, was just a couple of hours, maybe not even an hour and a half, after they were reunited,” said Smith.
The congressman introduced the Sean and David Goldman Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act. The law helps American parents get their abducted children back, sometimes through the threat of sanctions or flight restrictions.
That law is five years old now, and making an impact.
“There has been a continuing, consistent decrease in the number of abductions from a high of 1,512 in 2008 to 698 abductions in 2018, still far too many,” said Smith.
Ravi Parmar of Manalapan is fighting to bring his 10-year-old home from India.
“A lot of times these things are treated as domestic issues and these are truly not domestic in the sense that once the child has even crossed the state borders, forget about national borders but even state borders, there is very little you can do to bring the child back,” said Parmar.
Meanwhile, the Goldmans continue to fight for people like him, while they enjoy their time together.
“I really like my job, my life and all my friends and my Dad,” said Sean.
Sean is also considering majoring in political science, for very personal reasons.
The news segment originally aired on Aug. 8 2019 and can be found online at: