We lived happily together as a family in Turkey for the first 6 years of our daughter’s life. Following on from the military coup which directly impacted our family and for other reasons we decided we would return to live in the UK. Myself and our now 8 year old daughter had to return to the UK without her father. It took a year as an experienced and qualified secondary school teacher before I could find suitable work in my town to meet the income threshold of £18,600 and a further 6 months before we could apply. In total our family was separated for almost 2 years.
Unfortunately this indefinite separation had devastating effects on our daughter who was 6 years old when we first moved. I spotted a problem with her ability to speak and this was later diagnosed by a doctor as selective mutism. She suffered with such severe anxieties it affected her life every day. When I was working, she would scream, cry and plead with me not to leave her, a form of separation anxiety. Having been pulled away from her father, she was now losing her mother too to the world of work in an attempt to live and meet the requirements. My daughter was referred to CAMHS to see a psychologist for anxiety that on occasions was so severe caused her to collapse.
This whole process, due to living in 2 countries, the need for my husband to give up his job as an English Teacher in Turkey because of the difficulties he had to leave Turkey, and the need to financially support him in Turkey at the same time as supporting myself and our daughter, not without the near £3,000 visa application fees, cost of flights to visit my husband in Turkey and generally costs that normal UK families would not have to find has left us financially impoverished.
We are now together as a family again. We need time to rebuild our family life of which for 2 years our daughter has hardly had any communication with her father. She refused to use Skype to speak to her Dad, always running away from the screen and hiding because in her words “I miss Daddy too much”. It is already noticeable that this separation has had an effect on her and her relationships with other people. Now, she clings to her Dad, she won’t let him out of her sight. In the meantime, emotionally and financially we are rebuilding our family again after such a devastating separation.