Written by Sneha Kudva and Anuradha Mascarenhas
It was a medley of nervousness and excitement at Pune’s Shreevatsa Child Care Centre on Monday as Vibha Sofie Medin met her biological mother for the first time. Raised by a Swedish couple after she was adopted 30 years ago, Vibha had never expected to meet her biological mother until she started facing medical complications while she was expecting her fourth child.
For the first few moments, Vibha stood in silence, allowing the reality of meeting her biological mother (who preferred anonymity) to sink in. Pointing out the similarities in their appearances, it was her biological mother who spoke first: “Can I touch her? Can I give her a hug?”
While neither of them speaks a common language, the feeling of not being able to express themselves slowly faded away. Her biological mother watched in awe, as Jonas Olsson, Vibha’s husband, showed her pictures of their house back in Sweden.
Vibha works as a nurse at an old-age home and Jonas works as a business manager. They have been living together for 10 years and have been married for five. The couple has four children – Liam (9), Leo (7), Hedwig (3) and seven-month-old Helge.
Excited to meet her grandchildren, Vibha’s biological mother, who stays near Pune, touched them gently at first, and then hugged them with sheer joy. Asked if she would like to take her biological mother to Sweden, Vibha smiled. “Yes, maybe.”
According to Sharmila Sayed, administrative in-charge at Shreevatsa, Vibha’s biological mother was just 15 years old and unmarried when she had conceived the child. Her mother had then handed over her daughter to the child care centre. Later, the woman got married and had more children. It was on Vibha’s request that the centre contacted her biological mother and they finally met Monday.
“My wife went through a lot of pain during her fourth delivery and it was then that she felt the need to know what her biological mother must have gone through (while giving birth to her) at such a tender age. That’s when she felt like meeting her,” Jonas said.
Vibha’s mother, who had brought a mangalsutra, bangles and a saree for her daughter, said: “I am numb. I never ever thought I would be able to meet my daughter ever.”
From 1974 to May 2019, the Shreevatsa child care centre has sent as many as 3,209 children for adoption. Of them 2,478 were sent for adoption to Indian couples, while 731 were sent for adoption to couples abroad, Sayed said.