We were all teenagers. Once.
And we all know what it means to be a teenager. Some of us even know what it’s like to have a teenager at home.
Variable hormones, variable moods, variable time. It rains, and the sun shines at the same time. All days differ from one another.
So is in the family of 13-year-old Radostina, her 9-year-old brother Mario and their mother Stephanie. One day they argue and on the next they forget everything.
But one November night in their home there is a real storm. From emotions, from words, from heavy insults.
Radostina wants to go to visit a friend and to spend the evening with her. School night. A friend who lives on the other side of the city and whose parents are on a business trip somewhere far. A friend that Stephanie says doesn’t affect Radi well.
Stephanie very calmly explains to her daughter that she can’t let her go tonight. Tomorrow she has an important math test, and she is worried that thegirls will be absolutely alone. But Radostina won`t listen. She starts screaming, getting angry at her mother. At one point things escalate. Radostina jumps out of the door and goes to the neighbors with one thought – to make her mother, one way or another, lether go visit her friend.
“Help me. She beats me.”
Annoyed, crying, angry, Radostina convinces her neighbors that something is really happening in their home. And they call the police.
Only a moment later Radostina and Mario are already in the backseat in the police car. Radostina has achieved what she wanted – she was far from her mother. “She won”. But the euphoria quickly leaves her when she begins to realize what is actually happening. When Mario starts crying. He is frightened, and fear suddenly falls on her as well. Where will they go now?
When they arrive at the police station, Radostina continues to tell the same story. How she just wanted to go to visit her friend. How the two of them would just talk and spend some time together. How she just wanted to convince her mother to let her go. How they started fighting. And how her mother got angry and couldn`t help herself.
They also questioned Mario. Or at least they tried. The child was in full shock of what had happened and refused to talk. He was just crying.
So Radostina and Mario turned out to be a family type placement center. Radostina got what she wanted – she was far from her mother. But she didn’t seem to enjoy the victory anymore. Now her heart was full of sadness and fear. And only after a week spent at the Center without seeing her mother without even speaking to her, Radostina asked to withdraw her testimony.
“I lied. Nothing of this is true. My mother loves us and she has never hit us even when we are really bad.”
During that time, which for Radostina and Mario had gone in seconds, Stephanie experienced the longest and most difficult moments of her life. Her children were gone. She didn’t know when and if she is going to see them again. The earth crashed under her feet, and in her soul a black, impenetrable fog spread.
Within two months, Stephanie worked with experts from “Child Protection” department. They talked about what happened, they asked her for her relation with her kids – do they fight often, how she treats them, what she does when she gets angry.
Stephanie told them everything. There was nothing to hide – yes, they fight sometimes, but every normal family does. Yes, they raise their tone from time to time, but in which family voices don’t come out of the walls sometimes. But no – she never hit her kids and never would.
“I gave birth to them. I’ve raised them. They are my support and I am theirs. How can I hurt them?”
No matter what Stephanie said, Radostina’s confession was decisive.
After the “Child Protection” department found that there was no risk for children to be with their mother, they sent Stephanie to seek support to raise her knowledge as a parent. She had searched on the internet who can help her to get her children back at home again. She read about a lot about different organizations, but she chose one.
For three months, our social worker, Fikrie Baidakova, supported Stephanie with child-raising tips, for her reactions when they fight, she also has helped her several times emotionally in order to overcome the sadness. But the most valuable thing Fifi gave to the helpless mother was the opportunity to see her children. Because during these months, Stephanie “met” only the old album with photos of her children.
Fifi worked with Stephanie, with the children, individually and together, and at one point – all together. She remembers that at the first meeting with Radostina the girl asked her when she could go home again. To her mommy. She had managed to get to Mario’s fears, break them and help him recover from the shock. After working with him, Mario even began to go to school with pleasure,before that the thought of it filled him with horror. The boy hardly learned to write, and to this day writing is not easy for him.
At one point, Mario and Radostina began to see Fifi not as a social worker, but as “the girl that will help us to be together again.”
After three months of meetings and conversations with the mother and children, and a thorough assessment of their relationship, Fifi found that there was a strong emotional connection between them and it is best for children to live in a safe family environment – where they will feel loved and happy – with their mother. That was the decision of the Child Protection Department as well.
At the end of last week, Radostina and Mario left the Family Type Placement Center “Family House”. They said goodbye to about a dozen children for whom fate has not decided yet. Children who had become their friends in those few months.
They got back home to their mom, believing that nowhere is better than home.
The sun shined and casted out the sorrow and the fears.
In order for more families to stay together, the Asian Festival “The Magic of the East” for the second consecutive year supports the cause of the “For Our Children” Foundation. Today you can become a part of the happy story of at least one family. Participate in the charity raffle and win two two-way tickets to Asia or one of the other, more than 50 exotic awards.