September 1 2008 - Holly Collins by Barry Nolan

Hopefully In about two weeks - Jennifer's mother Holly will return from 14 years in exile. She will voluntarily turn herself in to the authorities. And then, at the stroke of a pen, her status will officially be changed from that of an international fugitive wanted for kidnapping, to a hero, the leader of a movement, a model of courage.

14 years ago, Holly was ordered by a Family Court to turn her two children over to live - full time - with the father who had been abusing them all. The father had been under a restraining order because of domestic abuse. But this just didn't matter to the court. Rather than sit idly by while her children were sentenced to a life of abuse - Holly became a criminal. She left behind everything she owned, everything she knew, everyone she could count on and fled the country with her kids. She and her kids became the first America ns ever granted official asylum by the government of the Netherlands. Her kids viewed her as their savior and a hero. The US courts viewed her at the time as a kidnapper - A criminal.

14 years have passed. The daughter is now 23 and can travel and speak for herself. She has already returned to the US to plead her mother's case. She is currently in Washington DC… Her lawyer has finally persuaded the courts to listen to the victims, the children. As of this moment - the verbal agreement is that all charges against Holly will be dropped: kidnapping - flight to avoid prosecution, interference with parental custody - all of it - except for one charge of contempt of court. It is well founded. Holly does indeed have a well founded contempt for a system that does not listen to the very victims it is charged with protecting. The Family Court system does not consider medical evidence, does not have a rational system for vetting expert testimony and allows ex-parte hearings that can warp the entire process in an instant. This is the Child and Family court system. For her "crime", Holly will server one year of probation. But she can return to her home country. Her kids can live in America. All her kids. Over the years, she has had more chlldren - and adopted children - including War Orprhans.

This is a story that can be done without the legal peril of the "he said/she said" in the divorce and custody trial. The bare bones of what happened - the court rulings and the court's change of mind. The return - the reunions - the tears. - the daugher's testimony of how her mother is a hero - the experience of the war orphans - the problems with the court that so many will identify with.

Let me be honest with you and tell you that I have also submitted this to (a distinguished show) where I gather it is under serious consideration. This is a story that needs a serious approach - it is not about pr - or revenge - or 15 minutes of fame for someone with a grudge. It is about a subject that tears families and communities and lives apart. It is a problem that cries for justice, a wound in the very fabric of our family life that cries for healing. It is the sort of story that wants the thoughtful treatment and questions of people like you.

If you would like further information, I would be happy to provide - there are volumes.

I hope you know that I only write to you about this, not because I am being a nudge and want some help, but because of the respect I feel f or you. You are people who can change the world for the better. There are good, decent, courageous people, in pain, who need your help.

Barry Nolan

No comments:

Post a Comment