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Phone Rings. Unknown caller.
You – Hello. Who’s this?
Caller – Hello! How are you today?
You – I’m good. So tell me, who’s calling?
Caller – I know your time is precious. Can you please talk to me for sometime?
You – I’m really sorry but who are you calling for? I don’t know you.
Caller – I know I called you. I know that you don’t know me. That’s why I am asking for your time. Lets talk a bit, shall we?
You – Why should I? Maybe I don’t want to talk to you. I don’t talk to strangers! Just tell me how you got my number.
Caller – I’ll tell you that a bit later. Just hear me out. Then decide whether you want to keep talking or not. That’s fair!
You – Fair?? You don’t talk to me about fair or unfair buddy. You are the one intruding into my space by calling me and not introducing yourself! First you be fair and then we can see how fair I wanna be.
Caller – Ok! You want me to introduce myself. So be it. I am Shanthi. What’s your name?
You – Shanthi! I don’t know any Shanthi. Why should I tell you my name?
Caller – Hey, now that’s not fair! I introduced myself and now its your turn. Isn’t that what you said earlier? I did my part. Now you do the same.
You – Fine! I am Radha. Now what?
Caller – Thanks Radha! So now that you know my name, let me ask you something. What do you think about adoption?
You – Adoption? Why are you asking me that? Are you from the adoption agency or something? Because I don’t think this is funny!
Caller – Relax Radha. Neither am I joking nor am I from any agency. I just happen to know that you intend to adopt a child and so I am asking you what you think about adoption? I mean what is your opinion about it?
You – Listen Shanthi. I am not sure who you are and how you know so much about me and that is worrying me enough already so why don’t you just get to the point. What do you want from me?
Caller – I want you to trust me. I am not trying to harm you in any way. If you can just answer me then I can assure that you will get your clarity soon. Just tell me what you think about adoption?
You – Okay. I think adoption is something good, if done for the right reasons. I mean there are two parts to the whole equation. The adopter and the adoptee. Since we normally talk of adopting a child, it falls solely on the adopter/s to ensure they are ready to assume full responsibility for the proper upbringing and care of the child. It is not an easy task and since it involves the future of a child, it is a serious decision. But I believe if someone can make that commitment and fulfill their responsibility then it is a very noble thing to do. So that’s what I have to say about adoption.
Caller – I agree with you completely. And I thank you Radha, for giving me your honest reply. I am sure you have given your decision enough thought and I believe you mean well. What I want to know is just one thing. And its a personal question but I’m going to ask you anyway and you can decide whether to answer me or not. I want to know when you intend to tell your adopted child the truth about her adoption?
You – How do you know that I am adopting a girl child? Shanthi, you have to tell me right now who you are and why you are asking me all these questions. Otherwise I will have to report you to the cops!
Caller – I can understand your apprehensions Radha. Please believe me when I say I will explain everything to you shortly. Just answer this one question and I promise to tell all. I am sure this is something you would have thought about. I just want to know what you have planned with respect to revealing this important aspect of her identity to your adopted girl?
You – I am not even sure why I am going along with this whole conversation but I will answer this question and if you don’t reveal everything after that, I am really going to report you!
Caller – Sure. Go ahead. Now tell me.
You – Okay. So yes I have thought long and hard about this important aspect and after a lot of confusion, I decided that I would explain this to her right from the time she could understand it. I believe everyone deserves to know the truth about their identity. I can’t see how I can raise a child telling her she is my daughter and then finally, at some point, reveal to her that I had lied? How would I feel if my ‘mother’ suddenly told me that she was not my ‘real’ mother? I would rather be honest about it and explain why I adopted her and love her as my own daughter! There are many different opinions on this but I have made my decision based on what I thought was right. Does that answer your question Shanthi?
Caller – Yes Radha! Thank you so much for your answer. Firstly let me say that I am happy to hear your decision and I would like to add that I agree with it completely. Now let me tell you more about me. I was an adopted child myself and I was lucky to be raised by very loving parents who showered me with all the attention and care any child would ever need. I was a good student as well as excellent in extra curricular activities and sports. I was confident, smart and popular in school. I was literally on top of the world. When I turned eighteen, my parents sat me down and gently explained to me that I was an adopted child. They took great pains to proclaim how genuine their love for me was and that they were extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to raise me as their own child. You know what happened to me? I was shattered! I felt cheated. I was completely Broken. I suffered from a nervous breakdown and it took me three years to finally make my peace with my ‘adopted’ status. What happened during that time was that my gentle kind parents suffered immensely from guilt and total helplessness, as I shut them off completely. I am not happy about my reaction today but I know how much it hurt me. I recovered and am finally in a good place emotionally but it took a severe toll on me and I know this could have been avoided.
You – I am so sorry to hear that Shanthi. I can understand what you mean. I wish people who go in for adoption were given better guidance regarding these important issues even before they get their applications approved. I am still not sure I understand why you called me?
Caller – Let me explain. A couple of years back I happened to meet a lovely couple who were planning to adopt a baby. When I spoke to them and asked them about this particular topic, they seemed confused about what would be the right age to tell. As we discussed and I told them more about my personal experience they realized the seriousness and decided to do what you said. Tell the truth as early as possible. As soon as the child can comprehend it. After that I started talking to as many people as possible, especially those planning to adopt. I felt as though this could be my contribution in life. So that’s what I have been doing for a while now.
You – Okay. That’s a really good thing Shanthi. But how did you find me? I am confused now.
Caller – It is pure coincidence Radha. I live in your street, couple of buildings down the road. Shastha Apartments. One day I found my regular vegetable vendor standing outside your apartment complex and as I was walking up to the vendor I saw you making your purchase and walk back inside. You were wearing a lovely yellow saree and I commented on how nice you looked. So the vegetable vendor agreed with me and said that you were a nice client! She then went on to say how sad it was that nice people could not have children. How you were married for a long time and that you were contemplating on adopting a girl baby! I did not probe further but I wanted to reach out. So I found out your apartment landline number and decided to give you a call. I know this is highly inappropriate but somehow I felt you would understand, eventually! Tell me Radha, do you understand? Can you forgive me for this intrusion? Please?
You – Yes this is definitely an intrusion Shanthi but I can tell you one thing. If I had someone like you to guide me during my decision making process, it would have certainly reduced quite a bit of my anxiety and helped me immensely. I really appreciate what you are doing so I think I can forgive you. And since you are literally my neighbor why don’t you come over for a cup of tea? Let’s talk more.
Caller (laughing) – Thank God! I am so relieved that you are not angry with me. I would love to meet you Radha, so I can apologize to you in person. And let me tell you, I know you will make a good adopter and I am happy for your adoptee.
You – Thanks Shanthi. Come on over! See you soon.
Caller – Okay Bye! Coming over right away…