Some of our families' stories
Here are some heartbreaking accounts of the real impact of the UK visa rules on children and families.
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Olesya – children are 39 months and 15 months
We have been living as a happy family until January 2017, when we had to move to the UK from abroad. I had to go to Ukraine to apply for the spouse visa and my husband went to the UK to start his new job, find a place for us to live and settle down.
I was pregnant with our second son then and was due in July 2017, our elder son was 19 months old when we had to say goodbye to his dad and my husband and go to Ukraine. In total, we were separated for 4.5 months but we still see the consequences and deal with them.
This separation affected our son so much. He was crying to sleep almost every night. He started hating the phone because he had to talk to his dad on Skype and he couldn't understand why his dad was never coming home from work. In general, he was a happy boy, playing and being happy, but when we were talking on Skype, he didn’t want to stay in the room. It looked like it was a betrayal from his dad not to come home. I could feel that he was also angry, but couldn’t express it well. He was just pushing the phone away when we were on skype. We were trying to keep him busy, occupied every day, but it was not easy. It was very traumatic for our son. We could not arrange things in a different way, unfortunately, as my husband started his new job and it was not possible for him to take care of our son there in the UK. I don’t agree with the process at all. Why are families separated that way? I cannot imagine our son growing up without his dad. Our son is so happy to spend time with him, playing, reading, doing just anything! Anything, but together.
My son is still very clingy to his dad. Even when my husband travels for work for a couple of days and we speak on skype, our son doesn't like it and starts crying all the time and asks me when daddy will be coming from work. Last weekend my husband had to travel and was away till Monday, so we were talking on skype every day. Every time he was calling, my son was crying and saying 'I want my daddy'. When my husband was talking to us all, our son was asking dad just to come home. It was heartbreaking and it took me around 45 minutes to make our son to calm down and stop crying while putting him to sleep in the evening as he sounded so desperate and kept crying and saying 'I want my daddy'. He was sobbing and I had to teach him how to take deep breaths and relax, giving him water to drink as well just to make sure he doesn't start crying again. Our elder son is 39 months old now and I really hope that this will pass soon and he wont remember that he had a long separation with his dad in the past.
I really hope that he will grow out of it soon and forgets about it, as it is really heartbreaking to see our son not letting his dad out of sight and getting upset. My husband is spending a lot of time together with our son, trying to make our son feel confident that they will never be separated again and always be together, that dad is always there to support him, to teach him things and play.
And there is one more side of our story: it is a congenital heart defect of our younger son. When I applied for the visa from Ukraine, I found out during our scan that our son has a transposition of the great arteries and required an open heart surgery straight after birth. We informed UKVI about it, but it was ignored. If they delayed it for longer and if our local MP didn't intervene, I don't know what would happen if this surgery had to be performed not in the UK. It is a life-saving surgery as the baby is not able to survive and the whole life of the baby depends on the result.
We met all the criteria for the spouse visa but it was put on hold just because a few papers were missing, and we explained it in our cover letter. The situation in Ukraine was not stable at that time too, and we were just two hundred kilometres from the war zone. This fact was also ignored.