Singapore

Baby Angie's adoption fiasco: S'porean adoptive mum on how joy turned to despair

S'pore couple, who have a son, said they adopted Angie to complete the family

It has been an emotional roller-coaster ride for Mrs Cannie Wong, going from hope and joy to despair and dejection over an adoption gone awry.

She and her husband have a son, but they have always wanted a daughter to complete the family.

The couple started looking for a child in 2013 and attended adoption courses in Singapore to prep themselves.

They met many orphans, but did not adopt any of them. That is, until they came across Angie.

Through a friend's recommendation, they met a middleman who introduced them to Angie in September last year.

Mrs Wong, who is in her 40s, fell for the toddler when she met her in a Johor Baru shopping mall.

She felt an instant affinity with the two-year-old, she said, and decided on the spot to adopt her.

Speaking in Mandarin, Mrs Wong told the media in JB: "Angie is a clingy, little girl. She is smart and kind, and has a strong character.

"We liked her the moment we saw her."

The couple brought Angie to Singapore in mid-November after a lawyer helped them complete the adoption process in Malaysia.

They gave a RM12,000 (S$3,940) "hongbao" to Angie's birth father, a 33-year-old with a history of substance abuse.

Mrs Wong and her husband gave Angie a new name - Wang En Ci, which means thankful and benevolent - and made elaborate plans for her future.

"We felt that Angie has long slender fingers, so we sent her for art classes, music lessons, singing courses and more," said Mrs Wong.

And because Angie does not know how to count from one to 10 and cannot recognise pictures of birds, dogs and cats, Mrs Wong said her husband would teach the child patiently every night.

Mrs Wong runs her own business while her husband, a Singapore PR, is a professional.

Despite their hectic schedules, the couple would read stories to Angie at night when they were free.

But their joy was short-lived.

Barely 50 days after spending precious time with her daughter, Mrs Wong was shocked to read newspaper reports of Angie's "disappearance".

At that time, Angie was in Ipoh under the care of Mrs Wong's 75-year-old mother-in-law because Mrs Wong and her husband were busy.

Mrs Wong said: "As we had business to attend to and we didn't want Angie to be taken care solely by the maid. So we decided to let my mother-in-law take care of her."

Madam Lee described Angie as a good girl. Angie enjoyed drinking the soup she made and liked to snack on biscuits, cakes and sweets.

But Angie did not like to wash her hair or brush her teeth so they decided to shave her head.

Then came the claim of kidnapping.

DEVASTATED

Mrs Wong was devastated. The outcome has made her cynical.

She said she now wants to cut off all ties with Angie and not see her again.

"Angie comes from a complicated family background and we don't want to be caught up in the drama.

"To prevent Angie from getting hurt again, we have decided not to adopt her any more and cut all ties."

But if Angie runs into any financial difficulties in future, Mrs Wong said she would provide her with some form of support via a middleman.

Mrs Wong is not asking for the return of the RM12,000 "hongbao" she gave to Angie's father.

"We have done everything according to the adoption procedures.

"We got the agreement book from her birth father and hired a lawyer to see through it," she said.

"I can't believe things took such a turn."

When reporters pressed on and asked her if she wanted to see Angie again despite her earlier insistence on cutting off contact, Mrs Wong seemed to soften.

She gave a pained look and repeatedly asked: "Can I see her? Can I see her?"

- Additional reporting by Jocelyn Lee

Angie comes from a complicated family background... To prevent Angie from getting hurt again, we have decided not to adopt her any more and cut all ties.

- Mrs Cannie Wong

'We just want to give her a good home'

CLARIFY: Mr Yap Yeen Min, who acted as a mediator between the couple and Angie's relatives. Also at the press conference were Mrs Cannie Wong (right) and her mother-in-law. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

The couple involved in the controversial adoption of the two-year-old girl, Angie Tiong, clarified that they only wanted to give her "a good and complete home".

Mrs Cannie Wong, a Singaporean in her 40s, said she was shocked to read newspaper reports about the girl's father telling the police that his daughter had been kidnapped.

"Before adopting her, we knew that she came from a broken home and were aware of her father's situation, so we felt a greater urge to take her in," Mrs Wong told a press conference held in Johor yesterday.

"The legal adoption process in Malaysia had been done and we did not have any ill intentions.

"We just wanted to give her a wholesome and good environment to grow up in."

Mrs Wong said she and her Malaysian husband, who is a Singapore PR, have a son and wanted a daughter, so they looked for a girl to adopt.

But after giving his daughter up for adoption, the father claimed she had been kidnapped by a friend.

Angie's plight was widely reported by the media after her father reported her missing last month.

Johor police have since said that the kidnapping claim is a misunderstanding and they have closed the case.

Mrs Wong said: "The middleman said Angie's father had debts and hoped we could help. So we gave sort of a token sum."

She and her husband gave the father a RM12,000 (S$3,940) "hongbao".

Angie's father was accused by relatives of "selling" Angie after he took her away from her Johor Baru home on Nov 9 last year.

The relatives lodged a police report last month.

ABANDONED

Malaysian newspapers said that Angie's mother is a Vietnamese who abandoned Angie when she was a baby.

Mrs Wong said she was shocked when her friend showed her the newspaper reports about Angie's disappearance.

"I didn't know her family was that complicated.

"My intentions were purely to adopt her and provide her with a good family," she said.

The Wongs completed the adoption process in Malaysia through a lawyer.

They had planned to begin the adoption process in Singapore, but the news of Angie's disappearance broke barely two weeks later.

Angie TiongAdoptionkidnappingJohor Baru