New Year’s Eve 2013: another year over, and a ray of hope

This, below, is a photograph of my son, Hugo. It was emailed to me by his mother, totally out of the blue, at about noon on Christmas Day. It was said to have been taken in his nursery in Japan on the 28th of last month, the date of his 5th birthday. This is the first time I have ‘seen’ Hugo since he left the UK in November 2011, a period of some 766 days as at 25 December. The brief covering email reported that he is ‘well and thriving’ and thanked me for the ‘gift’ that I sent – presumably the one sent for his birthday as the Christmas ones might have still been in transit; this was the first news about him, and the very first acknowledgement of anything that I have sent to him, since the consular visit in March this year about which I have posted before. There was no further information provided.

Twenty-thirteen therefore ends on an unexpectedly positive note when compared with the situation of no information at all that existed throughout the whole of 2012. The development, however, falls far short of my being allowed to be part of Hugo’s childhood, and it is not clear if the provision of photographs, let alone nursery reports and other basic information, will now be regular or occasional occurrence or whether this was just a one-off. Still, I am happy to see what my son looks like and know that he is well.

Hugo looks much as he did when he left the UK in 2011 save perhaps that he seems to have a greater resemblance to his father than before. At that time, without knowing that I would not see him again, I took about a dozen photos of him. I was going to post them on this blog on the 2nd anniversary of his departure from the UK last month but, ironically as it turned out, elected to wait as these were the only ‘recent’ photos that I had of him and felt that I should wait longer before sharing them, not knowing then that I would receive a more up to date photo of him (and, yes, it was just the one) just over a month later. I will now share those 2011 photos at an appropriate juncture.

I read accounts on the internet of left behind parents not being able to see their sons/daughters in Japan at all for upwards of 10 years.  I am, therefore, fortunate and I hope this post gives some hope to those readers of this blog caught up in this unbearable and unacceptable situation.

Happy new year.

Note to Hugo: It was very nice to receive the photo of you. To receive it was the second best thing that happened this year; the best thing was the consular report in March as I was able to learn something about your life from that. Before receiving the photograph, I had already draft-prepared a new year message for you but will post that on New Year’s Day tomorrow instead of today, as I had planned, owing to this development.


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