Do you know this?

There are approximately 18000 parents registered with CARA, while the number of children in the Government's adoption pool is less 1800.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Starting a new column from today - "Guest Column"

Indi(AA)tion is starting a new column from today. It is called “Guest Column” where we feature different people (adoptive families, professionals, adoptees, government workers and agencies etc) involved in the field of adoption. On this debut edition, we are featuring ‘Futia’ family which did a birth family search recently. We hope you like this column as much as we like putting it together for you. Please do drop in your comments in the comments section.

Who is Chris Futia?

I am an adoptive parent of 3 children who were born in Kolkata, India and came home as high-risk infants due to prematurity, IUGR and low birthweight. Like most parents, however, I expected that the risks associated with these issues would happen to other people, not us, so I quite expected “perfect” children. (And, in many ways, they are … just not in the ways that many high-functioning biological parents would acknowledge). Our children are now 21, 18 and 13. I have spent the last 20 years engaged in adoption-related volunteer work in nearly all of my spare time. It’s funny – though we wanted a biological child more than anything at one time, when I adopted my first child I felt honored to join a special “club” made up of people like us who knew that becoming a parent is a true privilege. That is a feeling that will never change.

Can you tell us about your children and their arrival in to your home?

Leo Rajan (now 21) came to us from Kolkata at age 4 months weighing 8 lbs 2 oz. He was 8-10 weeks premature and had survived an illegal 2nd-trimester abortion. Leo had many developmental delays and differences, but he was clearly bright. Eventually we learned a great deal about his neurological issues and were able to get him the right mix of medication and services to help him be a success in life. He is about to finish college now (after being a special education student all through high school) and he hopes to become a flight attendant in the future.

Anne Shanti (now 18) came to us from Kolkata at age 13 months weighing 12 pounds. We know little about her origins, except that she is clearly tribal, specifically Shanthali. She was born in southern Bengal near the Orissa border. At one month of age, she was found near death in a primary rural health clinic and brought to a Kolkata orphanage. Her life was saved, and her developmental delays eased enough with lots of special services that she was able to join a regular kindergarten class at age 5. Annie is a slow learner and a poor reader, but she is a hard worker and very organized. She is about to start college now and hopes to become a nurse. She just won a scholarship that completely covers her first two years of college, including her books. We are very proud of her.

Peter Ramesh (now 13) came to us from Kolkata at age 6 months weighing 10 lbs 3 oz. He was 3 lbs 11 oz at birth and was severely IUGR (small for gestational age). He was fairly healthy in the orphanage but after coming home he had severe respiratory and digestive problems and was declared “failure to thrive”. We were just able to keep him from having a feeding tube by feeding him a diet extremely dense in calories. Peter also was a very irritable child, with constant mood swings. Some of the time, he was very easy and loveable, but at other times he was like an animal with a fly buzzing around its head. When he was 6, we realized that he had acute early-onset bipolar disorder. He has been taking medication ever since then, and he is one of the lucky ones – his symptoms are greatly reduced now. However, once he was stabilized, we were finally able to test his cognitive abilities, and learned that he is also developmentally disabled. He will probably never be independent, and so we will have to find a way to provide for his care and well-being after we are gone. We had no idea that Peter would have these issues, and they have had a big impact on our family life, but we love him dearly, and most of all, he is ours.

The three children are tightly bonded and it is a great comfort to them to have each other. People sometimes ask me, “Are they REALLY brothers and sister?” And I reply, “Well, they fight constantly in the back of the car, so I guess they must be”

I know you have strong connections in India, could you tell us how you developed them?
To be continued tomorrow....

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