What’s Best for Little Sydney? Another Sad Case of International Parental Abduction

And speaking of international kidnapping, it looks like that’s what happened here (Ann, 5/21/10).

Bianca Ormsby of New Zealand and Adam Thomas had a brief affair while she was attending the University of Michigan. Their daughter Sydney was born in May of last year. Thomas and Ormsby were never married, but had a temporary child custody order in place. It provided for one of them to have Sydney four consecutive days, followed by the other parent having her three days; then the first parent would have three days and the second parent four. In other words, they had equal custody pursuant to a temporary court order.

On March 9, 2010, Ormsby picked up the little girl as usual. That was the last time Thomas saw his daughter. On April 11th, he received an email from Ormsby saying,

she was in New Zealand and thought being there was best for Sydney.

Prior to her abduction of the child, she had had a restraining order issued against Thomas and then withdrawn it. For his part,

During the custody battle, Thomas expressed concerns about Ormsby’s mental state, noting that she was hospitalized July 17, 2009, after taking an excessive amount of pain medication, court records show. He also expressed concerns to the court as early as July 2009 that Ormsby might flee to New Zealand with Sydney.

There’s some question about where Ormsby got the money to obtain a passport for the child and airline tickets for both of them. She hadn’t worked or earned money during the entirety of her 20-month relationship with Thomas. If I were the police, I’d be questioning her lawyer on that topic, but she’s also got relatives in New Zealand. Whoever gave her the money looks to be part of a criminal conspiracy to me.

Now, New Zealand ratified the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction way back in 1991. So there should be no trouble having the child returned to Thomas in the United States. I wrote recently about the Hague treaty and what’s required to use it to recover a child. It requires that a parent have custodial rights to the child, which Thomas plainly does, even though they’re temporary.

Meanwhile, state and federal authorities have charged Bianca Ormsby with kidnapping and custodial interference. Those could get her three years behind bars if she happens to ever set foot in this country again.

Last, I’d like to note in passing Ormsby’s curious attitude about Thomas, Sydney and their rights to each other’s society. Her email said she thought being in New Zealand was “best for Sydney.” Notice that she didn’t ask Thomas his opinion about what was best for Sydney; she acted on her own. And she acted in secret. Somehow she managed to obtain a passport without his knowing about it. She also got a fair amount of money and made travel plans without his knowing about it. In short, she acted unilaterally for the purpose of depriving him of his child and his child of her father.

I’d like to know how she convinced herself that it’s OK to do that when the rights of another parent and child are involved.

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