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Blonde girl in Roma camp probably doesn't need more help, but other kids do
October 21, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
Why exactly is news media so fascinated with the story of a little blonde girl who was found in a Roma settlement in Greece last week?
Apparently the story started when Greek police raided the Roma settlement and a female prosecutor spotted the little girl's blonde head and thought she looked nothing like her dark-looking parents. DNA testing confirmed she was related to neither of them or to the other children in the household. Now the girl, Maria, is in foster care while the police are looking for her biological parents. The girl's picture has appeared in publications all over the world.
Granted, the Roma couple – "Roma" is the correct name for the people traditionally called "Gypsies" in the West – sound like they are more than a bit on the shady side. The police have alleged that they have committed fraud. In Greece, parents can register the birth of a child by swearing the child is theirs and bringing along two witnesses. The Roma couple have registered several children as theirs who either do not exist or at least were not living with them in their home and were allegedly collecting welfare payments for them. The girl was registered as their child even though she was not legally adopted and is not biologically related to them. The Roma family has released videos showing the girl dancing for crowds, at age 2 and again last month. The children's charity that has her now claims she was treated like a "dancing bear." Elsewhere in the settlement, the police allegedly found drugs and weapons.
The couple's explanation for how they came to informally adopt this little girl sounds pretty reasonable to me. They said her parents were poor Bulgarians who could not take care of her and left the girl with them. They have raised the little girl as their daughter and love her and she loves them. The girl was dirty and unkempt when the police found her, but there were no signs of abuse. I think the wild speculation that she is one of any number of children missing from countries around the world will turn out be completely unfounded. As it sounds like neither her biological parents or her foster parents are suitable, hopefully the Greeks will find her a long term adoptive family.
This is a sad story, but also a common one. There are kids all over the world growing up under far worse circumstances. The only difference here seems to be that the little girl the Greek media has dubbed "the blonde angel" has white blonde hair, fair skin and blue eyes and she was found among people who are looked upon with disdain throughout Europe. It would be nice to see some of the same attention given to some of the other kids who have gone missing and probably need the media coverage more than Maria does.
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