TODAY | July 07, 2013
>>> a massachusetts mother and her 6-year-old daughter have been stuck in brazil since the end of may, their passports taken from them after they got wrapped up in an international custody dispute. here is michelle franzen .
>> reporter: it was suppose d to be a three-week trip to brazil, a chance american shauna hadden says for her daughter ava to see her brazilian father for the first time in years. seven weeks later in a skype interview, the massachusetts mom says she and her daughter are trapped after the brazilian government seized their passports.
>> she really wants to go home every day. she cries because she misses her dog and her family. it's really tough on her, but i think we're hanging in there okay.
>> reporter: back in the u.s. family members say hadden has full custody of ava and arranged the visit with the 6-year-old's father because he had been deported from the u.s.
>> when she got there in rio she had a phone call and decided not to proceed with the rest of her journey down there because she was afraid. there had been some threats.
>> reporter: since then hadden has been trying to return to the u.s. after ava 's father reportedly filed for custody in brazil. nbc news reached out for comment to ava 's father and the brazilian government , but so far no response. she's launched a trapped in brazil facebook page and also reached out to david goldman, the new jersey father who battled the brazilian government for years to get his son, shawn, back.
>> here is a mom from america who has got sole, physical, legal custody , court papers -- she brought her papers with her. she thought she covered all of her bases in case something like this would happen.
>> reporter: meanwhile, u.s. officials are working to bring the mother and daughter home. massachusetts congressman richard neal says hadden and ava should be allowed to return home immediately. the state department says it is monitoring the situation closely and asks the brazilian government to ensure ms. hadden and her daughter are afforded all legal protections entitled to them. for "today," michelle franzen , nbc news, new york.