Madeleine McCann Sighting Tears a Family Apart

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Madeleine McCannThe parents of Madeleine McCann -- the little girl who went missing from a hotel room in Portugal four years ago -- are taking comfort today in the knowledge that people still care about the fate of their little girl. A British woman traveling in India spotted a kid who looked like Maddie in the city of Leh and called the police. And though Gerry and Kate McCann's private investigators have said the sighting isn't credible, the couple who left their child in a hotel room to have dinner four years ago know that someone is still fighting for them.

They're doing OK today (or at least about as well as can be expected under the circumstances). But the French woman and Belgian man whose flesh and blood daughter was yanked from their arms because she looked like Maddie could really use your sympathy.

Despite insisting the child was their own biological daughter, the couple had their passports seized by Indian authorities, and they've been subjected to DNA testing, just to prove their kid is their own. As far as nightmare travel stories go, this one may just take the cake.

My heart goes out to this family today as I wonder what they're telling their daughter; if, indeed, they're even allowed to see their child. The girl can only be around 8 years old, the age Madeleine McCann would be today. She must be scared, confused, terrified.

It's a fear I confess I've had more than once. Kids don't carry ID, at least not here in America. If we're far from home, if something happens, how do I prove that she is indeed my child? Carrying most of their vital paperwork is discouraged because of the identity theft risk.

I know I spent nine months carrying her in my belly and 13 hours in labor with this kid, but it's really my word against anyone else's until a DNA test is completed. A good friend, who is no longer married to her son's father, has taken to carrying a copy of her license from her second marriage with her, plus a copy of her divorce papers. It's to prove that although her son does not share her last name, she is, in fact, his mother. That she does this too makes me feel a little less neurotic (or at least in good company!).

Can you imagine someone walking up to you on the street and claiming your child looked like the kid on a missing child poster? Would you be able to prove they were yours?

 

Image via Find Madeleine

crime, in the news

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Rachel Schiller

I have photographic evidence that these c hildren have been mine since birth.

jonellg jonellg

My kids have passports, I would hope that's enough. 

momto... momtothemax2910

It'd be frightening for sure - and I don't know how I'd be able to prove my son is my DS without DNA evidence.



I'd hope that I'd be able to react in the way I'm thinking rationally right now - yes my son is mine but if providing DNA evidence could ease the mind of

momto... momtothemax2910

A poor mother missing her son that I could have the sense to submit as quickly fir her piece of mind (not to mention my own defense!)

Courtney Paige Neale

Ok usually your writing is very good but I had to re-read it 3 times to realize what you were talking about. I'm guessing they took the girl who looked like the missing girl from her parents? I think thats what you are saying.

bree_... bree_gabys_mom

You can get an ID here in America for your child its just not common I read about it somewhere. There are also child id kits you can buy

Memph... MemphisSuzi

My children have passports.  And when we travel overseas I also carry copies of their birth certificates.  We actually got stuck in CANADA once - for not having their identification.  I lived in Metro Detroit then and it was a quick trip but we were stuck until my mother went to my house, broke in, and faxed them copies of the kids birth certificates.  So I carry them now.  Identify theft risk is better than being seperated from my kids.

nonmember avatar Actually

I disagree I have two daughters 3 and 1 and if I were somewhere and someone spotted one of my girls and thought she was a missing child I would tell the person to call 911 I would stand there holding my child and let the police do a dna test. If it brings comfort to a family. If it puts the missing childs name out there again then it would b well worth it. If its ur child you have nothing to lose. And keep looking for a little girl or boy. You never know when you might actually see her or him and how horrible would it be if u didn't call 911 and stop them.

nonmember avatar s

What if the kid is adopted? She would not be able to pass the DNA test, then what? All three of my nephews are adopted so how would my sister be able to prove they are hers.

GlowW... GlowWorm889

Hmmm....good point, S. In that case, would you bring the adoption papers to the police station? If my child were ever mistaken for a missing child, first I'd have that knee-jerk reaction of "What? No she/he's not!" After that, though, I'd go along fully with the DNA and everything. It brings comfort and closure (sometimes) to a parent that is greiving their missing child.

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