J.M.W.L. was born in Peru in 1993. She was a baby when her biological mother died. J.M.W.L. was taken in by the rest of her family, but they ill-treated her. The child was eventually declared abandoned and put into an orphanage.
Jeanne Wagner is the mother of four children living in Luxembourg. When J.M.W.L was three years old, Jeanne decided to adopt her. Jeanne spent several weeks in Peru carrying out all the national legal requirements, working with an international agency. The Peruvian courts approved the adoption in November 1996.
J.M.W.L. and her new mother then travelled back to live in Luxembourg.
However, the Luxembourg courts refused to register the full adoption, saying that this was not available to a single woman under Luxembourg law at the time.
This left J.M.W.L. with her links to her Peruvian family cut, but without being replaced with full ties to her adoptive mother in Luxembourg. This created serious problems – in particular because J.M.W.L. was denied Luxembourg citizenship and could not enjoy the legal protection which would enable her to fully integrate with her adoptive family.