Your eyes are the windows of your soul which also helps you to take a peek at the outside world. Which one is the most special to you – the left or the right eye? Ridiculous to even ask such question, right? Both are special in serving the same purpose. I consider my children – one of them adopted, another biological to be my two eyes who have helped me get a clear perspective of the external world without whom I was as lost as a blind person in this concrete jungle. They are guiding me to reach my ultimate destination and making the journey enjoyable as I fumble across this extremely challenging path of being a parent. Each has its own special place in my heart.
My adopted daughter came into my life as a 2 months old baby after 8 years of marriage. For a week before her arrival, I read a lot of books on babies, adoption and how to bond with a newborn – kind of like a crash course for dummies. After the adoption formalities, when the orphanage finally gave that tiny infant in my hand, I was overwhelmed with emotions mostly doubts as to whether I will be a good mom. With a humble prayer, I thanked God for trusting us with that precious little darling and asked him to help me take care of that tiny bundle of joy in the best possible manner. Thus our journey to parenthood began on a rainy day from Mangalore to Bangalore reminding us of the similarity of Baby Krishna’s journey from Mathura to Brindavan.
The baby was crying a lot during our flight back and also after reaching home. May be it was the change of place, new people etc. We tried feeding, changing diapers, singing songs and whatever we could, but nothing worked. Then suddenly something magical happened. While I was trying to comfort the baby, she started suckling my neck and fell asleep like that. Tears of joy filled my heart knowing that she has accepted me as her mother. This continued for many days as her comforting factor while she adjusted to her new life as our daughter. Even though, I had my mom to help me take care of the baby for a while, the baby would do this only with me which clearly showed that she approved me as her mom, thus beginning our lifelong mother – daughter bonding.
I never missed to capture any first baby moment. Right from the time, she started to turn over, crawl, walk, talk etc. I was a proud mom making sure that all her needs are met and made her the priority of my life. More than anything, I became an extremely protective mom who was not ready to share with the world that my daughter was adopted. It was only in the best interest of her, fearing that it might hurt her emotionally if anybody made her feel inferior because of that fact. Also from the early childhood, I read her stories about Lord Krishna to emphasise the similarities between Yashodha and me. I wanted her to understand and know the facts at her pace that she is different and very special from all the other children.
Over the years, we were asked countless of times by outsiders this one very infamous question, “Your daughter does not resemble you or your husband. Who does she look like?” To which I have always replied that she is a unique blend of all the people in my family. Also another interesting topic of discussion among the moms groups wherever we go is about their respective pregnancy and delivery. I used to respond vaguely and changed the subject immediately. But all these made me realise that it is better to start preparing our daughter more to avoid any untoward incident in the future. It was an extremely delicate subject to discuss with your little one who was growing up into a fun loving, active, energetic little girl with varying interest in sports, arts and other extra curricular activities. So we explained to her that she is our adopted child which means that she is our Gift from God. This explanation was good enough for her at the age of 5.
My life fully revolved around my daughter. I was doing the pick up / drop to school, taking her to different classes in the evening, playing in the park with her, teaching her homework etc. All these time that she spent with me turned her into a complete chatterbox who could go on for hours talking without knowing when to stop. Plus there was this additional challenge that she was and still is a strong willed child defying all authorities. The complaints from the school teachers made me realise that I need to put some ground rules in place too. So I started becoming a little stricter with her by scolding / disciplining her if there is a need. Now I don’t feel the need to pamper my daughter just because she has made me a mom. To become a good mom, I had to erase that piece of information from my mind that she is adopted. And with that one single step, I actually felt like a better mom, instead of just feeling like an acting mom.
Change is the only thing which is constant and life surprises you with unexpected changes every time. I honestly didn’t know how to react when I found myself pregnant when my daughter was 7 years old. My concern was how this might affect her psychologically. To develop that sibling bonding, I used to take her to all my doctor visits, let her see the ultrasound scan, discuss baby names with her, make her feel the baby kicks to basically make her be a part of the whole process as a family together. As she started looking forward to being big sister, she also started asking many questions about her birth. Since she was slightly older, we gave her a little more detail. Her first reaction was denial, then crying and after some consoling she could comprehend clearly. I felt sad seeing her go through the kind of emotions that she did, but it is better that she understood the facts clearly from us directly and came to terms with the reality.
When my son was born after 16 years of marriage, the whole family was on cloud nine. But the excitement of that little girl who taught me how to be a mom was the one that I cherish the most. She became this extra caring, doting, responsible big sister to this very lucky baby who is fortunate to have a big sister as a second mother. As ours is a nuclear family now, my daughter happily becomes the babysitter when I am doing some work in the kitchen. I would like to believe that this maternal instinct could be because she has seen me play the role of her mother and that she would like to emulate me by taking care of her baby brother. Even though I feel flattered by this, I feel that now is the time for her she to enjoy her childhood, develop her interests and concentrate on her studies. This is where I am at loggerheads with my daughter now. Being the rebel that she is, she doesn’t heed much to our requests. Now the price that we have to pay for this is coming in the form of lesser marks in her exams, as she chooses to play with her 2 year old baby brother than to complete her studies. I think it is great that the sibling bonding is established and we are all enjoying each other’s company, but I would like my daughter to also do well in studies and extra curricular activities as that will help in securing her future. I would like my daughter to be well educated and carve a niche for herself in any area of her interest and I am willing to support her in achieving her dream goals. Long forgotten is the fact that she is adopted. She is my daughter and I will make sure that she becomes independent and successful in life, just as I would like to see my son.
In conclusion, I would like to request the readers to treat your biological and adopted children equally without any partialities. Again going back to the same comparison, our ultimate mission should be to get a clear vision. You may have to achieve that by wearing corrective glasses with different numbers for both eyes if there is a need. You decide how you want to see this world by choosing one of the options whether glasses, lenses or corrective laser surgery depending on what you find convenient and suitable for you by being discreet about it. Here is wishing you all a very successful “Mission Vision 20/20” and Happy Parenting!!!
(Photo Courtesy – Internet)