“It wasn’t me; it was Avnish who chose me as his father”
Fighting the whole country to take the custody of an abandoned one-year-old child, Avnish (as he named him), Aditya Tiwari is the youngest single father of India. Avnish – a down-syndrome child was abandoned by his own parents after his birth. Nobody wanted to adopt Avnish as he was a special-need child and this was exactly why Aditya was willing to adopt him. Countless hurdles in the way did not deter Aditya from doing what he had already decided to do.
Aditya was 27 back then (when he found Avnish), the minimum age however, for a single parent to adopt a child, was 30. It took him almost one and half year to fight with the government to amend the laws. Even his own family did not support him in his decision. They impressed upon him that it was difficult to take care of a special need child.
“My parents, being my well-wishers, wanted me to stay out of trouble,” says Aditya.
He adds, “The problem is with the mind-set of the people, firstly nobody wants to adopt a child. Secondly when you are a male it becomes more difficult. In our country, since time immemorial, it has been understood and assumed that only a woman can only take care of a child and not a man.”
Aditya got Avnish’s custody in January 2016 and his life changed after that. Whatever he is now, he owes everything to Avnish. He has started a support group named, “Avnish”, to make people aware of Down Syndrome and the extra care these children need. He provides counselling to parents of special children, discusses about adoption process and shares his struggles in adopting Avnish. Aditya likes to target remote areas more since people in these areas have limited access and knowledge about these medical issues.
“The first time I took Avnish to zoo, he started talking to a tiger. Then I knew, my son likes tiger, so I have adopted a tiger for him. It was my love for him! The second reason behind adopting a tiger was to preserve the endangered species.”
Aditya has started adopting animals now and encourages people to adopt these homeless beings too.Everything seems fair in love; and here is a classic case in point. Aditya went beyond the boundaries and used all his might to adopt Avnish. That a father’s love for his child!
The Adoption Process
The adoption process was totally different in 2014, reveals Aditya. One had to do the entire paper-work manually. Visit the orphanage, select the child and then the orphanage committee would decide if they will give the custody of the child. There was no centralized data and no online system where the parent could register online. There was no track record of how and what the orphanage is doing for the adoption process, he reveals. The system is now centralized, much to the relief of some kind-hearted samaratarians like Aditya. One can easily register and submit documents online, including the identification proof and income certificate. There is no upper or lower limit of the income. However, a medical certificate is required. One can select the child across the country, according to one’s choice. One gets to choose the gender, age and place.
‘The Special Bond’ – Aditya and Avnish
“We do not restrict ourselves to a father and son relationship. We are two individuals and just want to be the best for each other in every way. I do not have any expectations for him that is the reason we are enjoying our lives. I want to be there for him in whatever form he wants me to be. It’s a bond of two individuals who are enjoying their lives together.”