They don’t know anything anymore about the child who is their child. They no longer mention its name, they call it“THE CHILD”
Why the mediation of children from abroad for German parents often goes dramatically wrong
Unofficial translation from German. Published in Stern Magazine, February 2013
They have not seen the little girl since that day in October two years ago, as they explained her with hands and feet that it “Now would leave.” The child danced with joy on the table, grabbed her school map and her doll, left her children bedroom with the pink doilies and white furniture and all the fames and painting stuff behind and got happily in the car of the youth welfare office, that took her away. Presumably, she supposed she was going home. Back then she was seven years old.
Eberhard and Lola L., 57 and 52 years old, watched until the car was gone. The last thing they saw was the little hands of the girl behind the window that made some kind of goodbye waves. Or perhaps they just imagined that. The L.s went into the house. They were alone again.
Two years later they sit behind their living room table with all the files of the adoption as behind a protective wall. The house is not new anymore; they had planned and built it when the matter with the child began. On the upper floor their mattresses are lying on the floor of the, before a rocking horse. A room is not at all inhabited. They had planned a children’s room. Outside in the future garden, no grass grows yet. A swing stands and a climbing frame, but the devices are not used. The L.s never arrived in this new life. The rooms seem useless, an empty shell for all the things they wanted, but could not get. The child, their adopted child, will soon be 10 years old.
They are not monsters, that’s important to them. They wanted only for himself, what for many others is normal. What’s wrong with that? They were full of hope, but also full of illusions. They were gullible, asked too little and too little questioning themselves. The dream of family happiness now has become a catastrophe. For L.s, the mediator, but especially for a little girl with brown hair and thin arms, which was born in Bulgaria ten years ago, grew up in homes, was brought to Germany and passed around ever since. Because it did not fit into the dreams in the heads, not to the pictures in colorful brochures. A little girl that has no reason anymore, to believe any adults any more.
The Ls are unsure whether they should adopt the child. You know too little, but they also do not ask. Where does the girl come from exactly, what did it go through, and how it came to this home, remains diffuse for the L’s. The sparkle somehow did not jump over. They ask time for consideration, they want time to sleep over it in Germany. The Bulgarian lawyer is shocked and angry, and the L’s later. He urges them to at least get at least the papers ready. And he wants money. 4000 euros in cash, later another 5000 please, without receipt. The L.s give it to him. The lawyer denies, when requested by the Stern, that this happened. The L’s cannot proof it.