(Deepthi Shridhar | BM)
A woman from Germany has been making at least two visits to Mangalore every year since 2006 to trace her biological parents. Chaya Schupp claims that she was adopted from the Nirmala Social Welfare Centre at Ullal by Ingrid Schupp in 1981 when she was six years old.
But staff at the centre insist she is not on their records. That has left Chaya wondering if she was a victim of illegal child trafficking. Chaya is a student of the University of Kassel in Germany. An exchange programme with Tata University brought her to Mumbai.During her recent visit to Mangalore, she said, “I first came to India, along with my adoptive mother, in 2006 looking for details about my biological mother. I remembered being at Nirmala Social Welfare Centre, but authorities didn’t have records of that period. I returned with a court order only to find that my name was not in their records.”
Ingrid, a retired teacher, adopted Chaya through a German agency. Two men handed over the child to her at Frankfurt airport. She said, “Chaya remembers her mother and that she had been living in Mangalore. During her first visit to Mangalore, she recognised the railway station and Town Hall. I am supporting her as I suspect that the adoption process was not legal.”
Chaya has reasons to suspect that something might have been amiss. She explained, “On my first visit to the centre, one of the nuns recognised me. She reminisced that, as a child, I used to speak Kannada and talk very quickly. I feel that I was at the institute for schooling.” A representative of Nirmala Social Welfare Centre said, “Chaya visited us on March 9 and spent a whole day examining our records. There is no proof that she was in our nursery or adopted through our centre.” So, Chaya’s quest continues.
“The Ullal police have been cooperative and advised me to approach the courts. Hence, I moved the high court. I urge the government of India to be considerate towards adopted people and protect their human rights. In fact, I was inspired to undertake this search when an Indian friend in Germany found his biological mother with the help of a Supreme Court ruling. I want my records, especially admission details, so that I know if I was an abandoned child,” she said.