Officials Think They’ve Found Roma Girl “Maria”‘s Biological Parents In Bulgaria

Investigators in Europe say they have found the biological parents of Maria, a young girl living with a Roma couple who claimed the child was given away to them years ago, by successfully matching her DNA to two Bulgarians.

Maria, who’s around age five, was living inside a Roma (also known as “travelers” or “gypsies”) encampment near Farsala, Greece, and raised concerns after the camp was raided in a search for drugs and weapons. Police were suspicious that Maria, who is blonde haired and blue eyed, did not resemble any of the Roma. Upon further investigation, the two adults claiming to be her parents said they had been given the chid by someone in Bulgaria, but had falsified/improper paperwork as to her origins.

After a brief but internationally-gripping search for Maria’s parents, the child has been matched to biological mother Sasha Ruseva and biological father Atanas Rev of Nikolaevo, Bulgaria. The pair have eight other children.

Relatives told NBC News they hope Maria is returned to Bulgaria. But I would hope there will be an investigation first into this family’s circumstances first — after all, this basically sounds like it was an adoption, just one that was done illegally. Parents don’t give their biological children up for adoption lightly; usually there is a very compelling financial, emotional, or physical reason. Indeed, Sasha Ruseva told Bulgarian TV that the family couldn’t afford to raise Maria, so they gave her to the Roma couple in Greece when she was seven months old— but they did not sell the child, as they have been accused of doing.

Added the family’s great-grandmother to NBC, “[The biological parents] left the kid because they have no money at all. When the mother saw the child on TV, she went to the neighbors and told them, ‘I was a fool to leave the kid there’.'”

Meanwhile, the Roma couple who had been caring for Maria have been charged with abduction and procuring false documents. They had originally told investigators that Maria’s mom was a Bulgarian Roma prostitute; it’s unclear if this is true.

In any case, I feel uncomfortable about this idea that police can go up to adults with children and question their parentage just because the kids don’t resemble the mom or the dad. That’s just asking for racial profiling.

[NBC News]

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