Girl had bonding fear, says envoy

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 December, 2007, 12:00am

The senior Dutch diplomat who gave up his adopted Korean child says she was suffering from a severe fear of bonding when the family handed her over to the Social Welfare Department last year.

The statement came as a woman who babysat for the family in Indonesia in 2001-02 said the girl, now 8, was treated differently to the couple's natural offspring.

Social welfare lawmaker Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung said he had been told by the Social Welfare Department that the girl's condition had improved remarkably since she left the Poeteray family. She was now happy and healthy with no mental problems. Mr Cheung, who will meet the girl, said she would remain in Hong Kong.

Raymond Poeteray and his wife, Meta, said in the statement last night that the girl's condition became so serious in the middle of last year that, on the advice of medical specialists and staff from adoption agency Mother's Choice and the Social Welfare Department, a decision was made to place her in temporary care.

'After our daughter became part of our family, it proved very difficult to get through to her,' they said.

'In Jakarta, where we were transferred in 2000, it was not possible to identify the cause of the problem. Only after we moved from Jakarta to Hong Kong did medical specialists make the diagnosis that our daughter suffers from fear of bonding in a severe form. We tried to cure her through intensive family therapy, but to our great disappointment she did not get better. On the contrary, the situation got worse and the family began to suffer greatly from it.'

The statement also confirmed the family has since not had any contact with her. 'That was a terribly painful and sad moment for us, but we saw no other option.'

The couple said they had followed Korean law for the adoption.

'The reason [she] does not have a Dutch nationality is simply a result of the fact that all her medical problems have prevented us from completing the naturalisation process. We hope this explanation will evoke some sympathy for our situation.'

The family's former babysitter said she believed the treatment of the girl while she was with the family was not right. 'They did not treat her the same way as their son. There was not the love there,' said the babysitter, who asked not to be named.

The Sunday Morning Post revealed this week the couple adopted the girl when she was four months old. They have two sons, one older and one younger than the girl.

Mr Poeteray has returned to the Netherlands.



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