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Eli's Story

On March 4th, 2010, two year old Eli Kiraz became the victim of parental abduction.

It was on this date that Eli traveled with his father, Muhammed Kiraz, on a planned trip to Turkey to visit relatives there. What I, Sara Edwards, Eli's mother, didn't know was that Muhammed had no intention of returning to Ohio and that he had secured a quickie divorce just days after arriving in Turkey.

I have fought for custody of Eli in the Ohio courts, and Muhammed has defied court orders to return Eli to the United States where Muhammed and I were married in 2003, where Eli was born in 2008, and where we had always resided as a family.

While the emotional toll of Eli's kidnapping is beyond calculation, the financial cost is not. Since April 2010, I have organized community rummage sales and various benefits which, along with individual monetary gifts, have succeeded in keeping the legal battle funded. Still, the urgency of the matter cannot be overstated - Eli will turned 3 years old in January, a birthday that pased without Eli in my arms. The efforts to keep the fight going cannot slow down.

This is not just some sad story, 'a shame' to shake one's head at and say 'that's too bad.' Instead, this is a sad story that can have a happy ending. This is the story of a battle than can be won. It is not 'a shame' that I will give my all and find every way that I can to fight for my child. It is not 'a shame' that other people will learn from my struggle and protect their own children. What would be 'a shame' is if people who want to help feel that they don't know how, when it is as easy as donating used items for rummage sale, as easy as forwarding emails and sharing our story, as easy as writing letters and helping with events, as easy as donating $10.

If this was your story, if this was your child, could you let any obstacle stop you from holding your child again?

Learn More

Don't be shy - I appreciates emails with questions, tips and suggestions: BringingEliHome@gmail.com

Get on the email list and to help spread the word. There is much strength in numbers, and with more people aware of Eli's story more focus will be on bringing him home.

Follow Eli's story on Facebook: Bringing Eli Home and see the response of people all over the world.

Check out upcoming fundraiser events and become part of the support network.

There are many ways to help.

You can sign up for the Bring Eli Home newsletter (located to the right)--to receive updates and learn more ways you can help. You can also share this page on your social networking sites by recommending, re-tweeting, or re-posting using the social buttons below. Spreading the word is one step in the right direction. You can also browse the event calendar to find out about events that help support or fund my fight to get Eli home. You can also donate to help directly fund this effort.

Feel free to contact me via bringingelihome@gmail.com to learn more ways to help. Thank you for your time.

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When a child is abducted by a family member, the parent who has been left behind faces seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

The emotional, legal, and financial difficulties precipitated by the abduction can be among the hardest challenges a parent will ever encounter. For parents whose children are taken to or retained in foreign countries, these hardships can be particularly overwhelming.

Given the complex nature of international abductions, a swift and informed response is often difficult. Unfamiliar languages and laws, compounded by the vast psychological and physical distance of the separation, can frustrate recovery efforts.

Despite these obstacles, however, it is crucial that victims of international parental kidnapping remain optimistic. Although the situation is dire, it may not be irrevocable. By responding to the abduction in a hopeful, informed, and resolute fashion, left-behind family members can marshal an effective recovery plan.

With this goal in mind, we encourage parents of abducted children to use this guidebook as a resource. It offers descriptions and realistic assessments of available civil and criminal remedies, explains applicable laws, identifies public and private resources, and identifies strategies to help left-behind parents recover their children or reestablish meaningful contact with them in another country. Our hope is that the information presented here will give parents the knowledge and support they need to reclaim their children.

Read more: A Family Resource Guide on International Parental Kidnapping [PDF]

This document was prepared by Fox Valley Technical College under cooperative agreement number 98-MC-CX-K010 from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view or opinions expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of OJJDP or the U.S. Department of Justice.

What to do if your child is parentally abducted?

If you are not sure about where your child was taken, locating your child is the top priority. Frequently, the abducting parent goes to great lengths to keep this location hidden, such as changing the name of the child. You are not alone, however, in this search. There are resources available to help you find your child. Some of these resources are listed below. Our office will work with you to access these resources to try to locate your child as quickly as possible.

U.S. Embassies
If you know an address where your child might be located, and your child is an American Citizen, our office can request that the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in that country conduct a welfare and whereabouts visit to the child.

To request a welfare and whereabouts visit, fax a request to us at 202-736-9132. The request must contain the following information:

  • * Your child's or children's full name (and any aliases, other names by which they may also be known);
  • * Your child's date and place of birth;
  • * The full name (and any aliases) of the abducting parent; and
  • * Any information that may assist the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in locating the abductor, such as the names, addresses, telephone numbers of friends, relatives, place of employment, or business connections.

The consular officer is required to request permission of the taking parent to conduct the welfare and whereabouts visit. If the consular officer obtains the other parent's permission to visit the child, the officer will conduct the visit and report back to you about your child. In some instances, consular officers are also able to provide you with letters or photos from your child.

Federal Bureau of Investigation
The FBI can help you locate your child. Its field offices across the country serve as the primary points of contact for those seeking FBI help in locating missing children. To request FBI assistance or learn more about their services, please contact the Crimes Against Children Coordinator at your local FBI Office.

On the web: FBI's Crimes Against Children

International Police
If law enforcement issues a warrant for the taking parent, the International Police Organization (INTERPOL) can conduct a search for your child in the country where you believe your child has been taken. Request that your local police contact INTERPOL.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)
NCMEC can help you circulate your child's photograph to the media in the country where you believe your child was taken. NCMEC can also assist you in creating a missing person's poster of your child. A poster may assist foreign authorities in attempting to locate your child.

Further Steps to Take in Your Search
Relatives and Friends of the Other Parent - One of the best ways to find your child in another country is through establishing friendly contact with relatives and friends of the other parent, either in the United States or abroad. You may have more influence with such persons than you suspect, and their interest in your child's welfare may lead them to cooperate with you.

School Records - You can contact the principal of the school your child was attending to obtain information that might help you. The abducting parent may have requested that the school transfer your child's records.

United States Postal Service Mail Cover - By contacting the United States Postal Inspection Services, you may be able to obtain a "mail cover" for United States mailing address that you know the taking parent would write to, like a family member or close friend. A mail cover is when the Postal Service scans the outside (or "cover") of mail that is sent to an address for up to 120 days. This service may help you discover the new address of the abducting parent.

Credit Card, Telephone, and E-mail Records - It may be possible for your local police to obtain (by subpoena or search warrant) credit card records, telephone records of the taking parent's friends or relatives, cell phone records, or e-mail records. This information can be vital in pinpointing the location of the taking parent. Check with state and local authorities to see if this investigation can be done for you.

Report the Abduction: click here

Resource Sites

Overview of International Kidnapping [wiki]

Bureau of Consular Affairs - Child Abduction resources

Global Missing - Resource

US Dept. of State - International Parental Child Abduction

Missing Kids - Abductions

Parent International

Bring Sean Home Foundation

United States Laws - International Parental Abduction

Additional Media

Sharing the stories of parentally abducted children [mov] provided by: takeroot.org

Event List

Event Calendar

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All financial help goes toward legal costs, with the sole purpose of bringing Eli home.

2 Ways to Give

*Donate through your local Fifth Third branch locations to Sara Edwards (Fund to Bring Eli Home)

*Donate with credit card or PayPal account

The fundraising efforts underway will continue to pay legal fees and translations, future travel to Turkey for hearings, and, when the day comes, to bring Eli home.  Please help in any way you can  - every little bit helps!

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Collecting Used Items for Benefit Sale

July 23rd, 2011

Hello all, Thanks to all my supporters!
Please email me if you are in the Northeast Ohio (Akron/Canton/Cleveland) area and you have any used items of value that you wish to donate to our next benefit rummage sale.

Thanks!


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Legal Hearing Coming Up…

July 23rd, 2011

I am getting ready for another hearing. Wish me luck!


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Bring Eli Home Website Updated!

July 20th, 2011

Recently, http://bringelihome.com has been updated. Check it out, and help spread the word!


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Visit Bring Eli Home's Wordpress Blog

Status...

Eli is still currently being held in Turkey.

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