(This post is based on a real life experience. All names used are fictional. This post is dedicated to all mothers who strive to give the best for their children)
It was yet another field work day at the Adoption Agency where I was placed as a student of Social Work. My Supervisor was busy as usual and there were several clients waiting for an appointment. I was doing some pending paper work when a lady stepped in with a two year old boy clinging to her sari. She spoke briefly to my Supervisor before I was called in. “You need to record this lady’s case”, my Superior told me. Soon I led the woman and her son to a nearby desk and began to interview her. I learnt that Sumathy was a recent widow. Her husband, a driver met with a fatal accident that killed him just few months ago. Sumathy had two girls as well and both of them were in middle school. She had been a housewife all along and ever since her husband passed away, she had been struggling to find a way to make money. Being uneducated and with no other skills, Sumathy had taken up job as a household help. Her income was paltry and meeting family needs, a constant battle. I soon assumed that she must have come to ask for sponsorship for her children at school since that was also one of the functions of our Agency. However I was in for a shock when she told me that she actually came to surrender her little son, Babu for adoption even as the unwary boy continued to cling to her sari. I tried to persuade her to try for sponsorship instead. But Sumathy had made up her mind. Apparently this was not an overnight decision but a well thought one. I tried to reason further saying that surrendering her child could not be reversed even if she wanted to later on. Despite the tears rolling down her cheeks, Sumathy stuck to her choice. There seemed nothing to do but process the papers and this is exactly what I did. Even as I prepared her case file, I continued to remain baffled at Sumathy’s eccentric decision. Could a mother let go of her child, that too a two year old? All the other surrendered children I had seen so far were just bed babies who knew nothing of a mother or her love.
I was not around when Sumathy came and left her little Babu with the Agency. When I did go to the Foster Home a few days later, I found him right at the gate crying inconsolably, the only words coming from his mouth “amma’’. He clung to the grill on the gate, longing for his mother’s sari that always gave him refuge. I have never experienced more agony than at that time when I witnessed the grief of this young child. I tried to take him in my arms and distract him to play with the other children or the many toys that were around. But Babu would not budge. He continued to wail and mourn, clutching the grills. Soon the caretaker of the home came along and told me that nothing could be done and that he would become alright with time. I did not share her optimism but I realized that I was of no help to little Babu. He continued to call ‘’amma’’ all through the time I was at the Home. I felt a deep pang in my heart as I left the Home that day. I found it hard to accept that Sumathy had really surrendered her son.
The memory of Babu wailing for his mother haunted me for several days and has always been imprinted on my mind. It was years later when I became a mother myself that I understood the reason for Sumathy’s hard choice. When for the first time I dropped my little girl at school and returned, the silence at home, the absence of her voice and the endless clanging of toys engulfed me and I remembered Sumathy. How did she feel to leave Babu that day at the Foster Home, knowing that she will never see him again? A few hours away from my precious daughter were agonizing. How was it for Sumathy who would not see her Babu even years later? Was she a heartless mother? I knew she was hardly that. Her sudden widowhood throwing all family burdens on her frail shoulders, her lack of education and inability to engage in any steady income generating venture and her own insecurities were huge handicaps she struggled with. She did not want any of her children to suffer because she certainly loved them all. She knew that three mouths to feed and educate was well beyond her means. She was also unable to work with her little boy demanding much attention. So she made her choice, drowning her feelings and allowing reason to take the throne, she surrendered little Babu to one of the best Adoption Agencies she could find. She knew that he would have adoptive parents to provide for him things she could only dream of and also lavish him with love. She knew that this was best for her precious Babu and so she chose to tear apart the little one who clung to her sari.