What followed was a nightmare. Bruna remarried, became pregnant -- then tragically died in childbirth. Then Sean's grandparents announced they would not give up their U.S.-born grandson. David was begrudgingly permitted to come to Brazil and see his son.
He describes that meeting:
Our first visit was wonderful. We played basketball and swam in the pool. He expressed his love and called me Dad. It was better than I dared hope for. His grandparents witnessed this and saw that although we were separated for so long, our bond was still very much intact.
They began a campaign described later by a federal Brazilian judge as "Practicing a pernicious process of parental alienation" upon Sean. If it were to have continued, he might no longer recognize me as his Dad. They always had someone right beside us often taping our visits and urging Sean to say and do things that would diminish our relationship. They even had a strange man jump between us in the pool attempting to create an awkward and strained visit. We weren't allowed to leave the compound. We weren't allowed to even eat lunch together. They would abruptly take him up to the apartment and end our visits on a whim.
Is the battle over?»