She is mine..

It was just another day; I boarded my bus and was on my way to work. The long journey on the bus often gives me time to peek into the morning news. As I pulled out the newspaper and sheepishly glanced through the content for the day I was reminded of the quote by the famous journalist – Malcom Muggeridge who said “All news is old news happening to new people”. As I flipped the pages hurriedly, my eye caught the line of the center page article “Adoption…an option”…just then the bus jolted and so did my heart. Any other woman could have skipped that column but not me. It was not merely a page with information but it pulled back the pages of my past …a story of transformation…

Even as the world observes the month of November as the ‘Adoption awareness month’ I hope my experience can help create awareness too many that choose adoption as an option. Here is my story…

There are often those moments in life when the search for meaning haunts you. As a single woman getting back to an empty home, I was merely existing and enduring than living. A home is built on love and love is shared with people, an empty house with walls staring at you each day is nothing better than incarceration. Unlike most working professionals who look forward to the weekend, I dreaded the idea of spending two lonely days. I tried my best to volunteer in schools, taking lessons for little children every weekend. While such activities distracted me for some time, the dark, gloomy questions kept coming back. I was certain that I had lots of love to give and was earnestly searching for reasons to live. But who was I living for?

Finally it dawned on me that I needed to give to receive, I had to get out of my cocoon and invest in someone who would be my reason to live. It was then that I seriously began considering adoption. It wasn’t easy as a single woman. Firstly, I had to overcome the doubts in my own mind, secondly, I had to face tough questions from my immediate family and finally the thought of swimming against the tides of societal norms was daunting. But I had made up my mind, I had stepped over the line, I was not going to retract. My agency search had just begun…

In the months that followed I almost knocked the door of every renowned adoption agency, not only in Karnataka but also in my home state of Kerala. Everywhere I went, the response was one of these –

“Sorry! You are single”

“How about your family?”

“You are working, how will you manage?”

“It is against our rules”

My visits to these orphanages left me with a sense of despair. All my dreams were crumbling right before my eyes. I felt like I was being sucked into a black hole. I was truly at the darkest ebb of my life.

Someone said “The road to disappointment often leads to a divine appointment” well, it was true for me. When everything seemed to be going wrong, just by chance (miracle really) I got an email id of an agency (Catalysts for Social Action) in Pune, Maharashtra. I immediately wrote to them and Dr Usha Pillai, the head of the organization responded immediately with the details of a 3 year old child who was rescued from a remote village called Lathur in Maharashtra. I was elated. My joy knew no bounds. For the first time in my search, someone had responded with the details of the child without detailing their rules and constraints.

I was on my way to Lathur…all alone

It was a bright Saturday morning in June, 2007; I sat eagerly at the lounge of the institution. A thousand pictures of chubby little girls flashed through my mind. Finally the wait was over and the matron brought the little girl who would be the fulfillment of all my dreams. But when I looked, I was truly in a state of shock. The mental imagery was a far cry from reality. A tiny kid, all skin and bones, staggered across the portico toward me. I stood there speechless. I did not know how to react. Seeing the look on my face, the matron quickly said “Would you want to look at other children?”  While I hesitated, little one had managed to come close to the old wooden chair on which I was seated. For a moment I thought she had heard the comment of the matron. Her little hands held my fingers, in an instant I grabbed those little hands and looked right into the eye of the matron (who was still waiting for my answer) and said “She is mine”. The papers were signed and we were ready to leave the next morning

A new phase in life had just begun…

My life had changed in a moment. I was now a woman with a reason to live. I was now a mother. My heart was bubbling with joy… immeasurable joy, and the little one become my Ameya – meaning immeasurable or boundless.

Initially we both had problems adjusting. She was a Maharashtrian, I was a Keralite. She was from lathur, I was from Bangalore. I spoke English and Malayalam, she understood neither. The first week almost passed in silence with no communication. Soon we evolved a sign language that only we could decipher. Slowly we began building our lives on the common foundation called ‘love’. My house of walls soon evolved into a home with hearts.

Years have rolled by; the malnourished child from Lathur is now my beautiful Ameya. She attends one of the prestigious schools in the city, (Kendriya Vidyalaya) and has a flair for languages. She speaks Kannada, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Assamese, Bodo and English. She accompanies me in all my community endeavors. We even stayed for over a year in the violence stricken parts of Bodo land (I spent 1.5 year in Assam as part of the community empathy program at Infosys). People often quip – “You behave so much like your mother” and we look at each other and smile. Ameya is enterprising and quick to make friends. Whether it is ‘Notebook Drive’ or ‘Rural Reach’ program, volunteers at Infosys look forward to seeing Ameya more than me.

We often take long walks in the parks and Ameya loves to hold my hand. Each time she locks her hand in mine, I remember the day when I took her hand to tell the whole world – “She is mine”.

Adoption…Adaption…and Jubilation. With Ameya, my search for meaning in life has come to an end…

Do consider adoption as an option.

More information about adoption,  http://www.childlineindia.org.in/central-adoption-resource-agency-cara.htm

– Suja Warriar 

(The Author, Suja Warriar is a Member of Sustainability Planning and Governance, Infosys Limited | Bangalore, India and is a frequent visitor at ISBR as a Corporate Leader – Mentor. Recently she attended Women’s Day celebration @ ISBR)

 

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