'My mother was forced to put me up for adoption'

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Elizabeth Purve Jorendal with her biological mother at a hospital in Yavatmal in Maharashtra.
Elizabeth Purve Jorendal with her biological mother at a hospital in Yavatmal in Maharashtra.

Mumbai - Swedish woman adopted as toddler uncovers sordid past in hunt for her Indian mother

By Reuters

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Published: Wed 28 Jun 2017, 8:08 AM

Last updated: Thu 19 Oct 2023, 9:47 AM

As an Indian child adopted and raised in Sweden, Nilakshi Elizabeth Purve Jorendal, was always curious about her birth mother.

Her adoptive parents were open about her background, which was "hard to miss when you are a brown girl growing up in a white country" with three white siblings, said Jorendal, now 44.


So in the late 1990s she started to search for her birth mother, an on-and-off process that took years but finally succeeded.

But rather than the happy reunion she expected, Jorendal opened up a heartbreak suppressed for decades - finding she had been taken against her mother's will from an orphanage near Pune in western Maharashtra state to Helsingborg, Sweden, in 1976.


"My mother was pregnant when my father died. She had delivered me in an orphanage. She never wanted to leave me," Jorendal said.

"She told me she was coerced, tricked and pressurised to give me up by her own family members who wanted her to remarry," she said after visiting her ailing mother in Yavatmal, 670km east of Mumbai in Maharashtra state this month.

Jorendal is one of thousands of Indian children who were given away during rising numbers of inter-country adoptions in the 1970s when there was no law in India to regulate this.

Studies show that India was in the top five countries sending children to the United States between 1978 to 1995 but stories of corruption started to cause considerable controversy.

But it was not until a Supreme Court judgment in 1984 that private adoptions were banned and the Indian government started to monitor and regulate adoptions.

Flash back to Jorendal's adopted life

Jorendal's mother was pregnant when her father died. She had delivered her in an orphanage. She never wanted to leave her.

But her mother was coerced, tricked and pressurised to give Jorenda up by her own family members who wanted her to remarry.

Jorendal was adopted and raised in Sweden, but she was curious about her birth mother.

In the late 1990s she started to search for her birth mother, an on-and-off process that took years but finally succeeded.

But rather than the happy reunion she expected, Jorendal opened up a heartbreak suppressed for decades - finding she had been taken against her mother's will from an orphanage near Pune to Helsingborg, Sweden, in 1976.



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