A German in search of his Indian mother

Ambika Pandit, TNN
10 Jan 2009 / The Times of India
NEW DELHI: Arun Dohle is a German whose roots lie in India. He is fighting for child rights by highlighting how adoption norms, and the sheer absence of them in many spheres, are leading to trafficking of babies, particularly with growing inter-country adoptions. Through this, the young activist in Dohle is in search of his own family.
He is among the many activists and NGOs who came together from across the country at the two-day National Consultation on `Countering Challenges in Adoption: Combating Child Trafficking', which began on Saturday in Delhi. As tales of trafficking and lack of adequate checks unfolded, Dohle's own story revealed how the child in every adoptee yearns to know about his family history. 
Dohle was legally adopted by an affluent German couple from an institution in Pune. When he learnt about his adoption, the quest to know his biological parents followed him. After completing his schooling, Dohle came down to Pune with the few details his parents could provide about the institution they had adopted him from. However, he was left shocked when the institution refused to share any details.
Dohle says he loves his parents who adopted him, but still is eager to find his biological parents to know why they had to abandon him. While he claimed to have traced his biological father, he was unable to locate his mother. Dohle then approached the Supreme Court of India raising the question that a child had the right to know where he came from and that no institution or agency can deny this. He demanded all institutions should have the records to reveal the trail. The last hearing of the case was in 2006 and it is still pending with the court.

At the convention, few knew Dohle's story. But the passion with which he spoke against trafficking in the name of inter-country adoptions and how poor single unwed mothers and parents were being cheated by traffickers expressed the intense thoughts of an adoptee. "The huge amount of money involved in inter-country adoptions is leading to trafficking and exploitation of both the parents and the child,'' Dohle added. Dohle is now part of an informal network helping adoptees to trace their biological parents in search for answers to questions which haunt them everyday.

The convenor of Campaign Against Child Trafficking (CACT), Raaj Mangal Prasad, asserted, "There is no comprehensive law to deal with the issue of adoption. This allows vested interests to play a role.''

The absence of a single representative from the Central Adoption Resource Agency a central authority set up to look into all adoption related matters at the national convention was seen by NGOs and activists as an indicator of the seriousness with which the government was dealing with the issue.


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