By MELISSA WELLHAM
Imagine this: you are one-half of a long-term couple and you and your partner make the decision to start a family.
After much deliberation and for whatever reason, you decide to adopt from overseas. You know that there are children in the world who are looking for a family. Children who want a family. Children who need a family.
After a rigorous adoption process that likely took years of what felt like endless paperwork, you are successful. For the next fifteen years, you and your partner love, care for and nurture your child. You become a family.
And then, your child’s biological parents appear one day and ask for their child – your child – back.
This is exactly what happened to an Australian couple who had adopted a daughter, Zabeen, from India more than a decade ago – only to discover that Zabeen may have been forcefully and illegally stolen from her biological parents.
Zabeen has lived in Australia for 15 years, since she was three-years-old. But according to her biological family, Zabeen was snatched from her home in Chennai in 1998. Zabeen’s biological family now want the Australian Government to intervene and return their daughter.
For Zabeen’s [biological] mother Fatima, the pain at times has been almost unbearable.
For a long time she assumed her daughter was dead, but it turns out she was alive.
“I received a phone call from the police saying they had found our daughter. The police had arrested the kidnapper,” she said.
The family was told Zabeen had been snatched by criminals, making $5,000 at a time selling children to disreputable adoption agencies.
“I said I want my child back. The policeman said it is not possible because she is in Australia,” Fatima said.
“He told me not to worry, that she is in a good place, Australia is a good place. But I told them that even if it is good, I want my child back.”