Tuesday, January 29, 2013


AYN, today, 18 mo older than when she left

Amie Van Dyk is mom to Ayn, the ten-year-old girl who has been in foster care since June 2011. Amie and her ex-husband Derek Hoare, have agreed that he should be the primary caregiver for their three children, who include two sons, older than Ayn. Derek has had custody and care of the trio since the parents’ marriage dissolved, at least that’s all the marital details any of us casual readers need to know. What is of importance to us if we care to understand the dynamic of this situation is that two of three children are autistic. One of them is Ayn. As it pertains to visitation with the children and other arrangements concerning them, Aime and Derek have a sensible relationship and understanding.

It was during the summer of 2011 that Ayn was playing in the back yard of the home in which Derek and the three siblings lived, that Ayn wandered off. Ayn is a lovely girl, playful, affectionate, and in some regards challenging. Derek who learned how to communicate tranquilly with her, always met the challenges capably. But a healthy father-daughter relationship does not eliminate a child’s curiosity, and on a June afternoon, Ayn decided to explore the neighbourhood.  When Derek noticed that she had scaled the high fence and left the fairly secure yard, he searched and couldn’t find her. Anxious about this, he called for police assistance, and three hours later Ayn was located in a neighbour’s yard just a couple of homes away. The reunion was joyful but also short-lived. Within a couple of days, MCFD showed up as two social workers with a voluntary surrender of custody form that Derek could sign, or they would simply remove the child without his permission. MCFD conducted that seizure at Ayn’s school one day.

Initial observation of the girl’s treatment following that removal, was then, and is now questionable to many, appalling to others. For some weeks the child carried a photo of her daddy, wanting him, missing him, wondering where he was and when he would come for her. And in the early weeks she was given medications, anti-psychotic drugs, a host of them was Derek’s informed allegation. Professionals may handle the aggressive episodes of an autistic girl that way. A loving parent predisposed to non-doping but rather communicative interventions, did not. That’s a brief history of the basic information. A volume of emotions goes along with the history.

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