Eugene Pothy (pictured) of East Orange, N.J., was finally reunited with his 10-year-old son, Philippe-Emmanuel, on Tuesday, after the boy’s mother, Judith Any-Grah, sent him to relatives in the the Ivory Coast for eight years, according to the NY Daily News.
For Pothy, finally reuniting with his only son was a long time coming. Any-Grah and her family refused to return Philippe year after year, and on top of that, any assistance the Father was able to drum up for his cause was intermittently blocked by red tape and regulations.
In 2011, Pothy reached out to the State department, but they couldn’t help him because the Ivory Coast isn’t a member of the Hague Convention on International Parental Child Abduction. Then last November, the agitated Father reached out to the NY Daily News with his story. And still, nothing became of his case. Finally, it was anti-abduction activist Peter Thomas Senese who made Pothy’s dreams come true.
The New York Daily News reports:
Pothy said Senese brokered an agreement with the boy’s mother, Judith Any-Grah, that stipulated his return. The judge approved it and Any-Grah’s family overseas complied. The boy will now live with Pothy, who already has residential custody of his 6-year-old sister, but his mom will have joint custody.
For her part, Any-Grah claims she sent the boy away because it was difficult being a Mother while in college. Still, Pothy maintains that it is best for his son to be in the United States with him:
Now, I can do my job. I can be his dad.
Watch Pothy reunite with his son here: