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Every child deserves to feel wanted, to be the main character in someone’s life, not a footnote. Adoption can often be just that.
Kalpana’s heart often led her down roads less traveled. She believed that every face in a crowd had a story that deserved a listener. At twenty-nine years old, with a promising career and a happy married life, she struggled to start her own family. On a humid summer day, scented with sweetness from the mangoes in the orchard, Kalpana’s path crossed with that of Reena, the neglected bloom in a garden of daughters.
Kalpana and her husband arrived at her parents’ house in the village for summer vacation. Kalpana’s Bua (Father’s Sister) was already there with her four daughters — Meena, Seema, Rekha, and the youngest, Reena. These girls were Kalpana’s cousins.
The air was thick with unspoken words as Reena moved like a shadow in the house, her eyes holding stories no child should carry. Reena was only four years old. After the welcome hugs and chai-biscuit, the adults settled down to chit-chat, and the children went off to play. But Kalpana felt very unsettled looking at Reena.
“Why don’t you play with the others, Reena?” Kalpana’s voice was gentle, an invitation.
Reena’s response was a shrug that seemed to carry the weight of the world. “They say I’m too much,” she muttered, kicking at the dust with bare feet.
As the days unfurled like the monsoon clouds rolling in, Kalpana saw Reena’s world through the window of fleeting glances and half-heard conversations. Her small hands were more familiar with brooms than toys, her back bent in labor rather than arched in laughter. Kalpana’s heart ached, a silent drumbeat in harmony with the child’s unspoken longing.
“Bua, why is Reena sweeping the floor? She is too small to do such things.”
“Yes, you are right, Kalpana, but how else will she learn to do house chores? This time she came back from her Chacha’s house after five months and learned to do a lot of chores.”
“But — why Bua?” Kalpana asked in surprise. “Just last year, Reena went to her Mausi’s house for three months. Doesn’t Reena go to school? Why does she keep flitting from one home to another at such an early age without you?”
“I can’t go along with her everywhere; else who will take care of the rest of the house? Moreover it’s one less mouth to feed and less clothes to buy. Huh.”
In the muted glow of early morning, Kalpana would often find Reena in her quaint corner of the world, a nook amidst chaos, a quiet rebellion against the unspoken rules that dictated her worth. Kalpana watched, her heart a whispering gallery of emotions, as Reena’s parents bemoaned her birth like a lament to a lost cause. They didn’t see a daughter; they saw a dowry they couldn’t afford, a societal debt they were resigned to but could never repay.
The irony wasn’t lost on Kalpana. Reena’s mother, her hands roughened by both work and worry, would often sigh a monsoon of despair into the kitchen air, her voice a broken lullaby, “Another girl, a burden heavier than the last.”
Reena’s father, a man weathered like the bark of an old tree, echoed the sentiment in the shadows of his furrowed brow. “How will we ever manage?” He’d murmur to the walls, as if they too bore witness to the unfortunate fate of having yet another daughter.
Kalpana saw the invisible chains that bound Reena’s parents, tradition and expectation weaving a net from which they couldn’t escape. Their love for Reena, tangled in a thicket of societal norms, became a love spoken in hushed apologies and cloaked in heavy sighs.
Kalpana’s mind was a canvas of conflict, her longing for motherhood battling the societal script that had long been written for her. The thought of adoption seemed like a branch out of reach, until she saw the neglected child Reena.
“Why not hold a hand that’s already reaching for you?” Kalpana’s husband suggested gently, a question that settled in her heart like a seed awaiting spring.
At that very moment, Kalpana’s resolve solidified like clay under a potter’s determined hands. She watched Reena, whose smile was as rare and fleeting as a raindrop in a drought. The desire to adopt Reena became a fire that no reasoning could douse.
Conversations at home began to change. The sterile language of medical procedures gave way to talks of a different kind of hope for Kalpana. And one evening, as Kalpana and her husband sat on their porch, watching the sky change hues, they made a decision that felt like a homecoming.
“We’ve been focused on creating life, but maybe our purpose is to give a life to someone who is already here,” her husband said, the decision clear in his eyes.
Kalpana took a deep breath. “I want to give Reena a chance, a family, a home. I want to adopt Reena.”
The room stilled as if the very air was waiting for a response. “You’re serious?” Kalpana’s uncle asked, a furrow of disbelief on his brow. “You are Reena’s cousin!”
“As the sun is to the day,” Kalpana affirmed, her determination shining through her earnest eyes. “Yes, I am Reena’s cousin, but I know I can be her mother.”
The negotiations were like a delicate dance of hope and hesitation. The turning point came when Kalpana said, “Every child deserves to feel wanted, to be the main character in someone’s life, not a footnote.”
Under the sweaty ceiling fan, in the quiet afternoon, Kalpana sat with Reena’s parents, the air between them heavy with brewing decisions. Her voice, when she spoke of adoption, trembled like a leaf, but her conviction was the sturdy branch from which it hung.
The conversations that followed were a chessboard of doubts and fears. Reena’s parents, bound in their own struggles, looked at Kalpana with a complex feeling of gratitude and apprehension.
The day Kalpana spoke of adoption, Reena’s mother’s eyes flickered with a pain that was a cross-stitch of relief and sorrow. She whispered, a tear betraying her stoic façade, “To give her an opportunity for a life we never could, perhaps that is our final gift. But will Reena be happy?” Reena’s mother’s voice cracked like a weathered road.
Kalpana reached across the table, her hand an anchor. “Happiness grows best in the garden of love and care,” she whispered back, her eyes promising a thousand unspoken joys.
With hearts heavy yet hopeful, Reena’s parents agreed. The legalities unfolded like a series of stepping stones leading to a new beginning. Kalpana’s home transformed, each room echoing with the promise of love and warmth for the new member.
The day Reena arrived at Kalpana’s doorstep, it was etched with the soft light of a new dawn. “Welcome home, Reena,” Kalpana said, her voice a lullaby of new beginnings.
Reena’s eyes, wide and cautious, met Kalpana’s. “Is this really my home?”
“Forever and always,” Kalpana whispered back.
The days that followed were a series of triumphs and trials. Teaching Reena to read was like watching dawn break, slow and beautiful. There were nights, though, when Reena’s sobs were the only sound, as if she was unlearning the silence she had been swathed in.
“Why are you so nice to me?” Reena once asked Kalpana, her voice as small as the whisper of leaves.
Kalpana knelt before her, her hands cupping Reena’s face. “Because you’re my daughter. Not by first breath, but by heart.”
Years unfolded and Reena blossomed like a lotus reaching for the light. She became the family’s heartthrob, her achievements a shared joy, her smile a common language of happiness.
Kalpana often said, “Adoption is not about filling a void. It’s about multiplying love.” She became a beacon in her community, her story a silent ode to the courage and love that defines adoptive parents.
On a crisp November day, as leaves painted the ground with golden hues, Reena stood before a crowd, the keynote speaker for Adoption Awareness Month, under the gentle glow of the auditorium lights. Worlds collided. Reena on stage, looked confident and beaming.
“My mother chose me,” Reena said, her voice clear and strong, “and every day, I choose to be grateful, to be happy, to be me. She’s my hero, not because she saved me, but because she gave me the world.”
Kalpana, sitting amidst the audience nodded, a silent admission of the irony of life’s twists squeezed her husband’s hands. “See how she shines,” Kalpana whispered, a conduit of understanding and empathy.
Kalpana, with Reena by her side, proved that love could rewrite stories, that a child’s worth was not tied to tradition but to the limitless potential within them.
And as the curtains fell, Reena’s two worlds merged in applause. The heartache of letting go was overshadowed by the triumph of what Reena had become. Her parents’ sacrifice, born of societal chains, had been transformed into Reena’s freedom, her flight into a future written by love, not by ledger.
Editor’s note: It is legal to adopt a relative in India, within the country, but unlike what is shown in movies, it is not just a “let’s take the child home” scenario. There are laws that safeguard both adoptee and adoptive parents, as well as biological parents, and the procedure as stated here needs to be followed.
More reading material:
Wondering How To Adopt In India? Here are Answers To 15 FAQs About Adoption!
Child Adoption From Hospitals Is Illegal And Unethical, Unlike What Films Would Have Us Believe!
8 Books On Adoption That Will Give You A 360 Degree View Of This Way To Create A Family
Image source: by Champa Bangari from Getty Images Free for Canva Pro
I am a photographer and an avid reader. I am not a writer but I like to give words to my emotions. I love to cook and hike. I believe in humor and its impact read more...
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As he stood in front of his door, Nishant prayed that his wife would be in a better mood. The baby thing was tearing them apart. When was the last time he had seen his wife smile?
Veena got into the lift. It was a festival day, and the space was crammed with little children dressed in bright yellow clothes, wearing fancy peacock feather crowns, and carrying flutes. Janmashtami gave her the jitters. She kept her face down, refusing to socialize with anyone.
They had moved to this new apartment three months ago. The whole point of shifting had been to get away from the ruthless questioning by ‘well-wishers’.
“You have been married for ten years! Why no child yet?”
I huffed, puffed and panted up the hill, taking many rest breaks along the way. My calf muscles pained, my heart protested, and my breathing became heavy at one stage.
“Let’s turn back,” my husband remarked. We stood at the foot of Shravanbelagola – one of the most revered Jain pilgrimage centres. “We will not climb the hill,” he continued.
My husband and I were vacationing in Karnataka. It was the month of May, and even at the early hour of 8 am in the morning, the sun scorched our backs. After visiting Bangalore and Mysore, we had made a planned stop at this holy site in the Southern part of the state en route to Hosur. Even while planning our vacation, my husband was very excited at the prospect of visiting this place and the 18 m high statue of Lord Gometeshwara, considered one of the world’s tallest free-standing monolithic statues.
What we hadn’t bargained for was there would be 1001 granite steps that needed to be climbed to have a close-up view of this colossal magic three thousand feet above sea level on a hilltop. It would be an understatement to term it as an arduous climb.
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