“I made it my life’s mission to adopt Avnish even though all the odds were against us.” Adi, 35
“I was a bachelor, under 30 and the orphanage was not ready to hand over parental rights to me. I broke my neck working relentlessly to ensure Avnish’s safety away from the orphanage.”
Hi, I’m Aditya Tiwari, 35, a single parent and this is my story.
When I saw Avnish, a 5-month-old baby lying in a corner of a dubious orphanage it broke my heart. He was taking up as little space as possible like he knew he was not welcome in this world. His loneliness shifted something in me as if our energies aligned with each other. It was then I knew I had to protect this boy and make him feel loved.
The first time I picked him up, I lit up like a Christmas tree, the way a new parent feels when holding their firstborn. An undeniable cosmic force bonded us, and I saw him laugh for the first time.
Avnish has Down syndrome, but the orphanage told me that he was ‘pagal’ (crazy or mentally ill in Hindi), and to let him be because he was destined to die. I felt hot rage seething through me hearing those words, and I made it my life’s mission to adopt Avnish no matter what, no matter the odds.
I suspected that the orphanage was into child trafficking and organ selling as they had a lot of undocumented kids who were disappearing from the institution. I pleaded with ministers and public figures relentlessly, day after day, even involving the police to file a complaint against the orphanage. Finally, all the hard work came to fruition when the welfare minister agreed to help me speed up outing the workers.
Finally, the orphanage was exposed and shut down, with all the children being moved to better homes. The light of my life, Avnish was given to me in custody, and it felt like I could breathe again.
Today, Avnish is 7. Like any other little boy, he is very social with people and loves playing with animals. He enjoys his baths after a fun day outdoors sits with me at mealtimes and sometimes tries to sneak a bite from my plate! He has so many thoughts and just like any other parent, I want to take it further, I want him to dream brighter and bigger.
One day he will understand that it is because of him that the world is different. Those adoption laws were changed and a separate category just for people with Down Syndrome was created in the RPWD Act. Those necessary changes were enacted throughout the PMO to the central government in India. That so many more people are better off, because of his story.
Arpita, my better half and I share similar values and understand that all individuals are different and worthy of love and respect. There is room in society for people of all abilities. Together we want to create a beautiful life for Avnish, in which he is confident to be himself. No matter what happens, we will walk alongside him. He will never be alone.
To find out more about how to be part of the #WalkForInclusion campaign, please download our summary guide here. We thank you for your generosity and look forward to your participation!