‘Maybe I robbed a mother of her child’

Source: https://www.nrc.nl   (Google Translation)

Adoptees and their parents consider a lawsuit against the State after irregularities in adoptions from an Indonesian children’s home.

Anouk Eigenraam
May 30, 2018

Unsuspecting, Marius and Marjan Kooistra at the end of March were watching the television broadcast “Adoption Treachery” by Zembla , about irregularities in adoptions from Indonesia. They were shocked when ‘Kasih Bunda’ was shown. That was the children’s home from where they adopted in 1981 their now 37-year-old twins.

“Immediately we told our boys that they had to watch the broadcast”, says Marjan. “Marijn just about exploded. We immediately browsed all the adoption papers and there was also the name of the intermediary who is depicted as unreliable in the broadcast. That was scary again. ”

Especially son Marijn is completely upset, says Marius. “He wonders: have I been sold?” The brothers are going to do a DNA test. “They and we have always found that they are so incredibly not similar. But you think: they will be two-egg twins. Now there is doubt about it. ”

As a complainant, the Kooistra family joined the initiative of jurist Dewi Deijle, who was also adopted from Indonesia, who researches legal action against the Dutch government on behalf of the My Roots foundation. My Roots has been helping adoptees to find their families in Indonesia for years and regularly encountered fraud.

At the end of April, the foundation held a meeting at the Indonesian embassy in The Hague. It became clear how much the broadcast of Zembla has brought out among the more than sixty attendees. “I feel like the bottom of my life has been beaten away,” a man in his forties told me, and he burst into tears.

It is a feeling that Joke Kraaij and her husband Kees recognise. They have joined the claim as interested parties. In 1981 they adopted a baby, their now 37-year-old daughter Sriwarni, through the Foundation Child and Future (Kind en Toekomst SKET). They had a three-year-old son, but Joke always wanted to adopt. “It was the zeitgeist that there were so many children in the world who needed help.”

When their daughter wanted to find her family in Indonesia a few years ago, the Kraaijs assumed it would be a simple job. Joke: “I had all the information, I thought we also had a picture of her mother.”

Soon it turned out to be far from simple. After many detours, the half-sister of Sriwarni was found. “Their father died, where Sriwarni’s mother was, the half-sister did not know. She knew that the woman in the picture was absolutely not Sriwarni’s mother.”

Although Sriwarni does not blame her mother, Joke still feels guilty: “As an adoptive parent, I find myself on the questioning side; because there was so much demand, there also had to be an offer. I really thought I was helping a child, now I’m almost ashamed. That I may have robbed a mother of her child and my child of her mother, that is agonisingly painful. ”

Jurist Deijle wants the state to acknowledge that it was culpably negligent. “Already in the seventies BIA, the official body that coordinated the adoptions, warned about abuses”, says Deijle. “It was a recurring subject at the Parliament.”

For example, VVD member Ed Nijpels repeatedly called for legislation as a member of parliament because “importing peanuts was subject to more regulations” than the adoption of a foreign child. Indonesia also required better supervision and control. But the Ministry of Justice found that adoption mediation had to be left to the ‘private initiative’. Indonesia ended the adoptions in 1983 to prevent illegal practices.

Deijle thinks that the Dutch government has seriously neglected its “duty of care and information”. Marjan Kooistra: “At that time there were already articles in the newspapers that a child was stolen from Kasih Bunda. But if the government does not even warn you, you assume that it is an incident. “Joke Kraaij:” You can not lie and cheat people like that? There has never been any doubt expressed towards us. At that time the propaganda was only that you were doing a good thing if you adopted. ”

Deijle also demands that the government will contribute financially to what she calls “truth finding”: quests by adoptees. Because of the limited information, these are a costly affair. For example, the Kraaijs will soon be distributing hundreds of euros to flyers in the area where they suspect that Sriwarni’s mother lives or lived.

Distant reaction
The daughter of Karin and Joop Michel is already spending a lot of money on her search for family. The Michel couple adopted Manon (38) in 1980 through SKET, on the advice of the BIA. They were under the impression that the file of their daughter contained sufficient information when she decided to contact her family a few years ago. It is now clear that names are not correct, possibly false, similar addresses given; some have never even existed.

Karin: “We have already contacted SKET a few times, but we got a very distant reaction: that not being able to find the biological family does not mean that there were inaccuracies during the adoption procedure. So now we are addressing the government. ”

The wait is for the government’s response. If it rejects the claim, Deijle, the six parents and their children will not exclude a lawsuit against the state. Deijle is not the only one, other adoptees from Sri Lanka are investigating the same option with lawyers.

The Michels find it unimaginable that they have to walk this road. “In fact, this is extremely private. But it is so nasty that we have to come out with this. We want those responsible who have violated the law to pay for this. ”