Sushma Swaraj asks WCD to probe into Sherin’s adoption process

Sushma Swaraj
File Photo: Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has requested Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi to probe the adoption process of 3-year-old Sherin Mathews, whose body was found in a culvert in suburban Dallas in the US.

Sherin went missing on October 7 and her body was found on Sunday from a culvert in suburban Dallas, Texas.

Her father Wesley Mathews, 37, was re-arrested on Monday and charged with first-degree felony injury to a child due to conflicting statements given to the police.

He was earlier arrested for suspected child endangerment for the treatment of his daughter but was released on bond.

“After Baby Saraswati @ Sherin Mathews’ case, have requested Minister for Women and Child Development for a thorough investigation into the adoption process,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted on Friday.

She said that the investigation into the case should be taken to a logical conclusion and that henceforth all passports for adopted children will be issued only after an approval from the ministry of women and child development.

The nodal body for adoption in India, Child Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), has also written to US Central Authority for Hague Adoption seeking details into Sherin’s death, according to sources.

An official said that it received timely reports from the adoption agency in the US which was overseeing the Sherin Mathews case.

Four reports were sent to CARA by Holt International since her adoption on July 8, 2016.
These reports described how the girl was “adjusting well” in her new home and appeared to be “secure and comfortable” in the new surroundings.

However, according to these assessments, Sherin seemed to have eating problems.

One of the follow-ups records that “eating has become more and more challenging for the family”. “She likes to eat food outside but not at home”.

The fourth, and the last report before Sherin’s death, notes, “We discussed several different strategies that may be helpful” and that “additional mealtime strategies are needed to break this cycle and avoid more serious longterm eating concerns”.

According to an official at CARA, the child was undernourished right from the time she was adopted and weighed less for a girl at her age.

The girl was born on July 14, 2014 and was surrendered by parents in Gaya, Bihar. She was sent to an orphanage, Nalanda Mother Teresa Anaath Seva Ashram, which is now shut, the CARA CEO said.