Children or commodities?


17 Mar 2010, 1840 hrs IST

18 year old Anisha Mortel lives all alone in Germany. Abandoned by her foster parents after they separated, Anisha came to India in search of her biological mother who claims her daughter was sold off by a children’s home who had stolen her. TIMES NOW investigates the reasons why children like Anisha Mortel are forever searching answers to who really is responsible for what they are.

Anisha was born in 1992 and was entrusted to ‘Tender Loving Care Home’. All that Fathima wanted for her daughter was a better life. She says a children’s home promised her exactly that. Fathima did not see her child for the next 28 years. Fathima, Anisha’s biological mother, said, “I went back to ask for my kid. She said don’t ask for the child. You gave her off to us. I protested. But she said give money for taking care of the child. I didn’t have any. She sold off the kid for 6 lakh.” Fatima had handed over her baby to Sister Teresa who counters the claim. Sister Teresa said, “What money is Anisha’s mother talking about, she wanted to sell the child. She threw the child here. The baby was sick. I was taking care of her.” Tender Loving Care Home is under the scanner in adoption racket.

There are no papers to prove either party wrong or right but what has put the scanner on Sister Teresa’s home is that in 2005 TLC Home was found guilty and the home’s license cancelled. Fathima could not find her daughter at the orphanage because the child was not even in the country. Her daughter was given up for adoption and taken in by a couple in Germany. Fathima’s daughter lived with her foster parents unaware of her mother’s struggle in India. Anisha said, “I believe that adopted children are always somehow connected to their country. No matter what happened, no matter how old you were, you always feel it’s a part of you and you can’t cut it out.” In January 2010 Anisha Moertel returned to India, met the woman who gave her birth. Anisha said, “In Germany I have no home since I left my parent’s house. I have no place to breath out. It’s so good to find my mother in India.”

This reunion might have happened but questions are being raised about the 26 lives that are still at the home run by Sister Teresa. Children at the home voice their concern: 1. I want to go to Spain. My Mummy calls on Saturday. Q: Where does she live? Where does she call you from? A: From Spain. Q: Do you want to meet her? A: Yes, I want to meet her. I want to go there because Mummy, daddy are there. 2. child at the home – “If I go to Germany, I will be happy. They will care for me.” What is confounding is that despite a high court order allowing the home to hold in-country adoptions, Sister Teresa refussees to give these children to prospective Indian parents. Sister Teresa speaking on children being given for adoption to Indian families said, “Why should they go to Indian families? Many Indian families only make them work as maids.” Over 600 children are sold to foreigners every year, not always to happier homes. For these young lives it is a constant search for answers and who really is responsible for what they are – too young to know how papers exchanged and changed their destinies – too young to matter as votebanks and too young for anyone to care enough to change their lives.