This article shares the story of Maya, a woman in Denmark who left an abusive marriage and went to a women's shelter where her children were taken from her care, and her long struggle to get her children back. Maya is originally from Iraq but has grown up in Denmark since the age of seven. She was married at a young age and was abused by her husband. To escape the abuse, she went to stay in a women's shelter, taking her three young children with her.
"Within days of arriving in that shelter, Maya was confronted with the Child Protection Services of Lyngby. They first took the children saying they had to live elsewhere to start school again. Then Maya’s younger daughter, Sara, who was then four years old, was sent to a children’s home with 24-hour surveillance. The elder daughter Aya and her son Elias, who were then eight and six years old, respectively, were transferred to a foster family."
The children stayed in care for many years. “I have lived in 12 different foster families in a span of six years. One day I had enough, and ran away to come back to my mother," said her daughter Aya. “They have destroyed my childhood by forcing me to be away from my mother. They tried to brainwash me against my mother." Maya's other daughter also returned to live with her mother, despite objections from the child protection services, but her son is still in care. "Maya has not seen him for two years and probably will not be allowed to see him until he turns 18," says the author. "The commune keeps his address secret. Even telephone and email access is denied."