HERITAGE: Year 10 Winner
Jyoti wins for this moving piece of writing which tells of her journey to adoption. From the streets of India, to an orphanage in Italy, to a loving family in London, this story is sure to inspire. Thank you for sharing, Jyoti!
I was born in Punjab, India, on the side of a road, with another family, who were Indian.
I was abandoned.
At the orphanage, they predicted my age and date of birth using the information my older sister gave.
I was abandoned with an older sister and a younger sister. All three of us went to an orphanage in Italy, but whilst I was adopted with with my younger sister, my older sister was adopted with another family.
Aged around 8, on 12 September 2014, my younger sister and I were formally adopted by an Italian family who lived in London. Most of my family members today are from Italy, so we visit Italy very often during the holidays. I celebrate both cultures, which includes Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Diwali, and Holi. I still watch Indian movies and listen to Bollywood music (sometimes too much, giving my parents and sister a head ache!). I watch Italian films and Hollywood Movies. I love all kinds of music.
India is a huge country. We have 1.2 billion people all cramped together and one of the things that it suffers from the most throughout the entire country is poverty. There are so many poor people and children on the streets. That’s why when people do plan to go to India, even for a touristic visit, you have to be prepared for what you will see. It can be really overwhelming and there is a lot to take in.
I myself was part of a poor family. I lived on the streets, picked rubbish or potatoes, and I didn’t go to school for six years of my early life. When I moved to London, it was a big change. I didn’t speak the language, there were far fewer people, all with a lighter skin colour, and the noises and smells were completely different.
With my biological family, we used to move a lot in a small rickshaw. We worked for different families in the field and that is the reason I wasn’t used to making friends. My family was huge; there were seven children (six girls and one boy), and then there were my parents, Dad Vikram and mum Anita. I remember my biological grandparents from my mum’s side. We used to go to them sometimes in the countryside. I never met my dad’s parents. He never talked about them.
Adoption is a something that needs a lot of patience. It can take many years. In my parents’ case, it took two years before we got adopted. There was a lot of paperwork: they check your background, how much money you earn yearly, your entire history, whether you have a house big enough for a family. Then there are some other, more personal details, that they check: how you handle children who have difficulties; whether you are still prepared to adopt challenging children; how many kids you are willing to adopt; whether you have experience with children.
I lived in the Italian orphanage for two years. I was sent to a school which was attached to the orphanage, learnt to speak Italian so I could speak to my future parents, was taught how to eat with knife and fork and how to adopt good manners. The orphanage is a place I will never forget. It’s where I made my first best friend, who was adopted in America, a lot faster. There are certain countries which are much faster at paperwork. Some don’t even have to do as much paperwork! Americans can adopt faster than any European country.
Today, in my Italian family, there is Pooja and Federica and Nicola and then me, Jyoti. We live in London, happily as a family. I get along with my adopted parents perfectly. I love them very much and am thankful that there are people like them on our planet. I see my older sister very often during the holidays; sometimes we go on summer trips together with her family. I am very glad that I am still in touch with my older sister; she has been a very important person throughout my life. I have tonnes of friends from all across the world; I especially get along with other adopted kids better. One thing that I want to do in the future is find out more about my biological parents. Moreover, I want to be surgeon or a nurse, so I can help the poor people in India and all around the world.
One final thing I would like to say is that adoption is not foster care! Many people get confused between the two terms. Foster care is temporary, adoption is permeant. The family I have are permanently mine; they are my legal guardians.