Sunday, January 11, 2009

A German Adoptee Searches for Birth Family in India

From 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.
Interesting idea for a lawsuit, claiming a right to identifying information about birth parents. These lawsuits are distressingly unsuccessful in American courts. Most American courts require a showing of "good cause," like the need for a transplant. I wonder what would happen if one claimed an informational right founded on international law. . . . U.S. courts are not usually enamoured of the idea, I'm afraid. Click here for more from this article.

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