Georgia, a former Soviet republic, has been rocked by a series of revelations that exposed a decades-long black market of baby trafficking. Thousands of children were allegedly snatched from their mothers at birth and sold to adoptive parents, mostly abroad. Some of these children have grown up and are now searching for their biological families, with the help of a journalist who is also a victim of the scheme.
The Quest for the Truth
Tamuna Museridze is a journalist who found out she was adopted at the age of 31. She was shocked to learn that her birth certificate was fake and that she was one of the many babies who were stolen from their mothers at hospitals in Georgia. She decided to investigate the scandal and to find her real parents.
She created a Facebook page, “Vezdeb”, which means “everywhere” in Georgian, to share information about adopted children and to create a space for those involved to talk about what they are going through. She also contacted other journalists, lawyers, and activists who were working on the issue.
She discovered that the black market of baby trafficking in Georgia dated back to the 1980s, when the country was under Soviet rule and faced economic and social hardships. It continued until the mid-2000s, when the government tightened the regulations on adoption. It is estimated that thousands of children were sold for adoption, mostly to foreign couples, for prices ranging from $5,000 to $20,000.
The scheme involved hospital staff, doctors, nurses, and midwives, who lied to the mothers that their babies had died shortly after birth. They did not allow them to see their babies or to bury them. They then handed over the babies to intermediaries, who forged the documents and arranged the adoptions.
Many of the mothers were young, poor, single, or from ethnic minorities. They were often pressured, coerced, or bribed to give up their babies. Some of them did not even know they were pregnant until they gave birth. Some of them still hope that their babies are alive and that they will see them again.
The Joy of Reunion
Museridze’s Facebook page has become a platform for reuniting families who were separated by the black market. Over the years, more and more people have joined the group and shared their stories. Some of them have managed to find their biological relatives, thanks to DNA tests and social media.
One of the most remarkable cases was that of identical twins Amy and Ano, who met each other for the first time through TikTok. They were astonished by how similar they looked and decided to meet in person. They found out that they were born at the same hospital, in the same year, but weeks apart. They also had many other similarities, such as interests, style, and even the same bone disorder.
They contacted Museridze’s group and tried to find their biological mother. They received a response from a woman in Germany, who had given birth to twins at the same hospital and year. She told them that she fell into a coma after giving birth and that the hospital staff told her that her babies had died. She never saw them or received any proof of their death. She later moved to Germany and had two more children.
The DNA tests confirmed that the woman, Aza, was indeed their biological mother. They were overjoyed to finally meet each other and to hug their mother. They also met their half-siblings and other relatives. They said they felt a strong connection and love for their new family.
The Need for Justice
While some families have been reunited, many others are still searching for their loved ones. They face many challenges and obstacles, such as lack of records, legal barriers, and social stigma. They also demand justice and accountability for those who were involved in the black market.
The Georgian government has acknowledged the problem and promised to investigate the cases and to provide support to the victims. However, the progress has been slow and the results have been disappointing. Many of the perpetrators have not been identified or prosecuted. Many of the documents have been lost or destroyed. Many of the victims have not received any compensation or recognition.
Museridze and other activists have urged the government to take more serious and urgent actions to address the issue. They have also called for more public awareness and education on the topic. They hope that by exposing the truth and by sharing their stories, they can prevent such crimes from happening again and they can help heal the wounds of the past.