God was with us. Firmly ascertained when Singapore government’s favourable decision (to allow us to adopt) reached on an auspicious “Dusshera” day, 2011. Soon, we shared the news with our world – relatives, friends, colleagues and well wishers
How people across a spectrum of nationalities reacted to it, was, to put it mildly, funny. While the western world treats it commonly, the eastern world proved they are still a ‘developing’ continent. People from Europe, North America or Australia took it positively and were quick to share examples within their friends or family.
Asians, generally, posed more questions. The queries ranged
from “why” to “whhhhhyyyyy” and some even gave ‘below the belt’ looks questioning our fertility levels – including the Chinese doctor when we visited for the kid’s vaccination update. That didn’t surprise us. Behind the glitter of consumerism, there lies a sad, inhumane side.
The trend in most Asian nations, when it comes to judging couples unable to conceive, is to direct the hanging sword only above the lady. To the extent, that she could be vilified, abused, divorced or even bumped off. In this extremely hypocritical & narrow minded part of the world, when it comes to a choice of taking the positive route and spreading happiness, humans prefer taking the bitchy route to drive egos and spread negativity.
Trisha and I set on our objective in June 2011 and prince found his home in July 2012 – putting an end to a 13 month long challenging period where we had to endure needless pains convincing relatives, agencies, Indian embassy and even seeking help from the Singapore Prime Minister’s office to overcome the red tape. In between, there were times we felt helpless; often ending up wondering whether it was all worth the struggle, frustration and stress.
There would be nights I would wake up from sleep and think of him. A two year old, unwanted, discarded, innocent soul crying inconsolably – every time we departed after meeting him at his foster home. Those were the times I would toss and turn on bed and end up questioning ‘what is the use of money, luxury, gadgets and lifestyle if I don’t have it in me to change the destiny of ONE child’. Trisha and I would spend a lot of those months taxing ourselves, digging solutions, raising convincing powers and pushing obstacles away …in a bid to fulfill our dream.
In between, movies like ‘Vicky Donor’ and ‘The Blind Side’ worked as fantastic stimulators. Its funny, but the world’s most influential tools – media and cinema -lack the art to entertain on sensitive, little talked about subjects; which can alter a society. They spend so much time on sensationalism and entertaining masses – which they should – often doing more for monetary profits than humanity. I will park this discussion for another day!
But now we feel privileged. After the initial teething issues, there is a happy house out there. A period we passed thanks to tremendous support from close friends, work colleagues, employers and my line manager. Suddenly the amount and time spent in getting him seems well invested. The cost was much less than what one pays for a normal delivery at a Singapore hospital. There were no anxieties, pains, complications or sleepless nights – which come with pregnancy and new born baby – and to put it in corporate terms, we “outsourced” a 2.5yr old prince.
Prince was actually selected by our Princess, Arushi, when we were meeting up potential kids. Arushi was mature enough to be part of the entire 13 month process. Despite err tender age, she was the first person we consulted when we were at the starting blocks. She always wanted a younger brother to play with and fell in love with prince instantly, when their eyes first met at the foster care. Along the way, while facing roadblocks, our ability to fight on kept getting recharged every time Arushi asked “when will brother come home”. She would ask that politely, privately; well aware within her six year old brains, that as change catalysts, we weren’t leaving any stones unturned.
And since he came in, Arushi hasn’t stopped summing up all her muscles in lifting and carrying him – at home, at playground, at department stores, even at her school. Her best friends followed suit. When we took prince to Arushi’s school (to distribute chocolates for her new sibling) four of Arushi’s best friends charged out of classroom (between the class!!) and started lifting and carrying prince up. A scene which reminded me of an Indian classic movie, Anjali, by Maniratnam; and a scene which left a trail of how much there is left for us all to learn from kids – they don’t understand barriers, they don’t understand race or religion, they care a damn about economic status, skin, colour or nationality. What matters to them is if you smile at me, I smile you back.
That’s why we have always felt, more power to the kids!