Baby Girls in an Orphanage

We visited an orphanage recently and I saw this four and a half month old baby girl who has adactyly, she has missing digits in her right hand and right foot. her parents her left her there because of these missing fingers and toes. I tickled her chin and she smiled.
Most of the kids were three years and above. There were only two other infants, both girls. One baby was wrapped tightly in a sheet and gave my husband an angry frown, she was the youngest barely a month and a half old. The last one, the oldest I was told, was six months old, she lay in a dark corner in a cot and rocked herself, silently and expressionlessly. I wanted to spend some more time, stay and rock the one who rocked herself. Who left these little girls in care of strangers? We are visiting them again this Saturday. Is adactyly curable? Will this baby ever be able to use her right hand to write? What are the chances of her living a normal life? Can somebody tell me? She seemed alert otherwise.
I was glad these babies were being taken care of and terribly sad that this is all the care they were getting. No one to coo to them, no one constantly hovering over them, no one to come running if they cried, no one to rock and sing to them…
The Orphanage said we could sponsor a child if we wished to, and support her medical bills, milk, diapers etc if and until they are adopted. I can’t get these babies out of my mind now. I wish I could bring at least one of them home to loving care, a family and a set of doting parents…
It seems once they are legally abandoned (given up by the mother, I think she needs to sign some papers) nearly all ‘normal’ babies do get adopted. They said there is a waiting list of parents looking to adopt babies. I am not convinced. If all babies get adopted why have they got so many older children, who look like they are three or four but are actually six or seven!
And why do we still have street children?

Edited to add:

ADOPTION PROCEDURE IN INDIA
Register with the agency.
Meet the Social Worker. Parents interact with the Social Worker individually also.
The Social Worker also visits your home. You may need your neighbors’ references.
Some documents are required, your id proof, income proof, a medical report – all seem a sensible requirement in an attempt to ensure the children find stable and secure homes.
You pay the lawyer’s fees (again makes sense) and sometimes the child’s medical bills while in foster care or in the Orphanage.
Generally a few months wait is there, then you meet a baby, if you click you get to take the baby home but first one to three months you are legally only a ‘foster parent’.
A social worker will come and meet you a few times during the first year.

Single mothers and even bachelors CAN adopt. For e.g. Sushmita Sen’s daughter Rene Sen is an adopted child.
Older couples (45 and above) can adopt older children, 3-4 years old.
If you have a biological child, then if you have a daughter you can only adopt a boy baby, if you have a son you can only adopt a baby girl. It seems this was done to ensure that baby girls also find homes, most Indians want to adopt boys.
But why restrict those with daughters from adopting another girl?
I am not sure if these rules are followed very rigidly…

Some Adoption Stories – my next post.

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15 thoughts on “Baby Girls in an Orphanage

  1. Orphans are different from street children. Unlike orphans, street children may have parents who are exploiting them or who’ve lost their way home or who’ve left home on an impulse. They get addicted to a lifestyle of early independence. Street children also aren’t necessarily beggars. They do odd jobs to earn as much as Rs. 50 per day. While you need to find a new set of parents for orphaned children, street children usually need to berehabilitated – sent back home, and if needed, reconciled with their family.

  2. @D Yes, you are right, I knew this but the unhappiness over seeing these babies and hearing there is a waiting list for adopting them confused me. We also read about parents leaving unwanted babies in garbage dumps! Why not create awareness about legally abandoning a child for adoption?

  3. It’s a sad situation but like ye said … atleast they are being taken care of. Is abortion process not a long bureaucratic process in india as well as it is here?

    i am liking wordpress but it’s a pain to comment on blogger blogs. :/

  4. i guess it is that not all prospective families who are adopting have an altruistic approach…they want children who ” resemble” them or are fair (sadly) healthy, young (so they can be ‘ moulded’ in their ways), older children for them come with their own emotional bagagge…its a sad world out there and even compassion comes with a check list.

  5. Google search reveals that adactyly is treatable through reconstruction of fingers/ toes.
    I am also not too sure that all kids get adopted :( Even if people want to adopt, they make them jump through so many hoops, and there are so many rules like single women cannot adopt..

  6. @roop Some of my friends have adopted but they did not find the wait too long or process too cumbersome. I am adding an edit with whatever they told me, this information is only of general kind…more if you wish to know more.
    Abortion is not difficult in India, for the first three months of pregnancy…after that you may face difficulties, its debatable…
    http://thebratthebeanandbedlam.wordpress.com/2008/08/06/whats-a-good-time-for-you/

    @Mampi I hope they find homes soon, it seems its the older kids who find it more difficult to find homes. Most couples prefer small babies so they can raise them as their own, mould them, bond with them etc

    @Anela Z How true! And bringing home a baby is a huge commitment, it seems many foreigners adopt Indian babies and they are the ones who adopt differently abled children and older children.

    @Lekhni I couldn’t get any information. Would welcome some links to learn a little more about this.
    Yes, you know the way the Orphanages talk about waiting lists and there being a great demand for babies, can also be discouraging – though they don’t intend for it to be discouraging. One thought that comes to mind is that maybe then you need not bother, since three already are so many parents waiting to adopt these babies! We need better counseling. I think single women can adopt now, for past few years. I have added some more info after reading your comment.

  7. I remember reading in the papers sometime ago that requests for a baby of a certain sex are not considered (though bachelors aren’t allowed to adopt girls). I didn’t know there were rules about the sex of the baby depending on the sex of your biological child. I also heard that couples who are capable but haven’t had biological children aren’t allowed or find it difficult to adopt. This doesn’t make sense to me.

  8. It bothers me – so many girls abandoned. Boys get adopted faster too. I was so upset when I was told (at 7 months of pregnancy) that my second child was also a son – I wanted a daughter – they are such fun and more loving. How can people do such things?

  9. It bothers me – so many girls abandoned. Boys get adopted faster too. I was so upset when I was told (at 7 months of pregnancy) that my second child was also a son – I wanted a daughter – they are such fun and more loving. How can people do such things?

  10. I want to cry-the baby rocking herself is so so sad..adoption procedures are tough but then they need to be..for the safety of these children else there are many out there waiting to pounce on these helpless children

  11. The adoption procedure is not difficult. And counselling is a total necessity, not only pre-adoption but post-adoption too. Adoptive parent support groups are crucial. myspace has got it correct…the process is meant to protect the children waiting for adoption. And tho’ the laws are a bit weird, lots of people have gone ahead and (legally) adopted anyway. And Unmana is right, very few kids are legally free for adoption, most are just runaways, or abandoned and not availabkle for adoption. As for adoption of older kids, yes, its a pity more Indian parents (including us) go for younger babies. But I know several families that have successfully adopted 2, 4 and 6 year olds and are super-happy and well-adjusted. They just needed a lot more support and counselling, and were willing to reach out for it.

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