The night of Dec. 14, Laura and David recalled, they were abruptly awakened by Raphael, accompanied by four burly adults. The grown-ups, from Bill Lane & Associates, a youth transport service based in San Diego, shuttled the disoriented children into cars. With little understanding of what was happening, the frightened children were separated and sent off: Laura recalled that she went with a man and a woman, while the three boys went with the other two men. After spending the rest of that night at a motel, Laura was taken to Dulles International Airport while her brothers went to Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport; and in the dawn of Dec. 15 they boarded flights to California. It was a bittersweet moment for children who dreamed of traveling the world, according to Laura: It was their first time on a plane.
“It made me realize how fragile we really were,” said Laura. “They could separate or take us at any point, and there was nothing we could do.”
When the children landed at San Francisco International Airport, they were met by Raphael, who, along with the transport agents, took them to the Larkspur Inn in Mill Valley, north of San Francisco, to start their reunification program. It would be almost a year before the Jeu children saw or spoke to their mother again.
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