Child Seemingly Written Off

The day Julija was born should have been a day of celebration for Jasmina and Ivica Čuković, a Serbian couple, who had tried for years to have a baby. But the events following their daughter’s birth in a public hospital in Belgrade, Serbia’s capital, left them confused and distraught. After the baby was delivered, no one brought her to her mother. Nobody, not even the doctors , offered an explanation. Nobody brought the newborn back to her mother at feeding times, either. The couple asked about their daughter’s whereabouts and waited anxiously for an answer. Yet all Jasmina was told was not to cry. “You will have another child,” the nurses said – as if a newborn could be discarded and replaced like a broken doll. Julija, it seemed, had been written off. It was assumed that not even her parents would want her around. Four years later, Julija, or Juca as her parents call her, is a happy, trusting little girl with a mane of blond wavy hair and a lopsided smile. She has been all across Serbia and even to far-away Australia, where she became a bit of a local celebrity. But when her father takes her for a walk in Kragujevac, her hometown 120 kilometers southeast of Belgrade, he is often met by looks of furtive pity or outright prying. Children need their rights no matter how they are born so lets make sure they are respected and so are the parents! This story is the sad reality of the world we live in but only we can make a change together.

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