Mother Finds 'Peace' With Lost Daughter in Egypt

After 12 year battle, mother and daughter finally reunited

Janet Greer had 15 minutes to prepare for a reunion she's been fighting for for more than a decade.

Twelve years ago, Greer's Egyptian ex-boyfriend Magdy Elgohary took their 3-year-old daughter, Sarah, to Egypt, and Greer has been battling since that day to get her daughter back. This week she traveled to Cairo in hopes of seeing Sarah.

Wednesday, she received a call from the U.S. Embassy that changed her life -- the battle was finally over, and she would be able to see her daughter.

VIDEO; After a long custody fight, Janet Greer meets her now 15-year-old daughter.
null

Nervous and excited, Greer made her way to the Cairo home of Elgohary's brother, where she and her daughter, now 15 years old, finally met with a hug. For two hours, the two were allowed to catch up on nearly a lifetime of a lost relationship.

"Every time I would speak Arabic, she would start laughing at me, which is a good thing," Greer said. "Every time she smiles, she looked just like me. Exactly like me. I couldn't get over it."

VIDEO: Mother struggles through red tape for the chance to see her child.
null

When the meeting was over, Greer exchanged phone numbers with her daughter and received a piece of chocolate she treasures like "gold."

Bond Not to Be Broken

"I feel at peace in my heart," Greer told "Good Morning America" after the emotional reunion. "I feel even if I go back to America tomorrow and she is not with me, I still feel like the connection is there now. I know I will see her again."

The trip to Egypt didn't start out so promising.

After she arrived, Greer was told an Egyptian judge would grant her a visit with her daughter, and she rode through the streets of Cairo with only one thing on her mind: telling Sarah that she loved and missed her.

But then she was told that the visitation was denied -- the latest of more than a decade's worth of disappointments.

"I thought today was going to finally be the day that I could see my girl after 12 years, and now they're saying no and I don't understand it. I don't understand any of this," she said after hearing the news.

But her high-level pleas to government officials in Egypt paid off when an interior minister interceded and Elgohary's family agreed to the meeting.

Ripped Away to Egypt Without a Word

Elgohary took Sarah to Egypt in 1997, without a word to Greer, during what was supposed to be a weekend visit. Greer remembers with devastating clarity the moment she realized her little girl was not coming back when she went to pick Sarah up and no one showed.

"Right then I knew he had her," she said. "I fell on the ground because I knew my life was gone."

Elgohary had taken the girl to live in Egypt with his family. Aside from a grainy cell phone video, Greer had not seen Sarah since she was a toddler.

To get her daughter back, Greer spent all her money and made multiple trips to Egypt, including a visit to the apartment where she believed Sarah lived. An Egyptian court even agreed that Greer should have custody of the child. But still, she never saw her daughter.

Greer chased down every lead she could, but American authorities told her there was little they could do. International law requires countries to send abducted children home, but like 3,000 other abducted American children currently living in other countries, Greer's daughter is at the mercy of foreign authorities.

After "Good Morning America" reported Greer's story last month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke about the case in a press conference with the Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Ali Aboul Gheit.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...