A despondent foster mother in Malta has been left reeling from the abduction of a seven-year-old girl who was supposed to be under state care. Now, she speaking out nearly three weeks since the incident, looking for signs that the young girl is safe.
“If I could just speak to her mother, I’d say please, just call me and tell me that Mina* is safe. I just want to hear her voice and hear her say ‘don’t worry Ma, I’m ok’,” Christine* told Lovin Malta.
Christine has been caring for foster children for over 11 years. She was given temporary custody of Mina, who was born in Malta to Eritrean parents, when she was just six months old.
“I had a good relationship with Mina’s mother – we considered her a part of our family,” she said.
Their arrangement would see Mina visit her biological mother every weekend unsupervised and return Sunday evening.
“We called each other every day,” she continued. “I made sure she was updated and involved in everything – from Mina’s birthday parties, parent-teacher meetings at school and if she was sick – I kept her informed as much as possible.”
So when Mina didn’t return to their home three weeks ago, Christine was left beyond words.
“I was shocked. We never fought or anything.”
“We were even working with social workers to give her back custody. In the meantime, perhaps she didn’t think she’d ever get her back at all,” she said.
When Mina didn’t return that fateful Sunday night, she immediately called authorities to report her missing. After investigations found the birth mother’s home empty and locked, it emerged that they had fled the country with a fake passport.
And while authorities work tirelessly to find the missing girl, Christine remains heartbroken about losing a child she loved like her own.
“Everyone adored Mina – she lit up every room she entered,” she said. “She was lovely, bubbly and very bright.”
Mina’s favourite activities including singing, dancing and striking up conversations with strangers and neighbours.
“We live in a small town. She was always at our window, greeting anyone that passed,” she added.
Now, nearly a month since the abduction, the family can only wait for news.
While investigations continue, questions arise as to how a child under state protection was able to be taken outside the country with a false passport.
“I believe more has to be done so that these things don’t happen,” she added. “I have a right to say this.”
*Names has been changed for identity protection.
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