Twelve people adopted from Sri Lanka hold the Dutch State liable for the abuses of their adoptions in the 1980s. According to the adopters, the government had concrete indications that there was adoption fraud and baby trafficking by Flash, the Dutch adoption agency that mediated in their adoptions. Yet there was no intervention. Therefore, they hold the State liable for all costs incurred in searching for their biological parents.
the beginning of February, the Joustra Commission report was published. That committee investigated the abuses of adoptions between 1967 and 1997. Children trafficking, corruption and falsification of documents, according to the report, everything was wrong with the adoptions.
The government accepted the conclusions of the report and apologized. But there was no general compensation for adopted persons who were victims of the abuses.
“ We have already reported to the State for the report, but then it was said that there was too little evidence to recognise liability,” says lawyer Mark de Hek. “Now the Joustra report is in place and we have found several articles and witnesses that can confirm that the Ministry was informed about the problems of this particular adoption agency in the 1980s.”
De Hek therefore thinks that his twelve clients now have a chance of compensation.
The lawyer hopes that the State will immediately recognise liability and deal with its clients. “Because they dont buy DNA tests with excuses,” says De Hek. According to him, the government should take responsibility for the rattling adoption files.
One of his clients is 37-year-old Anushka Huinink. His adoptive parents had already adopted a girl from Sri Lanka, but wanted two more children. Preferably twins, two girls. Arriving in Sri Lanka, the twins were not made up of two girls, but of a girl and a boy. Glad they could adopt these children, the adoptive parents signed the papers. “But when they changed the diapers at the hotel, we turned out to be both boys,” says Huinink.
It was clear that the papers had been tampered with, but the adoptive parents decided not to go back to the organization. “They were so happy that they had two children, that they left it there,” he says. “Ive been very disappointed about that, but now I have resigned to it.”
In 2005 Huinink went to Sri Lanka with his family to visit his birth mother. They helped her by, among other things, building a house for her. Years later it all turned out to be different. When he took DNA from her, she turned out to be the birth mother of his brother Asanka, but not his. “She told me she gave up only one child,” says Huinink. “So theres never been twins.”
Huinink now knows that it was very common in those years in Sri Lanka that two children were wanted together to be sold as twins. “The second child is then given under a false name. So I am such a made child, nothing about my story is right,” he says. “My name, my date of birth, my biological parents, everything will be cut down under you.”
He has been to Sri Lanka seven times in search of his real birth mother. Still in vain.
In his search Huinink did get to the man of the merchant who sold him at the time. “His wife had passed away, but he said they did this regularly, for a lot of money. Counterfeiting papers was very common to them.”
By holding the State accountable, Huinink hopes to get help from the government. “The recognition we received with the Joustra report is fine, but I need help in my search. I want them to set up a DNA bank. In this way, I hope that adoptive children will be much easier to find their biological parents.”
Huinink lives a happy life, now has a family with three children and a close group of friends. But he keeps looking for his birth mother. “It remains a sore spot.”
That is why he hopes that he will also receive financial compensation for the costs he incurs in his search. Thats how he goes back to Sri Lanka at the end of the year. “I made a call and three women responded to it. At the end of the year, Im going to take DNA from them to see if my mother is there.”