WHEN AYN WAS TAKEN AWAY
By Derek Hoare
On June 12, 2011 at 1:00 PM the Abbotsford Police were called by family members of a missing 9-year-old girl. The girl, Ayn Van Dyk is autistic and is non-communicative was last seen playing outside of the family residence in the 1800 block of Mt. Lehman Road at 12:30 pm. Ayn was reported as being 4 foot 5 inches tall, weighing 80 pounds and with short blond hair and blue eyes. She was wearing a brown long-sleeved shirt with grey shorts and white shoes. Search and rescue teams consisting of police patrol, canine and air units were activated. She was found in three hours at a neighbour’s back yard. She was returned to her home, safe and sound. Four days later the family’s nightmare began. Derek, Ayn’s father, tells his side of the story below. He shared this on that day. This piece was written in summer of 2011. She remains in Ministry custody and living in a foster home today Easter Sunday 2013.
“My name is Derek I am a single father of three wonderful young children, aged 9, 10 and 11; my youngest two have both been diagnosed with severe autism. Though a constant and challenging struggle, I have done my best to protect and nurture them, as I love them so much and have dedicated my life to their achievement of happiness.
My youngest child is a bright and beautiful little spitfire named Ayn. She has and is blossoming so well here at home and has come so far to overcome her obvious disability, she does however continue to struggle and outburst when in other environments, particularly at school. Ayn is naive and unaware of the dangers that exist in the world at large, so when on Sunday she escaped the backyard we were very worried for her safety.
With each passing moment the likelihood that something terrible had happened increased, as Ayn should stand out from other children easily and should have been quickly spotted. Fortunately Ayn was discovered two doors down playing in a neighbours backyard, the neighbour had taken an afternoon nap which provided Ayn with the ability to play undisturbed.
The challenges I have faced in caring for my daughter have been encompassing and life altering, these challenges are very dynamic and new challenges arise as fast as the old one depart. Now with her discovery of the neighbours nearby trampoline and pool, she will undoubtedly seek to return there, vigilance will be required to face this new found challenge, but it is one which I must now face just as I have with each prior challenge and as I would have to with our future challenges as well.
As it stands today I may never get that opportunity. This morning two workers from CPS arrived at my home to request that I “voluntarily” give Ayn over to them (she was at school at the time); if I refused they would simply coercively remove her. There should be no illusions here when someone approaches you and says, “give me your child or I’m taking her,” you should not pretend that any such choice would be done “voluntarily”.
They do not argue that she was abused. They do not argue that she was un-nurtured. They simply say that as a single father I have an overwhelming amount of responsibility and workload, and that Ayn’s naivety renders her a danger to herself, and due to me having so much to deal with they should remove her in effect to lighten my workload.
It is not argued that Ayn was not thriving here. It was not argued that Ayn was failing to improve at home, but that her behaviour was self-endangering. My little girl is autistic, I am aware that she does not understand the dangers that lurk, I love her and I protect her. When Ayn has a tantrum at school it is me they either call on to calm her or to whom they send her home. When she is injured it is to me whom she turns because she “needs a bandage”. The greatest successes this little girl has had were nurtured in the home. She loves it here. She loves her brothers and she loves her Dad, please help me get my little girl back. I would be forever in your debt, Derek.”