Police in China are searching for the biological parents of a kidnapped toddler sold for 7,500 GBP and brought up by another family for three years.
The Xu family claims they unknowingly fostered the kidnapped girl, now three, after the woman who sold her in November 2016 claimed she was her own illegitimate child.
Authorities in Ci County, which is in North China’s Hebei Province, detained Mr Xu’s wife, Ms Zhang, 32, on 8 November as part of an ongoing investigation into their unlawfully acquired child.
The couple had not been able to have children of their own, so they bought the girl out of desperation for 70,000 RMB (7,545 GBP), claiming they were unaware of her status as a kidnapped infant, reports said.
In a press statement on 9th December, the county’s Child Welfare Institute published a picture of the girl in hopes of finding her biological family.
Born 16th October 2016, the girl has yet to be claimed by any biological family members, the authorities said.
Meanwhile, the Xu family has turned to county officials and local media in a desperate and last-ditch plea to be granted adoption rights in order to legitimately foster the girl.
However, a month since the tot was removed from their care, they have not been granted a further audience with local officials and have not been allowed to see the child either.
Mr Xu’s mother, who calls herself the girl’s “grandma”, told local media: “They said: ‘You’ve broken the law. Adopting her is not possible.’
“I’m asking whether there is any way we could see her.
“We still want to raise her as our own, but if she finds her mother, we would give her back.
“But if she doesn’t find her mother, we want to adopt her.
“We’ve been crying our eyes out. We want to raise our granddaughter.”
Zhang Ziran, who is deputy head of the county’s Civil Affairs Bureau, said the girl was being dutifully cared for by social welfare workers.
She is currently with a foster family will be given first refusal to adopt her if her biological family is not found within the next year, he said.
As for the Xu family’s adoption request, Mr Zhang said their right to adopt children had been indefinitely revoked.
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