When we were living in Moresby, Margaret’s parents came to see us and sincerely offered her to us for adoption. Not an easy thing to do, but they were close relatives and had seven other kids and wanted her to be with her aunt and maybe have a better life.
So young Margaret came to live with us for around nine months. We paid for her schooling, bought her clothes and toys, watch movies with her (her favourite was Barbie) and took her into our life.
She stole ice cream from the fridge, looked after Jill the dog and gave me Christmas presents.
We grew to love her. We had made her our daughter. I was "Daddy Peter".
Then the time came for us to leave PNG. We needed the right paperwork and permission to adopt a child. But her mother changed her mind.
"You can't take my daughter away! I will take you to court!" After much acrimonious haggling we realised there was nothing more to be done.
We heard later that the mother wanted 5,000 more kina from us.
Poor Margaret was the victim - promised a new life, having lived with us in something of a life of luxury for some months and then having this all snatched away.
(When she first came to stay she was covered in sores as her mother used to beat her with Bougainvillea sticks, had had no vaccinations and was malnourished.)
I am not proud of this episode, and feel guilty to this day, although we are still in touch with Margaret.
I understand she has dropped out of school and fallen into bad company.
So if you are considering adoption from another country, think carefully as it may well have unintended consequences.
My fondest love and heartfelt apologies to Margaret.