THE Sunshine Coast mother of the so-called ''Italian sisters'' has raised nearly $10,000 through online donations to hire an Italian lawyer to regain custody of her children, who are still begging to come back to Australia.
The mother's family said on Facebook that the donations had enabled them to ''finally engage an Italian lawyer'' to fight to ''have the girls returned to their home in Australia''.
Born and raised in Italy, the four girls aged 15, 14, 10 and nine, have been caught in an international custody battle since their mother brought them to Australia on the pretext of a holiday in 2010.
Although the girls pleaded to be allowed to stay here, six weeks ago a Brisbane Family Court judge ordered the girls be returned to Italy for the courts there to decide which parent they should live with.
Police had to drag the girls away from their mother and force them on a plane.
Since the sisters returned to their father's care in a village near Florence, relations have remained extremely tense, according to supporters of both the father and mother. Although they are attending school and seeing a counsellor, the girls continue to plead to go back to Australia.
The mother's family said on Facebook that the girls reiterated in a recent phone call how much they wanted to return to Australia.