By Winter Johnson  

A fan of Mr. Rogers, Minnie Mouse, and good books, 4-year-old Bahaar happily played with her toys and occasionally smiled and waved at me whilst her mum and dad talked about their adoption journey – an adoption that was made even more special through the love and care of the Asharan Orphanage in New Delhi.

Anees and Naushin Udyawar, who currently live in Pennsylvania, were keen to adopt from India as they wanted to preserve the heritage of their new bundle of joy.

In January 2020, they began the lengthy process of international adoption, which included a local adoption agency, a home study, an international adoption agency called CHLSS, assessments, paperwork, and various steps to determine if they were “fit to adopt” before they were connected with the Asharan Orphanage in February 2022.

Flying to New Delhi in March 2022 for a whirlwind two-day trip, they were eager to see the Asharan Orphanage and meet Bahaar, whose name means “springtime”.

But meeting Bahaar was “nothing like the movies”.

“I don’t think it’s what people would expect. People think that when you meet, there is this moment that you just connect,” Naushin said. “When I met Bahaar, she was this very intelligent little girl, and had her defences up, so the caregivers brought in the other children. All the other children were trying to get our attention, but Bahaar wouldn’t engage with us. It was appropriate. We were strangers, she knew we didn’t belong.

“Home was the Asharan Orphanage. She was intelligent enough to know.”

Despite Bahaar’s initial resistance, Anees and Naushin knew that Bahaar was meant to be their daughter and decided to move forward with the help of the staff.

Over the next several months as the adoption process was finalised, the Asharan Orphanage staff worked hard to help form a bond with the new family. The caregivers at the orphanage filmed several videos of Bahaar and sent them to Anees and Naushin. The new mum and dad had a virtual birthday party for Bahaar in Pennsylvania and sent a video of them cutting a cake as well as a book of pictures of her new family.  

One of the parents’ most precious gifts from the Asharan Orphanage was a collection of pictures of Bahaar, dated from when she was 3 months old. 

“We were very pleased with the orphanage, and they were very good caretakers for Bahaar and the other children,” Anees said. “We felt really comfortable. They were very hospitable. They really care about children and adoptive parents.” 

In December 2022, the time finally came to take Bahaar home. Her caregivers at the Asharan Orphanage gave her pictures to remember them by, as well as videos of them and the children saying goodbye, which comforted Bahaar during the transition.  

From then to now  

Today, as Bahaar thrives in Pennsylvania, the Udyawar family cherishes the small joys of family life — reading books, painting, and going to the library.  Bahaar has continued to have the nurturing and compassionate personality that she was known for at the orphanage. 

As they reflect on the past year, the Udyawars express gratitude for the Asharan Orphanage’s staff, who played a crucial role in Bahaar’s journey. The sense of community and love at the orphanage resonated deeply with the family, reinforcing their belief that Bahaar was in the best possible hands at the orphanage.

Or said Naushin, who remembered their visit to a photo studio near the orphanage to take Bahaar’s visa photo:

“The staff member at the photo studio said with tears in her eyes, ‘These are God’s people. These are very special people who care for these kids.’”

In 2023, 4 children were adopted from the Asharan Orphanage, and 12 children were reunited with their families. As of February 2024, there are 20 children in residence at the orphanage.  

Help more little girls and boys find their forever families by clicking here.  
Just look for the ‘Asharan Orphanage’ in the dropdown.

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