Friday, July 5, 2013


Yesterday was Court day for Derek and Amie as the Ministry of Children and Family Development sent their lawyer with another plan concerning their daughter Ayn. Ayn is the 11 year old autistic girl removed in June 2011 after she wandered from her family back yard and police were called by her responsible dad, and she was found unharmed at a neighbour's yard. Yes it has already been over two years that the Ministry has held this girl from her parents. They will have their clinical reasons. The instinctive and common sense optics suggest this to be a glaring affront to personal, parental and family liberties.
However, yesterday was court day. Here is what Amie, Ayn's mom wrote. "Today the Ministry presented another gradual return plan. This one is 13 weeks in length. There is a tentative visitation schedule set up with Derek starting next week. I am emotionally and physically drained. Woke up, went to court, set up an appointment with parenting after separation, had a lengthy conversation with Derek, cleaned my house, walked my dog, and am now just back from work. It is looking as though my access to Ayn will be marginalized as Derek will begin access. Ayn is being moved from the city I moved to to be close to her, from one foster home to another to be closer to Derek. I'm doing my best to process that. I'm not commenting any more tonight."

Amie and Derek are divorced. They remain friends. Derek has been the primary caregiver to their three children, two of whom are autistic. I have met him, and I regard him as a good and careful father. Amie respects Derek's parenting and is fully supportive of his roll as primary and custodial caregiving parent. When Ayn was first apprehended, she was isolated from her family for many weeks. From the moment that Ayn was removed, Derek insisted that when visitation was permissible he could not and should not visit her because it would devastate her to have him turn around and leave her. Amie has maintained faithful visitation and enjoyed valuable time with her daughter.

I wrote back to her, "As I write, some of your friends have already shown their support to you. All of us as well are processing what you say without the advantage of the details. Based upon what you say Amie, and please forgive me if my comments turn out to be ill-informed, I have a couple of thoughts. The toll upon your heart, mind and body is understandable. Your activities and the time taken to think about the Ministry plan and the court decisions seems advisable and good before you say much more. I am speculating that Derek has concluded that if he ever hopes to have a suitable end to this mess, he has had to change his mind about visiting Ayn and has agreed to it. Personally, I see this as a good thing for both he and Ayn, but that’s simply my opinion. Of course, only time will tell whether Derek was right, and that his coming and then leaving sends her into a panic. I am trusting that it is instead, a step toward healing and resolution. I am sorry that the changes affect the frequency and the convenience for your own visits with Ayn. All of us appreciate that you have made a commendable effort to spend time with your daughter and show her your love and commitment. I am sure that Derek has been glad for your involvement in Ayn’s life through these many months. Ayn’s relocation, while problematic for you personally, is reasonable if it facilitates Derek’s visitation, that is, if I can assume that he is being regarded as Ayn’s primary and custodial caregiver once she is returned. Of course once the return does happen, she will reside that considerable distance from your present residence and you will have to work with that. I regret that the relocation requires dear Ayn to adjust once more to brand new foster people and a different home and room and neighbourhood. That may be disturbing to an already manipulated child whose brief life has been shattered with this horrendous two-year absence from family. And thirteen more weeks is simply further salt in a wound that these bureaucratic simpletons fail to comprehend. I am hoping with my whole heart that MCFD will honour this plan with her actual return to all of you at the beginning of October. There is hope Amie. There is light at the end of this. Don’t give up."

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