A new life abroad
Since 2004, our Adoption Center has successfully found homes for over 500 abandoned babies. It also houses a few older children that have proven harder to place, however this month we reached an important milestone in our history as we celebrated our first international adoption of four-year-old Asha.
The story of Asha is tragic and all too common among our rescued babies. Sangita was a young girl of 18 from a village close to Ahmednagar. When a young man moved to town bragging about his so-called wealth, fleet of vehicles and more, Sangita was taken in and fell for him. When he started promising to marry her, Sangita’s parents voiced their opposition to the relationship as he did not belong to their caste, but the rebellious teenager was in love so chose to ignore them and move in with her ‘fiancé’.
In August 2012, Sangita gave birth to a baby girl, Asha. In the meantime, she was beginning to realise that her baby’s father was not all he had claimed to be. His fleet of cars was due to the fact he was employed as a driver, he had been financially cut off from his family for many years and he also had established a reputation for luring young girls like Sangita by making false promises and pretending to be rich.
Gradually he started harassing Sangita and, realising the trouble she was in, she turned to her parents for help. They and her brother refused her request telling her never to return to them again. Asha’s father had now started harassing her too and fed up with his behaviour, Sangita left him, taking little Asha with her. They were forced to roam the streets, where Sangita became a vulnerable target for sexual exploitation by local predators and a gang soon started harassing her and her child.
By 2014, Sangita and Asha were enduring horrible atrocities in Srirampur, a town in the north of Ahmednagar District. Hearing of their plight, our Snehjyot project coordinator, who works with sex workers and other women in distress, found, rescued and brought them to the safety of Snehalaya. In 2015, worried about the limited future she could provide her bright and lovely daughter, Sangita made the difficult decision to hand her over to the child welfare committee in the hope she would be adopted into a home with loving parents to provide the education, moral values, health and happiness that she felt unable to give. Little did she know the adventure she was sending Asha on.
The committee placed Asha in our Snehankur Adoption Center, where two dentists from California, USA who had been searching for a child to call their own for four long years were introduced to Asha and they realised their wait was finally over. They continued the international adoption process with renewed passion, sending pictures and videos of their home, family and city to Asha who became equally eager to go and live with her new mom and dad. While Asha underwent special tuition in English and cultural differences to help her to adjust to her new life in America, all of the required legal documentation was being processed through the Indian Home Ministry and Ministry for Development of Women & Children.
Although we will miss Asha's cheeky face in our adoption center, we’re pleased to announce that she is now on her way to the US where her new parents cannot wait to settle her in and help her adjust to her new life. Having completed the adoption through an agency they already have access to a vital support network of other adoptive parents and Asha’s new Gujariti-born grandmother can't wait to offer her support too.
Asha has made history in becoming the first of our children to be adopted internationally but she certainly won’t be the last. In the next few months, four more children with special needs, who have been unable to find a home with Indian parents will also be departing for America and Europe. As our patron, Mrs Radha Milind Kulkarni, says: “These international parents are setting an example of love and sacrifice for others.”
Help us to find loving homes for more children like Asha, donate to our Adoption Center here.