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Adopted girl comes in search of her mother

By K. Manikandan

TAMBARAM, APRIL 2. More than 25 years after being adopted by a Belgian couple, a girl of Tamil origin has come to Chennai in search of her mother.

Nirmala Alexandre (26) was adopted by Sacres, a Belgian couple in 1980 from the Madras Social Service Guild at Nedunkundram village, about six km from Tambaram. In her first visit to India, she has come along with her husband, Alexandre, hoping to see mother, Vasanthi.

Vasanthi left her daughter at the care of the voluntary organisation. "All we know of Ms. Nirmala's mother is her name and that she belonged to Guindy," according to Balaji Thangavel, administrative officer at the guild. They do not have any other information about Vasanthi.

The couple and volunteers hope that media reports may help find Vasanthi.

Nevertheless, they would strain every nerve to find the woman so that Ms. Nirmala can meet her natural mother. Ms. Nirmala and Mr. Alexandre, a management engineer with the Belgian Government, married a few months ago and wanted to visit India. She is a higher secondary teacher and knows only French.

They contacted Mr. Balaji who asked Ms. Nirmala if she had "any special requests." Ms. Nirmala promptly replied that she would like to meet her mother. She was just 14 months when she flew to Belgium with her adopted parents and since then, there has been no information or record about her natural mother.

Mr. Balaji said in the 25 years of functioning, their organisation had helped about 200 overseas couples adopt children from their centre. Many children want to meet their natural parents, while others prefer not to. And in the case of those who want to meet their parents, some succeed, while the rest continue to search.

For Ms. Nirmala and Mr. Alexandre, their visit to India has been an entirely different experience. "Everything is different, but interesting," Mr. Alexandre remarked. The couple visited a few places in Kerala before coming to Chennai. They would be flying back to Belgium on April 8, but hope to meet Ms. Nirmala's mother for a brief while at least.

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