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.
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".
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
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.
(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.
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."
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
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.
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.
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
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: email@example.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.