Dutch mothers search for adopted children's Chinese parents

Dutch mothers search for adopted children's Chinese parents
Erika Olzheim-Smit and her adopted daughter Callista at Huainan Railway Station in Anhui province before they left for the Netherlands in 2004.

Erika Olzheim-Smit and Andrea de Baar-Smit are twin sisters from the Netherlands. They have much in common, including both having adopted Chinese children.

This has brought them to China several times in recent years, including their most recent trip in May, in an attempt to find the biological parents of their adopted children.

Olzheim-Smit, 50, and a mother of four, has an adopted daughter named Callista, who is believed to have been born on Dec 26, 2002.

The baby was found by a local man in Huainan, Anhui province, at the local railway station the following day, the man said, and taken to a welfare home by the local police.

In April 2004, Olzheim-Smit adopted the girl and took her to the Netherlands.

"She is a happy girl who is talkative and has many hobbies, including dancing and singing," Olzheim-Smit told China Daily. "She is very kindhearted as she always likes to help people whenever they need her."

When Callista was in first grade, she became curious about her biological parents. To satisfy her daughter's curiosity, Olzheim-Smit brought Callista to China in 2008, hoping to find clues as to who her biological parents are. Although no evidence was found, Callista gained a better knowledge of the country she came from.

"We don't think Callista was lost unexpectedly but believe she was abandoned. We told her about the one-child policy. She would also like to know if she looks like her biological parents, brothers or sisters," Olzheim-Smit said.

Similar reasons drive Olzheim-Smit's twin sister, de Baar-Smit, who has five children, the youngest two of whom are boys adopted in China.

Stefan, now 12, was adopted in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, in 2004, and Vincent, 10, was adopted two years later in Yixing, Jiangsu province. De Baar-Smit has previously brought Stefan to China to look for his biological parents. The entire family also visited China in 2012.

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