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Blonde-haired 'Roma' child's mother identified; to be reunited with relatives

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 25th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In any other situation, it would be a heartwarming end to a very sad story. But for the blonde-haired, fair-skinned Roma child known as "Maria," it's just the beginning of a deeply tragic tale. Maria's Bulgarian mother, confirmed through DNA testing, is accused of selling her to another Roma couple in Greece. Authorities don't know if she will be returned to her mother.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The family of the Bulgarian couple whose DNA matched Maria's say they look forward to seeing her back home in Bulgaria. "I'm happy and I hope that the kid will come home, but nobody knows when," the girl's uncle said. "We're going to take care of her and all the other kids."

Thirty-five-year old Sasha Ruseva has been identified as the biological mother of Maria, found in a Greek Roma camp last week, according to her grandmother. DNA samples taken from 36-year-old Atanas Rusev, and the girl's mother have been shown to match.

"Analysis proved that Sasha Ruseva is the biological mother of the girl named Maria," Bulgarian Interior Ministry Chief Commissioner, Svetlozar Lazarov says. "It also showed Atanas Rusev as the biological father."

Pretrial proceedings had been initiated to discover whether the mother had given her consent for her daughter to be sold abroad.

Maria is reported doing "very well" after being discharged from the hospital and is now living in protective custody. "She was released yesterday from the hospital and she was transferred to one of our homes," Panagiotis Pardalis says. "Our people and social workers are taking care of her." The decision about her future would be made later by a Greek court.

"Our role is to take care of Maria according to the order of the prosecutor. The decision about what happens to her is made by the court," he said.

Maria's great-grandmother Zineb Kasimova, told reporters a tragic tale that spans generations for many Roma families.

She said that Ruseva deeply regretted leaving the girl in Greece. "They left the kid because they have no money at all," she says. The family matriarch has about 50 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. "When the mother saw the child on TV, she went to the neighbors and told them, 'I was a fool to leave the kid there.'"

"If she doesn't take her home, then I will go there and I will take her home because I'm her great-grandmother."

Ruseva said on Bulgarian TV that she had once left a baby behind in Greece after working there.

"I didn't take any money," Ruseva said. "I just didn't have enough money to feed her. I intended to go back and take my child home, but meanwhile I gave birth to two more kids, so I was not able to go."

A birth foretold: click here to learn more!

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