Devastated mum Lacey Plato faces new heartache this weekend.
She will be thousands of miles from her daughter Aisha as the little girl celebrates her ninth birthday.
Lacey had hoped Aisha and her five-year-old brother Faris would be back home in Portsmouth by now after an international court battle over their abduction.
But the children remain in Oman, where their father illegally took them in the summer of 2012.
For Lacey, Aisha’s birthday and another Christmas apart from her children will be devastating blows after hopes that there would at last be a breakthrough in getting the youngsters back to the UK.
After The News highlighted her plight last August, Lacey’s former partner Usama al Barwani contacted the family apparently indicating he was prepared to return them.
The High Court in London had last year ordered him to hand back the children, who are British citizens, but it has no jurisdiction in his homeland.
‘He rang my dad saying he wanted to get this resolved and on that basis we asked the High Court to lift the arrest order on him’ said Lacey.
‘But nothing has come of it - he has reverted to refusing to release them - so we are going back to the court to ask for that order to be reimposed.
‘I have been in contact with him, but he will not budge. He says the children must be raised as Muslims and that I cannot do that.
‘I cannot go to Oman any more as his uncle started an harassment case against me after I knocked on his door during a trip there, trying to speak to my children.
‘I left the country not knowing that he filed a complaint. Now I’m told that he is pursuing the case and I could be arrested at the airport if I return.
‘I am are not getting any help and I don’t really know what the next move is. My direct plea to David Cameron came to nothing - his office wrote back saying they could not get involved politically and it was something I would have to pursue through the Omani courts.
‘I’m still talking to the children on Skype and they still tell me they want to come home. They can’t bear school over there - it is very strict and they get smacked by teachers.
‘Aisha keeps begging me to fly out for her birthday - she is devastated that I cannot. All I can do is talk to her on Skype.
‘It is just so very hard.’