After getting son home from Greece, Indiana mother hopes to help other “left behind” parents
It has been a long time coming for mother Alissa Zagaris. For two years, the Noblesville woman has been fighting to get her son home from Greece. As the chances of the boy being returned seemed slim, Zagaris got the call she almost never thought would get.
“The thing that is unique about our situation is, I got him back,” said Alissa Zagaris.
Leo Zagaris is back on U.S. soil, after being held by his father in Greece. It all boiled down to a child custody case that turned into an international issue.
“Left behind parents, of course that is our goal, but there is usually very little resolution,” said Alissa Zagaris.
Alissa Zagaris was awarded custody of the 12-year-old, but Leo’s father, Nikos Zagaris, was fighting the court’s decision, until just last week.
“More excited than relieved,” said Zagaris. “I was just on cloud nine.”
Zagaris jumped on a plane and quickly made the return trip to Indianapolis.
“I have been gone for a long time, two years, but I pretty much remember where everything is,” said Leo Zagaris.
“He has not missed a beat,” said Alissa Zagaris.
The years, and thousands of miles apart could not break the bond between this mother and son.
“I am a mom again, with a house full of kids and I love it,” said Zagaris.
“It feels like home,” said Leo Zagaris.
Leo is back in familiar surroundings, running with familiar friends.
“It does not feel like anything has changed,” said family friend Morgan Eldridge. “He has gotten taller, but other than that, he is the same old Leo.”
Before her son’s return, all of Alissa Zagaris’ spare time was spent trying to bring him home. Now, that he is back, she wants to make the battle easier for other mothers fighting a similar fight.
“Drunk driving laws were not put into place in this country until a bunch of mothers got mad (M.A.D.D.), right? We are going to change things, we are the parents,” said Alissa Zagaris.
As far as what happens next, the family says it will continue to celebrate Leo’s return, then, in two weeks, he is going to back to school. Despite the drama between mother and father, Leo talks to his father over Skype. As far as a return trip to Greece, it is not in the near future, but Alissa Zagaris said she is not ruling a trip out entirely.