Thursday, 22 December 2011

A bridge over troubled waters

Baby Elizabeth Anne, the beautiful foundling, who came to us on November 11 after being left in bushes not far from the Happy House, has gone home to her natural father.
He was on business in Uganda at the time of her birth and abandonment, and has now claimed her as his own. There is no doubt that he is her father and that she is going to a very good home with him and his extended family.
Her mother, already a mother of five, has not been traced.
The father had gone to the Children's Office to try to find his child, and after establishing beyond doubt that he is her father and that he and his extended family will provide her with a good and loving home, Elizabeth Anne was returned to him.
The Happy House gave this fragile little being the very best of love and family at the time she most needed it, and her father was so grateful and has promised to keep our social worker Billy in touch with her progress.
Sue, who paid me such an incredible honour by giving Elizabeth my name, and that of my late sister, Anne, who she knows I love and miss so much, tells me that Elizabeth's dad was so gentle and loving towards his child, that she just knew she was going to be all right.
Billy adds: "We had a long chat as we did the painful paper work and he said how had they are looking for the mom who they fear could be dead somewhere.....a mystery that no one could fathom since Elizabeth was her fifth child. The dad had travelled to Uganda on a business trip and his return met him with several unrealities.
He came in the company of Eric, the children's Officer, two other senior guys in the community plus the husband to Elizabeth's elder sister who were squarely to be the ones to take care of her needs on a day to day basis. Elizabeth was finally taken home by her dad Abdalla. So far so good"
It would be selfish to want her to remain at the Happy House , when it is only right that she should grow up surrounded by the love of her own family.
I feel blessed to have had Elizabeth Anne in my life even if only for the most fleeting of moments and that I was able to meet her and hold her in my arms. I will cherish her in my heart, always.
But I have always agreed with Sue that at times the Happy House, rightfully, can only provide a temporary bridge over a family's troubled waters.
We can keep a child safe, love and nurture them as our own, but if circumstances change and a mother, father or close relative is in a position to take their child home then who are we to stand in their way?
The Happy House was created by Sue to serve children in the greatest need. When one leaves, a child in greater need will certainly follow.
Other Happy House children have returned to family in the past and others may do so. There are many reasons why. 
A mother,unable to provide through tragedy and poverty, who has been forced to hand her beloved child into care, but who has been working tirelessly since to rebuild her life. Her only goal is to be reunited with her offspring.
Or the relatives, discovering a young nephew or niece is in care,  who  to provide their child with a home and family love.
Our social worker Uncle Billy works tirelessly on behalf of our children. It is his job to work with families and with children's officers and other agencies in their home areas to monitor and assess these situations. His experience, knowledge and depth of understanding gives him the insight and instinct to recommend, to Sue,  the right direction in which to go.
If and when a child returns home it will be handled in their best interests with the greatest sensitivity and care, that is all that matters.
Of course it is painful, especially for Mama Sue, who loves every child as her own, and for the family as a whole, but if it is right for the child then that is the way it should and has to be.