Mother of Mystery Blonde Roma Girl Wants Her Back

Says she never met couple raising her daughter Maria

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The Bulgarian birth mother of the mystery blonde Roma girl found living in Greece says she wants her daughter back and that she never met the couple raising her child.

In an interview with CNN posted Monday, Saska Ruseva, who is also Roma, recounted how she lost track of Maria, whose case gained international attention after police found her living with a Greek Roma couple who bore little resemblance to the girl. The couple, Christos Salis and Eleftheria Dimopoulo, were accused of abduction, and the incident revived Roma fears that they were being stereotyped as child-snatchers. DNA testing confirmed last week that Maria is indeed Roma, but that Ruseva and her husband, Atanas Rusev, are Maria’s real parents.

Ruseva recalled traveling to Greece to find work with her husband, giving birth to her daughter Maria and leaving her behind in the care of a woman who claimed to be Bulgarian.

“A woman came to me and said she was Bulgarian not Greek,” Ruseva said. “She told me if I wanted she would take care of my baby and that I could come back and collect her later. She gave me her phone number and when we got back in Bulgaria we telephoned her. We tried to call but the phone was switched off.”

She denied ever meeting Salis and Dimopoulo, who said they adopted Maria from Ruseva. Salis and Dimopoulo have said they adopted Maria legitimately. But Ruseva just wants her back.

“She’s my child. I’m her mother. I love her,” she said. “I gave birth to her. I would tell Maria that I’m your mother. This is your father. I will take care of her. She’s mine. You can’t change that fact.”