US national Esther Jording was born Jamila in a poor family in Khulna before she was sold for Tk500 by her father at five days old.
As an infant, she was adopted and taken to the States by an American couple. She spent the next 37 years of her life there, raising three sons.
But she never gave up her quest for her roots and finally found success two years ago.
With help from friends, she found her biological parents, Nurjahan Begum and Mohan Gazi, residents the Gunari village of Dakop upazila in Khulna district.
Esther rushed to Bangladesh to meet her parents.
Yesterday, she left her biological parents’ village home for Dhaka after having spent three days with them. Before leaving, with eyes soaked in tears, she told her mother: “No more fishing.”
Esther was born in 1977 as the fifth child of Nurjahan and Mohan. She was named Jamila. The poor couple used to live in Chalna at the time.
Five days after she was born, her father, who toiled hard with an ill physique to run the big family, took her to the AG Mission in Khulna and sold her for Tk500. He wanted to put Jamila up for adoption but did not know anyone who would adopt her for money.
Her mother Nurjahan was out working when Mohan took Jamila away. After coming back home from work, she asked her husband where their daughter was. Mohan told her in reply that someone had stolen their daughter.
Nearly eight months after that, American couple Mary and Pat came to the Khulna AG Mission, adopted Jamila, took her back home and from then on she came to be known as Esther Jording.
Her husband Lance Jording is a chemist in the USA. In 2013, Esther met Nawrin Saira, a Bangladeshi expatriate in the USA, on Facebook. A few days later, she got friends with Nawrin’s younger sister Nahid Brown, a teacher who also lives in the USA.
Analysing the Bangladeshi passport with which her foster parents brought her to the USA, Esther learned that she was from Khulna. She then contacted Nahid’s cousin Abu Sharif Hossain, who lives in Khulna. Sharif searched for more than a year and finally traced Nurjahan.
In January 2014, Esther got confirmation through a DNA test that Nurjahan is her biological mother. On June 27 this year, she came to Bangladesh along with Nahid. The next day, Esther met her mother at Sharif’s residence in Khulna. On June 29, she went to her parents’ village home in Dakop and spent a couple of days with the other members of her family.
While talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Nurjahan said: “I always thought that my daughter was alive. After I got the news that she had come, I could not eat or sleep. I could not wait to meet her. I am really happy after finally meeting her. The frustration is gone.”
Esther Jording told the Dhaka Tribune: “I cannot describe how happy I am. I was eagerly waiting to meet my mother. A 37-year quest has finally come to an end.”
She flew to Dhaka from Jessore airport yesterday afternoon and will leave for the USA on July 4.