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Adoption, Down Syndrome

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Jun 1, 2004
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About 5 years back, when it was my father’s birthday, I went to an orphanage to distribute sweets...that’s when I saw Avnish for the first time.

He was 5 months old, lying on a bed in a corner. No one was paying any attention to him. I couldn’t help myself, so I went and picked him up- he laughed, and we just clicked. I asked the warden what was going to happen to these kids, he said that all but Avnish would get adopted because Avnish was ‘Paagal’, had Down Syndrome and was going to die in a few years anyway.

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When I went home that night, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. About how he’d be alone the whole night, and was just left to die.

So I went back to the orphanage and asked if they’d let me adopt Avnish. They laughed and said that a bachelor, younger than 30 had no right to adopt.
I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I couldn’t give up. I started visiting the orphanage often, and spending time with Avnish. I even started asking about his medical condition and documentation to make sure he was being treated right. But every time I asked, the warden was dodgy.

They even shifted Avneesh to an orphanage in Bhopal, because they were tired of me snooping. I didn’t relent- I wanted to be there for Avnish.
I drove down every weekend to meet him and even researched on adoption laws in India. Everyday I’d write letters to ministers and public figures to help me.
I even got in touch with the child welfare council, but they said that they didn’t have any record on Avnish.

That didn’t sit well with me. I realised that there were many more undocumented kids at the orphanage. Something was fishy - a lot of these kids were disappearing and I suspected they were victims of child trafficking and organ selling.

I didn’t want Avnish or any other kid to have that fate. So I started going to the police, and filing petitions to bring the truth out.

I began getting calls from people, telling me to ‘stay out’ of the matter or something would happen to me.

Finally my breakthrough came when the Welfare Minister responded and said that she’d help me. That expedited everything, and soon that orphanage was exposed and banned.

After 11 months, I was finally given Avnish’s custody and all the other kids were saved, and sent to a better home.

It was the happiest moment of my life. I lived alone, so I baby-proofed my house, spent nights understanding how to change diapers and how to take care of Down Syndrome babies.

And the day Avnish came home, it was like sunshine walked into my life. I wouldn’t be spending another night, worrying about him -- because he was right next to me.

Today, it’s been a few years and now Avnish even goes to playschool! He calls me both mumma and papa, because mostly he sees mom’s coming to pick their kids up at school. When I go to work, he stays at daycare and at night we play and read. He’s the best thing that’s happened to me, he’s my world, he’s my son and together, we’re going to make this life, a special one.”
 

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ਧਨਾਸਰੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥

ਸਿਮਰਿ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਅਪਨਾ ਸੀਤਲ ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਛਾਤੀ ॥
ਰੂਪ ਰੰਗ ਸੂਖ ਧਨੁ ਜੀਅ ਕਾ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਮੋਰੈ ਜਾਤੀ ॥੧॥

ਰਸਨਾ ਰਾਮ ਰਸਾਇਨਿ ਮਾਤੀ ॥
ਰੰਗ ਰੰਗੀ ਰਾਮ ਅਪਨੇ ਕੈ ਚਰਨ ਕਮਲ ਨਿਧਿ ਥਾਤੀ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

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