“We love you more than anything in the world.”
Those were the words of a foster dad as he said goodbye to his nine-year-old foster child, whom he had raised since birth. Frightened and confused, the child refused to leave the only home he’d ever known. The B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development decided it was time the boy went back to live with his birth mother and biological sister, who was also raised in foster care
“Make sure you use your words because your words can be powerful,” the dad said.
“If you love me, you’ll leave me where I am,” the child cried.
The foster dad – who is being referred to simply as “John” in order to protect the child’s identity – and his wife had cared for the boy since he was only seven months old. The child called him “Daddy.”
“[It was] more crushing than anyone will ever know,” John said. “When you see a child – that all he knows is the house he was brought up in for almost nine years – being taken away.”
The young boy was only persuaded to live with his birth mother after being reassured he could keep in touch with his foster parents.
But weeks later, John says he received a worrisome email from the child, saying, “HELP.”
“When I tried to contact back, there was no answer,” John said. “I was forced at that particular time to call 911. He had, in his message, said, ‘I am home alone,’ and he’s underage. That should never happen.”
After that incident, communication was severed. The foster parents say they haven’t spoken to the boy in six weeks, even though social workers had promised him two phone calls a week.
In their opinion, government policy trumped the emotional needs of a vulnerable child who just wasn’t ready.
“I think he’s in survival mode right now,” John said. “My biggest fear is something may happen to him.”
“Daddy loves you,” John said through tears. “Be strong.”