Behind every deportation story hides a touching story about a family torn apart, but it is doubtful there are many stories like K.'s, an eight-year-old girl from the Philippines.
When K. was just a few months old, she was left outside a monastery in Jerusalem. A Palestinian woman who found her, decided to illegally adopt her.
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Eight years later, K.'s biological mother was detained with her other two daughters as part of Israel's attempts to deport illegal migrants. Once detained, she told authorities about K., who is now fighting together with her adoptive Palestinian mother to remain in the country.
Judge Avraham Yaa'kov effectively prevented the deportation of the family, having extended an interim order. K.'s deportation is now up to the Ministry of Interior's decision, which will be based upon receiving the professional opinion of key social welfare professionals.
In a hearing held in August, Justice Aharon Makover decided to release the family. K. returned to her home in east Jerusalem, while the Filipino mother and her other two daughters returned to their home in Tel Aviv.
Ahead of the hearing at the Petach Tikva District Court, S., the Palestinian adoptive mother, told Ynet that she was delighted when K. returned to her home after being detained. "I can't even imagine what will happen if the judge makes the final decision that will take her away from me. She's my daughter, my blood and my life," S. said.
K.'s Palestinian adoptive family (Photo: Moti Kimhi)
While the state demands the immediate deportation of the family, the Filipino mother's attorney, Yael Katz-Mastbaum, has appealed to transfer the decision to welfare services and prevent the K.'s.
Attorney Marvin Nisan-Cohen has also joined the appeal on behalf of the Palestinian family.
The biological mother, a foreign nationale from the Philippines who has been illegally residing in Israel with her two young daughters, was recently detained by the Population and Immigration Authority, after her visa expired. When taken to a detention facility, she told authorities that she has another child who was born in Israel and is currently living with a Palestinian family in east Jerusalem.
It appears that the biological mother, who at the time of K.'s birth was in financial trouble, left the baby at a Jerusalem monastery which also served as a boarding school, where S., the Palestinian mother, was working at.
The then 20-year-old adoptive mother, who bonded with the baby, decided to adopt her after a few months with the biological mother's consent ,but without going through any legal or official channels.
During the past eight years, the biological mother visited K. at the Palestinian family's home on a regular basis.
"She's my blood, she's more than just my daughter," said the adoptive mother. "She calls me 'mommy.' I can't imagine her being taken back to the Philippines. I raised her with my heart and soul, her place is here. I would die before having someone take her away from me. She became one of us, she speaks Arabic."
Attorney Katz-Mastbaum, who represents the biological mother, claimed that foreign migrants' children such as K. have in the past been granted immigration status in Israel. "In this case, the state's decision to grant K. immigration status is problematic because the child resided at the Palestinian family's home in Jerusalem with the mother's consent, and the steps necessary in order to grant K. immigration status were never taken.
"We demand that the welfare authorities take the necessary steps that would benefit the child in order for K. to be released together with her mother and sisters. We further urge the state not to separate K. from the Palestinian family that raised her and not to deport her from Israel," Katz Mastbaum added.
According to Katz Mastbaum, "We must remember that K. is very attached to her Palestinian family. These are wonderful people who have taken care of K. during the past eight years without asking for anything in return. All they care about is the child's benefit."
Sabin Hadad, a spokesperson for the Population and Immigration Authority explained that "K. would not be able to be granted immigration status because she does not meet the criteria established by the government."
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