On August 17th a child came into my life.
Our karma can be compared with throwing pebbles in a pond. Ripples spread out, intersect; each sphere affecting all others...in this way we live our lives, and are touched by the lives of others. Some events drift alongside us - this is one which will change the core of my being forever.
I found yesterday a woman at the bus station with a small child shriveled up at her feet; when i stopped to see what was going on, I saw a child who was literally skin and bones lying out on a thin piece of fabric, the mother hovering over it and begging alms.
After rushing home and back to bring the child some essentials of food and clothing, I enquired of a nearby officer and passers-by to understand the situation further. A tragedy was revealed. Here in India it is not uncommon for a woman to cripple or starve her child, that they be used as an effective tool for begging. This family particular family is known to the police as one who has starved an earlier child to death some years before, but there is little legal recourse - the scant laws are rarely enforced, if at all. The police merely stand idly by while atrocities unfold....the hand of the woman which held this child was plump and covered in gold rings.
I cannot determine the child's age with any certainty, but it she seems to be around one year old, though much stunted in growth because of her condition. I fear that this child has very little time to live; her skin stretched tautly over her bones, her stomach distended, and her movements weak and listless.
When we asked the child's name, we were told she had one. We decided to call her Aida, Arabic for 'gift of God'.
Today over the course of some hours I was able to feed her milk and bread, though I cannot say whether it much benefited her condition. We are trying now to help in every way we can. Daily we will bring food, and we are trying to convince the family let us take the child to the hospital - we will pay whatever is necessary for her to be restored to health. This far, they flatly refuse this assistance.
I've come into contact with an advocate here who is willing to petition the court for suspension of so the child can be placed in the hospital. Myself and my partner would be temporary guardians during this time. The advocate tells us there is a great deal of precedent for this situation, so he is confident that we will secure hospitalization - and if sufficient cause can be proved, the rights of the parents could be terminated permanently.
A the very least, we will be able to provide the child with medical care - and at best, a loving home. We do not know if the miles and miles of bureaucracy involved in Indian adoptions will allow us to bring her into our family, but we will do everything we can to be sure she is placed in a nurturing and safe environment.
I have begun this blog to raise awareness of Adia's plight, and also to inform the public of the ng realities of many female children in India. Female infanticide is not uncommon, and a girl who survives will often be sold quickly into indentured servitude and prostitution. I hope, through this blog and other works, to bring this situation to light.
I ask any who come upon this story to keep Adia in your thoughts and prayers, that this one small soul may find its way to experience the beauties of life, and that we may be empowered to help her there.