Sweden to India: Adopted girl in search of biological parents

Debasmita Dutta
Sunday, 15 April 2018

Pune: Jessica Lindher, a girl found on the streets of Mumbai by Divakar Gaokar in 1981, was adopted by a Swedish family after a year. On Saturday, she traditionally married her European registered husband in the city where she came down along with her two children in search of her biological parents.

“Jessica Lindher was found near Sion Hospital on October 11, 1981 and was admitted to Shree Manav Seva Sangh (orphanage home), from where she was sent to Sweden for adoption,” said Divakar Gaokar, the police officer who found Jessica from the hospital.

Pune: Jessica Lindher, a girl found on the streets of Mumbai by Divakar Gaokar in 1981, was adopted by a Swedish family after a year. On Saturday, she traditionally married her European registered husband in the city where she came down along with her two children in search of her biological parents.

“Jessica Lindher was found near Sion Hospital on October 11, 1981 and was admitted to Shree Manav Seva Sangh (orphanage home), from where she was sent to Sweden for adoption,” said Divakar Gaokar, the police officer who found Jessica from the hospital.

“In the last few years, I read a lot about of missing children in India and how the authorities are often unable to solve the cases. Further, I also read that often in adoption and inter-country adoption, some form of trafficking could be involved. The orphanage, where I was admitted, did not really make much efforts in tracing my family and sent me abroad due to the financial incentive, which comes with inter-country adoption,” said Jessica Lindher.

Lindher further added, “While reading about adoption cases, I came across the case of Jamnibai - a mother in Mumbai, whose children went missing. When she managed to trace them, the two children were already sent for adoption to Sweden. Subsequently, she moved the Bombay High Court, but she couldn´t get her children back. What struck me was while reading the High Court order, the same Mrudula Rao, who was the agent of the Swedish adoption agency involved in the case, was also involved in my adoption. After more research work, we found out about more allegations against adoption in foreign countries. Likely, she had been actively scouting for potentially adoptable children in the children’s homes.”

During the search of her Indian family, Jessica took the help of a Dutch NGO, which works against child trafficking, and met their contact person and advocate Anjali Pawar in India, who assisted her with all the paperwork and also to find out Gaokar.

“Many adult adoptees and donor children around the world now use DNA research to trace their family members. This is not the old style DNA profiling, but DNA genealogy research. Many find their families, especially if they were placed for adoption in the West. With this new technology, one can even trace distant cousins and from there build a family tree and trace the parent. This technology is not yet in India and we have sent a letter to Satish Mathur, Director General of Police, Maharashtra, explaining to him the situation,” said Pawar.

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