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Leena Nash
Leena Nash

Falling In Love...
By Leena Nash

"This is something I have always wanted to do." replied Emily, very matter of factly.  "Plus, I really want a little girl, and this is a sure fire way of getting a daughter". It made sense.  This is something she always wanted to do.  So did I.  So did every other good person in this world, and yet, hardly a handful of us actually go out into the world and do it.  I was impressed, but I also knew the hurdles she would encounter along the way, and wrote off her dream as one of those things everyone puts on a 'To Do' list, and never gets to.

I have always been a huge advocate of adoption, especially for couples who were unable to have children.  Yet, I found it intriguing that the majority of childless couples in India chose to remain so, rather than adopt a child.  I had even met couples who had adopted children from a sibling, but couldn't fathom the thought of taking on the responsibility of a totally unrelated child.

So when my Anglo-Saxon american friend (married to a desi) announced 2 years ago that they wanted to adopt a child from India, I was surprised, to say the least.  They have a son of their own, and they were physically able to have more children, so my initial reaction was 'why?'.  They had just returned from a 4 week pilgrimage back home, and while she was there, she visited a couple of orphanages in South India.

"This is something I have always wanted to do." replied Emily, very matter of factly.  "Plus, I really want a little girl, and this is a sure fire way of getting a daughter".

It made sense.  This is something she always wanted to do.  So did I.  So did every other good person in this world, and yet, hardly a handful of us actually go out into the world and do it.  I was impressed, but I also knew the hurdles she would encounter along the way, and wrote off her dream as one of those things everyone puts on a 'To Do' list, and never gets to.

But my friend, with her great determination and backed by her husband, started the ball rolling right away.  Step one was to have a home study done.  This involved a social worker coming to their home, and evaluating their ability to be good parents (which is ironic, since they already are parents).  In addition, 3 of their closest friends (I was honored to be included in that list) had to write letters of recommendation, citing reasons why they would be ideal parents for an adopted child.  I hate to admit it, but even as I typed away at that letter, I had doubts as to whether this entire plan would materialize.  They still had to contend with INS, the orphanage overseas, in-laws back home who couldn't begin to understand why they were doing such a thing, and last but not least, a long waiting period.

Within weeks (or so it seemed, although Emily swears it took months.  I'll trust her on this one.), they got word from the orphanage that a little girl named Sapna, 3 months old at the time, would be joining their family very soon.  The orphanage in Bombay even mailed a video tape of Sapna.  As I sat in Emily's living room watching this cutie gurgling away on tv, only then did it sink in that these guys were serious.  More so, I was humbled by this wonderful, selfless act.  I actually felt embarrassed.

"Emily, this is incredible."  I said, in complete awe.  "You are actually doing what I have been thinking about doing for years, but never did.  This baby is so lucky."

Emily looked at me, slightly perplexed, and said "She's lucky??  I am the lucky one.  I am being blessed with such a beautiful daughter.  Someone up there must like me."  Although I didn't think it was possible to feel more humbled, at this point, I did.  We spoke more about the other issues surrounding the adoption - not minor issues by any standard.  The cost ($20,000 USD from start to finish); how her in-laws would treat the baby; would her and her husband love this baby as much as their own flesh and blood; etc.  Despite the uncertainties, she was 100% sure that herself & her husband would love this child as much as their own.

"After we saw the video, we fell so in love with her.  In the end, that's all that matters anyway.  I don't care what anyone else thinks."  She was absolutely right.  I paralleled her feeling to how I felt when, at 20 weeks of pregnancy, the ultrasound technician pointed out a blob on the screen as our baby, and both me & my husband fell in love instantly with that pseudo jellyfish type life frolicking away on the screen.  We did indeed fall instantly in love with someone (in our case, something) we saw on a tv screen, because by then, we were already in love with the idea of having a baby.

Many more months passed (agonizingly slow for Emily), and she updated me along the way, as to Sapna's progress.  She was in constant touch with the orphanage (via email).  Sapna's first birthday came and went, and Emily grew more and more impatient for her daughter to come home.  Daily calls to the American consulate in Bombay, along with hair pulling sessions, got her through the next few months.  Finally, at 15 months of age, Sapna arrived to her new home and family in the US.  She arrived on her brother's 5th birthday, which I thought to be quite symbolic.

I invited them over the following week.  As I held Sapna, I was so overwhelmed with emotion - the long wait to get her; the fact that her birth mother could part with such a gorgeous child; the incredible change in direction for the course of her life; a bright future which awaits her, and which every other orphan in this world deserves.  Within a weeks time, Sapna had completely integrated into her new family.  More so, Emily and her husband were treating her the same as they did their son, and showering the same kind of affection on her which every parent shows their child.  As Emily cuddled her new daughter, she kept repeating how lucky they are to have her.  Sapna is a happy, healthy, loving baby, and Emily truly has been blessed.  When I saw the family together, it looked as if they had always been that way, and Sapna was always a part of their life.  In a way, she was.  She had found a place in their hearts, from the moment they saw her on that video tape, all of 12 weeks old, shaking her rattle, as if to say "I'll be home soon mom & dad".

Leena Nash lives in Texas and works in the telecommunications industry.  She is  the proud mother of 2 beautiful girls, and enjoys  travelling, web surfing, and writing in her free time. If you have any questions about adoption or the orphanage in Mumbai, email the author at: leena_nash@yahoo.com
Copyright 2001 Leena Nashikkar. All Rights Reserved. This article  may not be transmitted or distributed by others in any manner whatsoever without the permission of Leena Nashikkar. The author is solely responsible for the contents of the article.