The Foreigner visited The Child twice after his return to The Netherlands. On the first trip, he came straight from the airport to my crummy apartment to see her, bringing toddler legos for her and my favorite Dutch candy for me. After she had been put to bed, he casually mentioned that he’d not yet booked a hotel.
I wished him good luck finding one.
The following year, he visited again, this time with a bicycle for The Child – now three – and more candy for me, but also with his new Dutch girlfriend. I allowed them to pick up The Child from daycare each day, as long as she was returned to me at a specified time each night. One evening The Foreigner asked for her U.S. passport so they could take a day trip to Canada, but before his plane ever landed I had given her passport to my coworker, who locked it in her desk drawer, promising to keep it safe from The Foreigner’s sweet-talking and my changes of heart.
He did not return her on time that evening; I called his hotel and learned he’d checked out hours earlier.
By the time he did return her, the police were at my apartment, taking information. They asked him questions, then told me plainly they weren’t satisfied with his answers.
Before leaving, the officer in charge said: I can’t tell you what to do, ma’am, but it’s important that you know what the police will and won’t do. One thing we don’t do is enforce visitation agreements. If someone wanted visitation enforced, they’d have to go to a judge, but, for example, if they came to the police station and showed us papers, we wouldn’t enforce that. I want to be sure you understand that, do you? Regardless of what anyone else might try to get you to believe.
I nodded and thanked him and did not deliver the child to daycare the next day.
The Foreigner showed up at daycare and made a scene, but left without seeing her again that day, or for the eleven years since.