Photo: Emily and her Dad Michael Sanchez
UPDATE: Michael Sanchez, the elated father, is now disclosing terms of a custody agreement that will assure him that Emily will always be a part of his life and he part of hers. In the agreement entered into by Nigia, Emily’s mother, and Michael, Emily will remain in Brazil until she turns 12 years old where Michael gets to visit her twice a year. Those visits will last for up to 14 days and Michael is allowed to stay at Nigia’s house to facilitate the visits. Meanwhile Michael can communicate with Emily on a regular basis without deterrent from her mother either by phone, email, Skype of any other means possible.
When Emily turns 12 years old she will be allowed to travel to the U.S. twice a year to visit her father for a maximum 30-day visitation.
The photo was provided by Michael of his visit with Emily in Brazil several days ago.
UPDATE: Michael notified HS News that after a 10 hour mediation session yesterday with Nigia (his daughter Emily’s mother) and Brazilian officials a reunification was possible. So yesterday approximately at 7:00pm CST Michael saw his daughter for the first time in 3 1/2 years in Brazil. At this point few details are known about the agreement reached between mother and father and when Emily gets to see her dad again. As soon as we know those details we will be bringing them to you.
However, in accordance with the agreement that is being drafted in Brazil, all pictures of Emily are being removed from the website “Bring Emily Home Campaign”.
ORIGINAL STORY: We could call Michael Sanchez a Hispanic hero, but that just wouldn’t be enough to represent his herculean efforts to bring his now 5 year-old daughter Emily home from Brazil.
After fighting for 2-½ year since the day she was born to be a part of his daughter’s life the hope to “always be there for her” was snatched when her mother Nigia Machado left to Brazil where she is from. The pair never married and since Nijia was undocumented the fear of getting deported finally overtook her and she fled with Emily.
Michael has faced many challenges before from his father abandoning the family when he was 16 to his mother dying in front of him from a heart attack. He describes himself as having a ‘intellectual deficient range’, yet none of that has stopped his quest to see his daughter and have her call him dad.
With help from politicians, courts, organizations like Child Watch and Interpol, Emily’s case is now considered an international kidnapping playing out in Brazil. After numerous attempts to negotiate an agreement with Nigia, Michael is heading back to court next week in Brazil to see if authorities there will grant him the right to be a part of the child’s life.
But this Hispanic hero isn’t content with just getting his daughter back; he wants to make sure this never happens to another parent. So he has created a website offering helpful tips to other parents in the same situation and chronicles his incredible efforts. More importantly Michael has crafted ‘Emily’s Law’ that would mandate that any parental agreement be part of all intelligence computers which in turn would flag when a parent is leaving the country without the other parent’s consent.
If you are interesting in helping there is a petition you can sign urging elected officials to mandate that all custody orders get put in our national crime intelligence computer.
We asked him on the eve of his travels to Brazil what keeps him going,
“Growing up without a father, who walked out on me, I don’t want that for daughter. She has called me dad and I want to hear that again.”
In closing Michael wants us to know that international kidnappings are happening all the time even to Hispanic families.