Ah, how totally wonderful, to witness the touching completing of a family though the adoption of a little girl from Pakistan.
Again I am swelling up! What a beautiful baby and I wish Amara and her family the greatest joy. No matter how many new children I meet I always have the same feeling - that of overwhelming awe. It is very difficult to put into words the enormity of the feeling as it encompasses so many different emotions - adoption is incredible and I think the closest word is joy or perhaps even bliss as there are forces that are working beyond our control.
I just loved the fact that Saira was so concerned about her child's medical condition throughout the whole process, but when that baby was placed in her arms, every fear and concern disappeared. It was her baby and there was no way ever she was going to give that child back. She accepted there and then, that this was her baby and she would do everything in her power to provide for her. There is something enchanted at work here, if Amara was not destined to be her child, Saira would have instinctively known. Every pore in her body would have said no, but every pore in her body said yes, yes, yes. And a child who was fated to die, will have a chance to lead a normal life. Magic.
I was really surprised how relaxed and calm all the people at the Edhi Foundation were, but then again that is looking at it from a European perspective. They do this every day of their lives, helping to give families to the hundreds of children that they find abandoned on their door step. Amara is just yet another child, one of thousands, and they know that the best prospects for her is to be adopted into a family. The words of Belquis Edhi, relating the horrors that she sees with the 20-25 dead babies left on their doorstep every month, should sway even the most hard-hearted critics of international adoption. If Amara was not adopted, what would be her future? What is the future for the 163 million other Amara's living in the world today?
One thing that the programme did not go into and it is a question that we are all trying to find the solution to... is WHAT is the Border Agency doing? How is it at all possible to take almost three months to issue a visa to a newborn child? Every single bit of research states that the most important thing for newly adopted children is to be settled as soon as possible. This is vital for their long-term prognosis. And yet Immigration is treating these children as if they are unwanted adults desperate to get into the country to steal our jobs. When I did my adoption the visa took 5 days - now it is taking 1 to 3 MONTHS. The amount of paperwork demanded is criminal considering that to become prospective adoptive parents, couples have been throughly assessed. It seems to be a serious distrust between government departments, the Ministry of Education who is our adoption authority and Immigration. This has to be sorted out, for all concerned. Not only for the child and his or her new parents and the all important bonding that needs to take place but countries who are kind enough to allow UK families to adopt, do so with the belief that Britain welcomes their children and discovering that they do not, may jeopardise adoptions from that country.
I really want to thank Saira and Steve for allowing the cameras into their lives to film this honest story, and also to the film makers who did such a brilliant job creating this compelling documentary. And in a happy serendipitous discovery, the editor Paul Carlin, and I, were classmates twenty years ago at Film School in South Africa!