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'Kid Being Treated As Orphan': Indian Couple Struggles To Get Their Baby Back From Germany

In a conversation with Republic, the couple--Bhavesh and Dhara Shah-- narrated how their child, a toddler, was taken away by child protection services.

Image: Republic


'Can't see our kid being treated as an orphan,' said an Indian couple, living in Germany, who has been struggling to get the custody of their 1.5-year-old for the last one year. In an exclusive conversation with Republic, the couple--Bhavesh and Dhara Shah-- narrated how their child, a toddler, was taken away by child protection services in Germany. 

"My child, when seven-month-old, was injured and we took her to the hospital. First, the doctors said that everything was fine and sent us back. When for the second time, we took her to the hospital for a follow-up checkup, the doctors said that you have injured your child, and they took her away from us," Bhavesh Shah said. 

Her wife, Dhara added, "After talking to the lawyers we got to know that due to the nature of the injury, she had some injury in the private part, they suspected that it was a case of sexual abuse of the child." 

Applying the continuity principle

The couple informed that they 'voluntarily' gave their DNA samples, post which, the police case against them has been closed. Talking about the legal procedure, the Shahs informed, "The German authorities have not given us a trial date yet, they asked us to go for a psychological evaluation, which is basically a parental ability test and depending on that, they will decide if and when we will get the custody of our child. The psychologist, as part of the evaluation, has talked to us for 10 hours in total, in over 10 months' time." 

Outlining that the Germans are stressing the continuity policy, Bhavesh and Dhara explained, "The child services are saying that since the child has stayed for just 7 months with the parents and over 13 months in the foster care...Irrespective of what the psychological evaluation says, she should continue in foster care."

'Please speed up the protest...'': Couple appeals to Indian authorities

Acknowledging that the Indian authorities have already taken up the matter, Bhavesh said, "The Germans have already implemented the continuity principle, yesterday we went to meet our daughter, she only speaks German, and does not even know how to speak English let alone Hindi. Our only request is--to speed up the process so that she can be transferred  to a family at least."

Dhara added," In such cases in the past, American, and Norwegian children were handed over to their extended families so that they could get a family environment. Our child also deserves a family environment, don't keep her like an orphan. Nobody is allowed to meet her, she has been kept in isolated foster care. "

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