Life Style

“I was probably stolen”: adopted children discover themselves victims of trafficking

“I found a whole family”

Céline Breysse (1), adopted in Sri Lanka

“I arrived in France in February 1983 at the age of 2 months and I was adopted by wonderful parents with whom I have always had very good relations. Thus, when, as a teenager, I asked them, they communicated to me all the elements of my file so that I could find my origins.

This quest matured throughout my life. For a long time, I didn’t ask myself any questions and that didn’t stop me from living and building myself. After several trips, however, I wanted to know more. My research then came to a dead end. There were inconsistencies and I began to have doubts, which were confirmed when I saw a Dutch documentary which spoke of child trafficking in Sri Lanka at the time of my birth.

I then created, in 2018, a Facebook group, in order to alert other adoptees. Then, with the help of a friend there, Andrew Silva, I ended up finding my biological mother, my sister, nephews and nieces, cousins, uncles and aunts. In short, a whole family that brings a real plus to my life. For four years, we have had a very healthy bond which takes nothing away from the unfailing love I have for my adoptive parents. This year, I even made the trip with them and my children. It was very moving to see that the links were fluid between the two families. My Facebook group is now helping with family reunification, with Andrew in Sri Lanka and me in France. »

“My story was stolen”

Emmanuelle Hébert, adopted in India, co-founder of Raif (2)

“I was born in India, and I was adopted in France, by a loving family. I started looking for my origins a little by chance, in order to understand where I came from, to know who I looked like. I waited until my parents died to do it because I didn’t want to cause them any pain. I had no idea where this work would take me.

I discovered that all the papers in my adoption file were fake and that I had probably been robbed. I traveled several times to India, to the orphanage where I had been taken in and which tried to discourage me. Finally, I never saw my biological mother again because she died a few months before I found her. But I discovered, flabbergasted, that my biological family had never wanted to abandon me. They stole my identity, my history, my culture, my language. I grew up in a country that is not mine, without roots, feeling different.

This anger pushed me to found the Collective for the recognition of illegal adoptions in France (Raif), which campaigns for the opening of an independent investigation into international adoption. Switzerland and Belgium have apologized to the children who have been torn from their families in the South, but not France. We are going to take this request to the UN because our association has an observer seat on the special commission in charge of monitoring the implementation of the Hague Convention. »


Who do you contact to find your origins?

Depending on whether people were born in France or abroad, several places can help them reconnect the threads of their history.

► For children adopted in France

People born under secrecy can contact the National Council for Access to Personal Origins (Cnaop), a structure created in 2002. Since then, each child who has reached the age of majority can ask for their file to be opened at the age of 18.

Contact: Cnaop, General Secretariat, 14 avenue Duquesne 75350 Paris 07 SP or [email protected]

Pupils of the State must turn to the departmental council of their place of birth and ask to consult their file compiled within thechild welfare.

► For children adopted abroad

On the institutional side, the main interlocutor is the Mission of international adoption (MAI) attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Contact:, [email protected]

the county council who carried out the approval for the adoption, that is to say the authorization to become an adoptive parent, may also hold certain elements.

Also request the parent associationsmainly grouped within Children and Adoption Families (EFA), and parents’ associations by country of origin, mainly grouped within the Mouvement pour l’adoption sans borders (MASF)


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