ORANGE COUNTY (CBS2) — An Orange County couple’s dream of having a big family turned into a real-life nightmare.
The couple was arrested, taken to a police station at gunpoint and put behind bars in the West African country of Ghana.
Sol and Christine Moghadam were accused of child trafficking.
The couple already has two boys, Ethan and Isaac. They were in Ghana trying to adopt four more children, two boys and two girls.
What they got was an ordeal. The couple sat down with CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Stacey Butler to describe what happened to them.
Recalls Sol, “A police officer said you were resisting arrest and I was surprised, ‘What arrest?’”
Moments before the arrest, the couple was on their way to lunch to celebrate what they thought was good news.
A Ghananian judge had just approved their adoption of Stephen, Derrick, Phillis and Ileana — four siblings who were about to be placed in an orphanage.
Sol and Christine knew it would take more than one visit to secure the children as their own, but they were celebrating their future as a family of eight.
That is when, Butler reports, their routine trip took a terrifying turn.
“There was just this sense of, ‘God you have to take over now,’” says Christine.
Once they reached the police station, officers accused the couple of forging the court documents that said the judge approved the adoptions.
They were forced to watch as the children were ripped out of their arms and taken to an unknown location.
“It was quite hard to see all my children ripped apart from me and taken away,” said Sol. “In a country where I had no idea what I’m doing there.”
I was able to hold it together. But all I could think of was — they haven’t eaten all day…where are they gonna take my kids?,” says Christine.
The couple tried calling the US Embassy — to no avail.
And when the couple tried to argue with the detective accusing them of forgery, they were forced into a packed jail cell by six officers with automatic assault rifles.
“We are literally at their mercy so we have to give in,” says Christine.
She was able to keep her cell phone with her and posted their plight on Facebook. Her blog urged everyone to pray.
Social networking … worked. Within 24 hours, their story went international.
US authorities intervened.
All six children were released from the orphanage where police had taken them.
Sol and Christine had a simple message for their four new kids. “We’ve reminded them we would do it all over again — you’re worth that much to us, to pay that cost, that’s nothing,” says Christine.
All six brothers and sisters are finding common ground.
The kids think their two-continent, Brady Bunch-like blended family is “crazy.”
And mom and dad are not going to argue. But it’s the family, the large family, they always wanted.
“Strangers, friends. family would say you are blessing, for what you gave these kids, that’s true — but they in turn have given us a greater blessing,” says Christine.
For more information about the couple and “Adopt Together” site, click here.