Reimagining Adoption

Nov 10 - The Alarm

Category: Submission by a parent

It was the spring of 2002. A gentle breeze filled up the courtyard outside the chapel where we had just spent last 15 minutes. Holding our son in their arms, the nuns of Snehalaya prayed before the altar to bless the child with love and happiness. Soon as we stepped out, the nun handed over the baby to me – in our care. It reminded me of my father sending me off into the new family on our wedding. The sentiment of “Bidai” was palpable. Their eyes were moist. The care givers were somber. They were happy at another child finding a home, and sad at the separation.

Just as we sat in the car, one of the nuns reminded me – “do not forget to give 3 hourly feed, as the baby is young, and you will need to get used to midnight chores”. With a smile on our face, we took their leave. The journey home was uneventful, with my son firmly perched on my lap – sleeping in a bliss. My husband was driving the car. My father and parents-in-law sitting beside us – joining us in a lifetime memory. We stopped over by a temple, seeking blessings for our youngest family member, and reached home by dusk.

For once, cooking our food, mending our house, doing the dishes didn’t seem my priority. All that could wait. Our son had woken up – seemingly tired after a 70 km ride and I was proactive to give him his first feed at home. He was the focus of all our attention and by the time we retired to bed, it must have been close to 11 o’clock. I took note of the parting advice, and set an alarm for 2 am – lest my baby go hungry.

We had our bundle of joy in between us. Me and my husband took turns in adoring him – talking about the last few months. We were amazed how seamless the journey felt, once it was behind us. Here was our son – with us – forever! We just couldn’t sleep. We were so excited. We had so much to share. We talked and talked to our son – who was fast asleep – but center of our conversation. We didn’t realize when we would have slept off.

I was woken up from my deep slumber by a faint squeal. As a reflex action, I turned myself towards the side table, expecting the worst. Did I sleep past my son’s feed time? Did the alarm not ring? Did he sleep back crying? All of that was unnecessary. There were feeble sounds coming from my son. He was sort of making faces, and twitching his muscles – as if trying to wake up. It was 1:30 am. Fairly ahead of the feed alarm. But my son’s inbuilt alarm was just setting off. I swung into action. Quickly prepared his feed and satiated his need. As he suckled under my arm, I felt stupid. I felt real stupid. Does one actually need an alarm clock by your side, when nature has gifted each child with the best alarm it can use, when hungry – shout! I was happy that I woke up before my son did. It was my first brush with motherly instinct.

From then on, he became my teacher. He influenced my instincts, my reflexes, my emotions, my metabolism, my food, my thoughts – he just didn’t make me a mother – he made me a better person.

Thank you my dear – for happening to us. I try to live each day with the same intensity of our first day. We love you, care for you and wish the best to happen to you – just as it happened to us.

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