Want to Help Dennis Burns and His Family?
November 13th, 2013
04:03 AM ET

Want to Help Dennis Burns and His Family?

For more information on how you can help, please visit the Return Burns Children Fund: http://returnburnschildren.org

Dennis Burns has created the Return Our Children Home Foundation which raises funds to help families dealing with International Child Abduction.  Click here for more information: http://rochfoundation.org

You can also help by signing this petition to the Argentine Government for the return of Victoria and Sophia Burns, abducted to Argentina more than three years ago: http://family-law-international.com/

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Colorado Dad Fights - and Waits - for Daughters Taken By Mom to Argentina
November 12th, 2013
04:30 AM ET

Colorado Dad Fights - and Waits - for Daughters Taken By Mom to Argentina

By Elizabeth Stuart and Ana Cabrera, CNN

Snowmass,Colorado  (CNN) - For Dennis Burns, images of his two young daughters bring him both joy and heartbreak. He's spent the past three years missing out on the everyday simplicities that most parents take for granted. Three years of no Christmases or special occasions with Sophia, now 4 years old, and Victoria, who just turned 7.

The reason for his ordeal? His ex-wife, Ana Alianelli, abducted them from their home in Snowmass, Colorado, and took them to Argentina in defiance of court-ordered arrangements.

Burns is now what is known as a left-behind father, embroiled in an international legal battle until he is granted permission by an Argentine court to bring his girls home. In the meantime, all he can do is wait.

"There's times when I want to think about them, but it hurts too much to think about them," he told CNN in an exclusive interview. "There's things that I need to do to survive in this marathon of a situation that I'm in, to keep my mind focused on my goals that I need to - to try to get them back."

Burns once had a charmed life - a successful real estate career, a wife he met on the ski slopes of his beloved Aspen. They were wed in 2004, but after five years of marriage, their relationship soured.

"When we first realized we were going to get a divorce, we had a very heartfelt conversation," he said. "But we both agreed that we were going to be amicable for the sake of the girls."

But their divorce proceedings were far from amicable, made even worse by Alianelli's allegations that Burns abused her, and by her request to relocate with the children to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Burns objected that the move would make him "just an acquaintance, not a father."

Her claims of abuse against Burns were unfounded, and after a 13-month custody battle, a Colorado judge declared Burns the primary residential parent and ordered that the children stay in the United States.

Burns said that was one of the happiest days of his life.

"I felt a sense of relief that was just beautiful. And I was like, 'I'm going to be able to spend time with my daughters, finally, and live with them and be able to teach them things, and show them things, and live here with them in Colorado,' " he told CNN.

Just three weeks later, in September 2010, his girls were gone. They've been in Argentina ever since.

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