Jeeja Ghosh from Kolkata is affected with cerebral palsy and has battled through many obstacles in her life, but no victory compared to the day when baby Bhujungu walked into her life.
The 48-year-old woman had dreamed of being a mother since she got married to her husband, Bappaditya Nag, in 2013, but given her medical condition, the possibility that a person with a neurological disability would be able to adopt a child seemed very bleak.
However, the Ballygunge resident, who had already broken the glass ceiling and set a precedent for the differently-abled community by earning her MA degree and entering wedlock, was not one to be deterred. Unperturbed about what the consequences could be, Jeeja and Bappaditya went ahead and in 2016, signed up to adopt a child.
Two years later, a five-month-old baby would prove to change the lives of the couple and make Jeeja probably the first person with congenital cerebral palsy in the country, to become an adoptive mother.
Bhujungu or Sonai, as the child is lovingly called at her new home, was born in January this year and abandoned at a hospital in Keonjhar, Odisha. Through a specialised agency project at the Self-Realisation Mission (SRM), she was put up for adoption, and when Jeeja and Nag saw her for the first time, it became a moment they would never forget.
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However, despite the many efforts they made to bring the baby home, their journey was full of obstacles. Even though the couple had received full clearance from a gynaecologist, Jeeja faced intrusive queries over her ability to be a responsible caregiver in front of the adoption committee on multiple occasions, who were apprehensive about her ‘mental disease’ and communication skills.
However, Jeeja and Nag refused to give up, and after multiple emails and reminders, they brought the issue to the notice of Dr Sadaf Nazneen, a Consultant (eastern region) with the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA).
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“It needs to be checked whether the couple is emotionally, physically and financially suitable to adopt a child. This was the first case where a parent with cerebral palsy was keen on adoption. It will remain as a reference point for other such applications in future. Some questions might have seemed uncomfortable, but they were perhaps asked to judge the suitability of the family adopting the baby,” Dr Nazneen said to The Times of India.
Finally, after a long struggle, the resilient and determined couple, welcomed baby Bhujungu to their ninth-floor flat at the Saptaparni complex on Thursday last week. The overjoyed new parents agree that life could not be any better for them.
This landmark moment gives hope to countless people across the country, who are afflicted with different medical conditions and have nursed the desire of starting a family of their own, but couldn’t do so until now.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)