'Foster dad' of Dubai's mystery lost mall boy comes forward

Ghulam Abbas – called 'Superman' by five-year-old Sadrick – says he raised the child as his own

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Related: Up to five newborns abandoned every year in Dubai

The husband of a woman arrested for abandoning a boy she raised on behalf of his mother said he will fight for his wife's freedom and hopes to be allowed to officially adopt the child.

Ghulam Abbas, 48, from Pakistan, told The National that he and his wife, Mayumi Quindara, 51, raised the child, Sadrick, as their own for five years.

Sadrick was found wandering around Al Reef Mall in Dubai dressed in his favourite Spiderman T-shirt with no parent in sight on September 7.

Security staff and police tried to find out who he was and where his parents were.

But the quiet five year old would only tell of his love of hamburgers and say his dad was 'Superman'.

It was a blessing as we did not have our own child, and this baby needed our love

For two weeks last month, the country was gripped by his story until police investigations led them to four Filipinas, aged between 39 and 57, who have been arrested.

One of them was Ms Quindara.

Officials told The National that the women had since been referred to prosecutors who are considering initial charges of filing a false police report and living in the country illegally after their visas expired.

Police said Ms Quindara abandoned Sadrick after realising she could no longer care for him.

Now Mr Abbas hopes his wife will be freed so they can adopt the boy they consider their own son. At present, only Emiratis are allowed to adopt children.

Mr Abbas, who worked in a photography shop for nine years, said it all began when he rented out a spare room in his Ajman home to a woman, believed to be an Indonesian Muslim called Layla.

The woman, who had a baby who was just a few months old, stayed with them for some time.

Mayumi Cuenco Quindara with Sadrick, shortly before he was abandoned near Reef Mall in Dubai in September. Courtesy: Ghulam Abbas

“I would rent out our spare room to couples or anyone who needed somewhere to stay,” he said.

When she left to go home for a family emergency, Ms Quindara offered to look after the boy until she returned.

But the woman never came back to the UAE.

Mr Abbas, who was visiting family in Pakistan at the time, returned home to Ajman and found his wife nursing the child as if he were her own.

The boy was raised by the couple in Ajman after his mother returned to Indonesia. Courtesy: Ghulam Abbas

“I came back to the UAE to try to find work and to be with my wife, and this baby was here,” he said.

“It was a blessing as we did not have our own child, and this baby needed our love.”

At no point was Sadrick registered with the authorities by the couple, who cared for him for years.

They had developed a bond and did not want him to be taken away and placed in foster care with another family.

But when Mr Abbas lost his job he was forced to return to Pakistan until he could secure new employment and a visa.

The image police released was widely shared across the country. Courtesy: Dubai Police

Back in Faisalabad, he ran a small convenience stall selling groceries, while his wife remained in Ajman bringing up Sadrick.

When the boy turned five, Ms Quindara decided he needed to be officially registered so he could begin school.

Due to fear of prosecution she concocted a story of finding him alone near a mall so he could be handed over to authorities, her husband said.

The head of Muraqqabat police station, Brig Ali Ghanim, appealed for public information to help find the child's parents.

When Ms Quindara was tracked down, she revealed the true situation to police.

Sadrick was taken in by the Foundation for Women and Children, a government-run social services agency.

Mr Abbas is now desperately trying to return to the UAE to help free his wife so they can apply for custody of Sadrick.

“The last photos I have of Sadrick were sent a couple of months ago, before my wife was arrested,” he said.

“My wife has previously adopted and raised four children in her previous marriage in the Philippines before she met me. She is a very kind woman.”

Those four adopted children – Carlos, Caryl, Gabriel and Luis – are all now grown up. Two are married while the other two are college students.

Ms Quindara also has her own daughter, 15-year-old Zina, who lives in the Philippines.

“Mayumi is a good mother, and it is clear Sadrick needs a loving family around him, said Mr Abbas.

“We tried to provide that for him."

Mayumi Quindara with her husband Ghulam Abbas. Courtesy: Ghulam Abbas

He hopes the couple could be allowed to adopt the child, if the authorities permit them to.

“Of course it would be better if they find the boy’s real mother, but I don’t think that is possible," he said.

“I will fight for Mayumi’s freedom, but if she needs to be punished then we will accept that. The most important thing is the welfare of Sadrick.”

The Dubai Foundation for Women and Children and Dubai Police were contacted for comment, but did not respond.