In recent weeks, the Ministry of children arranged for Ayn to have at home visits with Amie.
Amie has been thrilled with the outcome.
After one and one half years, it was unknown how Ayn would respond to this. She has been in foster care all that time with the exception of some weeks in hospital at the beginning of this sordid saga.
Ayn you may know is a child with autism.
Her mom wrote yesterday, "Another great visit today. Next week there will be 2 visits on Wednesday and Thursday. Hopefully Thursday will be longer than usual by an hour. Fingers crossed next week may be the end of supervised access. Hopefully, after a couple weeks of unsupervised visits we will finally be moving to over nights!"
We have no assurance that these visits are preliminary to a full return of the child to the care of her parents. It would seem there is a connection. The complication for this scenario, is that Ayn's father, Derek Hoare, is the primary caregiver. One wonders what MCFD thinks about him. It must be known by now that he is responsible. He has care and custody of Amie's and Derek's other two children, one of whom is also autistic. Yet, throughout Ayn's lengthy absence, he refused out of principle, to visit his daughter. His rationale has been that the father-daughter relationship was so tight that for him ever to show up and then to leave again, would devastate the girl.
I am sure that many of us understood and accepted the merit of his argument in the early months of the child's time in Ministry care. As time has dragged by, however, one wonders whether there has been more harm done by his disconnect from his girl. We can't know. And how will MCFD determine that it is now time for her to return to Derek. That is the 'promise' or 'assurance' Derek received earlier this new year. Whatever arrangements are being made, they are not public. Both Derek and Amie are being understandably quiet about details lest they say anything that puts her return in jeopardy.
In all likelihood, had Derek not maintained his 'no-visit position, Ayn would also be spending home time visits with Derek at this stage. He must be deeply satisfied that Ayn is at least being allowed to come to Amie's home. Amie and Derek live apart. Their marriage ended several years ago, but they maintain an amicable mutual respect we are told.
We continue to await news that Ayn's return is imminent.