Thalia’s Story

Osmel Almaguer 

Photo: Caridad

Thalia is a seven-year-old girl who doesn’t live with her mother or her father.  Nor does she stay with her grandparents, uncles or any other relatives.  Her family members aren’t dead, which is why she’s never stepped foot into an orphanage.  Thalia has spent most of her still short life in the house of some old folks that her mother met by chance.

When her mother left her father she was already pregnant.  I have no idea if she was aware of her condition, but what’s certain is that this woman didn’t realize she was having a child until the baby was born.  Despite the mother’s effort to then conceal the baby’s existence, the father found out by chance and, starting from there, so began his odyssey to get closer to his daughter.

His efforts to know her would soon turn into concrete administrative steps to win legal custody of the girl when he found out that the mother had left Thalia over at the house of some neighbors who she knew only because they lived near her job.

The plodding speed of justice meant that all of the father’s effort to see his daughter were translated into short visits, yet and still, he gradually began to win her affection.  A short time later time later he collided with the harsh reality that the mother had left for Granma, her native province, taking Thalia with her.

Once there, she gave the baby to the old people I referred to at a beginning.  A while later the father found out that the plan was to sell Thalia to the old people’s children, who live abroad.  Luckily, in order to take the girl, the “buyers” needed the signature of the father, who of course refused to grant it.

From then on the situation stagnated.  Neither of the two gave in, nor was there much headway in the legal terrain.  Thalia continued growing up under the care of the old folks, and judging from the little girl’s behavior she was receiving a morally questionable education.

Recently a legal decision was made in the father’s favor requiring Thalia to spend her vacations with him.  During that time he would attempt to work things out so that his daughter could stay with him permanently.   Although she’s a minor, and therefore her opinion is not legally valid, Thalia says she would prefer to stay with her father.

The most curious of all is that if her father doesn’t return her to those old strangers who’ve been taking care of her, he could be charged with kidnapping.  It’s a shame how blind the law can be in some cases, turning innocent people into the victims of ambition and spitefulness.