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Adopted daughter left behind in The Gambia

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17:21 CEST+02:00
A 13-year-old adopted girl has been left behind in her homeland of The Gambia by her adoptive parents. She had lived in Sweden since March 2007.

The girl is a Swedish citizen and is registered in Kronoberg county, Sveriges Radio Kronoberg P4 reported. She was left with relatives in The Gambia after what she thought would be a holiday in the country with her adoptive mother last summer.

According to local authorities in The Gambia, the girl was well, but Adoptionscentrum, Sweden's largest adoption agency, is shocked that the parents will not take care of their adopted child.

In general, the municipality has a responsibility to support and follow up in cases of adoption, according to Inga Näslund at Adoptionscentrum. She assumes that the current municipality is doing what it can to ensure that the parents take responsibility.

"I assume that they made a report before the adoption showing that she was living in difficult circumstances in her home country," Näslund told news agency TT.

"I think it is important that Swedish authorities do what they can to let her return to Sweden. She has begun to establish firm roots here, has been here for several years and gone to school."

Social agencies must get involved and determine where the child will be placed, even if she is left with relatives, according to Näslund.

"You cannot just leave a child anywhere," she said. "I think she has been betrayed twice, both by her parents and Swedish society, since nothing was done to rectify the situation for a whole year."

The girl's municipality has investigated the matter, but has decided not to pursue it further.

"We have completed our investigation and the girl is now with her biological father, who has custody," said the head of social services in the municipality. "According to the consul general of The Gambia, she is well and goes to school."

It has been a complex process to figure out what applies and the municipality had been in contact with a number of authorities when it made its assessment.

These authorities include the department of foreign affairs, the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) and the consulate general of The Gambia.

The adopted girl is a Swedish citizen, but she lives with her biological father, who still has custody, as well as her adoptive parents in Sweden.

There is a gap in international law and the municipality will highlight this matter to the Association of Local Authorities and Regions (Sveriges Kommuner och Landsting, SKL).

The Office of the Prosecutor in Växjö is currently investigating a case concerning an adopted girl in The Gambia, but did not disclose more details.

"We have asked The Gambia about whether a certain practice is a criminal offense under Gambian law," said prosecutor Johnny Filipsson. "We cannot begin to investigate before we know what we can examine."

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