Dubai: “I love you baba and I miss you.”
"These were the last words of Sadrick when I spoke to him about one-and-a-half months ago", said Ghulam Abbas, foster father of the five-year-old child who was found in Al Reef Mall in Dubai.
Speaking to Gulf News from his hometown in Faisalabad in the Punjab Province of Pakistan, Ghulam Abbas said he also spoke to his wife Maya whose full name is Mayumi Quindara.
“Maya called me twice from jail in Dubai during the last three days as she wanted some money and a few items for daily use. She also told me that she wanted to adopt the child with my permission. I told her that I have no objection and we will very happy to adopt the child if the authorities allow this," Abbas said.
UAE law allows only Emiratis to adopt a child.
The story of the boy, who was handed over to Muraqabbat Police Station in Dubai on September 6, made headlines in the UAE after police appealed to residents to identify the boy. It was initially believed that boy was lost in Al Reef Mall in Dubai, but no one came forward to claim the ‘lost’ boy.
The boy could not give details about his parents, but reportedly told police that his father is a ‘superman’. He was handed over to Dubai Foundation for Women and Children on September 9.
Police solved the mystery on September 19 when four women, including Maya who handed over the boy to police, were arrested. Maya, 51, later confessed that she was taking care of the boy for the last five years since his mother handed him over to her and left the country.
A complex story revealed
Revealing a complex story of the ‘abandoned’ child, Abbas (48) said that one day when he returned home in Ajman after work, he found his wife Maya taking care of a two-month-old child named Sadrick.
He was surprised, he said, and asked Maya whose child it was. She told him that he was the son of one of the women who were staying as tenants in their flat in Ajman.
Abbas said, “I did not inquire further because there were at least seven to eight women staying in our flat as tenants as Maya used to sublet rooms in the flat.”
“Sadrick was a very cute boy and we started raising him as our child since we did not have a child."
Abbas added, "I lived with Sadrick for a little more than a year, but then I had to go back to Pakistan after I lost my job in 2016. I came back to the UAE again on a visit visa, but returned to Pakistan as I could not land a job, while Maya stayed in the UAE with the boy and other women in her flat."
Whose child is Sadrick
When asked why he did not question his wife about the boy, Abbas said she would say that Sadrick is Layla’s son and that she (Maya) takes care of him because she is always busy at work.
“Sometimes, I would angry and tell her that she should give the boy back as he could land us in trouble. She would give the boy to Layla (who stayed in the same house) for a few days and then got him back again,” he said.
“I am not sure whether Sadrick is Layla’s son, but I came to know that his mother was a Filipino and father was a Pakistani whose whereabouts I do not know,” Abbas said.
Abbas said Maya is a very kind-hearted woman as she had also raised four adopted children who are not grown up. “They also visited us when Sadrick was living with us,” he said.
“Maya also has her own daughter Zena, 15, from her first husband. She is a grade 10 student in the Philippines. She also lived with Sadrick for some time and she always wrote his name as ‘Ceddie’," Abbas said.
Abbas lived in the UAE for about 11 years, from 2005 to 2016. He worked as a salesperson at a glass company and then at a photo framing shop. He then went back to Faisalabad, bought a car and started working as Uber driver. He he also sold his car recently and is planning to go abroad for work again.
Husband to fight for Maya
“Now, I am planning to go to Azerbaijan to do some business and if it does not work there, I will come back to the UAE to try my luck again. But I am determined to fight Maya’s case because I love her a lot. I would request the authorities to let us adopt the child and forgive her for making up the story," Abbas told Gulf News.
“All she wanted was the welfare of the child by giving him a legal status. She was also under pressure from me as I told her to give the child back to his original mother, but she probably did not know where she is and then she made the mistake of making up the story at the time of handing over the child to the police,” he explained.
Maya's financial woes
Abbas recalled that his wife Maya worked as a receptionist in a clinic, and also as a helper teacher in a school before she started her own business of bringing women from the Philippines and helping them find jobs.
Her business initially did well, but then she got cheated by some people and got into financial trouble. She also went to jail on charges of a bounced cheque. Her passport is still with the police for a Dh5000 bounced cheque case, Abbas claimed. Abbas said that the boy’s mother is not an Indonesian.
Police confirmed on September 19 that they arrested four women in connection with the abandonment of a five-year-old boy, including the woman who said she had found him wandering outside a mall.
Brigadier Ali Ghanem, director of Muraqabbat police station, where the boy was taken by the woman, explained that the boy’s biological mother had abandoned him and returned to her home country just two days after giving birth to him back in 2014.
Maya fabricated the story that she found him.
“We conducted a DNA test of all four women and found that none of them was the biological mother of the boy. They were arrested and referred to Dubai Public Prosecution for legal action.”
The woman abandoned the boy because she could not afford to keep him as her financial situation was bad. She was worried about the legal complications and she had no support as her husband was in Pakistan. All these factors led to her abandoning the boy.
All four women are now in custody apart from the biological mother who is still at large, facing prosecution.