Linnet Rodrigues is a Bangalore-based professional, whose brood includes a biological son and an adopted daughter. She opens the lid on her experiences, and the reasons she opted to adopt when she could have conceived a child on her own.
I always wanted a daughter. I can’t really point out a reason why; I’ve just always thought that daughters complete a family, like a missing piece of a puzzle. I had my first child at 25, a special little boy we named Shane. My son was a wonderful child, and we showered him with so much love and affection. But deep down within, I longed for a girl. I knew that if I conceived naturally, there was no guarantee that I’d have a daughter. The odds were as much in my favour as they weren’t. And so, for the next ten years, I buried the hope in a deep corner of my heart.
When I was around 35 years old, I read an article in a magazine that shared stories of families who’d had a biological child, and had then adopted a second. The story inspired me, and on a morning walk with my husband the next day, I casually mentioned the article. My husband’s eyes lit up. ‘Let’s go for it,’ he exclaimed. I was ecstatic that he was as enthusiastic as I was. My only concern was age. I was 35; my husband, 38. Surely, we were too old to be parents a second time over.
‘Nowadays, couples have their first child at this age,’ my husband gently reassured me. It was true.
We knew that if we went ahead with an adoption, it would impact our son, who was used to being the centre of attention by then. The same morning, we quizzed him to see how much he knew about adoption. He knew more than we thought he did, and he happily welcomed the idea of a sister. Our extended family, however, was sceptical.
‘Why adopt when you can conceive naturally?’ they pressed.
‘Because I can’t decide the gender that way,’ I answered.
We started the adoption process in March 2004, and stacks of paperwork ensued. There was a home study to assess our financial situation, living conditions and marriage. And when the authorities were satisfied that we were equipped to provide for another child, we were invited to an orphanage. The entire process took about three months.
Our only condition during the adoption application process was that our daughter should be physically fit. We didn’t have any other criteria. When we entered the orphanage, we were handed a baby girl, about two months old. Back then, there was a rule that the baby had to be at least 60 days old before being adopted. So, we waited a few days before we could take our little angel home. The day we brought Loren home, I knew our family was complete. The date was May 14th, 2004.
Following the adoption, I became active in various adoption associations, speaking about the relevance of adoption. I am often asked when I revealed to Loren that she was adopted. It is a common dilemma faced by many adoptive parents. Loren has known that she is adopted since she was three years old. I told her that she didn’t grow in my womb, but in my heart. And because she knew so young, she has accepted it wholeheartedly.
Two years ago, out of the blue, Loren asked me how many people knew that she was adopted. I told her that with an adoption, it’s hard to hide the truth. There’s no tell-tale tummy and no pregnancy. I assured her, however, that everybody considered her as much my daughter, as if she had grown inside me. I suppose all adopted children go through an acceptance process, no matter how much they are loved and cherished. I hope that with Loren, it is a feeling she will eventually overcome, because we all love her so very much. There is no difference in my mothering instinct between my two children. In fact, I feel closer to my daughter, than I do to my son. She’s an out-and-out mommy’s girl.
Today, when I look back at the decisions we’ve made, I’m so glad that we didn’t question our instincts all those years ago. Loren was the missing piece in our family’s puzzle, and she has completed us in ways she will never be able to comprehend.