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A Message from Noah Kirkman's Mom
Below is a message from Lisa Kirkman written after the ruling by Judge Kip Leonard that, after two years, he's finally releasing 12-year-old Noah to return home to Calgary. Hello Everyone, Yesterday, after several hours of courtroom testimony (and two years of torture), the judge finally decided to do the right thing and send Noah home. He did not indicate a timeframe, but informal commentary from DHS indicates that they plan on sending him back to Canada after the school year ends, about mid-June. At that time, he'll be flying back to Canada with my parents and temporarily staying with them until which time he, my parents, myself and the professionals who work with him come to a consensus that it's time to make take that final step home. During this time I will maintain my full parental authority, custody and guardianship as Noah's mother. While I'm hesitant to fully jump for joy until I actually have my son in my arms, as we've been let down so many times before with similar assurances that there will be a followthrough of the case plan in a reasonable amount of time, I do acknowledge this victory and its profundity. Endless thanks go out to my lawyers, Ilisa Rooke-Ley & Tony Merchant, for their unending dedication to resolving this crisis, their professionalism, intellect and compassion. Thank you to the Merchant Foundation, Michael Kapoutstin and the National Council for the Protection of Canadians Abroad for taking up the charge and answering our calls for help with invaluable resources and support. ??? ???????????? to Mary Damianakis, whose golden heart has shone through the darkest of times and whose insight and advice has proven to be absolutely indispensable; the big Greek sister I never had. Thank you to Lawrence Oshanek, for being a bastion of courage, compassion and reason. Society is made more sane by your presence. A very special thank you to group administrators Debbie Fagin (the Thelma to my Louise), Lindsay Dianne and Terri Applebomb (Mata Hari o' my heart) for putting this group together. I am so very, very proud to call you my friends. After struggling on my own for so long, I can't even express what it feels like to know that over 4000 people--most total strangers---are watching out for you and yours. Thank you to every single member of this group, for your kind words of support, astute commentary and tireless phone calling and letter writing. A special thanks to Jocelyn, who exploited her wonderful artistry to help us raise funds. Proceeds from the beads that weren't sold will go to help Canadian families facing similar international family law cases. Thank you to the anti-prohibition/cannabis community. It is from you that I draw my fire and strategy in taking on Goliath and who have taught me that there are no fights and no foes too formidable and though the tunnel is immeasurable, you just gotta have faith that there's a light on the other end. Indeed, where there's smoke, there's fire. Thank you to the press, who have--for the very most part--been very sensitive and compassionate and diligent in reporting our story. I maintain to this day that it was this press coverage that lit the fire under this case and really moved it along toward resolution. Even though they've always maintained their professional objectivity, many have let their personal feelings of support show and for that I am grateful. Thank you to MPs Rob Anders (Con) and Dan McTeague (Lib) and their assistants, Maria & Glenn, who were the ONLY voices of reason in the Canadian Federal Government during this whole ordeal and who did their jobs by doing their darndest to affect some positive change in the situation. They alone have kept me from losing faith in elected officials altogether. Thank you to everyone who donated your time, money and resources to helping Noah return. Every dime has been spent on this cause, but please don't forget that there are over 400 other Canadian children stuck abroad, not allowed to return to their own country, so if you can continue your support of these children and their families, I would be forever grateful. I have made it my life's mission to help them in any way I can, so that no family has to go through the torture that my family has been submitted to over the past two years. And of course, thank you to my family--my mom Phyllis Heltay, my dad Mike Heltay and my sister & brother-in-law Avery & Mike Maxwell, for your love, endless courage and support; for holding my child and reassuring him when I can't. Thank you to my husband for being the best Papa in the world. I love you and can't wait for all of us to be together again, soon. The best victories are those that are hard won and although I can't truly say this war is over until I hold my son again, I can join you in savouring the joy that comes with crossing the biggest obstacle yet. I will continue to hold my breath until I can touch Noah, hear his voice and see for myself that he's okay, but I will be sure to let you all know when I finally am able to breathe again. Kindest regards, Lisa Kirkman ? ? ?