Help bring our daddy home!

May 24th 2018, a day my family and I will never forget.

My name is Toina and I am a full-time mother of six amazing kids - three girls and three boys, four of whom are under the age of 6. Unfortunately, I have now been left raising my children on my own which is something I never, ever thought i would have to do.

Everything was going okay for my family from the end of last year. After years of being dependent on social welfare for our basic daily needs, my husband finally found a job that paid decent money. He’s a hard-working, proud man and being able to provide again for the family made him so happy. After everything we’d been through, it started to feel right again, and our family began to get back-on-track.

At the start of this year we also thought that my husband’s immigration problems may finally be resolved. Trying to finalise my husband’s visa application has been a very expensive and time-consuming process, and it was good that through his employment we were able to start paying off the large legal bills we had accumulated in trying to keep him here in Australia. We knew it was not going to be easy but, we kept going to keep our family together.
However, that all fell apart on the 24th May 2018.

My husband went to work as usual, but he didn’t come home in the evening and we started to worry. After making some calls, I found out that he had been detained by Immigration without warning in front of all his colleagues. It was only after he had been detained that Immigration told our lawyers that my husband, the devoted father of our children had been detained and that he would not be returning home.I didn’t know why he had been detained or whether I would see him again. I was devastated and beside myself unsure what to do.

I told our children that their Daddy wasn’t going to be able to come home for a little while; it hurt so much to see them get upset. I still see my children go from disappointment, to fear then to sadness. 

Every time my kids heard a noise outside the door, they would run to the door yelling out for their daddy and expecting him to walk through in, but he never did. Emotionally I went from utter despair and then deep regret. Could I have done more to help? No one can explain that feeling of letting your family down, but I couldn’t help it. I felt so lost.

When my husband was detained my children and I began to struggle. Financially it was very hard and having the demands of four children under 6, was very difficult. At the same time, we were trying to obtain a visa for my husband, so that he could remain here in Australia with us and it was so stressful. I am a proud Australian citizen; all my children are Australian citizens but unfortunately my husband isn’t.

Bringing it back to the present day, my husband remains detained and because of my parenting responsibilities, we are now forced to rely on welfare again. I cannot work even if I wanted to and I cannot financially help my husband seek the legal advice and support he needs to come back to his family.

My husband is detained in an immigration detention centre and may be sent back to Samoa for a really long time, if not forever. We are fighting to keep him in Australia, but we have exhausted all our money and are unable to pay any more legal fees.

We haven’t been able to make our payments but so far, our lawyers are willing to keep working if we can provide them with $5,000 in the next week. Most of this will go towards the cost of filing an appeal and using a barrister. They have said that if we can raise $35,000 through this GoFundMe campaign they will write $5,000 off our legal bill. This is so generous, and we are so thankful for their support.
Though we have less than two weeks to appeal the decision that led to my husband being detained.
And we need to raise $5,000 in the next week so that we can lodge the appeal, and I would be extremely grateful for anyone who is able to help us do this. However, this will not be enough to run the whole court appeal, and my lawyers have advised me the total costs involved in appealing the decision and the next steps that follow trying to get my husband a visa may add up to around $60,000. This is money I will never be able to pay on my own.

Please help me keep my husband here. If he goes back to Samoa he will not be able to see us again or provide for our family. We need him here, so we can be a complete family and provide our kids with what they need.

It has been a rollercoaster year of experiences for us and we could really use your help. Any donation you can make would go a very long way towards helping out me and our children and getting my husband out of detention and allowing him to remain in Australia with our family. His emotional and financial support is so important for us. My younger children have been very sick recently and it is very hard to buy all the medication they need without my husband’s income. This situation has affected every area of our lives.

I love my family. I just want to keep them all together safe and happy. Putting this page together has been extremely hard and confronting but I have little to no choice.
Thank you so much
With love,

Toina Valufitu
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Organizer

Toina Valufitu 
Organizer
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