“I thought to myself, I don’t need to be married to have kids”

“I’ve wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember. So at 26 when my parents started talking about marriage, I wasn’t averse to it; I wanted to have my own family. I met a few men, but nothing materialized–I was either ‘too healthy’ or ‘too well paid.’ Years passed and I still didn’t find ‘the one.’

But the urge to be a mother grew stronger when I entered my 30s. One day, I thought to myself, 'I don't need to be married to have kids, why don't I just adopt?' I remember that moment vividly, because everything changed after that.

I proposed the idea to my parents; after the initial questions, they agreed. Amma coordinated with the agencies and set up interviews; it wasn’t easy. And the fact that I was a single woman looking to adopt, didn’t help. I would answer questions like, ‘How will you manage alone?’, ‘Why don’t you get married first?’, ‘Who will support you?’ everyday. I get that they have to ensure the baby’s security, but I wish there was more awareness.

Finally, I registered with an agency in Karnataka. It took almost a year to finish the paperwork and after a month of waiting, I was invited to visit. Honestly, I was nervous, but when I got there and saw these babies peacefully asleep, I just smiled. There was this one girl who kept staring at me with the biggest, most innocent eyes. And when I went near her, she let out a small laugh–it was music to my ears. I picked her up, cradled and fed her.

When I put her down, she cried; it tugged at my heart strings. I knew I wanted her to be my daughter.

I voiced my interest to the authorities, but they asked me to not be too hopeful–there were many in line before me. And so, I was put on the waiting list. Heartbroken, I went back home. Amma kept following up, until a month later we got a call–‘Come and get your baby!’ I can’t explain our happiness!

The next day Papa and I took off. When we got there, Papa looked at her and said, ‘I’m your Nana!’ Both of us teared up looking at our little bundle of joy. We got Maanasvi home when she was 6 months old–she’s 8 today. I’ve never hidden anything from her–she knows she’s adopted. She’s a curious kid with lots of questions. Once, she asked, ‘Was I in your tummy?’ and I just said, ‘No, you weren’t, but you’re still my daughter!’

Parenthood isn’t easy though, especially if you're a single mom. Things like applying for insurance and the authorities referring to me as ‘guardian’ on her paperwork do affect me, but everything gets better when I come home to Maanasvi’s toothy grin and bear hugs. She’s also the best caregiver–anytime I fall sick, she makes me some lemonade.

Honestly, it was the best decision of my life to prioritise motherhood over marriage. And when random people who don't know us tell me, 'Your daughter looks just like you,’ I realise that Maanasvi made me a mother–a gift I’ll spend a lifetime cherishing.”

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