Always keep your hope up!

First I have to thank the Committee for Missing Children for their psychological and financial help. Without your help I could have never flown to Australia to hug my son Wolf and take him home to Germany. Also, the personal talks with Christiane gave me a lot of comfort, hope and courage during the time I was separated from my son.

To all Parents:

Even if the way in front of you seems to be hopeless and nothing happens, never give up and keep on fighting- Because you owe it to your Children.

Always keep on calling the public authorities, organisations and other people. Never let them get you down and try to inform yourself about other cases!

I can not describe the bliss, when I looked into Wolfs eyes again and knew, that it is worth fighting. I don't want to miss my son anymore, want to enjoy him every day, because it is something special. We have to thank the Committee for Missing Children for this, and I hope that I also can help other parents in this situation. Please talk to me! I'm sure Christiane will give you my number and email address.

This is my story:

My 10-Month-year-old son was held back in Australia by his Australian father. At that time I was in Australia with my son. Already on the day of my arrival the father got himself a German passport and afterwards stole my British birth certificate from my purse. The relationship to Mark (Wolfs Father) got worse. Slowly I started assuming that my ex- boyfriend wanted to keep my son in Australia without my consent. Though I didn't really think he would be able to do this- I was wrong.

We had a fight and Mark wanted to call the police because he was "afraid something would happen to Wolf". The situation calmed down very quickly. Than Wolf´s dad asked me if he could go for a walk with Wolf. I agreed and didn't think of anything bad. About an hour later, he called me and told me they wouldn't come back. I started panicking and called the police. The police told me they couldn't do anything for me because Mark is Wolf´s father. (But in Australia both parents have custody, even if they're not married!)

Later I found out that the father was at this mother´s with our baby. I called to tell him I would try everything to get my son back. Wolf´s father threatened me and said he'll call the police and his lawyers and they'll put me in jail and I would never see Wolf again.

I was so scared that I would loose contact to my son and never see him again. I didn't have friends or family in Australia, so no one was there to help me. The Australian Police didn't help me either. I was desperate and hopeless, that I couldn't see another way than flying back to Germany. Back then I thought it would be easier for me to get Wolf back with the support of my family and friends. (Today I know it was a mistake!)

Until the day of my departure I called Mark every day to hear how my son was and when I could see him again. Mark didn't let me keep contact with Wolf. The only thing he did, was to threaten me every time I called him.

After leaving Australia I tried to contact Mark and Wolf from Germany. But Mark only talked to me very shortly and didn't give me any information. Before flying home I had already contacted the German embassy in Sydney, but they couldn't help me either. In Germany I started contacting the German embassy in Canberra by email and phone. All they could do, was to send me a list of Australian lawyers.

But I didn't want to give up and tried to get information in the Internet. That was when I found the Organisation "Committee for Missing Children". Christiane gave me different numbers of lawyers. But there were two things: First of all, I couldn't pay them, and the second thing was, that the lawyers didn't seem to be very committed with my case.

But thanks to the Committee for Missing I met Mrs. Mack, who could give me the address of an Australian Lawyer. I told the lawyer about my case but the office wanted to have 50 000 € which I could not afford.

So I met the famous book writer Jacqueline Pascal through the Committee for Missing Children. Jacqueline Pascal´s Children had been victims of a parental abduction. After telling her about my story, she right away contacted the Australian family lawyer, Sally Nicholes. Sally is specialised in international child abduction. Sally filed the hague convention application to bring my son back to Germany. For this I needed a German lawyer. Sally organised the Contact to the lawyer for Family rights, Christian Rudolf. End of June I hired Mr Rudolf.

With Sally and Christian I had the best lawyers. Mr. Rudolf told me he would try to get Wolf back with the Hague Convention and needed a lot of documents, photos and explanations which had to be in German and English.

On July 19th, Christian filed the application. Now we started waiting. After two weeks we started understanding how the hearing would be. The father tried to make me look mentally ill. So we handed in a doctor´s certificate which showed I was a good mother and not mentally ill.

Unfortunately nobody told me, neither my lawyer, or the federal office for justice how the proceedings were. Emotionally I was at the bottom. Nobody could comprehend the behaviour of the Australian authorities.

At last they told me the date of the hearing. So I got myself a ticket. I wanted to be there. My lawyer told me not to go. I didn't know what to do. I had my ticket, but nobody wanted to hear what I had to say. At last I decided not to go and to wait. I wasn't sure, but I had faith in my lawyer. In the weeks after I thought I might have made the wrong decision. But I had to wait for the decision from court. Every day I prayed to God that he gives me and Wolf a chance to be together.

Then the day of the decision came. I couldn't sleep very good at night and called Susan from the Central Authority at 6 in the morning. She didn't even say hello. All she said was "Congratulations, Miss Timm, you may come get your son." I was so happy I cried for two hours. Later that day I called Christiane and we planed my flight to Australia. A week later I flew to Sydney.

My friend Lisa picked me up at the airport. I checked in at a hotel and met my almoner and my lawyer from DOCS. We tried to organise the exchange for next day. But then later in the afternoon, I was called and told that I couldn't get Wolf the next day because Mark had to work. I didn't believe it and was scared that he would try to hide Wolf.

Finally the day came, I could see Wolf again. I met Ellen (my almoner) and we drove to the office of DOCS. I got very nervous and checked the clock every 10 seconds. My lawyer tried to calm me down. But then, at quarter to 11 she got nervous too, and called the security to ask if they were there yet. Thank God they were there. So we went down stairs, and there they were; Mark, his new girlfriend and my little Wolf. I went to get Wolf and he started crying. After a while he calmed down and we went back to my lawyers office.

I stayed in Sydney with Wolf. I couldn't leave because I didn't have a passport for him. Days later my lawyer came with bad news. Everybody thought Mark and his girlfriend would try everything to get Wolf back. Nobody thought they would give notice of appeal. Wolf and I were immediately hidden. We waited for news from DOCS. We tried to get a flight back to Germany but the Judge didn't allow this. Then Ellen got us a Hotel room because Mark had found out where we were. I had to stay in the hotel room with Wolf and leave the door closed. Later that day my lawyer came back and told me we could fly back to Germany. This was the best news. But we had to stay in the Hotel and keep the doors shut until we could leave because we thought Mark might even try illegal things to get Wolf back.

After we were kept in the Hotel that weekend my Lawyer came to pick us up. She stayed with us until the barrier and then we were in the plain. When we finally were in Germany, I knew that it was all over now…

Annika Timm