After wait, couples from US, Sweden finally get their sons

Anuj Shah

35 in 2 years, adoption of children with special needs up; adoptive parents rue procedural delays

US couple Anuj Shah and Heather MacDonald had made a commitment to each other that their first child would be adopted. On Wednesday they finally connected with their two-and-a-half-year old son 'Darpan' at Shreevatsa, a childcare centre run by the Society of Friends of Sassoon General Hospital.

Darpan has chronic asthma and is listed in SOFOSH records as a child with special needs, but that was of no consequence to his new parents who, in fact, joked that every second person in the US had wheezing and asthma.

Heather and Anuj, however, had to wait long, as did another couple Christoffer Eklund and Kerstin Eklund of Sweden who adopted 19-month-old 'Sanskar', another child with special needs.

Both couples found the waiting period too long. "I do not know what the new guidelines are but we had to wait for more than a year to adopt Sanskar," Christoffer, who himself was adopted from a Mumbai orphanage, said.

The couples were ecstatic at the small function organised by SOFOSH on Wednesday. So was another couple, from Pune city.

In the last two years, 35 children with special needs from SOFOSH have been adopted.

Christoffer, a software developer in Sweden said it was a poignant moment for him as he himself had been adopted by Swedish parents when he was four. "I was lost at Mankhurd when I was four years old and sent to an orphanage," he said.

Christoffer who was placed within seven months of his being admitted to a Mumbai orphanage has three siblings who are adopted as well. "One sister is from India and two are from South Korea. I approached the FFIA agency in Sweden which had arranged my adoption as well. But the delay was extremely frustrating. We had to wait for nearly a year," he said.

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