Bangladesh adopted children without parental knowledge brought to the Netherlands

Date: 2017-06-03

(informal Google Translation)
Ellen Brans, news reporter

Despite the good intentions of adoptive parents, it seems that with adoptions from Bangladesh in the 70s and 80s, a lot has gone wrong. The biological parents often did not realize that their child was going for adoption abroad. The documents of the children were also tampered with.

It is therefore very difficult to find biological family. A group of adoptees from Bangladesh now wants to set up a DNA database to make family searching easier. Among adoptees there may be siblings, but they also want to know any relationship with family in Bangladesh.

white people
Mujibor de Graaf in Bangladesh himself went looking for his family. He is one of nearly five hundred Bangladeshi children who came to the Netherlands in the 70s.
At Schiphol they were then met by mostly idealistic adoptive parents, who desperately wanted to help a poor child from Bangladesh.

„At one point we were transported in a van to the airport, and we were suddenly on the plane. We had a bag with some personal belongings and coloring books from KLM. When we arrived in the Netherlands, where I saw all of a sudden only white people. I was shocked“ explains Mujibor (43).

Mujibor remembers that he was brought to the orphanage by his mother. The papers state that he was four years old when he came to the Netherlands. But it is likely that he was a lot older.

„I remember we sat down on a bench and she clearly told me: I bring you here, you get good food and schooling, I’ll come to visit you often.“ Mujibor says about his biological mother.

Bangladesh adoptions from abroad started in the 70s at that time Bangladesh suffered the consequences of a bloody independence war and a disastrous flood. People flocked to the capital Dhaka, in search of food and work. Tongi was one of the camps where a lot of people ended up. And it was one of the locations from where many children disappeared to the Netherlands.

Also in the documents of the adoptee Kana Verheul appear to be many untruths. She came to the Netherlands as a baby and would be an orphan. Once mature, she began a search for her family in Bangladesh and she found out that much of what she thought she knew about her past, was not right.

Kana: „People went from door to door and said we can take care of your child, through a program of Terre des Hommes. We have a school and give your child clothes and food. It was common knowledge that one could bring children there, they would take care of your child. So parents did that under that assumption. “

‚No proof‘
Terre des Hommes Netherlands had at the time a project for children. And predecessor of World Children Foundation [Wereldkinderen], NICWO, had orphanages. They arranged the adoptions. Asked for a reaction Foundation Wereldkinderen claims there is no evidence that something has gone wrong.
Terre des Hommes Netherlands has announced further investigation and will screen all the records of children adopted from Bangladesh in the 70s. But also emphasizes that the organisation was not involved in intercountry adoptions of children from Bangladesh.
What is most in my memory is that my mother brought me to the hostel with a different intention than adoption.  Mujibor de Graaf

Kana eventually found her sister and looking for her now as much as possible, to get to know each other. Kana thought her mother was no longer alive, but that was not right. „She died two years ago, my father six years ago. And she always looked for me. It was not intended that I should go abroad and never come back,“ says Kana.

The search of Mujibor was less successful, he is since 17 years looking for his family. „There are some details in my old passport. I want to see if I can find anything,“ said Mujibor.
„What is most in my memory is that my mother brought me to the hostel with a different intention than adoption. For me it’s important to let her know that it all ended well. That’s my main motivation.“


Adoptees from Bangladesh can contact Shapla, Foundation of Adoptees via [email protected]

Adoption Records of children who came in the 80’s from Sri Lanka to the Netherlands, also are full of errors. That announced the television program Zembla last month. Sri lanka DNA project will organize a kinship analysis among people who are adopted from Sri Lanka, in order to find unknown brother/sister-relationships. More information: via the Facebook group Sri Lanka DNA or via email to [email protected]