Germany threatened to take our children away because we homeschooled them. I need help with legal fees and the costs of fleeing Europe (e.g. leaving most belongings behind, fines, selling house and car at a big loss).
We are a homeschooler family of five from Germany.
Because homeschooling is forbidden in Germany, they wanted to take our children away from us. We fled to other European countries, but they were working with the German authorities, so we fled to the US.
We are asking for your help in paying the legal costs of applying for asylum in the US, as well as recovering from the following misfortunes draining our savings: fines for homeschooling in Germany, legal fees in Europe, selling our house and car in Germany at a large loss, leaving most of our belongings behind, and paying for a place to live here.
Here is the full story:
The school authority, the district court, the headmistress, and a judge put enormous pressure on us. We had to pay up to 4,000 € per week in fines for our two sons when they did not go into the school building. Add to that court costs and threats from the judge, who actually told us in an angry tone that if we don't take the children to school immediately, even if they cry, fight back and scream, he will crack down on us harshly. No other people were invited to court and the protocol was written by the judge himself, we sat alone with the judge in the hall. We were forbidden to view the process recording afterwards. We have not yet been able to find out what the exact wording is as to why we were convicted and lost the case.
The youth welfare office was incited against us because of child welfare endangerment, but the nice lady from the youth welfare office was very impressed by our commitment to homeschooling and wished more schools were as well equipped as we were. In the end she was forced by the highest authority to take us to the family court. She called us worried and warned us that it would end very badly for us. We told her that we would leave the country in the next few days and she was overjoyed that we would get our family to safety.
We only had a few days to escape so we left almost everything and fled Germany. We took only the dearest things in the car and trailer and looked for a new place to stay, Croatia first, but we couldn't find any accommodation as it was summer season so we stayed in the car too. After that we moved on to Bosnia, where the park photo above was taken of my husband and my three sons sitting in front of the playground and not being able to enjoy it anymore.
We met a lot of nice and helpful people in Bosnia and we planned to stay there. But we were still being pursued by the German authorities in Bosnia. Our Bosnian lawyer informed us that the Bosnian authorities work together with the German youth welfare offices and that there is a real danger that if we don't give in, the Bosnian authorities with police support would take our children away and bring them to Germany to the German youth welfare offices, of course without us and without saying where exactly they would be. This has happened several times to other homeschool families from Germany.
We then knew that we had to leave the continent to protect our boys. So, we had to sell our car quickly for little money to buy plane tickets. We left the trailer and much more behind in Bosnia. We put our favorite things in a warehouse. Our house was far from being paid off and we had to sell it at a large loss. We were also unable to win back our investments for the core renovation and equipment.
A few days later we landed in Houston, Texas with five suitcases. We are overjoyed and grateful to be here and to see our children growing up freely. But there are still challenges to staying here. We calculate that we will have to pay $12,000 in legal fees to remain here and seek asylum.
In Germany we had worked for years to create a place where families can meet to learn, grow together, and help each other. We would cook together, grow food in the vegetable garden, and care for the animals in the barn and courtyard. Our small library invited you to read and write your own stories. We had a large outdoor area on the mountain with lots of forest and a playground with a large trampoline and everything that had wheels for children to ride, play and discover, and a hall for gymnastics, dancing and making music. We would like to recreate that.
Currently we are living in a 550 square foot house and working hard to rebuild our heart's desire. We are already looking for a suitable house for a new place of learning as rent to own, which we will renovate and convert ourselves. We sincerely ask for your support for the paydown and the renovation.
Eventually, we would like to make homeschooling a business and enroll other students to learn mechanics, gardening, handicrafts, sewing, cooking, and moving with dance and sport. In addition, we want to create events with and for families, such as, "Dancing like in the Middle Ages," "Easter Fairy Tale Ball," and make a "German Christmas Market." But for now, the most pressing matter is getting back on our feet.
My husband, André, is a specialized worker but we are still waiting for the work permission before he can earn good money to reach our goals.
In summary, we are asking for your support with the following:
-Rent-to-own house payments
-Renovations and purchasing things from scratch (we left most of our belongings in Europe)
We thank you for your support,
Noah, Lito, Emrys, André and Juli
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