Philip Wado and his wife Mitchelle Yolance celebrate the return of their two sons
December 15, 2023 marked one of the happiest moments for Philip Amimo Wado and his wife Mitchelle Yolance after they were reunited with their two children who had been missing for almost a year.
The reunification was made possible following efforts by the Child Welfare Society of Kenya (CWSK) to trace the family of the two boys – Biden and Nicholas – who had been staying at the Mama Ngina Children’s Home in Nairobi since they got separated from their mother in the capital city.
Mr Wado said that his agony started in January 2023 when his first-born son Nicholas, who was then aged four years, got separated from his mother in the Nairobi CBD. The same fate would soon befall his younger brother, throwing Mr Wado’s family into more agony.
By sheer luck, the two brothers ended up at Mama Ngina Children’s Home, which is run by the CWSK, and, through its Family Tracing and Reunification programme, the process of tracing the family of the two boys began.
“My children disappeared with their mother who was pregnant with our third child. I am grateful because today I have been reunited with my children. The children appear to have been well taken care of. They are healthy and I am happy to learn that they were still going on with their education while at Mama Ngina Children’s Home,” an elated Mr Wado said.
The children disappeared on January 14, 2023. He first traced the older one, Nicholas, now five years old, 10 days later on January 24 after he reported their disappearance to the police.
On March 3, 2023, he found his wife at Mbagathi Hospital where she had been admitted to after she went into labour on March 1. The hospital had already handed Biden over to CWSK and by sheer luck he had been reunited with his elder brother Nicholas.
Mitchelle gave birth to their now 10-month-old daughter, Precious. For all this period, the two brothers have been under the care of CWSK.
“The day the children disappeared was just a normal day for me. I woke up and prepared to go to my tailoring business. After breakfast, I hugged the two boys, bid farewell to their mother and left. In the evening after closing my business around 9pm, I returned home and was greeted by an empty house.
“The doors were wide open. My two boys and their mother were missing. I started searching for them in the neighbourhood but I couldn’t trace them,” Mr Wado recounted.
He narrated how he moved from one police station to another in Nairobi’s Eastlands but none had records of lost children being found or in their custody.
“That night and those that followed, I wallowed in sleeplessness and despair. When I traced Nicholas, I was temporarily relieved. However, I couldn’t reunite with him immediately since CWSK has to carry out due diligence to authenticate that I am the child’s father,” he said.
Philip Amimo Wado signs documents at the offices of the Directorate of Children Services in Starehe, Nairobi on December 15, 2023 after being reunited with his sons
“After their disappearance, everything came to a standstill. I could barely eat. Searching for my wife and the two boys was my daily routine. It was a season of distress; I had abandoned my business.”
Following the reunification, Mr Wado said that despite his financial constraints, he will hire a house help to assist with house chores and to take care of his wife and the children when he is away so that he doesn’t go through the same ordeal again.
Kadison Karatu, a social worker with CWSK, explained how the Society traces relatives of missing children in order to reunite them. He said when the Society gets information about children who have been separated from their families, it picks them and places them in their Temporary Places of Safety (TPS) before they begin searching for their parents through various methods including media invites.
“Nicholas was separated from the mother in town and was placed in our care in January and the second child, Biden, came to our care when the mother went into labour. Mbagathi Hospital contacted CWSK to pick him,” Karatu said.
“The procedure of handing children over to the parents has several steps. It is a long and tedious process to ensure that the children are handed over to their rightful parents.
“For children younger than three years of age and who can’t communicate or express themselves, we do DNA tests for them and the individuals who are claiming them. In that case, we will be certifying that the children are going to where they belong and to whom they belong. Older children go through a photo identification test.
“They are placed alongside individuals who look familiar or close enough to them and then they identify who their parents are and if all matches and works accordingly, they are identified as one and they are unified.”
Karatu added that during the actual reunification day, the parents sign documents to show they have received their children.
CWSK escorted Nicholas and his brother with a starter pack of food items, toys, sanitary items, school equipment and clothes.
December 20, 2023 at 3:58 pm