SHORELINE, Wash. — Jeffery Morehouse’s memories are aging. That’s the nature of a seven-year wait.
Morehouse last saw his son, Mochi, on Father’s Day 2010. The boy was 6 at the time. His mother, Morehouse’s estranged wife, then abducted him to Japan where they remain today.
“I have this overwhelming feeling that he’s here somewhere,” Morehouse said. “I just can’t find him.”
Morehouse took the fight to Japanese court, where he says a judge ruled in 2014 that his U.S. custody order has legal effect in Japan. But it was never enforced by the Japanese government or authorities.
Mochi’s story is part of a larger issue of parental abductions overseas. Morehouse helped start Bring Abducted Children Home (BAC Home) in 2011 to help other parents left behind. There are more than 1,000 U.S. children kidnapped each year.
The organization has enlisted the help of politicians in Washington state and D.C. Last year, Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell signed onto a letter to President Obama asking that he bring up the issue on a trip to Japan.
More than 400 American children have been kidnapped to Japan since the U.S. State Department began tracking cases in 1994.
Morehouse says he doesn’t know what came out of that effort.
“It’s incredibly frustrating,” he said. “Because it seems very simple to me, to bring him home. It really at this point would change everything if President Trump would speak out publically on Mochi’s kidnapping, and all the other children that have been kidnapped to Japan.”
Morehouse made his ninth trip to Washington, D.C., last week. He’s asking more politicians to go public in the fight for parents left behind.
He says he met with White House staff, who he hopes will take on parental abductions overseas. He believes public pressure from U.S. politicians could lead other countries to return American children.
Morehouse also met with Seattle Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. Her staff says she will wirte a letter to the Department of Justice, asking them to renew extradition efforts for Mochi.
Morehouse also took part in a hearing with the House Foreign Affairs Committee titled ‘Enforcement Is Not Optional,’ led by Representative Chris Smith, R-N.J.
“One of the things that really does give me hope is when we have these great moments of progress,” Morehouse said.
He hopes they’re one step closer to bringing Mochi home.