Bittersweet Mother's Day for Calgary woman
Published Sunday, May 9, 2010 6:42PM MDT
A peaceful protest for the return of a Canadian boy being held in the U.S. took place on Sunday.
The protest, which was organized by the boy's mother, Lisa Kirkman, started outside the Harry Hays building and ended outside of the U.S. Consulate.
Kirkman has been fighting for two years to get her 12-year-old son back from Oregon authorities.
The family and supporters are pleading with both Canada and the U.S. for her son's safe return.
This is Kirkman's second Mother's Day without her son Noah.
"It's very difficult for me to describe how painful it is," commented Kirkman.
In September 2008, Noah went on vacation to Oregon with his step-father.
One afternoon he and some friends were stopped for not wearing bike helmets.
A police check found a Canadian social services file and Oregon authorities took the boy into custody to protect his welfare.
He's been in four foster homes and his mother is only allowed to speak to him for 15 minutes every few weeks and the calls are monitored.
"We're not allowed to speak about anything of substance. I'm not allowed to say to him, ‘Noah I miss you, I want you to come home'. He's not allowed to say that to me, otherwise it'll get shut down," added Kirkman.
Kirkman says the only reason there's a social services file is because she got help for her son, who has anxiety issues and severe attention deficit disorder.
Canadian and U.S. officials aren't talking about the case, with the Prime Minister's office noting it's still before the courts.
But Kirkman supporter Lawrence Oshanek says he sees two issues.
"The state imposing its judgment as to what a parent needs to do and be, and two, we have a very serious issue with sovereignty. We have a Canadian child trapped below an international border," said Oshanek.
Kirkman is also getting help from Michael Kapoustin, a Canadian businessman who says he was wrongfully imprisoned in Bulgaria for 12 years. He's formed a group called, The National Council for the Protection of Canadians Abroad.
"I think this is one of those rare cases that sort of fell through the cracks, and for whatever reason, this particular judge feels that he needs to keep this little boy away from his mother. None of it makes any sense," said Kapoustin.
Kirkman's next chance to bring her son home comes at the end of this month when the case goes back before an Oregon court.
Kapoustin has invited some Canadian senators to attend the next court hearing.
There is also a Facebook group dedicated to the cause. It's called, Return Noah Kirkman to Canada Now!