Diplomat who gave up adopted girl returns

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A Dutch diplomat who sparked outrage by giving up a 7-year-old Korean girl he adopted was Thursday reportedly on his way home.

13 December 2007

HONG KONG - A Dutch diplomat based in Hong Kong who sparked outrage by giving up a 7-year-old Korean girl he adopted with his wife as a baby was Thursday reportedly on his way home.

Vice-consul Raymond Poeteray was due to leave Hong Kong Thursday for the Netherlands and will be asked to explain his actions to the government during his stay, the South China Morning Post reported.

Poeteray and his wife, Meta, adopted the 4-month-old when he was working in South Korea in 2000, at a time when Mrs Poeteray believed she was unable to have children.

They have since had two children of their own and last year handed over the adopted girl to social workers in Hong Kong, saying the adoption had "gone wrong."

Among the reasons reportedly cited by the couple for giving up the girl, according to South Korean consulate sources, was that she was unable to adapt to Dutch culture and did not enjoy their food.

Social workers and the Korean community in Hong Kong are now trying to find a new home for the girl, who is in the care of an expatriate foster family in the former British colony.

The girl, who speaks English and Cantonese but not Korean, is neither a citizen of her adoptive parents' home country nor a Hong Kong resident, so her future in the territory is uncertain.

The plight of the girl, described by the newspaper as otherwise happy and healthy, has sparked anger and bewilderment among members of the Korean community in Hong Kong.

In an interview at the weekend, Poeteray told a Hong Kong newspaper that his family was struggling to cope with their decision and said that his wife was undergoing therapy after giving up the adopted daughter last year.

"It's just a very terrible trauma that everyone's experiencing," he was quoted as saying. "It is something we have to deal with."

A Dutch consulate source quoted in Thursday's South China Morning Post said: "Our ministry of foreign affairs says nothing illegal has happened. It is a private matter, but as a good employer we will assist in this matter in the interests of the child."

In a statement published in the Telegraaf on Thursday the Poeterays say that the girl suffers from a serious form of commitment anxiety. The statement from the couple was in response to reports in various newspapers in the Netherlands and abroad that the couple had "dumped" their adoptive daughter in Hong Kong.

The couple says that "at the advice of recognised medical specialists, aid workers from the adoption organisation Mothers Choice and the Hong Kong social services, it was decided in mid 2006 that the girl should temporarily be placed in foster care." The couple is currently in therapy, as is the girl, who has no contact with her adoptive parents currently.

[Copyright Expatica News + dpa 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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