Foster care and a bittersweet goodbye
The story of Rami and Zaid is a little different. They are two brothers from Syria, 7 and 9 years old, who left together with their uncle from Aleppo, in order to reach their father who was expecting them in Sweden. Their father had to work hard for two years, so as to gather the money required for the children’s journey. However, the journey was extremely difficult and dangerous. When they reached Athens, their uncle disappeared and the children were left alone and homeless.
METAdrasi was notified by the Prosecutor and immediately members of the Guardianship Network for Unaccompanied Minors started looking for the father, while a team of the Foster Care activity started looking for the appropriate family to undertake their care temporarily.
The family was soon found: Marina, Aris and their 14-year-old daughter, Argiro, opened their home and welcomed the two children. Soon, the father was located in Sweden, to his great relief, as he had been very worried for his children and had been trying to locate them.
“We discussed with him for hours”, explains METAdrasi’s social worker Maria D., “in order to explain the procedures that have to be followed. We explained to him about foster care: what it is exactly and why it is the ideal temporary solution for his children. At first, he was very reserved, as he was afraid he would lose custody, but when he was reassured that there was no such danger, he gave his consent for the temporary fostering. At the same time, METAdrasi’s Guardianship Network for Unaccompanied Minors initiated the procedure for family reunification”.
Four months later, the two children, accompanied by Marina, Aris and Argiro, travelled to Sweden. There, the family that had embraced them while they were alone, handed them to their father.
“The moment was extremely moving”, said Argiro to METAdrasi’s people, when she returned from their journey. “This was the moment that this Syrian family had been anticipating for months. The father was crying, the children were crying, we were crying! On one side we were happy, on the other we were sad. I knew from the start that one day Rami and Zaid would go to their father to live with him, but I didn’t expect that I would feel them so much as my family too. Now, we often talk, with messages and video calls, they tell me their news, they tell me words in Swedish, they show me how they prepared for their father a recipe we had taught them. I am very glad that they are happy and I feel like I have “my own people” in Sweden!”
*The names of the children and the families have been changed.
**In the framework of METAdrasi’s “Foster Care for Unaccompanied Minors” activity, residents mainly of Athens have offered hospitality to 75 children. The activity, which is being implemented in co-operation with local prosecutors and competent state social services, was initiated with funding by EEA Grants, through Bodossaki Foundation and since August 2016 is supported by UNHCR, with co-funding by the European Commission. More information at METAdrasi’s site. Information for prospective foster parents: at the telephone numbers 214 100 8700 and 214 100 8717 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the article in Greek.