A Somali mother at the centre of a public campaign to the Department of Immigration is planning an “Aussie-style” barbecue reunion party to welcome her long-lost son to Darwin.A man smiles at a camera while hugging a woman. “I want to make a barbecue because I’m Aussie, and Aussies are always doing barbecues,” Fatuma Ahmed Ali said.

The reunion itself can bring back terrible memories. The last time they saw this person was probably one of the worst moments of their lives. But I think Fatuma has had some experience in this now and I think she’ll do great.

Joan Washington, former Red Cross tracing worker

“That day we will be dancing.”

Fatuma and her husband, Abdi Yousef Elmi, were separated from two of their sons — Saacid and Abshir — after civil war broke out in their Somalian port city Kismayo in 1991.

Fatuma said the shock of losing two children consumed her mind and body and left her questioning: “Are they alive or are they dead?”

The couple and their two remaining children spent the next 13 years in a Kenyan refugee camp before arriving in Australia as refugees in 2004.

Once resettled in Darwin, the family could finally start searching for their missing sons.

The family was reunited with Abshir on Christmas Eve 2004, after learning he had already made it to Australia on his own.

In 2007 they located Saacid in a Kenyan refugee camp with help from two Red Cross tracing workers — Jane Black and Joan Washington.A woman in traditional Somali dress sits next to her husband in a leafy green Darwin backyard.PHOTO: Ms Ali with her husband, Abdi Yousef Elmi, before his death in late 2014. The couple were married for more than 40 years. (105.7 ABC Darwin: Emilia Terzon)

But bringing Saacid to Australia proved difficult, with a long wait list for a last remaining relative visa.

Last year, Fatuma and her family publicly pleaded with then-immigration minister Scott Morrison to grant Saacid a temporary visa so he could be reunited with his terminally ill father in Darwin after 23 years apart.

Abdi passed away in a Darwin hospice before the visa eventuated.

“He held my hand and he said: ‘Please, please, reunite my family’,” Ms Black said of Abdi’s last words.

Journey does not stop after reunion

In January, Fatuma was finally reunited with Saacid in the world’s largest refugee camp — Dadaab — after a crowdfunding campaign to fly her to Kenya raised $15,000 in 24 hours.

Then this month, the family received word that Saacid had been “released” from the visa waitlist, Ms Washington said.

“We don’t know why. We just got the letter,” she said.

Fatuma said receiving the letter — dated one year to the day of Abdi’s death — turned her “mental” with happiness.

“That night, I didn’t sleep. Believe me. I’m shocked and happy. I was mental,” she said.

“[If Abdi was alive] he would have been excited like me too and not sleeping. Maybe he would have blood pressure increasing.”Three women's facesPHOTO: Jane Black and Joan Washington helped Fatuma Ahmed Ali find her son in a Kenyan refugee camp.(105.7 ABC Darwin: Emilia Terzon)

Saacid is expected to arrive in January to a big celebration, however the family expects many challenges for him also.

Saacid is now a fully grown man in his 30s and must adjust to a new life in Australia after two decades living alone in a refugee camp without work.

Fatuma has already witnessed this struggle with Abshir after he was reunited with the family.

“For a long time Abhir was saying: ‘Am I dreaming or is this my family?’ He didn’t think we were alive. He thought we were dead. He got anxiety, shock,” she said.

Ms Washington, who has also worked with refugee outreach centres, said it was “really common” for refugees to struggle after being reunited with family.

“The reunion itself can bring back terrible memories. The last time they saw this person was probably one of the worst moments of their lives,” she said.

“But I think Fatuma has had some experience in this now and I think she’ll do great.

“If they take it slow and steady and don’t put too much pressure on him to learn English, he’ll do well.

“It’s a great community here in Darwin and there’s lots of people who support this family.”

ABC News

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