Thanks for writing this personal story. It’s a shame that your company couldn’t see your perspective.
The only thing I wonder about is why you didn’t discuss it with your colleague Fred. You trusted him. You could have had a good conversation with him about it.
It might have made you feel better if you would have had someone on your side even though your circumstances were so different.
And I really hope some HR-people read this and reflect on how they form their own ex-pat policies now…