Inspiring Icons Insights
Bridging birth to adoption
By: Sangeeta Maheshwari
Certified Metaphysics Practioner
Author | Inner Growth & Happiness Mentor
Sheela Adige is an unspoken angel for hundreds of hopeful parents who are beneficiaries of her compassion, sincerity, and empathy for the last thirty years.
She is the point of contact a birth mother would come to, to give up her child for own compelling reasons. From counseling the birth mother to feeling her pain and helplessness, Sheela goes through that pain herself each time she helps a new birth mother.
“Adoption is a beautiful process, however, with every adoption process, I go through the same pain of separation with the birth mother. You simply never get used to that separation pain. Even after facilitating over 500 adoptions myself, I go through the emotional rollercoaster with the birth mother. It is one of the worst situations to be in, to have to give up your own child. Being a mother of two daughters myself, I know it is not a situation anyone would choose to be in as it is heartbreaking. You cry with them and go through their pain.”
Although rare, some birthparents decide to put their past behind them and keep their child after Sheela’s counseling. However, majority of the birth mothers would be in a helpless situation and for the child’s future, decide the best solution is to let go of their child.
On the other hand, when she sees the adoptive parents yearning to have a child, her heart gets filled with euphoria, “Each adoption for me is the first-time adoption. Each child is unique and so are the parents. That makes this process so special.” The transition from regretful emotions of abandonment to the elation of uniting makes Sheela the link to many hearts, “We are the custodians of the child and the child is our top priority and not the parents.”
Sheela is astonished to see how a child is born somewhere and is destined to be somewhere else. The journey takes her as an interim guardian of the baby like a seed from the birth parent to be transported to germinate to another set of parents. The child is handed over with the hope to be nurtured with love, acceptance, and patience by the adoptive parents. Feelings that arise when she hands over the child to the adoptive parents are beyond words, “Simply overwhelming and ecstatic!”
Social work came to Sheela by default. She used to work for a cardiac surgeon before marriage and wanted to be a doctor, like her father. Soon after she got married, she moved to Kolkata with her husband, Madhav, and met his cousin, who was working with the Society of Indian Children’s Welfare (SICW).
Although Sheela was a loving mother of two young daughters, Akhila 3 years old and Divya 6 years old at that time, she wasn’t hugely crazy about doing more work with kids. “But when you go to SICW, the children just steal your heart”, Sheela confessed with a twinkle in her eyes and a wide smile that came from her heart.
She decided to spend a couple of hours at SICW and soon her time at SICW increased and became an addiction.
“It grows on you as you are involved with the children and work from your heart. Unlike a corporate job, here everything is from the heart.”
From the time a baby arrives to the time he/she is placed, there is so much to do. There is immense responsibility, all driven by sheer love and the best interest for the child.
When I asked Sheela of the challenges she faces, she particularly spoke about the special needs children at SICW and felt grateful to the parents who adopted them.
There are frustrating administrative challenges that make the transition for all concerned more arduous. For example, a mere spelling mistake costs them weeks to months of delay due to paperwork correction. It is imperative to sensitize the stakeholders not to delay the process of children uniting with their adoptive parents. Each day’s delay in the process costs further separation between the child and adoptive parents.
Sheela has personally gone through a full reversal of health. Yet she continued to carry on despite her deteriorating health. When I asked her how her health has impacted her work, she stated, &ldquo