Not Without My Baby - 16
The i've never committed a crime in my entire life. I never thought that a small. I could spin out of control. It was just beyond a nightmare is a kate a cages for animals. Human traffic. aac are you kidding. I couldn't believe that. I was looking at fifteen years in prison from one. This is locked up abroad. I'm your host. Jim clementi not without my baby. The story of susan hagler divorce susan is professional golfer. Living in florida out of the blue her first husband net hot who she is not heard from nine years sends her a letter is now living in his native country of egypt and wants to come for a visit. She feels very excited to reconnect and agrees to travel to meet him. They immediately fall in love all over again and soon get remarried. The one thing. Susan is always felt she missed. Her life is motherhood. She convinces mid hot that they should adopt a baby. They become a bit when the agency refuses to give them any official paperwork confirming their the adoptive parents but the joy of parenting overtakes any apprehensions. They might have had a year later. When susan wants to take their baby marco with her to the us visit her sick mother. She admit hot are accused of supplying suspicious documents regarding marco's birth and ultimately end up in prison convicted of human trafficking. It was nineteen ninety eight. I was living in florida single again after two failed marriages so i had made a decision to just swear off men and marriage and relationships. One day i went to the mailbox and there was a letter from my first husband madhav. I hadn't heard from him or knew his whereabouts or anything for nine years and he signed the letter missing. You love met. I met met hot in nineteen eighty one when i was twenty years old. He told me that he was egypt. Shen we just fell in love immediately but we were young and i wanted to pursue a career as a professional golfer and he pursued business. The world just tore us apart. So i was divorced from him now. It's seventeen years later or back in touch. He's an egypt. And i'm in the united states. Then we started instant messaging and meeting online couple of times a day. And i feel like i'm falling in love with him again so one day we were instant messaging as we usually do. And he messages. Will you marry me. i'm thinking do. I really know hot. Is this the right thing to do. And i remembered that moment at the altar. And so i email back. Yes of course and so. I'm coming around the corner and the reality of the situation comes in. What am i doing only been in touch on email only spoken a few times on the phone and now i'm going to marry him but immediately when our eyes met the fifteen years that we hadn't seen each other it's just like was melted away and i was nervous but never for a second. Did i doubt that. I could trust madha. It was like a fairy tale. It was just almost like it was too good to be true. So matt had and i had been married now for a while. It was great. It was wonderful. But i hadn't this desire to be a mother but i've been through menopause and so you know i can't have children one day met had and i were on the bus together and a muslim lady came on the bus with her baby and i just said tomato i want to adopt a baby and he goes our whole life will change. Then he said okay. We'll do it. Never entered my mind that there would be any kind of complication or anything. That would go wrong. Method deny being christian. We decided to go to the cathedral in cairo and ask about adoption takes us into like a huge room and i see at the end of the room. The coptic bishop they wear this black looks like a dome kind of hat. I met the threshold of my dream of many many years old. I was sitting before him expecting him to ask me difficult heavy questions. You american is this in the interview. What you think of egypt. When is the interview gonna start. But then i hear the official speaking to manhattan. And i can tell by mets reaction. You know that it's it's go. Then he said one last thing to met hot. Why why do we have to be discreet. Is there something wrong with with with what doing. But i just suppressed all of that. Because i was finally going to have my baby. I can't believe how naive i was at the time. I never would have guessed that only a few months later. I wouldn't have been able to trust anybody. It was sunday. March ninth two thousand eight. It was four o'clock in the afternoon and the phone rang gets on the phone and then he's got a big grin on his face and he goes. It's a boy we need to go and pick them up at seven o'clock like we're parents so we got to the addressed really beautiful apartment building and so she brought us in to see the nun who was going to give us the baby. That was just ants. I'm kind of looking around the room. You know what you can look at it you know. I hope he's cute couple minutes later. This girl comes in with this beautiful beautiful baby boy and i remember just looking at him and go. Oh you know. I mean i just i just took him in my arms and he was just gorgeous and it was love at first sight. I feel his little tiny hand holding onto. My finger was just floating. I was just enamored by this little baby my baby. My life flashed before me all in a split second of all the things i had in my life. They were all wonderful things but in that moment there was nothing that compared to me holding that little baby in my arms. I heard medhat saying to the nine. Where's the papers. And she said we don't. We don't do the papers. So i was looking at matt how i could tell. He was thinking the same thing i was thinking. What is this. What kind of adoption is this. If this none is with the church why can't she give us a document saying that. We have officially adopted this baby but there was no way that i was gonna leave my baby behind so we left the home without any papers but we left with our little baby. I should've known then that something was not right the first night i didn't sleep. I just watched you know. I was just just watching him. Breathe and just stayed awake the whole night. We get the pampers and the milk and all that stuff but he still. We know we need papers before we could even sit down and discuss it. Like what should we do. A family member gave us the phone number of another none. We could call. That could help. Get the papers. Her name was theresa. Knowing what i know now i wish we had just thrown that number away but we did it and we headed to this non teresa's orphanage when we got to the house. The first thing that caught my attention was the chain with big padlock fits an orphan house. Why it changed with a padlock. She opened the door and she was dressed like a nun. I can't put my finger on. But i just it just. Wasn't that comfortable with her. And so she said i know i know a doctor who will write a note saying that he delivered the baby and we can take this letter to the health office and they will issue you a birth certificate. It says that your mother and your father. When i heard that i felt sick physically sick plus i need fifty dollars. Is this in illegal adoption. I would have never imagined that an order for me to keep my baby. I would have to lie on a birth certificate. I never even imagined that i was capable of doing that. But i just i had bonded with my baby and i was sure that that would be the last lie that i would ever have to tell we agreed. Okay we'll do it. We get support from hellofresh. America's number one milk it you can get fresh premeasured ingredients and mouth-watering seasonal recipes delivered right to your door with hellofresh that means you cutting out stressful meal planning and trips to the grocery store so you can enjoy cooking. Get dinner on the table in about thirty minutes. And here's a bonus by skipping the grocery store and using hellofresh you're reducing your food waste by at least twenty five percent. They offer more than twenty chef crafted delicious options every week to help you break out of your recipe. Rut try new things and make any night feel special. My favorite so far is the roasted garlic and sakina flat breads and it was super easy to follow the instructions. The even have color pictures and with hello fresh you can easily change your delivery days or meal planned preferences and skip a week whenever you need right on the app go to hellofresh dot com slash locked up ninety and use code. Locked up ninety. That's locked up zero to get ninety dollars off including free shipping one. More time that's hellofresh dot com slash locked up ninety code locked up ninety. We waited two or three days and then met her. Went and picked up. The birth certificate. Met her name was on his father. And i was on as the mother. And we named him marco. Even though it wasn't the truth. I felt reassured knowing that this was in fact a legal government document that gave me rights to be. You know that. I'm his mother. At that point. I was just like. I am never going to lie on any document or anything ever again but i was wrong. I loved being a mother. I loved it. I had waited. Forty six years for this moment. And i wanted to just take it all in. I saw matt hut in a new light. He was just a great father. Life couldn't get any better one day after we got home from the beach. I checked my house. And i got an email from my sister. My mother head can't sir i have to. I have to go now. We had had marco for six months. Why don't i take marco with me so. My mother can meet her grandson. But marco needs visa so he can travel with me to the united states. So manhattan marco. I went to the american embassy for me to get marcos visa number four please. I came to the window and he said. Can i see your paperwork. Please thank so. I was picturing getting to new york and there. I was with marco and picturing that my mother would be so happy to meet him. He came back. Are you american. And i said yes. I'm sorry we're not going to be able to issue a visa for your son. Your son has to travel on an american passport. We just need you to fill out this application. So he hands me the application. And i saw a place that i have to sign that i am his birth mother. It literally scared me to death. I have to lie in front of the embassy official. I had already said. I am never going to lie on any document ever again right then. Had i just walked out maybe everything would have been different but instead i just lost it. I don't. I've sat down and i was crying. I guess it might have seemed like desperation. People were noticing. There was like a paranoia that started to rise up in me. What must they be thinking of me. Why is she so out of control. Susan hagler off so he called me back to the window. What am i gonna do. I had to be with my mother. I had to be with her. Also being a new mother to marco. I couldn't be separated from him. I decided to do it. I just hope that he accepts the document and no more questions will be asked. The next morning we wake up and the phone rings and had answers the phone slow. And it's the american embassy. We need one more thing. We need a note from your doctor verifying that he delivered the baby. What is going on. They don't believe us. I'm realizing now that i'm in something. I had to lie again. So getting in deeper and deeper deeper. I knew that we had to call theresa but there was something about that woman that just made my my skin crawl so met hud and marco and i go back to teresa's theresa's said. I'm going to help you mad. Had and i will go and get the letter. And you stay here with marco. We come back in one hour that next morning and i brought the letter to the embassy as nervous scared as i was there was still that shred of hope. We are going to go there and they're going to give us the passport. We've dropped it off at the desk. And i felt all the sudden there was a a mood. Changed tiffany pictures when you were pregnant pictures. I can do the documents. But there's no physical way that i can provide pictures of me. When i was pregnant i was suffocating. I was enclosed. And i was in a trap and i got angry. You know what. Just i wanna cancel the applications. Give me my my papers back okay. And he says. Meet me upstairs. And i was looking at met hud and i'm thinking what is going on here and he said okay. Look we know that child's not yours if you try to leave the country with that baby you're going to be charged with kidnapping. What's when i heard the word kidnapping you know. I looked over at met hot. And i just felt like a lump in my throat hit napping. What's he saying. I may have lied on the application. But i'm certainly not a kidnapper. Give me my papers on charged with kidnapping being attacked. Doctrines me out of here. And finally he said okay and i just witnessing through the glass. This hive of people at one desk. Maybe they weren't going to cancel the application. Maybe they weren't going to give us our documents faxed. Those people were doing something with regard to us. I couldn't figure out what it was traveling. There was one lady. I felt like she was looking at me with pity. Like you don't know what's going on. He gives us a paper and he says we need to go to a lawyer and matt. How did i get outside of that embassy almost hyperventilating wondering what is this paper. Say okay. they're basically saying that if we don't have pictures we have to. We have to submit dna. Evidence i cannot provide pictures. I cannot provide. Dna evidence not his real mother but after reading this document relief. Come over as that after ninety days if we don't actually submit dna evidence. We will get our documents back and our case will be considered abandoned. I'm thinking thank god. I travelled alone to be with my mother and marco stays with medhat. The surgery was a success and they removed all of the cancer. She's recuperating she's doing good she's we were also happy about that by got back to cairo. We just felt like now. We can move forward with our life. So we were looking forward to having our first christmas with marco. So i had just finished putting up the christmas lights to all the sudden we hear bam bam bam really loud and it was like. Who's that your brother met. Who goes to the door trickle. Mad comes back in and he looks over at me and he goes. It's the police. You mean were arrested. I was shaking. Okay i got marco and wrapped up in his little blanket and i felt very intimidated and vulnerable. Go stay loaded. Us into a metal car was very dark and smoky. I'm getting more and more concerned. Did the embassy tell them. I'm a kidnapper or something. They start walking us into this police station and it was as if the walls it was. We were going through a maze. Turn took they told me you know down. I hear i hear the raised voices constant yelling. And maybe i even heard slamming on the table. Said where's met hot. And they just. They just looked at me like i thought to myself. Are they going to torture him. It just terrified me then. They brought me into this room. It was dark. They were all on their cellphones. I like it here. Was susan heck lawf- susan head and i was just like is petrified. I was sitting right in front of this desk in front of this man and they start telling me that is not your baby. This is my baby. And i looked over and i saw our documents from the this is not a court. There's going to be a corridor. Something isn't there and the guy goes is the courts. And then marco started crying and so i stood up with him and a man says should down and i go but he's crying and he goes sit out and he goes. I know that's not too much son. And i go and he goes because you can't give it suck and then the guy at the desk said to one of the guys. Today's like go take the baby so a man came over. And he was gonna take. Try to take marco my own. You and i said you can't take my baby. You can take my babies and so the man at the desk. I saw that he looked at the guy who was like commend. Don't take the baby. And he goes if these are false documents. You're going to be in trouble. You're looking at seven to v teen years in prison. If those documents are not real my mind couldn't even comprehend what he was saying. Seven to fifteen years in prison hotel. They took me back out of the room at this point. I don't know where met hut is right at the bottom of the stairs there was a big black metal door. I don't know what's on the other side of that door. I didn't know if it was just like a solitary confinement bam and clang. And that's i'm going into the cell. I realized they're probably gonna take him from me. I had to start accepting that in my mind. It just was thanking god that i had the opportunity to to be a mother few minutes later. You can hear you know. The padlock opened from the outside. When of the police officers looks over to me and he goes give the baby to him. I had kind of started to make myself. Detach you know what i mean so that i wouldn't totally just fall apart. I just gave him to the man. I'll never forget that moment in time. And i can still hear marco crying as they took him the cry all the way up the stairs until i couldn't hear it anymore and i was thinking i can't live like this. I just wanted to curl up and die so days past one and police officer just took water just just threw water on us and it was just degrading. It just really made me feel just really really worthless. So the next day early in the morning they open the cell door and there. Let's go you go to court then. They escorted us into the courtroom together and put us into a cage. I was looking around and thinking a cage cages for animals. I felt very confused. Of course i had recognized the theresa the none but i had no idea who these other people were and why they were putting us together as some kind of a group the lawyers start talking to the judges and after the meeting with the judges are lawyer came and he was not looking positive news. They have made a gang out of hugh and they are accusing you of human trafficking. And i looked at met hut and i go human trafficking. Are you kidding me human trafficking. That's horribly serious crime. The trial lasted nine months. It's the day of our sentencing. Businesses are more muscle. Lara via malcolm who had an so mad had were holding hands. And we're just. We're hoping that we're going to hear the word barat. Which means released a suzanne inaugural mid hats besse decision. Senate say they charged manhattan. I for false documents and they sent us to two years in prison two years. I couldn't believe that we got sentenced at that moment. The the room was just quiet. I mean it was noisy but to me it was like it was just quiet i never in my wildest nightmare would have ever imagined that i would end up in prison. You'll never believe dorm. I was sent to the dorm with the murderers. Go in where go where there was no place in there. I was just in shock. I can't do it. I'll never survive. I see like six foot two woman. She's just like a football player to just terrified me. There's not enough beds for people. She me her bed and then she sleeps on the floor next to the bed. It scared me to fall asleep so that night. I just didn't let myself fall asleep. It's amazing how i adjust to this new reality. I would get up in the morning and do my bible reading and my praying. I prayed you know. God just just helped me. Just help me. And he was helping me to just get through it. But there wasn't one day that went by that. I didn't think about marco and wonder about his well-being. I had many many dreams about marco and they were always dreams that i was going to be getting him back and one particular dream. I dream that. I went to the house where he was staying and he actually came towards me and ran into my arms and i picked him up and i was holding him. We spent two years and four days in prison. The day of our release finally arrives. And i know that i'm going to be reunited with met. I'm looking around going. Is that matt was hard to adjust back to normal life. That first night that we were released. I woke up in the middle of the night wondering would we be able to get markle back so we call the lawyer. He told us where he was. He told us that he found out that they had changed his identity and that they had changed his religion. I felt like you do now. I know we don't have a chance at fostering him but there was still something inside of me that i just i had to see. We were just going to go to the orphanage anonymously but we got to the house and it was late. It was eight o'clock at night. We're here and we want to see the kids and give them a little goodie bag with toys and everything she says it's too late. Oh i'm sorry. The kids have already gone upstairs for bed. Is it is possible. That i could go up and see them on my own and so they thought well they said okay. Why don't you just come up. My heart starts pounding. I've heard that he's here. But i i don't know for sure we go upstairs. I room when i came in. I saw cribs. There was about four cribs. Marco is not one of these babies was just picking them up by talking to them and then all of a sudden. I see this little guide. Come into the room and he's coming into the room with like this. I know that voice. And i just picked him out and i just held him and i kissed and i said oh. You're good boy. You know but he was healthy. He looked good. He was strong. I could see that he was. He was okay. But i can't explain just what it was like to just scoop him up in my arms and just kissing and just hold onto him that one less time here. This is for you in. He ran out the room. Hit goes mama. And i said. Oh are you momma. And the nice young girl said yes and and she was very nice is they. Were showing me that. He was learning english. So this mama. This girl he called mama was pointing. You know snow's usa no and say ears and he was just. It was just a precious precious moment. There's a cliche for me. This came to life. It is better to have loved and have lost than to never have loved at all. Even though i committed a crime. I have to say that it was worth to have those nine months to be a mommy. Thank you for listening to locked up abroad from wondering the network behind dr death dirty john and business wars to listen to more great shows like locked up abroad. Visiting wondering dot com locked up abroad was produced by raw tv. Limited for national geographic channel's copyright two thousand twelve all rights reserved distributed under license from fox networks group content distribution uk limited. Our audio adaptation is edited by daniel simi. our producer is donna. Himes are executive producers. Are marshall louis and hernan. Lopez were wondering.