Rajat spoke about his desire to adopt ever since we were dating. His reasoning was simple - "If educated, financially stable people like us from the society do not adopt, who else will?" Though it took a while for me to understand the depth in his thoughts, I eventually did. And with that, our hearts and mind stood united on our decision to adopt.
As a first step, we spoke to parents who adopted among our family and friends. The biggest hurdle (read most time consuming part) in the adoption process, we were told, was the wait for a healthy child, especially in the most sought after < 1 year infant category (which was our preference). It so turned out that in big cities, the queue of parents wanting to adopt was long (waiting list ran in hundreds!) whereas orphanages in these cities had few to no children to offer for adoption, probably due to increased awareness levels about aborting unwanted children. So the demand supply ratio was quite skewed indeed! We were given to understand that we would need to wait anywhere between 2 to 5 years - an information we gathered by making calls/visiting orphanages in the cities of Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, and Kolkata where our family and friends were located.
Aggressive net surfing made us stumble across 'Catalysts for Social Action'. Through the CSA website, we were amazed to know that there are lots of children waiting to be adopted - all that adoptive parents need to do is be open to the idea of adopting from orphanages in smaller towns and rural areas, that's about it! With renewed hope in our hearts, we made a call to Ms. Lucy Mathews, the Program Coordinator in CSA. Within a day, Lucy promptly gave us the lead to Vihaan, a 7 month baby boy who met our preferences. And within a week of our call to Lucy, we met Vihaan for the first time! It sounds unbelievable but it is true - it took less than 4 months to bring Vihaan home from the time we initiated our paperwork to adopt! And this was only possible because of CSA bridging the vital gap between us in Bangalore (Karnataka) and Vihaan in Nanded (Maharashtra) over a simple STD call!
Vihaan has been with us for 5 months now. He is an extremely active, cheerful and friendly child with absolutely no stranger anxiety whatsoever. We are learning a lot of things from him these days, like living in the moment, making do with whatever is available, the joy one spreads by staying cheerful all the time and so much more. We are truly blessed to have Vihaan in our lives.
Team CSA, yours is the hand of God! Thank you is too small a word to be used in this context. I sincerely hope and pray you continue the amazing work and bring joy to many many more families.
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