By Winter Johnson
Little Anahita was only 23 days old when she was abandoned in 2011 at a primary health centre in New Delhi, born premature and weighing only 1.6 kg.
After arriving at the Asharan Orphanage and receiving love, support, and diligent care from the staff, she found her forever family in 2013 with Anamika and Sanjeev Dutta, who were eagerly searching for the girl that would be their daughter. Now 12 years old, Anahita is a lover of English, social studies, dancing and — in the words of her parents — is ‘jumping’ to be a teenager.
We recently sat down with Anamika and Sanjeev to learn more about their story:
HOPE worldwide UK: Can you tell us about your adoption journey? What made you want to adopt a child?
Anamika: So, you reach a time where you want to have a child in your life, and the desire becomes very strong. Everybody has this moment, where you decide that you want to go for it. After some time, we stopped trying for a biological child, and there came a time where we were only thinking about adopting.
Sanjeev: In our family, one of our cousin’s brothers adopted two girls, and he was always there to support us. He said, ‘while you’re trying for a biological child, why not try for an adoption as well?’ We saw many people in our neighbourhood who adopted, and that really inspired us to adopt as well.
We adopted Anahita in 2013.
HWWUK: Did you have any specifications for the child you adopted?
Anamika: I always believed girls are very special. I feel girls meet your emotional needs in a different way. I never had a different thought. I always wanted a girl child.
Sanjeev: Here in India, mostly the girls are abandoned, because it’s such a boy-centric society. The mentality is that it’s the boy child who will look after you, but the girl child will go away and get married. Though society is changing.
In my family, there are two boys — me and my brother — so we thought this could be a new beginning.
HWWUK: What made you decide to adopt via the Asharan Orphanage?
Anamika: When we were exploring all the agencies in New Delhi, I met someone who knew about the Asharan Orphanage and so we heard about it via word of mouth. When we were looking for adoption agencies in New Delhi, we were calling and setting up time, and someone mentioned the Asharan Orphanage.
When we met, it was like family. After we met with them, we never went to another agency. We said ‘it must happen here’.
Sanjeev: There was a sixth sense. We felt like something was happening for good when we stepped in that building, when we met Jolly, the programme manager for the orphanage. We felt like something was going to happen finally. Before that, we felt like we were just knocking on doors. When we got to the Asharan Orphanage, we felt like we could rest here. I still go back to the Asharan Orphanage to visit the staff.
If any of my friends want a reference, I take them straight to the Asharan Orphanage.
Anamika: It was such a blessing.
HWWUK: How did you feel when you met Anahita?
Sanjeev: It was electrifying, we felt like she must have been our child.
Anamika: We felt like, ‘She is our child, the only thing is to bring her home.’ I will never forget that moment.
Sanjeev: We patted our backs, we felt like we must have done something good because God was kind to us.
HWWUK: Anahita has been with you a while now. What are some things you like to do together?
Sanjeev: We like to eat a lot. We are big time foodies. Anahita is a very good, healthy eater and loves traditional Bengali foods.
Anamika: Play time is mostly with papa, like playing chess or going to the park, and study time is with me. We love to travel together as well.
HWWUK: What do you love most about the Asharan Orphanage?
Sanjeev: We love the staff; the staff are very friendly with the kids, as if it’s their children. It’s completely selfless service. It’s awesome, it’s more than a temple for me. There are a lot of things to learn from them.
Anamika: The way they talk to the children, even at home some children don’t get the love that they get from the Asharan Orphanage.
Sanjeev: The hygiene… everything is so clean! Everything is organised.
Anamika: The staff is always laughing, and the children are happy and cheerful.
Sanjeev: It starts from the top down with Jolly.
Anamika: Asharan is always a lively kind of place. There is a lot of life and happiness. That’s the difference between Asharan and other charities.
Join us as we help little girls and boys find their forever families. Support the Asharan Orphanage in India by clicking here.