KANSAS Metropolis, Mo. — Picture sending your 12-year-old daughter overseas to go to kinfolk, only to have that shorter family vacation transform into more than a two-yr struggle to get the baby again.
That’s the intercontinental battle a pair with ties to the Kansas City location is now going through.
“She in no way came back again in essence. That was it. It is unbelievable,” Edwin Lankamp, the girl’s father, claimed.
The intricate authorized saga began in 2019 in Orlando, the place Lankamp, his wife Jessica Huckabey and their daughter, Shaine, lived.
The 12-calendar year-old beloved accomplishing, a passion she shared with Huckabey, who has lifted the lady due to the fact she was 2, when Shaine’s organic mother died.
“I don’t imagine it is about blood. Adore is thicker than blood,” Huckabey claimed.
Huckabey’s mother, Stephanie Trugly of Overland Park, agreed.
“She couldn’t be closer to me if she was my possess boy or girl,” Trugly mentioned, tearing up.
The household had its issues.
Lankamp, born and raised in the Netherlands, carries invisible scars from serving in the Dutch armed service.
His struggle arrived to a head in February 2019, when law enforcement arrested him for battery. It was unrelated to his daughter, and the prices had been later dropped.
“I experienced an episode of PTSD. To type issues out, we despatched Shaine to the Netherlands,” he mentioned.
The prepare was for Shaine to temporarily stay with Lankamp’s loved ones while he recovered.
“We manufactured the arrangement for her to keep for two weeks, and then was likely to appear back,” Huckabey included.
But she hardly ever did.
Shaine speedily stopped answering phone calls, and in a shocking plot twist, Lankamp and Huckabey uncovered they’d turn out to be the aim of a child protective expert services investigation in the Netherlands.
From the loved ones, the 41 Action News I-Staff obtained a rough English translation of a Dutch little one protecting services report.
It says Shaine instructed her aunt and uncle that she was “sometimes overwhelmed by her stepmother.”
It is an allegation Huckabey vehemently denies.
“Anyone that knows me knows that I did every thing for her, all the things for her, and we have been shut and we experienced a terrific relationship,” she said.
An e mail from the Florida Section of Youngsters and People confirms there had been “no stories of child abuse, abandonment or neglect” when the spouse and children lived there.
The few even went a stage more to obvious their names.
“We questioned DCF to look into us, and almost nothing was identified,” Lankamp mentioned.
In actuality, Florida DCF concluded the household ought to basically continue on with the counseling companies they ended up now engaged in at the time.
Even so, according to the Dutch report, Shaine explained to her aunt and uncle that her father and stepmother usually argued with each other, and nothing appeared to support.
Shaine additional that she and her stepmother also had a good deal of arguments, and she located the family’s frequent moves “annoying.”
Investigators in the Netherlands spoke to Lankamp, too, and in the same report wrote that he told an official Huckabey “always arrives into conflict with Shaine and applies the two bodily and verbal abuse towards Shaine- which includes hitting and screaming.”
In an interview with 41 Action Information, Lankamp reported there was never any abuse.
The couple’s legal professional termed the statements in the report a misunderstanding.
“When he examine the report back again, he explained this is not what I said and not what I intended or meant to say. It did not happen,” Lawyer Nynke Whiterod reported, “But by then it was presently in the court. They tried out to describe it to the court docket. They had been not encouraged to have a lawyer current.”
Whiterod thinks the truth of the matter was misplaced in translation, and it was “a combat against parents” from that position ahead.
A Dutch courtroom dominated in 2019 that Shaine really should be placed in foster treatment with her aunt and uncle.
She hasn’t established foot on American soil considering that.
“Just the deficiency of sensation on anybody’s element that this kid has been taken from her family, it’s so incredible that this could take place in this working day and time,” Trugly reported.
A spokesman for the Raad voor de Kinderbescherming (RvdK), which is the Dutch youngster protecting products and services company, claimed he could not focus on personal scenarios.
An legal professional for Shaine’s aunt and uncle declined comment because of to ongoing litigation.
The pair, however, carries on to maneuver by way of this intercontinental authorized labyrinth.
From time to time the scales of justice suggestion in their favor.
Other moments rulings halt any reunion.
Huckabey has not seen Shaine given that 2019.
“I kissed her on the driveway, and I received in the car or truck and remaining to get evening meal, and I never ever noticed her yet again,” she stated, crying.
Complicating this scenario is an intercontinental treaty called the Hague Convention on the Civil Facets of Worldwide Boy or girl Abduction.
Beneath that treaty, the Netherlands declined to return Shaine to the U.S. simply because she was matter to grave possibility. The court also famous that Shaine, now 14, reported she does not want to occur again.
That’s a important issue, according to NYU Law Professor Linda Silberman, who is an qualified on the Hague Convention.
“European courts and possibly courts in other nations around the world are likely to set a great offer of excess weight on a child who says ‘I don’t want to return,’ significantly if they had very good factors,” Silberman stated.
Even in the United States, an more mature child’s objections to return are taken critically, Silberman extra.
Even so, Huckabey and Lankamp experience as although their daughter, who was 12 when she went overseas, has been turned in opposition to them more than the two decades they’ve been aside.
Huckabey was shocked to understand the courts gave a youngster such electricity.
“There are age-ideal things that a 14-year-old child can come to a decision. What dresses they wear, what classes they acquire, what extracurricular factors,” she claimed, “But they anticipate all of a unexpected that she’s supposed to make these everyday living-altering conclusions about what state are you going to are living in and with whom?”
As the authorized fight raged overseas, the few turned to the courts in Kansas for enable.
Because Huckabey’s mother, Stephanie Trugly, lives in the metro, they planned to relocate and reunite with Shaine right here.
A Johnson County judge dominated in November 2020 that Shaine need to be introduced to Kansas and continue being in protecting custody until the courtroom could ascertain subsequent methods.
“You have a circumstance in which you have two courts in unique nations imagining that they are the suitable 1 to listen to this scenario,” Silberman mentioned.
She explained it as a really uncommon circumstance, and “the initial case like this” she has noticed.
The I-Crew contacted the U.S. Department of State earlier this calendar year about this circumstance. An official explained team in Washington, D.C. and at the U.S. Consulate in Amsterdam are working closely with Dutch authorities and the household to solve the scenario as quickly as doable.
Silberman and a different expert the 41 Motion Information I-Crew consulted feel the Dutch courts will have the final say, specially now that mediation makes an attempt in the Netherlands have unsuccessful.
Huckabey and Lankamp, even though managing out of lawful alternatives, have refused to give up the combat.
“What parent would do that? She’s my daughter. She’s our daughter. I will retain combating right up until she’s home. I’m not heading to give up,” Lankamp stated.
However, in the time due to the fact the I-Team interviewed the household, their story has taken a different flip.
In an exertion to finish this a long time-prolonged cycle of court situations, Dutch baby protecting services recently filed for long lasting termination of Huckabey and Lankamp’s parental legal rights.
If granted, the remaining chapter of their legal fight might be composed.
The I-Workforce will proceed to adhere to the scenario and share any updates on the family’s fight to deliver Shaine back again to the U.S.
They started off a GoFundMe site to help pay for their in depth legal service fees.