Archive | 11:15 am

The letter they shouldn’t have sent

10 May

Having a child with a disability means many things in day to day life. As my blog title suggests it’s nothing but everything. It’s nothing because we’re just so used to it. It’s the way it’s always been since BC arrived in our lives. Sometimes I forget that what we do is different to what goes on in other families.

But when I’m reminded of just how challenging things are for us sometimes, the heaviness of the everything wears me down.

Which is why it was so great for us last year to have my sister-in-law come out from Indonesia to help us. Twenty-one, full of energy and enthusiasm, older sister to 8 younger siblings, the perfect helper and houseguest. Everything amazed her. The autumn leaves, hot running water, trash and treasure markets, the beach. AND the boys adored her. She became Bean’s second mum while we attended BC’s early intervention. She became BC’s partner in crime eating ice-cream and learning English from the Bananas in Pyjamas.

She stayed 6 months and we all cried when she left.

So we decided to bring her back. For 12 months this time. We don’t have much family around and we knew it would be great for us all to have here again.

We never thought the government would reject the application. We’d thought they might ask for more information, they might tell us she could only come for 6 months, they might make us pay a bond to ensure that she left when her visa expired.

But they did none of those things. Instead, they just sent us a letter saying the visa was refused. NOT because they didn’t think we need help. In fact, the letter accepts that we DO need help. But because they don’t believe that she’ll leave or that she won’t try to work while she’s here.

I can’t tell you how cross I am. Or how mean spirited I think this visa refusal was. How unfair I think it is that a family in need can’t invite a family member to come and visit them, help them when they really need it.

They shouldn’t have sent the letter. If there were doubts, they should have approached us first and given us a chance to present a stronger case. They should have shown compassion and common sense.

But instead, we’re faced now with the option to appeal – for a $1400 fee – or to look at a different visa category. And face long paperwork gathering, lengthy delays and possible refusal again.

I’m off to see my local MP on Monday. I’ve never done that before and I have no idea whether she can, or would do anything, but at least it will give me a chance to express my dissatisfaction with the government and their meanness in this case.

And we’ll have to break the news to my sister-in-law that she’s not allowed to come and spend time with her brother and her nephews. I’m only glad I’d not told BC about the chance of her return.

The nothingbuteverything is weighing very heavily tonight….

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