: Swedish teen tracing Ukrainian roots gets remarkable surprise
Society16:41 Mar. 16, 2016

Swedish teen tracing Ukrainian roots gets remarkable surprise

Adopted 17-year-old Christian arrives in Kyiv to reunite with lost family and caregivers

For 17-year-old Christian from Sweden, this journey to Ukraine could change his life forever. Tracking down his biological mother is a lifelong ambition. Hours after being born in April 1998, records show he was abandoned at a Kyiv hospital. Christian says he was then adopted in the year 2000. Now he's back - in an effort to discover more about his early life in Ukraine.

Kyiv's Boryspil Airport. It's the fifth time Christian has flown in from Stockholm. On previous trips. he's explored Ukraine and met with family members - something he wishes to do again.

Christian Oleksiy Janer: "I really want to meet my grandma again if she started to (comprehend) what happened. When I met her, she was very sad and I think I painted new pictures for her in the heart that she didn't want to think about for many years."

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Recently, Christian's adoptive father Sten passed away. His adoptive mother Bergitt then urged the teenager to try and find his real family - with the help of the presidential commissioner on children's rights.

Mykola Kuleba, Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights: "Step by step, we found one sister, the other sister - and now we found four brothers and sisters - it really is an amazing story. We don't know really but maybe somebody else is in Ukraine."

As it turns out, there could be someone else. Christian claims court papers show his real mother disappeared in 2014 and is now presumed dead.

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But in fact - she may be alive. Reporters from Ukraine's 1+1 channel believe they could have found her in small town near Kyiv. We've blurred her face for legal reasons. According to official documents, the lady's personal information almost matches that Christian's real mother. But the woman denies this - only saying she has a 20-year-old daughter Viktoriya.

Mykola Kuleba, Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights: "We can confirm only one thing that all these kids were born to women with the same passport. Or... another woman could have used the same first and last name and the date of birth as this one."

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Christian and his biological mother never met. But on his trip, the 17-year-old had a series of emotional reunions with his grandma, sisters and former caregivers from the hospital and orphanage. By documenting such experiences, he hopes to raise awareness of the plight of adopted children. Shortly after his visit to Ukraine, Christian reflected on his trip on Facebook says although his biological mother brought him into the world, it was his adopted parents and a good family that gave him life - a lasting message to any child who ever feels unwanted.

This is Tom Bell for Ukraine Today.


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