Reimagining Adoption

Nov 24 - When my daughter adopted a child

Category: Submission by a grand parent - Jaipur

It was about five years ago. We must have been sitting in the drawing room when our daughter called from Mumbai. After the initial conversation she told me in a soft voice that she and her husband were planning to adopt a child. I was confused. They were already blessed with a son, and why would they want to bring some one else's child into the house. I didn't respond and put the phone down.

Two week later my daughter and son-in-law visited me and explained the whole plan to me.They felt that there were so many children in this world, and instead of producing one more baby, they could as well adopt a girl child, also completing their family. I was quite furious. I had already beleived that adoption is done by unfortunate and helpless couples who cannot have their own child. I tied pursuading them with my arguements, but they seemed convinced, and it was I who started feeling helpless with the situation. Were they trying to take advantage of me being single, having lost my husband a few years back? They could not have dared to even think of adoption while he was alive. We spent the weekend alternating between silence and arguements. They left for Mumbai and I took to crying hoarse over next few weeks, every time my daughter called.

I roped in my elder daughter to discourage the younger one from this ill conceived idea. As a family we were proud of our lineage, and never in my life could I think of our blood lines being diluted with someone of unknown precedents. Plus I had my own views against adoption - having yet to see a single happy family in adoption. My daughter argued and corrected, that in fact I was yet to see any family in adoption - so it was unfair to make assumptions based on hearsay.

Few months passed and nobody could influence my daughter. Most my relatives sympathized with me, and took pity on my situation. Many felt that my daughter should not have done this to me in my old age. Finally I received that dreaded call when my daughter informed me that they had received information about a child being available in some rural area - a few hours away from Mumbai. My daughter had invited me to bring home the child. I was furious and inconsolate. I was unable to control this development, yet could not be part of it too. My elder daughter too was asked to join, but none of us were comfortable being prt of this process. God only knows, what kind of child were they getting and from where. Most probably, my daughter wanted a nanny to look after the child, and this was the reason they wanted me to join them. Or so I thought.

They brought their child soon thereafter. I did not know how to react. This was perhaps the first major decision where my daughter not only went against my wishes, but actualy ignored me completely. I felt hurt and humilated. For next few months, every time my daughter visited me, I maintained minimum conversation and kept aloof from her adopted child. I didn't want to make it obvious, but I am sure they could sense that my love for their son was natural, while I was pretty mechanical in responding to their daughter.

Years passed, and I could not forgive my daughter for this blunder. I happened to be with them to recover from a fractured leg, when my grand daughter's third birthday arrived. My daughter and son-in-law had planned a huge party. I was suprised. Who celebrates the birthday for an adopted child? Thanks to my confinement, I could not run away from the situation. I found it very difficult to face the occasion. I had decked up for the evening, but my heart was crying. I was feeling all alone.

Suddenly, my thoughts were interrupted with the welcome cry of my elder daughter. What was she doing here. I was surprised to see her attend this strange event. I was more surprised at the ease with which my two daughters joined hands in pulling together the party. I guess I had more in surprise for me. During the party, I was introduced to several other families who had adopted a child. I just could not believe my eyes. All of these families seemed happy. No one could sense, without being told explicitly, that there was an adopted child between them. Most kids were young, and difference in facial features were not so obvious - that is until someone wanted to run an audit. The images from the party kept flashing before me for several weeks. The antics of the children, their giggles, their tantrums and their joys kind of woke me up from my deep slumber. I felt so naive, stupid and out of place in stereotyping adopted children. I had refused to exit from my own fancy of adoption, where none existed, I had painted adoption in a light which it wasn't, and I had wrongly beleived that happiness was found only in blood relations. The experience at the party proved me wrong! Terribly wrong !

If one event could expose me so much to the truths around aodption, I could have learnt so much being part of my daughter's aodption journey in last three years. I felt cheated at losing out on last few years of joys with my daughter and her newly built family. I blamed myself for restrainig my human emotions in not welcoming the little child. I held myself responsible for not being part of the adoption process. Where else would I have got an opportunity to understand how adoption happens, where do children come from, who looks after them before they come into the family, what challenges are faced by parents etc. Not only I chose to remain ignorant, I caste aspertion on my own family members instead of being of help to them.

I would have cried and cried to myself. I did not have courage to face my daughter with my neo-enlightened self. But they could see the difference in my attitude. They actually became suspicious at my proximity towards my grand daughter and tried keeping her away from me, should I corrupt her mind. But this could not have continued. I had chained my emotions once and paid heavily for the same. I could not afford to lose the joys remaining with me. I approached my daughter and made all my confessions. Tears of joy flowed through both our hearts. While I am still not naturally loving 100% towards my grand daughter, but I am hopefully getting better at it. At least I have got freedom from many biases I held against her. Her innocent smile, questions and pranks will hopefully pull me out of my remaining blues. (As told and Transcribed to FoJ over phone)

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