Parent of Abducted Child Releases CD to Help Others

Filed under: Divorce & Custody

A portion of the proceeds from George Transcender's "Songs for Parents of Missing Children" will go the the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Credit: Transcenderarts.net

When singer and songwriter George Transcender's toddler was abducted more than 20 years ago by a family member, his heart was permanently scarred, yet he says he found an outlet through music. The result: a 12-song CD, "Songs for Parents of Missing Children."

According to his website, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the CD will be donated to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Ernie Allen, the center's president and chief executive officer, tells ParentDish in a phone interview that Transcender's tale is not unique. Of the 800,000 children reported missing each year, "about 200,000 of those are children taken by other family members," Allen says.

ParentDish spoke with Transcender, who has been reunited with his son. An edited version of the conversation follows.

ParentDish: Your music is similar in style to Neil Young. Is that intentional? Are you a fan of his work?
George Transcender:
It's not intentional and, certainly, I'm a fan. Any serious musician who has not been influenced by Neil Young is either a liar, a fool or both.

PD: What motivated you to make this music?
GT:
In 1988, my 2-year-old precious little boy was abducted. What ensued was a 4 ½ year search. (I) lived in a van (and traveled) thousands of miles. I had to sell everything I had -- grand pianos, art collections, book collections, just everything. Even my cherished electric guitar. The responsibility of parenthood, to me, is the most serious undertaking in a man's lifetime, a woman's lifetime, a parent's lifetime.

What motivated me to make this music was my absolute love for my child, and my responsibility as a parent to let him know, as he grew, wherever he was, that I was out there searching all those years.

All these art forms -- what creative people do -- it's a coping strategy against insanity. It's the only healthy defense mechanism humans have.

PD: Did you find your son?
GT:
I found him after a major push with my last large chunk of money, and he surfaced in another part of the country. We flew there, and what commenced was 4 ½ years of custody trials, in which I went bankrupt a few times and experienced what it is to be a male in family court. It's akin to being a black in criminal court. With the asterisk, if you're male and (can afford) representation (and) expert witnesses ... But, generally speaking, it is an epidemic of bias in family court, because, in this country, it's a maternal presumption that we go upon.

(On TV) you'll see commercials that have the mom taking care of whatever needs to be taken care of having to do with this child's upbringing, and Daddy's not in that commercial nine (times) out of 10.

PD: So, how did the custody battle end?
GT:
There are 729 hours in a month, approximately. At the end, I got 29 hours of broken up time during the month.

PD: What would you say to people who are put off by the CD's subject matter, who find the songs creepy or difficult to listen to?
GT:
When we humans look at a person who's amputated, you know that feeling you get? We turn away for that second, as a reflexive action, because subconsciously (we're afraid) that it may happen to us.

PD: Have you had contact with any parents of missing children? How did they react to the music?
GT:
I have (and) it's all been positive. One of the guys I had contact with -- I'll just give you a for instance of the kind of intensity -- went on a hunger strike for 57 days on the steps of a courtroom here because he was not allowed to see his daughters. He was real, and a good person, and he was a wonderful and courageous father. Fifty-seven days proved that to me; he almost lost his life.

Each personal encounter with a parent of a missing child elicits the same deep level of appreciation for what they heard because it was a catharsis for them, and catharsis is something that will allow you to have a good cry. And a good cry is necessary for a healthy human mind every now and then.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.