21 long days of Spanish summer without her baby

Having spent a number of days with Stacie Cottle and family in a beaurocratic battle to win her baby back from the Spanish authorities, it made me think again about life in Spain

LAST UPDATED: 10 Jul, 2015 @ 12:34
1
SHARE

me and stacie
Reporter Iona Napier with Stacie and Anzelika COPYRIGHT Olive Press Spain

A 7am start sees me blazing down the motorway with a pint of coffee in hand.

If I am nervous about negotiating with officials, it is nothing on how Stacie is feeling.

It is a painful wrench indeed for her to leave the hospital where her baby is being held as a ward of court for the very first time since she arrived 21 days ago.

She arrives outside court where I have arranged a meeting to go through the case understandably looking wistful and nervous.

We arrive at the door of court number three to find a largely uninterested, unemotional court usher who I had spoken to the day before.

Of course, the promised paperwork for the case is nowhere to be seen and we are told to come back later.

He drops in, almost as an aside, that the DNA results had actually come back, positive, the previous day.

It is amazing news for Stacie, who was told it could take months to sort out, and she is as surprised as I am that it has been announced in such a matter of fact way.

We do a double take, look at each other, and ask the usher to repeat himself, ‘is that definitely the case?’

He nods and says to come back later as the paperwork isn’t ready.

We leave the building and find a park where her three-year-old daughter Anabella can play and I can take Stacie’s mind off the drama.

She is soon dragging me back to the hospital so she can feed the baby and make sure that she is still there.

Stacie is taking nothing as guaranteed after a three week ordeal where she has been treated like a ‘common criminal’ and forced to take a DNA test to prove that her baby is hers.

I wait outside and later go inside to get my head around what is going on, but few staff are interested in opening up.

With no news from the court and countless phone calls we decide to head back to the court before it closes and, to our dismay, the papers are being finalised.

COPYRIGHT Olive Press
COPYRIGHT Olive Press

At exactly 1:53pm, the paperwork is in her hand and I translate it telling her that the baby is indeed definitely hers and we head outside for a joyous photograph with her mum, Veronica, before hot-footing it to the hospital.

Rushing straight up to the neonatal ward, Stacie firstly puts Anzelika in a white dress before we are called upstairs to a meeting with the hospital directors.

Two women talk us through the process and finally sanction Stacie to take her baby home.

There was no apology at any point, and no emotion, thanks or congratulations at any time.

Indeed, it felt like a simple formality of giving someone a vaccination form. End of story.

We run downstairs, pick up the baby, gather her belongings and leave the hospital.

We head into the Spanish sunshine where we are met by her mother and three-year-old who is meeting her sister for the very first time.

It’s a lovely moment which leaves three grown women (myself included) in tears.

And the pictures, seen in the current issue of the Olive Press, are testament to this.

It is touching that an expat Brit outside the hospital comes over and wishes her well, insisting on giving her and the baby a kiss on the cheek.

I am only too happy to drive the family back to their rented home in the nearby hills where they welcome me in and show me the bed where the baby had been born.

Let us all pray that this episode doesn’t put this charming English family off Spain for life.

They would be a credit to this country and we would hope the authorities can finally bring it upon themselves to apologize for what has been one of the most awful injustices that I have come across in my journalistic career so far.



Gib Rocks - the magazine for Gibraltar

Subscribe: Olive Press news to your inbox

JOIN THE CONVERSATION...

HAVE YOUR SAY...