On June 24, 2004 my son Matthias did not return from his vacation in Germany. His mother told me, that they would stay in Germany permanently and that she had initiated a hearing to get sole custody in a German court.

The following weeks I contacted the American consulate, lawyers, the state department, and NGO´s to find out if there was a way to bring my son back to the US. Due to bad advice and not really accurate information I did get the impression that my chances to get my son back, especially back from Germany were very poor.

By chance I contacted David Thelen CEO of the Committee for Missing Children in Atlanta, who told me right away that my chances to get my son back through the hague convention on child abduction were excellent! He recommended attorney Harald Weisker, who has already recovered numerous children from Germany under similar circumstances.

Within a few days, an application for the return of my child was made with the proper court, and within 6 weeks I was able to return to the US with my son.

It was extremely important for me, that I have received for the first time ever, correct and extensive information from the Committee for Missing Children. Based on previously received information I was in believing, that I could never return with my son to the US. Without the contacts of the Committee for Missing Children and their relationship to the expert attorney in such cases, Harald Weisker, I would have possibly prepared myself for a long and costly court proceeding which would have most likely not returned my son to me. In addition I would have spent a lot of money for the courts in the US since all previously received recommendations pointed towards a hearing in the US instead of a hearing in Germany. And all the statements that I heard all over saying that I had no chance of success in a court outside the US, were also wrong!

After my experience I can only encourage all parents with children abducted to Germany: Germany is returning children to the US, if the requirements of the Hague Treaty are met and specialized attorneys like Harald Weisker are handling such cases.

Noel Walsh