“Advait is a state where two entities are not different. They are part of each other. Advaita is the female version of Advait. My daughter and I are one entity.”
For Pune-based Amita Marathe, a single mother, her daughter’s name mirrors the reality of her life and the bond she shares with her.
Life took a dramatic turn for her in 2012, when as a native of Maharashtra’s Sangli district, she registered with the Child Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) at Sofosh.
Coming from a society where child adoption and being a single woman after a certain age was frowned upon, she was surprised when her parents supported and even respected her decision.
Speaking to The Better India about her decision, the 42-year-old says,
I never wanted to get married, but I always wanted my own child. Among all options, I found adoption to be the best. My parents and sister stood like a rock throughout the process.
Of course, as parents, they were concerned if she would be able to raise a child alone. She elaborates, “They were worried about how I would manage my career and daughter, considering how demanding the two roles are. To an extent, even I had the same concerns, but I believed in myself and took the plunge.”
Amita, an MBA in Finance, was at the peak of her career at the time. So, she worked hard and significantly improved her financial condition.
Finally, on a sunny day in August 2013, a phone rang, inviting her to a child care centre in Pune. In her application, she had asked for a girl child and was ready to take home a daughter.
Alas, life had other plans!
None of the girls in her list were available that day, “It was destiny,” she says.
When the person-in-charge told me about a five-month girl who was also put up for adoption, I had my reservations. Her condition was not the issue, but her age was. I wanted a child who was a year old at least so that I could also balance my career.
But all her apprehensions disappeared as soon as she laid eyes on the baby. She had “majestic” eyes.
It was love at first sight. The moment I saw her, I knew she was the one. Bringing her home was the happiest day of my life, she says.
She named the toddler Advaita and gave her the best medication available in Pune. “The doctors said that a surgery could be done only after she weighed 16 kilos, which would take some time.”
Amita’s career took a back seat, and for the next three years, Advaita was her only priority.
Love and care that were hitherto unimaginable, poured from her. Before Advaita turned one, they witnessed a miracle. “With the right medications and care, her defective heart was fixed. She is now hail and hearty.”
When she was a little over one, Amita decided to tell her about the adoption and how her family was different.
I am proud of my status and my decision. I wanted her to know the truth and be prepared for the questions that will come to her when she grows up. In fact, there was an incident when she lied about having a father, she says.
She continues, “I want my daughter to know that having a single parent does not mean that her family is incomplete. I want her to stand up against all the mocking, and proudly declare that she was raised by a single mother.”
Through stories and pictures, Amita managed to reveal the truth with ease. While telling her the stories, she was very particular about two things, “I didn’t want our relationship to be labelled a certain way or ever make her feel unwanted. Secondly, I wanted her to respect her birth mother.”
Though Advaita is only a child, she processed the information in no time and happily accepted both her mothers. “The process was emotionally exhausting. I was worried if she would react negatively. But my child is more mature than I imagined.”
Advaita is an emerging artist, Amita says proudly. She loves drawing and is very focused on whatever activity she takes up. She can be mischievous, yet understanding, “a perfect blend of a daughter and a friend”.
When Advaita turned three, Amita got back to work at a private firm as a Business Analyst.
Along with juggling her professional and personal lives, Amita has also taken up the task of spreading awareness about adoption. She is a trustee at Poornank, an organisation committed to educating parents and children about adoption. The support group was started three years ago to guide parents in the adoption journey. They have more than 600 parents, who have adopted children of varied ages.
“Adoption is a beautiful process to complete a family and become a parent,” Sangeeta Banginwar, Founder of Poornank, tells The Better India.
We hold regular counselling sessions for parents who want to adopt, for the ones who are in the process, and for those who have already adopted. It is a good platform to dispel all the myths around adoption and single parenting, she says.
Amita’s life has changed drastically ever since Advaita became a part of it. She wishes to experience this joy again and awaits her second child in October this year. “I do not want Advaita to feel lonely. Having a sibling makes a lot of difference in a child’s life, and I can vouch for it as my sister has been my pillar of strength at every point.”
This time, Amita has chosen an ‘open’ option, meaning the child can be from any of the genders.
When asked what things one should keep in mind before making the decision, Amita says, “Do not go by logic, go by heart. Adoption can change multiple lives. The ride will not be easy, but will definitely be worth it.”
Amita broke all shackles and chose the path of love for her child, like every mother does. For this, we, at The Better India, salute her.
If you wish to know more about Poornank, contact them here. You can also write to them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)