Dubai: A Dubai-based single woman, who became a mum at 45 by adopting a boy from India, says her life has changed forever.
Jennifer D’Souza, who marked her son Ansh Kabir D’Souza’s sixth birthday with much fanfare last week, said, “I wish I had gone in for the adoption earlier, but I suppose everything happens in its own time.”
Long-divorced, Jennifer said the idea of adopting a child came to her a little over three years ago. “I had crossed 40 and had a good and stable job,” said the Indian expat who works as commercial director at Travelport, a travel tech company in Dubai.
“Most of my friends had children and it was wonderful to see them grow. The kids would call me their ‘fun auntie’ and four of them even became my godchildren. At some point, it struck me that I could have my own children too despite my age. That’s how I took the adoption route.”
The process was not without its challenges. With couples being the ideal choice for potential parents in the case of adoptions, Jennifer had much convincing to do as a single parent. Her mother was initially apprehensive too as she was over 40 and had a demanding job.
But she was able to meet the requirements laid out by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), the official body of the Indian government that regulates in-country and inter-country adoptions, sooner than later. And convince her mum too.
“I submitted my papers through CARA’s Gulf representative in the UAE. All I wanted was a healthy child aged one to three. The gender didn’t matter. I mentioned the state of Maharashtra as the preferred region from where I could adopt, as I belong to the capital Mumbai.”
As luck would have it, Jennifer said the approvals came through within a couple of weeks and she was invited to meet her potential son in Mumbai. “It was an incredible feeling when I went and met him for the first time with my mum and best friend.”
She said it took nearly six months to get a residence visa for Ansh in the UAE.
That done, it has been one long celebration.
Ansh, who goes to a British school in Dubai, studies in Year 1. If his sixth birthday party last week is any indicator, he has a huge circle of friends.
“He has adjusted very well in school. He is a perfect fit into our family. He is a happy child, loves dogs and is an extrovert like me.”
As a new mum, Jennifer too is going through a learning process. “When a child comes into your life, you become more loving and responsible. You become fitter and stronger to be able to take care of your child.”
She said she could never have taken the plunge had it not been for the backing of her family, friends and colleagues at work. “My company even gave me three months of leave to complete the adoption process, almost like maternity leave. My job also entails travel, but Ansh and I get all the support we need from those around us.”