“I WAS TOLD TO STAY WITHIN MY LIM­ITS”

India Today - - GOOD NEWS - ADITYA TI­WARI, 29 Sin­gle fa­ther who adopted a child with Down’s syn­dome,

After set­ting a shin­ing ex­am­ple him­self, Aditya Ti­wari now runs a sup­port group for par­ents with men­tally chal­lenged chil­dren

All I wanted was to adopt a men­tally chal­lenged child, what I got for 18 months was men­tal, emo­tional and fi­nan­cial trauma. I first saw Avnish, now my son, dur­ing a visit to an or­phan­age in In­dore in 2014. The au­thor­i­ties told me he wasn’t adopted be­cause he was ‘men­tal’. It is un­for­tu­nate peo­ple still de­scribe disor­ders such as Down’s Syn­drome like this. I in­stantly de­cided I wanted to give the child a home. But adop­tion was far from easy, I was a sin­gle man and 27 years old. I was told the five­month­old child was be­ing given up for in­ter­na­tional adop­tion. I later re­alised it was a racket; they hadn’t reg­is­tered the child in gov­ern­ment records, which is manda­tory. I de­cided to fight this. In the next one year, I made over 30 trips from Pune to Bhopal, wrote nu­mer­ous let­ters to ev­ery­one, from the prime min­is­ter and the women and child wel­fare min­is­ter to the Mad­hya Pradesh gov­ern­ment. Peo­ple laughed at me, say­ing I was ei­ther im­po­tent or that this was my bi­o­log­i­cal child out­side mar­riage. Things changed when Maneka Gandhi vis­ited the or­phan­age. After that, they re­viewed my case and I was al­lowed to adopt the boy. I later found out he had been aban­doned by his af­flu­ent Bhopal­based par­ents. It is a pity peo­ple see chil­dren with chal­lenges as a li­a­bil­ity; the mindset needs to change. This ex­pe­ri­ence has sen­si­tised me fur­ther. When I got mar­ried last July, in­stead of invit­ing fam­ily and friends, I or­gan­ised a feast and gifts for 10,000 un­der­priv­i­leged peo­ple, food for an­i­mals from shel­ters, strays and the zoo.”

ADITYA TI­WARI WITH SON AVNISH

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