About 26 years after she was abandoned her family in West Bengal, Julia Gärdefäldt alias Suya, now a resident of Sweden, wants to meet her biological parents and siblings.
Born on March 19, 1984, to a lower middle class family, Julia was the eldest of four children of Babu Biswas, a mason, and Sandhya Biswas. When she was four-year old, Julia contracted tuberculosis and her father, unable to pay for her medicines, left her at Society For Indian Children’s Welfare, Ashirwad, an orphanage in south Kolkata. In 1990, she was adopted and taken to Sweden.
“I don’t want to name my adoptive parents because they became estranged later. After the initial happy days at Lyseki, a small town on the Swedish west coast and later in Örebro, I was left with my ailing mother as my father left us. The feeling that my family doesn’t want me returned to haunt me,” Julia told The Indian Express.
Brought up among her adoptive cousins and a “friendly” uncle, Julia moved to Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city when she was 20 and started working with a departmental store where she had an affair with a colleague (his name too she doesn’t want to disclose). “We were seeing each other for sometime and after I got pregnant, he left me as well. Love and good times had never been permanent with me,” she said.
In 2010, she gave birth to her daughter, Antonia, and now she lives with her child. She now survives on the amount she receives from a health insurance.
Currently, Julia is in talks with an NGO and other organisations and also looking for sponsors to fund her trip to Kolkata and meet her family.
Her friend Stina said Julia has been diagnosed with “mild mental retardation”. “It is nothing you can notice when you meet her, but she had problem in reading and doing maths at school, and no one told her about mental condition till she was pregnant,” Stina said.
This puja, Julia, however, wants to visit her home at Thakurpukur in south Kolkata. “I want to meet my parents and my siblings, and would want to know whether my ailment had been the only reason for abandoning me,” she said.
Back home, her mother Sandhya now lives with her brother Sahadeb Bor after her husband died in 1999. Sandhya also has a son, Raju Biswas. The family still refers to Julia as Suya — the name given to her after her birth.
“My husband was mostly unemployed and I used to fend for the family working as a maid. He wanted to give away Suya, but I never approved of it. I told him that if I can bring up three children, I can raise her as well. But, he kept on telling me that she would be taken better care of, at the orphanage and even the orphanage people came down to our place to convince me. I had agreed at that time, but my heart always cried for her. I has not allowed to meet her after some time and later I heard she had been adopted by a family in Sweden. Now that I know she is alive and has a child, our only wish now is to see her and her child once,” said Sandhya.
She also said “Suya” had called her after locating her with help of an NGO, but they could not communicate. “She was speaking in English and I was talking in Bengali. I could only make out that the call was from Suya. We did not understand what she spoke, but we cried a lot over the phone,” she said.