Bangladeshi mom wants her twins to stay in Australia

By Julhas Alam
The Associated Press

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — The mother who gave up conjoined Bangladeshi newborn twins for adoption said Saturday that she is overjoyed the toddlers have been successfully separated and wants them to grow up in Australia.

“My babies are alive and doing well. It’s the best news I’ve ever got in my life,” a tearful Lovely Mollick told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from her home in Khulna district, 85 miles southwest of Dhaka.

The twins, who turn 3 next month, had been joined at the top of their heads and shared brain tissue and blood vessels. They were separated Tuesday after 25 hours of delicate surgery in a hospital in Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city. They underwent an additional six hours of reconstructive work.

The charity that brought Trishna and Krishna to Australia two years ago for the surgery, Children First Foundation, has said it will support the twins as they undergo further medical treatment in Australia for at least the next two years.

Trishna awoke from a medically induced coma last Thursday and Krishna regained consciousness late Friday.

Their 23-year-old mother said she made the heartbreaking decision to give up her daughters to a Dhaka orphanage after giving birth by cesarean section because she could not properly care for their special needs.

While she and her factory worker husband, Kartik Mollick, 35, wanted to maintain a relationship with their daughters, both parents hoped the twins would be raised in Australia.

“I am from a poor family and am not able to take care of them,” the mother said. “I want them to get a proper education and live a good life.”

“I want them to maintain a relationship with me, no matter where they live, when they are grown up,” she added. “They have come from my soul.” The girls’ Australian legal guardian for the past two years, Moira Kelly, the charity’s founder, said Saturday that she has not considered adoption. “I haven’t even thought about it,” Kelly told reporters.

Adoptions could be stymied since Australia restricts the adoption of foreign children with medical problems that could burden its health care system.

Kelly said the prognosis that both sisters were neurologically sound “gives me shivers down my spine.” The twins’ cots will be pushed together so they could again touch, she said.

Krishna is expected to have a longer period of adjustment as the separation brought more changes to her body and brain’s blood circulation. Both girls were in serious but stable condition.

Doctors had earlier said there was a 50-50 chance that one of the girls could suffer brain damage from the complicated separation.

Australian aid worker Danielle Noble first saw Trishna and Krishna in an orphanage when they were a month old, and contacted the Children First Foundation.

“I got to see the girls for the first time today since their separation and it’s the most incredible feeling to think that three years ago, this was just a dream,” the 27-year-old volunteer told reporters.

“Now they are going to have a fantastic life,” she added.

The foundation raised almost 250,000 Australian dollars ($229,000) for the cost of caring for the twins in between numerous earlier surgeries to separate blood vessels connecting their brains. A mystery benefactor funded all hospital costs, Smith said. ♦

Associated Press writer Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, contributed to this report

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