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More than a year ago, Sofia was abducted from her home in Lighthouse Point, Florida, by her Syrian National uncle, who is practicing medicine in the Chicago area. Fox News: ▸ video ▸ story Last March, a Florida judge issued an order to pick Sofia up from the uncle's house in Chicago and return her to her home to Florida. Due to a jurisdiction question in court - since Sofia had never lived more than 6 months in one state at the time of her abduction - the judge later gave temporary custody to her mom until the court could determine final jurisdiction between Florida, New Jersey, and Illinois. Sofia at Chicago's O'Hare Airport on her way home after her initial kidnapping from her home in Lighthouse Point, FL, by her uncle who is a practicing MD in the Chicago area. In July 2010, based on this uncle's instructions, Sofia was abducted by her mom to Syria where she ha... (more)

Sofia Facing Bloodiest Easter Abducted in Syria

More than a year ago, Sofia was abducted from her home in Lighthouse Point, Florida, by her Syrian National uncle Feras Bankosly, MD, who is practicing medicine in the Chicago, IL, area. Fox News: ▸ video ▸ story Last March, a Florida judge issued an order to pick Sofia up from the uncle's house in Chicago and return her to her home in Florida. This weekend my two year-old abducted daughter Sofia remains in the middle of the bloodiest Easter in Syria's history! Demos against the Syrian regime and Bashar Al-Assad in Damascus, Homs, Aleppo, Banias, Latakia, Douma, and Daraa already left more than 150 dead between Good Friday and the funerals on Saturday, before Easter! Furthermore, it's widely anticipated that due to increasing violence in the country, the U.S. mission in Damascus will be closed before June, 2011. Turkey will also close its border with Syria by June, 2... (more)

Teens Should Be Taught Pay Is Not For Pleasure

Dear Dr. Fournier: My teenage son has been employed all summer and has done an excellent job. He hasn't missed a day of work and I've been thrilled with his show of initiative. He will be a junior in high school when school resumes in a few weeks. He has enjoyed earning his own spending money and does not want this to end just because school is resuming. So, he has asked for permission to work during the school year for more spending money. When I hesitated, he offered to help pay for his car insurance. We're so proud of the responsibility he has shown, and paying part of his car insurance was his idea. My husband and I are afraid his schoolwork might suffer if he works, but we also don't want to deter his sense of responsibility and the pride he is developing by working. To let him work or not to work - we can't make up our minds. What do you say? Pam T.  Aiken,... (more)

Parents Mean Well But Could Do More Harm

Dear Dr. Fournier: School has started and after only a couple of weeks, my son is having trouble with homework. I do not want my wife and I to get into last year’s shouting matches with him. It seems like every time I try and help him, he gets angry and defensive. What can we do to get our son to let us help him with his homework? James C. Austin, TX Dear James: Many parents have heard their children in frustration say this about homework, “I don’t know how to do it!” The natural inclination of parents is to respond this way: “Then let me help you do it.” Unfortunately, this leads many parents to cross the line of parenting into teaching. Instead of feeling helped, many children feel alone, intimidated and, finally, humiliated. James’ went on to write that his son Jeff had just started learning fractions. Jeff’s teacher assigned 20 problems for homework. Jeff t... (more)

Take A Business Approach To Conferences

Dear Dr. Fournier: Report cards are out and I have just received my child's along with a note from his teacher requesting a parent-teacher conference. I've been here before. I remember my first time. I was happy to know the teacher wanted to work with me, but then I went to the meeting and it was horrible. I decided my child should be present, expecting we were ready for solutions. Instead, I sat stunned as she told me how horrible and terrible he was. She had only had him for a little over 6 weeks so how could she know this? I've had him for 11 years and I know he is a kind, caring child. Because of my past experience, I'm afraid to meet with his current teacher. How can I get over my fear and participate in solving my son's educational issues? Lindsey G. St. Paul, MN Dear Lindsey: All too often, the motivation for this type of parent-teacher conference turns par... (more)

Open Letter to the President of Syria Bashar al-Assad

Thursday, July 29, 2010 Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey   To the President of Syria, Mr. and Mrs. Bashar al-Assad Mr. and Mrs. President Bashar al-Assad: At the tender age of 17 months my severely ill daughter Sofia, an American citizen, was abducted by her mother on Monday, July 26, in Istanbul, Turkey, and taken to Syria. Fox News: ▸ video ▸ story I was informed yesterday by Sofia's mother that she will not be coming back to the United States nor will she allow Sofia to return home. Sofia has been diagnosed with a severe medical condition that requires immediate treatment in the United States. It was scheduled to start on July 27, 2010, in New Jersey, the day after her abduction and was supposed to last until she reaches the age of 3. Any delay in the urgently needed treatment will result in a life-long disability for Sofia and make her dependent for the whole of her a... (more)

State Department Photos of My Abducted Daughter Sofia in Syria

Wednesday morning I received new photographs of Sofia from the State Department in Washington, DC. Sofia remains in Syria since being abducted in July 2010. Fox News: ▸ video ▸ story The day after my last tweet regarding the lack of any new information about my abducted daughter Sofia since March 4, I received an updated letter on Thursday, April 7, 2011, from the State Department on Sofia's welfare in Syria. Sofia was abducted by her mother from the United States to Syria last July, following her diagnosis of GDD with possible autism. She had 13 remaining medical appointments left at the time of her abduction, none of which she was able to keep. Last week's welfare report prepared by our Embassy in Damascus, Syria, after their second welfare visit to the home in Syria where Sofia remains with her mother and grandmother, showed a bleaker outcome for my daughter t... (more)

My Two-Year-Old Daughter Sofia Facing Life-Long Disability in Syria

The day after my last tweet regarding the lack of any new information about my abducted daughter Sofia since March 4, I received an updated letter on Thursday, April 7, 2011, from the State Department on Sofia's welfare in Syria. Fox News: ▸ video ▸ story Sofia was abducted by her mother from the United States to Syria last July, following her diagnosis of GDD with possible autism. She had 13 remaining medical appointments left at the time of her abduction, none of which she was able to keep. Last week's welfare report prepared by our Embassy in Damascus, Syria, after their second welfare visit to the home in Syria where Sofia remains with her mother and grandmother, showed a bleaker outcome for my daughter than the previous report dated November 2010. At two years and two months of age, Sofia still doesn't speak a single word, make or follow simple hand gestures... (more)

A Bedtime Story for Sofia Who Remains Abducted in Syria

Diane Macedo of Fox News worked on Sofia's story for more than a month, studying documents, interviewing more than a dozen people, and fact-checking before publishing her news story on Monday and airing our interview. Fox News: ▸ video ▸ story On Monday, she also published a detailed article on Sofia that was picked up by a dozen or so media outlets around the world during the week. ▸ Fox News Story on Sofia's Abduction to Syria When Sofia returns safely home, she will pay her first visit to Diane at the Fox News headquarters in New York City. ▸ US Leaves Its Youngest Citizen Behind Syria The following is a short weekend "bedtime story" for my daughter while she still remains abducted in Syria. Twitter updates on Sofia @FuatKircaali One day, during his travels, Daddy found a "little green Swiss frog" on his bed as he arrived in his hotel room. Daddy took the little g... (more)

My Abducted Two-Year-Old American Guest Worker Daughter in Syria

Since her abduction by her mother last summer, my two-year-old US citizen daughter, who is in ailing health, remains in her abducted country of Syria under the immigration status of "Palestinian Immigrant Worker." Fox News: ▸ video ▸ story Sofia needs to appear every three months before Syrian immigration authorities to renew her "guest worker" visa, stamped in her American passport. Syria, one of the most oppressed regimes in the world together with North Korea and Iran, does not offer many human rights, freedom or democracy, nor does it recognize the International Hague Convention for Child Abduction. Not being a Syrian citizen Sofia has no civil rights. For the past seven months she did not receive any medical care for her GDD - Global Development Delay condition with autism. Since she is an out-of-status American child, she is also not able to enroll in any acc... (more)

US Embassy Staff Out Of Syria, Leaving My Two Year-Old Daughter Behind!

The US State Department on Monday said that it has ordered some non-essential US embassy officials in Damascus and all embassy dependents to leave Syria because of the "uncertainty and volatility" in the country. Fox News: ▸ video ▸ story As of this morning, and since July 2010, my abducted daughter Sofia Kircaali, a US citizen, remains in Syria and in harm's way. Feras Bankosly, M.D. Last Known Employment Address: Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare Medical Education: University of Aleppo - Syria Over the Easter weekend and on Monday, the Syrian government’s crackdown against protesters and demonstrators appeared to be reaching a crescendo, as President Bashar al-Assad apparently refused to grant any further concessions and seems determined to squelch any further expressions of dissent. Demos against the Syrian regime and Bashar Al-Assad in Damascus, Homs, Aleppo, Banias... (more)