An open letter to the judge of the District Court of Ansbach
Our hearts ache and there is no consolation. Our 1 ½–year-old son was swept away from us by the police and the Jugendamt (Youth Office) on September 5, 2013. What a shock… The day before everything was lovely and we had no way to expect a criminal intervention in the early morning of the next day.
Now a year has passed and Jonathan is still not in his natural environment with us, his parents! We got married in April 2011 and in January 2012, Jonathan, our first child, was born. We are a young family and will have more children than just one. We do not understand why our family will be ruined in this way?
We love and appreciate our first child very much and have always done our best for him. This child was born to us and we believe that God has entrusted him to us parents. This natural law is also protected by the German constitution. Jonathan has the right to his family and to be educated by his parents. He does not have to grow up in foster care and state institutions yet. It is the heaviest government intervention in a family, to separate children from their parents. What are the serious reasons that they proceed against us for?
It is so painful and devastating to separate children from their parents and it is not in the best interest of the child welfare of our son, that he is kept separate from us. My son tried to suppress the pain of separation with food and toys, but he feels hurt in his confidence. To explain to a 1 ½-year-old that a judge ruled that he had to be torn away from us is very difficult. The only thing he remembers is that he is allowed to see his father only once a week and is then swept away by the foster mother again. Every time he weeps bitterly and his confidence is increasingly disturbed. Foster parents can never replace the natural parents and the care they give — which the children love.
That is Jonathan’s Wish — to be with his Parents! ! !
A true story…
Date: August 18, 2014, Time: 10:00 clock in the morning
This morning I again saw Jonathan after a week and he was very happy. I had bathed him and we had a great time together. After about 2 hours I had to say goodbye again. Jonathan asked for a candy, which I had in my car. I carried him to the car and gave him a piece of candy. He was very happy and I thought that saying goodbye would go smoothly.
He stood on the porch and I told him that I must go home again. As he ran down the stairs (only in socks) and clung to me, I picked him up and tried to distract and calm so that he can see me and his father tomorrow morning. I explained to him that he must ask the judge if he wants to be with me. But all this was unsuccessful.
He shouted: “I want to ride after Wörnitz. Take me to Abba!” The foster mother tried to distract him and told him that she will also drive the car with him later. But Jonathan wanted to be with me. I walked slowly to the car, but Jonathan ran after me in socks and clung weeping to me.
He cried bitterly: “Take me home to Abba! I want to go with YOU!“ I said I could drive around the block with him and drop him off at the house again. But he did not like that. “No, take me to Abba,” was his reply.
After much back and forth I brought him into the house to clean his nose and wipe his tears. Then I tried to sneak out of the house again. But Jonathan shouted: “I want to go with you!”
The foster mother pulled him away from me and ran into the living room.
I then drove home.
Does not the Basic Law Art. 6 GG say that the family shall enjoy the special protection of the state, and that the rights of the child and parents should be protected? Does it not command that we are to be supported in our role as parents? Even if there are concerns about our educational ability, can not these problems be addressed by milder means?
Would not it be possible that the Jugendamt regularly visit our family in order to make sure of our education and the welfare of our son — as they did before taking our son away and putting him into foster care?
It’s the worst thing for a child to not grow up with his parents. We are still young and teachable. We are certainly not perfect parents and more than willing to still accept help. So why the hard measure of taking our children of taking our children away? If you really take a close look at all this, is it the principle of proportionality (required by law)?
Our son has yet to secure the right to grow up in an intact family? And even if there were concerns about the education of our first child, would there not be less restrictive means to help us? Does it have to be the hardest action for parents and child — that we need to be separated? Even before the raid, the Jugendamt (youth welfare office) approached us because of concern about our children, but there was never any concrete evidence, only general allegations and accusations against the whole community. But can you judge an entire group of people collectively? Should we not consider each individual case?
There was really never any concrete evidence of abuse or neglect about our son Jonathan before he was kidnapped on 5 September 2013. On the day when he was taken away from us, the medical officer examined him and found nothing remarkable about him. In addition, he was presented again to a doctor for examination on September 6, 2013, with the same results. Two different doctors, no neglect, no abuse — because there was none!
All the allegations of the fall-aways, who had triggered the seizure of our children, for the most part they had nothing personally to do with us. We would like to point out that the fall-aways fell away before our marriage and so also before Jonathan’s birth. So they do not know us as a family and our son and how we deal with him.
Just because we stayed at the Georg–Ehnes-Platz 2, and are part of the Community of Twelve Tribes, our little boy was taken away.
The well-being of our son was never actually at risk and is not at risk in the future. It can not be assumed that because they grow up in the faith community the children will be damaged in their development, but quite the contrary! Take a look at ourselves and our lives. Or do you think the psychologists, who, dealing with the development of adolescents and young adults who have grown up in the Twelve Tribes communities in Klosterzimmern and Wörnitz, came to the conclusion that no lasting damage is observed (or has even been), because they “make a very competent and balanced impression“.
We ask ourselves: “Why do you take our son away from us, his parents, if we love him and give him warmth and comfort? We have always loved our son from the heart and never abused him! We pray day and night that this suffering of our son and the agony of separation will soon come to an end and that we can be reunited as a family. There is no evidence against us that can be used by those who argue against a return of our son and continue to justify the government intervention in his life, taking him into their care.
Dear Mr. Kruger,
So we ask that our Jonathan be returned to us. In doing so you will give our family a chance and we will give the warmth, affection and comfort that our son needs to be a healthy person, to be confident and to grow up healthy.
Noah & Mo-Aydah Tlapak
Important additional material
To read more about the Tlapak family, please read the testimony of a neighbor of theirs in Wörnitz, a trained family nurse.
To read the first published cry of their heart after the Raid, read, “Why did they take away our son?“
To read about his first bitterly difficult days in captivity (state custody), read Havah’s “Diary of an Abused Girl.” There she chronicles just how difficult it was for the little boy to be parted for his parents. Obviously, he still wants to be with them!
In January of this year, the prosecutor in Ansbach announced there would no criminal charges filed against any of the parents of the Community of Wörnitz.