Derek’s written presence on the Facebook page entitled, “Help Bring little Autistic Girl Back to Daddy,” has been infrequent in recent months. February 8th and March 2nd 2012 were the two most recent dates upon which Derek made an entry on Ayn’s Facebook page. Both of those occasions marked significant disappointment in his life after which he didn’t write for days and weeks. The former being a scheduled visit between Amie and Ayn which was cancelled ten minutes before the visit time by what MCFD explained to Amie as an Ayn tantrum at school. Ayn was taken home and the visit with her mother was cancelled. The latter date was a Mediation meeting about which Derek says he is not allowed to speak but about which both he and Amie agree, “It could not have been worse.”
When this Facebook page was started by Derek’s sister shortly after the June 16th removal of Ayn from her father’s care and custody, it gathered momentum quickly and Derek was prolific in his comments and replies to those who wrote remarks and annotations. Hope was alive and well that Ayn’s return was imminent. After all, how could a child protection agency keep an autistic child for any length of time from her devoted father? From such naivety HOPE sprang for Derek and Amie and all of the rest of their friends and countless supporters across the country and across national borders. Now I believe that it is the attrition of that Hope over all these months that may account for Derek’s drop in public comments. He may be beleaguered by disappointment. Beyond that hypothesis I decline to speculate but I can tell you that speaking for myself, the absence of personalized first-hand information by the principal players in this sad saga is problematic to me.
Certainly the Facebook page and Ayn’s story is not about me or you or any of us who are not related by blood to little Ayn and her parents. Further, Derek does not owe anything to me or any of us who have become sympathizers and campaigners for Ayn’s return. Having said that, I return to my comment about the dearth of input from Derek being problematic. We depend upon information. We need it. Derek should not expect that the thousands of supporters will hang around indefinitely if they never hear from him. It is not sufficient by any stretch to hear snatches from a few folk who say they have spoken with him. The truth is that this Facebook page has changed and has largely now become about all of us who comment on the page about our concerns and observations. It is less about Ayn. Of course we continue to view posted images of Ayn but because there is little current information about Ayn herself, many of us post our own compositions or other stories and images plucked from online journals, magazines and web pages and many of these are not directly related to Ayn. Our comments have moved from irritation with MCFD over Ayn’s removal and continuing Ministry care to slanderous statements that name public servants and generally vitriolic remarks about government interference and ineptitude. Denigrating comments occasionally appear, suspecting that social workers are eavesdropping here as if that is a deplorable result. Don’t we want authorities to know what Ministry policy and procedure does to families and how we perceive justice to be impaired when parental rights are entirely stripped away?
MCFD acted in accordance with an assumption that Derek was overwhelmed by the parental load he was carrying by himself for his three children, two of whom are children with autism. MCFD took his youngest child away with the patronizing statement, “We are making your load easier.” His load has not been diminished by this ludicrous rationale. He has been more greatly burdened for the past eight months than he ever was before. Yet here is my conclusion. Derek does not need nor want our help.
I have been questioning whether this page is actually of any practical help to Ayn or to Derek and Amie. Some of you will have to persuade me otherwise but I don’t believe that you can. We want to be helpers in the cause, but I truly doubt that we can be. I think that the volume of our intended help is overwhelming for Derek. He can’t keep up with our demands. So he does not respond at all. He is parenting two other children after all. Frankly I believe that a circle of closely associated supporters who personally know him and meet with him can be of significantly greater help to him than four thousand casual readers of whom a smaller number are blog writers and twitterers and small project initiators who work with decreasing information.
Although it boosts Derek’s morale to know he has so much kindhearted support (4,124 members), I do not believe that he needs us – certainly not most of us. He does not need the daily blog that I have been writing for many months. I have come with reluctance to that conclusion. My blog here is not servicing the solution to his personal and family dilemma with the Ministry. It takes up my time to research and to write and it consumes your time to read. I am not merely being melodramatic. I have even arrived at the opinion that Derek doesn’t want much of the help we insist upon giving to him. Out of compassion such help has been offered, but Derek can only process so much and he is the judge of how much that is. Ray Ferris is an informed advisor and has been seeking to provide to Derek worthwhile counsel which regardless of whether it is accepted and used, does at least deserve an email acknowledgement that it’s been received and read. Karla Fisher has offered on numerous occasions to do what she can at the appropriate time. So this case is proceeding and will progress to its conclusion and Derek and Amie will be at the mercy of the MCFD. I believe Derek is doing the best that he can do and I also believe that he should avail himself of good advice when it is offered because excellent representation is what he needs most. And underneath all of this, the interest of this child Ayn, is not being served by MCFD when it determines to break the spirit of the parents.
I have written in strong support of Derek and for the return of his daughter to him. Today I am reining in that effort and I will not write again on this case for the foreseeable future. I will rejoice when Ayn is returned and I will publicize that loudly.