Oct 09 2015 : The Times of India (Delhi)
Four days before she turned 42, Elizabet Purve, a Swedish national with roots in India, got the birthday gift of her life. Her two-decade-long search for her biological mother ended in a Maharashtra village on September 12.
Elizabet was lucky . Many Indians adopted by foreigners under the inter-country adoption norms never find out who bore them and why they were given up for adoption.
To Elizabet, the reunion seemed fated. Early this year, somebody asked her to write down what she wanted most of all from life. “I remember I wrote `To see my mother in India again’.“ In August, Arun Dohle and Anjali Pawar from the voluntary organization Against Child Trafficking (ACT) traced Elizabet’s mother and the two saw each other after 42 years in September. “It is so huge, it still feels surreal. Totally incredible! A true miracle!“ Elizabet told TOI in an interview from Sweden.
She was less than three years old when a Swede couple adopted her from an orphanage in Maharashtra. She became the youngest of four siblings–the other three were white–in her new home, and before long started wondering about her origins. “When you don’t look the same as everyone else in the family you realise fast that there is something different.There were other children in town adopted from India and Ethiopia, so I knew I was adopted.“
The question that haunted her was, why? “I knew that I had an In dian mother somewhere and that I had to find her.“ Elizabet’s adoptive family came to India often.She studied at American Embassy School and lived in Vasant Vihar when her father was posted in Delhi during 1987-88. “My parents were in touch with the children’s home from where I was adopted,“ she said.
She studied career counselling and law but couldn’t pursue a career in them because of health problems and now works in a store’s customer service team.
“I was 20 years old when I decided to start the search for my mother. First, I went through the adoption papers and files my parents had but the information in them turned out to be wrong. The children’s home from where I was adopted proved unhelpful.“ She came in contact with ACT last year and they were able to trace her mother to a small village where she was living with her son from her second marriage. “I finally knew that my mother left me in the orphanage as she had no choice.“ Elizabet’s biological father committed suicide before she was born. Her mother returned to her parents not knowing she was pregnant. “Since she had nowhere to go and no way of surviving, she was forced to leave me at the orphanage soon after I was born.“
It was a “surreal“ reunion for Elizabet after the trying wait.“My mother remarried and now has two grown-up children. When we met, my identity was kept secret from her family who have no knowledge of my existence.“ They met at the house of Elizabet’s maternal aunt. “She was in the room silently watching. Language was a barrier but as I wept she wiped my eyes with her sari. I knew then she loved me.“