Giving parents and grandparents hope is half the battle. Many can’t cope and commit suicide. Some even take their children with them.
So it was quite a responsibility to make it worth the parents’ while to travel and support my efforts, when I didn’t really know what to expect either.
Hence it was very encouraging when Portuguese and Latvian TV expressed an interest in interviewing the parents and myself.
What was not so encouraging was the attitude of the British embassy: when the supporters showed up at their doorstep to hand-deliver a copy of our petition, they were sent to the Consulate which had closed its doors, supposedly just for this afternoon. So one can see how high-up the cover-ups go.
What was worse, though, was what happened after the return of the Pedro family to the UK. The next morning, the police came to arrest them, and kept them in a cell for 14 hours. The mother, Carla, was still in her nightie, and was given only one cup of tea, before she and her husband Pedro came home to find their home had been ransacked…
Trying to get their confiscated property back was as difficult as getting contact with their children re-established. They were treated as criminals. The charge was to belong to a forced adoption campaigning group!
All the grim details are on their website. We accompanied them to Lincoln Police, as well as the court. But, even though the Consul and an Embassy Attache met Lincoln Council who promised to return the children, they are still in ‘care’. The two youngest ones were ordered to be adopted.
The father lost his job twice, tried to kill himself and eventually left England to go back to Portugal. To get punished firstly by having your children taken by the police – without paper work – and secondly to learn about the devious ways of Social Services and Family Courts, then to put hope on Brussels – only to be be punished again for having travelled there, was outrageous. No-one could take that. The family court system is far from respecting anybody’s human rights.