Maya,Nishita and Bakul Bakshi with Shimona
A single professional who adopted a girl child, Nishita Bakshi describes how it took her one-and-a-half-years to bring Shimona home because adoption laws are loaded against unmarried women. Nishita is the daughter of Maya and Bakul Keshvalal Bakshi.
A woman takes nine months to become a mother.But it took Nishita Bakshi,a lawyer,one and a half years to achieve this feat.
The delay occurred because the 38-year-old had no husband to complete the family.
Unfazed,she drew strength from her parents unconditional support.And today,Nishita,a resident of Satellite,is the mother of Shimona,a darling 18-month-old girl.
The cries of mumma,nana,nanima fills the background,and a smiling Nishita spreads her arms wide.In hurtles Shimona.Hugging her bundle of joy,Nishita reveals that the past year and a half was nothing short of a struggle.
I submitted an application to an adoption centre in May 2008.I always wanted to adopt a girl child.As I filed the application,I became more confident about my decision.The tiny sliver of hesitancy that I was unaware of,dissolved when my parents expressed their support.
This,however,just the beginning of her trials.Being a lawyer,I assumed that the process of adopting a child would be easier for me.But I was surprised how much people objected to my single and unmarried status.There were adoption centres who rejected unmarried applicants.I had to change my adoption centre because of such an attitude, she says.
Finding an adoption centre that supported unmarried females did not make the journey any smooth.Nishita first had to convince the agency that she really wanted to adopt a girl.I was asked to declare that I would never marry.I refused because it was my decision whether I wanted to marry or not.No one could take away that right from me, said the lawyer,adding: Then,I was asked to submit an affidavit declaring that I would take care of Shimona if I got married.This was a shocker.Why on earth would I abandon a child I had voluntarily adopted I was also asked to get two couples who would take Shimonas responsibility after my parents and I die.
Then,it was time to see whether Nishitas house was suitable to bring up a child.The first home study got cancelled after it was found that the social worker was unqualified to carry out the check.Some agencies made weird assumptions and tried their best to discourage me.They surely would not have been so difficult if I had a husband in tow, she says.
In August 2008, Nishita finally received a piece of good news.The adoption centre had found a baby matching her looks and background.
One look at the three-monthold baby,and Nishita lost her heart to Shimona.The Child Welfare Committee gave Shimona into Nishitas foster care in December 2008.They were emotionally mother and child,but legally a lot of work had to be completed.
After another year of paperwork,the adoption was finalised.
In January this year,Nishita finally received a birth certificate from the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation the scrap of paper that officially declared Nishita to be Shimonas mother.
Today, Bakul and Maya Bakshi cannot imagine a life without Shimona.Her giggles fill the house.When she is not around,we feel bereft.We are glad our daughter decided to give a good life to a girl child, says Bakul.
Maya adds,Shimona is an intelligent and adorable kid.She does not throw tantrums and is very popular among our friends,relatives and neighbours.She is the apple of our eye.
Nishitas struggle has motivated her to help others in a similar situation.Why should an orphan not get a good family life The system should not be discouraging people from adopting children.I feel blessed to have Shimona.I want others to enjoy the same joy I receive when I see my daughters smiling face.
As told to Shraddha Shah. This article first appeared in the Ahmedabad Mirror.
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