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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Walking 1000 miles to find my kids

In 2002, I decided to attempt to walk from Portland to Utah.

I had fought unsuccessfully in the courts through four jurisdictions in three states, trying to locate and establish contact with my children against the unlimited legal resources of the child abduction ring that had taken them.

They had hired more than a dozen lawyers at one time or another and six years had gone by since my kids had disappeared.

At every point where contact with my children could be achieved—short visits supervised by associates of the very people who had abducted them—the kids were intimidated into silence. Their demeanors were wooden, and they were shadowed by people taking notes and reporting on what was said, on what transpired. There would be a penalty for appearing happy to see me.

These sessions were so tortuous to my children and myself that I stopped fighting for visits in the courts. I didn’t want to see my children ripped in half like that.

But I could not do nothing. One day, I decided to walk to Utah, hoping to send a message to my children that I had not forgotten them, that they were still my number one priority.

I had no illusions about actually seeing my children, but I wanted to send a message that was clear—I’m your father and I love you this much.

My plan was fairly simple. I would walk fifteen miles a day and sleep by the side of the road. I would leave in late Spring, avoiding the cold of winter and the heat of summer. That was pretty much the plan.

I made a banner to wear on the back of my pack, to let people know I was walking, not hitchhiking.

I decided to start the walk on the courthouse steps in Vancouver, Washington, where I fought in court for the first two and half years of the abduction. From the beginning, the walk was intended to be symbolic.

In upcoming posts, I will write the story of this walk. I took some pictures along the way. I’ll post those, too.

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