In the 1970s, Mary Catherine used to run ‘Blue Mountain’, a children’s home in Coimbatore, when a couple named Saraswati and Ayavu left two children in their care.
In 1979. Rajkumar was adopted by a Danish couple who named him Casper Anderson. At the same place, Rajkumar’s sister Vijaya was adopted by an American couple. Vijaya got a new name too – Diane Vijaya Call.
Now, 42 years later, the brother-sister duo have been united, thanks to DNA testing technology.
Diane was adopted on 1 February 1979. Her new guardians took her to US. Rajkumar was adopted in the same year on 9 February and taken to Denmark.
Diane remembers that she had a younger brother. However, when Casper was adopted he was very young and does not remember he had a sister.
A documentary has been made on the brother-sister duo. Diane says when she was three years old, her mother had left her saying she was going out to get food.
In the documentary she says that she was crying and asking her mother not to go. That was the last time she saw her mother.
In search of their roots
Talking to BBC Diane said that she used to feel very different being raised by a white family in a foreign country.
“I was not able to forget my mother”, she says. “I had memories connected with India, although the family that adopted me took good care of me.”
Casper says he had realised at a young age that the family he was living with was not his own. He may have been living in Europe but his skin colour used to tell him that his roots lay in India.
He says he never got a chance to search for his roots. He went to Coimbatore twice – in 2015 and then again in 2019. He found that the children’s home he was in had shut down years ago. The people who used to run it could only show him a few photographs. Disappointed, he returned to Denmark.
Then one of Casper’s friends suggested a DNA Test. He was told there were several companies who took DNA samples and tried to match them with their database.
Therefore, in the hope of finding about his family, Casper gave his DNA sample to a firm called ‘Ancestry’.
Initially, Casper did not get any encouraging outcome. But a few months later, a man named Michael from Utah, USA called him and said that Casper’s DNA sample somewhat matched his own.
Diane says her son Michael had gone on a short trip to Bangalore for some work. Frome there he rang Diane and told her he had found some of her relatives.
Diane had remembered she had a brother. But she first thought her son had found some distant relative. She later found out that the person her son had found was her real brother.
In search of her family, Diane had given her DNA sample to another company. She remembers that when she was in the children’s home she had a younger boy with her and that she used to get food and snacks for him.
Casper says Michael told him that his mother had been adopted from the same children’s home. Casper says he had come to Coimbatore in search of his parents. He did not know that he had a sister. He spoke to her over the phone in 2019 for the first time.
Because of the lockdowns in the intervening period, they had to wait February 2022 to be able to meet.
Another DNA test confirmed their 100% match.
Casper says when he went to Coimbatore in search of his parents, he had never imagined he would find his sister. He says he cannot describe in words the emotions he felt when he came to know he had a sister.
Diane says she came to know Casper was indeed her brother when she spoke to him the first time. According to her, the DNA test was a mere formality.
Diane and Casper are now in regular touch. Both are planning to visit India in the near future to search for other members of their family.