A terrified little boy in Canada was forced to live with his birth mother after living with his foster parents for nine years.
According to Global News, the 9-year-old boy had been living with his foster family since he was just 7 months old.
The foster dad—who is being called “John” to protect the identity of the little boy—revealed that he and his wife are the only family the boy has ever known. The child even called him “Daddy.”
“[It was] more crushing than anyone will ever know,” John told Global News. “When you see a child – that all he knows is the house he was brought up in for almost nine years – being taken away.”
The heart-wrenching moment the little boy was removed from his home was caught on camera in December.
“We love you more than anything in the world,” the father told the 9-year-old as he was being whisked away. “Make sure you use your words because your words can be powerful.”
“If you love me, you’ll leave me where I am,” the child cried.
The boy was reportedly removed when the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development decided it was time for him to return to his mother and sister, who had also been placed in foster care.
According to Global News, the little boy was only persuaded to leave the home once he learned that he could still keep in touch with his foster parents.
Just one week after the young boy was taken away, John says he received an email from the child that read: “HELP.”
“When I tried to contact back, there was no answer,” John said. “I was forced at that particular time to call 911. He had, in his message, said, ‘I am home alone,’ and he’s underage. That should never happen.”
Since that one incident, John and his wife have not heard from their foster son, even though the boy was told he could talk to them at least twice a week.
“In cases where foster parents don’t feel like they’re heard by the ministry, there are protocols they can go through and people they can talk to to get further information within the system,” said Trisha Myers, manager of issue management with the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
Though John and his wife have taken in about 50 children over the years, they believe the system failed this time.
“I think he’s in survival mode right now,” John said of the boy. “My biggest fear is something may happen to him.”
“Daddy loves you,” he added. “Be strong.”