Raising Children

My Dream, My Daughter - V
- Purnima Mirchandani

Read on about Purnima's touching journey into motherhood. She's finally told her daughter the truth about her adoption. Here's how Malavika coped with this revelation.

Though she is an overly sensitive child who gets upset when a friend has been hurt or an animal is not taken care of, she was not upset by the news. She was so secure in our love. Of course she asked a lot of questions. "Tell me about it, when did you see me, and what happened when you saw me, who was there when you brought me home" etc. We showed her the pictures of her first day at home, the announcement in the papers because we were so proud to have her, and told her how much everyone loves her. She was secure that she was our child and that we were her parents, and we loved and wanted her very much, and that this was the way "it was meant to be".

Luckily, our daughter has some very good friends, some of whom are older than her and treat her as a younger sister to be babied. When she was about 4 yrs old, they heard she was adopted (I have no idea who the source was), and were discussing it amongst themselves. Luckily one of their parents heard of this and told me about it. I had a talk with the children, and explained the concept of adoption and told them that as she was too young to be told they should not discuss it in front of her as she would be upset hearing it from someone other than us. I told them that they could ask me any questions they had or talk about it among themselves. If I said it was a taboo topic it would pique their curiosity, and they would keep talking about it - but they were mature enough to say that they did not need to talk about it (they were about 9-10 yrs old at that time). I told them that she would need their love and support when I broke the news to her. That made them feel very important and wanted, and they never mentioned it to her. In fact, 2 years later, when they heard we had now told her, they felt she was still too young.

Acceptance by family and friends is very important - it helps give the child continuity & adds to the feeling of security.

It is very important for the adoptive parents to have the qualities of patience and perseverance, and the flexibility required to face all odds. There have been times over the years when she has asked questions, and the appropriate answers have just come to me at that time. God gives us the strength and the presence of mind to come up with the right answer.

When she was about 9 yrs old, something she said made me want to shout with joy from the rooftops. Being a voracious reader, she happened to pick up the Reader's Digest and saw an article about a Korean girl who had been adopted into an American family. I did not realize that she had seen that - on hindsight I am so glad she did and realized things naturally. She asked me about the article and I gave her the outline of the story. She skimmed through it too - grasping whatever she could at her age. That article was the catalyst for me to know her thoughts. We talked about the Open book system abroad and the Closed book system here where one cannot get any information on the birth parents. She was curious about this, and then turned around and stunned me. She said, "This is better, because then you don't have to make the decision about whether to stay with your parents or with your birth mother. You love your parents so much and you also want to be with your birth mother, and it is a difficult decision to make." It was finally out in the open, and I wondered what would come next, wary, and yet confident that God would help me to find a way to talk to her as He always has.

At that point, I asked her a question I have shunned from asking, not wanting to start a thought process that may not be there. I told her that she must be curious to know who her birth mother was, like the child in the story; and she said "No", quickly changing it to "Yes - a little, but not really. I have a lovely family and parents and friends who I love very much," - so saying she pulled my cheeks affectionately, as if consoling me that it was all right. She is such a caring and sensitive child! I brought to her notice that the birth mother normally asks the agency to find a home for the child because for some reason she is not able to take care of the child, so obviously she would not want the child back - and this was also mentioned in the story she had read. She accepted that so calmly. I had goose flesh all this while, whereas she acted so naturally - I thank God for the wisdom and strength He has given her to be so mature.

Having a child in the family makes all the difference in the world to us, and I am sure to all families who long for a child. We are parents with all the trials and tribulations of parenthood, but we thoroughly enjoy that, exasperating though it may be sometimes. It is very important to share the fact of adoption with your child, because he/she should never raise a finger and say, "You lied to me!" There should be total trust between parents and child.

My Dream - My Daughter - I

My Dream - My Daughter - II

My Dream - My Daughter - III

My Dream - My Daughter - IV

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