Our customer Michael recently reconnected with his family for the first time in 39 years!
When Michael was born in 1971, his parents were unable to care for him and he was taken into state care. He spent time in several children’s homes before being placed in foster care in 1979.
Michael loved living with his foster family, who encouraged him to continue seeing his father and brothers. Unfortunately, when Michael’s brothers were taken into foster care, the family lost contact.
As years went by, information about Michael’s family was lost. But, luckily, that’s not the end of the story!
When Donna Robinson became Team Leader at Michael’s Supported Independent Living (SIL) home, she was told that he had no known family and was an only child. Fortunately, when the SIL transferred to Aruma in 2017, Donna discovered some of Michael’s old records.
That was the beginning of an 18-month journey to find Michael’s family.
“The effort this took from Donna is an example of what great support truly looks like. Knowing he has a family who loves him has made such an impact to Michael”
– Judy Topper, Aruma Human Rights Coordinator
The Find and Connect Service helped Donna find Michael’s lost records and they were able to locate his dad, Frank. A major win!
With COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time, the pair began reconnecting through weekly phone calls. They discovered that they had a lot in common, including a love of football and the Tigers!
Michael, Angela and Frank
When they were finally able to meet in person, they made up for lost Christmas and birthday festivities, with many stories and lots of delicious food. Michael’s aunty, Angela, shared stories of Michael as a child, which everyone loved hearing.
“It’s taken me two years to find his family, which he thought never existed, but it was definitely worth the wait,” says Donna.
Judy Topper, our Human Rights Coordinator says, “The effort this took from Donna is an example of what great support truly looks like. Knowing he has a family who loves him has made such an impact to Michael.”
Michael now visits his dad and aunty in Sydney every month and has photos of them framed in his room. He hopes to connect with his seven siblings in the future.
“Michael is so proud and tells everyone now he has a dad. This has been positive for Michael as he now has a sense of belonging to someone,” says Donna.
We’re sure that Michael will have a lot more photos to put up in his room soon!
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