LTRP Note: In 2011, Lighthouse Trails published Stolen From My Arms, the true story of Katie Sapienza and her small son Alex who was abducted from his home and taken to a foreign country. This story is about a different kind of freedom than might normally be talked about on Independence Day. But it is a perfect illustration of man’s God-given desire to live in freedom of fear of our children being taken from us and shows how one woman risked everything to get her son back.
When Katie Sapienza’s six-year-old son is kidnapped by his estranged non-custodial father and taken to a foreign country, Katie’s world falls apart. Leaving her California home and her supportive and frightened parents, Katie, in a state of panic and near hysteria, hops on a plane and flies half way around the world. She presents a meaningless warrant for Massimo’s arrest to the Italian court system, but is immediately “legally” assaulted by them. She is shocked to learn that the Italian judge on the case has sided with the father and makes it clear that Katie is not welcome there, nor will they return her son to her.
In despair, anguish, and heartbreak, Katie, who does not know of God’s love and Christ’s sacrifice, decides she must remain in Italy, figure a way to support herself, and develop a plan to get Alex safely back to the U.S. In her desperation and grief, Katie turns to alcohol and sedatives to make it through each torturous day and sleepless night. Forbidden unsupervised access to her son, kept under the watchful glare of suspicious Italian relatives, and emotionally withering under the barrage of false accusations and misrepresentations, Katie suffers both regular anxiety attacks and deep depression. Plan after plan to legally retake her son fails. Days turn into weeks, and weeks into months. When three years have passed, Katie now realizes she will never get her son back–at least not through the Italian legal system. She decides she must take a different course of action–a dangerous one, a very dangerous one, but this is her son, and she must do this.
When she is introduced to an international team of covert operatives who specialize in rescuing kidnapped children, she arranges a secret meeting and pleads with them to help. The paramilitary team are committed Christians, and their hearts go out to this mother who has been driven to the edge of madness through the ordeal. If the money can be raised for the expensive and risky rescue attempt, they agree to do it. Their hope and prayer is that they can not only return to Katie her beloved son, now nine years old, but also lead her to the One who can rescue her as well from the anguish and desperation of her soul.
For more information about Katie’s story and her book, visit her website: www.stolenfrommyarms.com. This book is also available as a Kindle e-book.