When I first wrote about David Goldman in 2008, his story was just beginning to gain more publicity in mainstream news.
David is the New Jersey former model who’d married a Brazilian fashion student — Bruna Bianchi — in 1999. They had a son together, Sean, and they seemed to have a solid marriage. But in 2004, Bruna boarded a plane to Brazil go on a two-week vacation with their then four-year-old son.
And she never came back.
Instead, she called David and told him their marriage was over. She said that she wouldn’t return to the U.S. — and that she was keeping Sean.
In the meantime, Bruna re-married a Brazilian lawyer from a prominent and politically well-connected family in that country. Then, in childbirth in 2008 with her second child, she died.
In the meantime, David fought to get his son back. Some of you applauded David on this blog. But others said that after so much time, it would be best if Sean remained in Brazil and got to visit his father.
Over and over, Brazilian courts ruled that Sean should stay in Brazil. For the past five+ years, David has tried to get his son back. Politicians stepped in to help, from President Obama to Congressman Smith of New Jersey.
If you’ve watched the news, some of the clips are heartbreaking: to see David almost get permission to see his son — and then hear the courts say “no.”
But everything changed on Dec. 24, 2009. The public — both Americans and Brazilians — had continued to put pressure on Brazil, and David got permission to take nine-year-old Sean home.
As Sean said good-bye to his maternal grandmother at the U.S. Embassy in Brazil, she asked David: “Will you allow me to see him?”
According to MSNBC.com, “Despite his resentment of the way Sean’s Brazilian family behaved during the five years of legal battling, Goldman said he will allow Sean’s maternal grandmother, Silvana Bianchi, to continue to see him.”
“And I looked at her and I said, ‘I will not do to you what you have done to me,’ ” Goldman said.
“And then I said, ‘But now you need to tell him that you remember how good of a father that I was, how good of a father that I am, and how you know I will continue to be a good father.’ And I also gave her a hug. He needed to see that.”
David’s intentions are incredibly empathetic. Don’t you agree? “I will not do to you what you have done to me.”
Still, I’m curious: What would you do if you were in David’s shoes?
Would you stay in touch with your ex’s family and fly your child back to visit at least once a year?
Or, would you simply shut the door to the past and move on?
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