Rejected child treated differently: carer

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

A babysitter of the Korean girl given up by a Dutch diplomat claimed she was not treated like a normal daughter by the couple.

The Sunday Morning Post this week revealed that the diplomat, Raymond Poeteray, and his wife, Meta, had given up to the Social Welfare Department the child they adopted when she was four months old.

The girl, now eight, was cared for almost exclusively by an Indonesian maid when the family was based in Jakarta in 2002. 'The mum was there but whenever there was something going on, there was always someone taking care of [the girl],' she said. 'She was rarely in her mother's arms. I also found it strange that she was so quiet.'

The woman, who has since returned to the Netherlands, said the couple's son, who was seven at the time, was 'crazy about [the girl]'.

'The son was always playing around with her,' she said yesterday. 'The family wanted to live in an international environment so maybe that's why they didn't teach her Dutch. I didn't have a really comfortable feeling with it at the time.'

The woman said she was devastated when she heard the girl had since been given up by the family. 'I find it very hard to think that they let her go because she was ill. You don't leave your child on the street if the child is handicapped, do you?'

Rene Hoksbergen, psychologist and senior professor at Utrecht University, who has been helping families with adoption problems for 30 years, said he was 'amazed' that the girl could be still suffering from fear of bonding at seven.

Professor Hoksbergen said the condition, which was prevalent in many adoption cases, could normally be dealt with by parents spending extra time with their child. 'The fact she is suffering from this suggests there has been some other problems that go beyond this,' he said.

'Normally if you pay enough attention to the child it will get much better. I don't know whether they have spent enough time with the child. There could be a problem with the mother-daughter relationship.'

Meanwhile, Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung, who has discussed the girl's situation with the Director of Social Welfare, Stephen Fisher, said the girl had made fantastic progress since being placed with a foster family one year ago.

'The child is now in good hands, a good position and living healthy and happily and her emotions and physical conditions have improved from her desperate state more than a year ago,' Mr Cheung said.

She displayed no sign of any physical or mental disabilities or problems, he said.

'The issue of her lack of Hong Kong residency will not be an issue in determining where she lives,' Mr Cheung said. 'She is part of Hong Kong now and if she wants to stay, she will.'

The story has prompted outrage in the Netherlands and Korea.