For the last 26 years Patrick never forgot his daughter or his wife. When he was first referred to Catholic Social Services in 2013 for counselling, he told the social worker that he still considered himself a father and a husband despite not knowing where his wife was. She had been pregnant when she was deported from New Zealand, so he had never had the chance to meet his daughter.
Life had not been easy for Patrick. His home was a run-down small bed-sit in a residential complex surrounded by neighbours who weren’t easy to live with. For many years he had scraped by on a disability benefit which barely covered his living and health costs. He had limited mobility and found it increasingly difficult to leave his room. Patrick’s steadily deteriorating health resulted in heart failure and an emergency stay in hospital. Close to death, Patrick confided in the hospital social worker that it was his wish to find his daughter.
They managed to locate her and with the help of the social worker from CSS his daughter, Maria, was found.
Knowing that at last he could contact his daughter, was a huge boost to Patrick. Once home, he exchanged photos and emails with her and spoke with her over the phone.
But Patrick was scared and worried about what his daughter might think of him once he did meet her.
He was worried that his daughter would not be able to cope with the situation that he had ended up in and he was worried that he would have nothing to offer her.
CSS continued to be there to help with counselling and gaining access to other services.
When Patrick was eligible to go on the pension, he steadily put some money aside so that he would have something to offer his daughter once he met her. He eventually had enough money to pay for her to come and visit him in New Zealand. Finally, he was able to meet his girl!
“I was finally able to say to her – I’m your Dad and I can send you something. I can give you something after 26 years of wondering where you were,” he recounted.
Last Christmas, with financial support from Patrick, Maria come to New Zealand to stay with him for a couple of weeks.
Maria still keeps in regular contact with her dad and wants to come to New Zealand permanently to help care for her him.
If you or someone you know needs counselling or social work support, please contact Catholic Social Services on (09 378 9650) or email:email@example.com