Love is a mystery. Love is unitive. Love is how we connect as human beings with one another and with the whole universe together. Love is how we learn, become better, and make the world a better place to live for us and others. Love needs freedom to breathe, equality to thrive, and openness to flow and grow. Love is personal, political, philosophical, sexual, social, historical, metaphysical, transcendental, et al. Sadly, we have only one word to describe such a complex emotion. The ancient Greeks had six different words, but even that’s not enough. 2021 taught me new ways to describe the complexity of love and its various hues. Love lost on many counts, but it miraculously sprang on a few occasions like a phoenix. My LOVE vocabulary was defined and redefined by people who touched my life one way or another this year.shillpi a singh
LOVE IS PROMISE: Jaspreet Chandhok
Jaspreet Chandhok is an architect by education who runs one of India’s leading lighting design firms, Ethereal Designs in Delhi & Mumbai, and is a happy mother-in-waiting. “Motherhood was always on my mind, but adoption has been my only choice,” says Chandhok.
She got married at 35 and conceived at 36. The first trimester was tough for her. “I had frequent nausea, severe acidity, lethargy, throwing up at any strong smell or taste to the extent I couldn’t even brush my teeth daily for fear of vomiting. As the first trimester completed, I suffered a miscarriage. It was traumatic. The idea repulsed us, and we were afraid of going through the same rigmarole again. To add to it, my husband was facing a challenging medical situation too,” reminisces Chandhok.
At 40, she wanted to be a mother badly but chose to miss the biological route. “Adoption seemed to be the most promising and empowering means of bringing a child into our lives. We registered in the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) in August 2020. Our seniority on the waiting list of prospective adoptive parents in Delhi was 1421 in September 2020; Currently, we are 1014th, which could mean another 18 to 20 months of waiting time,” adds Chandhok.
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Once she and her husband registered for CARA, they have been pretty firm on their decision throughout. “We not only preferred to go for closed adoption only though CARA because we feel it fulfils the mutual need of the child and the couple,” says the mother, who is happily waiting to bring her bundle of joy home, one day soon. It is a long and arduous wait.
Less than 30% of prospective parents registered at CARA before the Chandhoks have brought their child home in the last 16 months. The maths is simple: 16 months for 400. At this rate, the total wait for the Chandhok couple seems longer than three years. The number on the waiting list seems more gruelling and taxing than even the toughest All-India competition’s list of rank holders. They stand 1014 on Delhi’s waiting list, 1408 on Maharashtra and 892 in Punjab as on December 18, 2021.
Meanwhile, a group of 350 (the number is growing every day) prospective adoptive parents (registered with CARA) like her formed ‘Adoption Action Group’ four months ago and have been trying various means to bring about awareness and request the Ministry of Women and Child to streamline, improve and make the adoption process faster.
“I also coordinate some activities of the group including the Twitter campaign, and I ardently keep tweeting on some days. It worries my close ones. They get the impression that I’m suffering while waiting, so I’m doing it. But I don’t do it out of frustration or desperation. I do it as a process of motherhood. I might not be carrying that unknown child in my womb and watching it grow inside me, but I have been feeling similar excitement as any other biological mother. My motherhood journey is different but yet similar to any other mother,” says Chandhok.
As a mother-in-waiting, she signs off saying the most profound words in favour of her decision to adopt and not give birth: “Yes, the child we will bring home won’t have our bloodline, our looks or genes, but we are not running a kingdom anyway; there is no royal blood legacy that we are aware of and something that we must take forward through our progeny. Our love is our legacy. We are eagerly looking forward to our child, who shall belong to our own ‘Loveline’ not ‘bloodline’.” That’s an unsaid PROMISE she’s made to her unknown CHILD, and with LOVE.
“We are born of love; love is our mother.”Rumi