iStand Parent Network was formed in 2014 by the seeking parents of children abducted from the USA. iStand engages actively with the American government, with international organizations, but most of all with parents, who urgently need support — legal, strategic, financial, and emotional.
Inspired by iStand, and recognizing the need for a similar resource in Canada, Return Our Children Home Canada was born in 2021 out of an informal network of Canadian seeking parents. While each case is different, all cases share common elements and show the same systemic failures.
The international abduction of our children triggered an overwhelming series of crises in our lives. Our beloved children were suddenly gone and their futures utterly and permanently transformed. Their abductions redefined our families, relationships, and identities — all sources of stability and security under normal circumstances. At this moment of greatest crisis we were also forced to bear the tremendous burden, often alone, of learning and attempting to set into motion the very flawed international systems of justice and human rights that were supposed to protect our children.
Organizations like ours cannot hope to reverse the losses and trauma faced by seeking parents in our communities. However, we can be the primary support beneath parents who often feel they are alone and in free-fall. We can connect parents with others who understand their experience and can help them find and strengthen emotional equilibrium while their child’s future is unknowable. We can help illuminate the pathways between the promises made by rights bodies and the bureaucratic nightmares most seeking parents experience seeking their protection.
Together, Return Our Children Home Canada and iStand Parent Network will explore common threads and build community on both sides of the border. International child abduction is a crime that does not respect boundaries and responses to it must also be international. It is our hope that an international network of seeking parents will unite in asking more — of non-compliant Hague signatory countries, non-Hague countries, multilateral human rights signatories and the international bodies that oversee them.
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