Bulgarian Roma Family Wants Maria Back

The Bulgarian Roma family of Maria wants her back, but fears social services won’t let her go. The little girl, dubbed the “blonde angel” when her photo was posted on media sites around the world, was wrongly thought to be abducted from her family by another Roma couple.

The little girl’s eldest sister, Katia Ruseva, pleaded for her sister’s return on Saturday, notes Yahoo! News. Ruseva, who lives wither her husband and two children in Gurkovo, stated, “Give us Maria! We will take her home and share our bread with her.”

Katia added, “We will not give her away for anything in the world.” Maria was found living with a Roma couple in a camp in Greece earlier this month. Her blonde hair and green eyes prompted calls from dozens of Western parents with missing children.

However, in the end Maria’s parents were confirmed through DNA testing as a Roma couple living in poverty in central Bulgaria. The Australian reports that Maria’s sister insisted her parents didn’t sell the little girl. She explained:

“I used to care for my eight brothers and sisters when my parents worked in Greece. When they came back, mum told me they had left a baby there. She did not have the money to pay for its passport.”

That baby turned out to be the “little angel” Maria. The case took the veil off of entrenched prejudice against the Roma community and revived investigations into child trafficking. Maria’s mother told Bulgarian media that she wants her daughter back if DNA results were positive. However, she is now under investigation for allegedly selling the girl in 2009.

However, Katia Ruseva insisted that wasn’t the case. She commented, “Mum did not take any money to abandon Maria. We lived in the very same misery after her return from Greece.” Elena, the another sister, added that she also wanted Maria back from Greece. It isn’t clear if or when social services will release Maria to her family.