"It is now time for our new beginning, the rebirth of our family," says David Goldman, reunited with his son

By Mike Fleeman
December 24, 2009 03:10 PM
Felipe Dana/AP; Silvia Izquierdo/AP

At first, 9-year-old Sean Goldman was tentative, having only seen his dad David a few times in the last five years. Then they had a hamburger and Coke, talked about baseball and the snow in New Jersey, and father and son were on their way toward rebuilding their relationship.

“When they boarded the plane together David and Sean both turned around, smiled and waved goodbye from the top of the stairs,” says U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, who joined them at the emotional reunion in Brazil after an international custody and abduction ordeal. “There was not one bit of reluctance on Sean’s part.”

Brazil’s chief justice on Tuesday brought the case to a close when he ruled that the boy should be returned to his natural father, who lives in Tinton Falls, N.J. Sean was delivered by his stepfather, whom Sean clutched, to the U.S. consulate in Rio de Janeiro.

“It is now time for our new beginning, the rebirth of our family at such a special time of year,” David Goldman said in a statement released by Smith, a New Jersey Republican. “I hope the momentum keeps growing and the attention does not fade because there are more fathers and mothers and children to reunite.”

In 2004, Goldman’s now-deceased ex-wife took Sean with her for a visit to her native Brazil, where the boy has remained. After the mother went back to Brazil, she divorced Goldman, remarried, then died during childbirth. In those five years, as Goldman launched a long and frustrating campaign to get Sean back, he had only seen his son a handful of times.

Goldman offered his “most sincere and humblest gratitude” to the “truly amazing and wonderful people” in Brazil and the United States who helped “reunite our family with our beautiful Sean.”

“Please know that my love and the rest of Sean’s family’s love for him knows no boundaries and we will go to the ends of the earth to protect him and shower him with every ounce of love that we have,” he says.