”My baby is worth every worry, every sleepless night. She’s worth everything.”

“Since the time my husband, Charlie and I started planning our family, we’ve talked about adoption. Kids belong in families– ‘All children must have families,’Charlie would say. So, when Louise, our biological daughter was about a year old, we started approaching adoption centres.

A few months later, we were matched with Priya, a 6-month-old from Pune. I still remember the day when an email came through with Priya’s photo attached to it–her eyes looked straight into my soul; my heart melted. And even before reading the rest of the documents, I told Charlie, ‘That’s our daughter!’

Even though Louise was barely a year and half old, we showed her Priya’s photo and said, ‘This is your baby sister!’ Thrilled, she jumped around the house shouting ‘Babieeee’! And in Jan 2018, Charlie and I flew to Pune to pick her up. When Charlie held Priya in his arms for the first time, we both cried–it was exactly how we felt when Louise was born! 2 days later, we got custody and brought her back to the hotel with us–that night, Priya fell terribly ill. We knew that Priya hadn’t been keeping very well lately–she was malnourished and had pneumonia. We rushed her to the hospital–the doctors told us that Priya’s blood sugar had shot up. When she was discharged, I told myself, ‘It’s not going to be easy, but I’ll never let my baby out of sight, not even for a second.’

2 weeks later, we flew back to the US with Priya. Louise and my parents had come to pick us up at the airport; the family union was surreal. As I watched Louise cuddle Priya, I knew our family was complete. Charlie and I took two months off from work; I kept Priya close to me all the time–we wanted to make sure that she felt constant love. Priya had trouble adjusting to the weather– Pune was 30 degrees and Minnesota was -30 degrees, so we’d bundle her up– she looked so snuggly. She wasn’t able to chew properly, so I learnt to make Indian-style porridges for her; Priya just loves ghee and yoghurt.

And after we resumed work, Louise became Priya’s protector–she’d play with her all day, make her laugh, and at night, she’d read stories to her. Over time, we tried to adopt the Indian culture as much as possible; we wanted Priya to stay connected to her roots. So we celebrate Diwali and Holi; we all dress up in Indian clothes.

And when she was about 2, she uttered her first word ‘Mama’; I was on cloud nine. ‘Daddy’ took more time, so I’d keep teasing Charlie that Priya loves me more; he’d get so upset! Priya recently turned 4–she’s starting preschool now. In the evenings, the sisters bike together. And on weekends, the four of us go to bakeries; they love sweets! Sometimes, when I think of it, I wonder what we’d have done without Priya. Yes, the adoption process is hard, and the wait is stressful, but my baby is worth every worry, every sleepless night. She’s worth everything.”

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