Sean Goldman One Step Closer to Reuniting with Father

Boy's Brazilian family yields in custody fight. Early morning handover planned.

ByABC News via logo
December 22, 2009, 6:04 PM

Dec. 23, 2009— -- A Brazilian court today took another step toward returning nine-year-old Sean Goldman to the arms of his father, David. The court ordered that Sean be reunited with David Goldman by 9 a.m., 6 a.m. EST, Thursday in Rio de Janeiro.

The boy's Brazilian family decided to give up its fight for custody of Sean and will not appeal the court's decision the family's lawyer, Sergio Tostes, confirmed in an e-mail, bringing a five-year custody battle to an end.

Sean's maternal grandmother, Silvana Bianchi, told ABC News that her grandson does not want to leave Brazil.

"He said he is very sad because he does not want to, and he is very sad because he had, he has the right to speak and to explain himself, but the judge here cut his right," Bianchi said.

The grandmother said she continued to fight for custody of Sean because he wanted to stay in Brazil.

"He wanted to stay with us. Now I want…him to be happy… And if he goes to United States and stay… the best thing for him will be (to) stay there," Bianchi said.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who is traveling with Goldman, said the ruling was welcome news. David Goldman has spent more than a week in Brazil in hope of bringing his son back to New Jersey.

"David and his team are encouraged that the nightmare is coming to an end," Smith told the AP. "No more delays. It's time to do this."

Yesterday the Brazilian Supreme Court ruled that the boy "be handed over to his father and should be returned to the United States."

Smith said Goldman was "elated" when he heard the court's decision yesterday.

"A big smile came to his face, but he said, 'I'm not going to let my guard down until it's wheels up," Smith told the AP yesterday.

David Goldman, 42, was granted custody of the boy last week only to have a legal motion block his long-sought reunion with nine-year-old Sean.

The boy went to Brazil with his mother when he was 4, but the mother never returned to the U.S. She divorced Goldman and remarried, but died giving birth to a daughter she had with her second husband.

The mother's family assumed custody of Sean and has fought Goldman's claims for custody for the past five years.

Yesterday's Supreme Court ruling came as Silvana Bianchi, the Brazilian grandmother of Sean Goldman, wrote a passionate letter to the president of Brazil, pleading with him to intervene and prevent the boy from being taken away just before Christmas.

"Our moral foundation values the mother's role. In the absence of the mother, the raising should be done by the grandmothers. This is custom in Brazil from north to south," she wrote, calling the custom "authentically Brazilian."