The Story That Will Change The Way You Think About Adoption
“The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do”, John McAfee
Aditya Tiwari made history by becoming India’s Youngest single adoptive parent of a special child.
He proved that fear of accepting responsibility or bringing change in society can be overcome by just believing in your inner strengths. That’s how Aditya and Avnish Tiwari came together. A relationship formed beyond blood or birth.
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People who dare to bring change are not superheroes. They are people just like you and me, but the difference is..they dare to take chances.
Aditya Tiwari is a Software Engineer at International Bank. At age 28, Aditya transformed the meaning of motherhood by adopting Avnish, having no prior experience of taking on the responsibility of a special child.
He says, “Motherhood is beyond gender, it’s a choice, a spirit.”
Life for Aditya has been a roller coaster ride from a very young age. He grew up in a normal middle-class business family in Indore. He had a simple childhood, along with his siblings, going to school and then college. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, Aditya had to struggle through his college days. He managed to complete his engineering, along with giving his tuition to meet his financial needs.
He gave over 170 interviews in 6 months before he got his first job in Mumbai. Surviving in Mumbai, with a limited salary, was a difficult phase for a young man in his early 20s. Mundane life, yet, what made him stand apart, was his positive attitude and grit to succeed under any circumstances.
Age 26, Aditya went to visit an orphanage in Indore, with his parents, wanting to do some donations on his father’s birthday. Providence played its part here and Aditya’s eyes fell on a small infant, called Binny, sitting in one corner, neglected and unkempt. When he inquired, he was told he was an orphan, mentally unstable, unwell, with less hope of survival.
With one glance, their eyes met and Aditya knew that he was meant to be little Binny’s family. He decided he would adopt Binny, irrespective of all his medical issues.
Now started the herculean task of getting through the adoption process. Aditya was not eligible to adopt, as the official age of adoption by a single parent is 30 and above. He also learned that Binny was born with a chromosomal disorder, Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome) was given up for adoption by his biological parents.
Aditya was affected emotionally. He didn’t want to give up Binny at any cost. As he could not adopt, he offered to pay for his upkeep and medical treatment, which went on for a few months. Aditya was working in Pune. He would travel all the way from Pune to Indore, to meet Binny, twice a month. He assumed that once he was 30, and married, he would officially adopt Binny.
Fate twisted things unexpectedly. During one regular visit, he was told he could not meet Binny and that he was sent to Delhi for adoption by some foreign parents. When Aditya dug deeper, he found that this child was not even registered in any government registers or records along with 30 other children from that orphanage. It was obvious that some unregulated child trafficking groups were behind the disappearance of Binny.
Aditya went pillar to post, in all government depts and forums, bringing up this issue. Every weekend, he traveled 1800 km to meet the government officials, CMs, ministers, CWCs, etc. It was real mental torture, financially pressurizing, and physically taxing. Psychologically demotivating. With a limited salary, managing this fight was a killing proposition.
Aditya did not lose hope. Fortunately, in the parliament, the new adoption guidelines were being discussed to be implemented in the Juvenile Justice Act. Aditya actually wrote a letter to the honorable Speaker of Lok Sabha, Mrs. Sumitra Mahajan, requesting her to pass the Bill, which had a clause in which the age limit of the Prospective Adoptive Parent (PAP) was lowered to 25. This bill was passed in the Lok Sabha and new guidelines were put into place in august 2015.
Finally, a window opened and he managed to speak to Maneka Gandhi (Indian Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development) and explained his concerns about Binny and she instructed CARA to inquire.
CARA -Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory body of the Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India. It functions as the nodal body for the adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions
Ms. Meneka Gandhi was extremely supportive and accompanied Aditya to the orphanage in Bhopal. She was shocked to see the reality of most orphanages. After scrutiny, this orphanage was finally shut down.
Aditya’s two-year-long wait was finally over. The age limit of adoption by a single parent was legally reduced to 25.
On 1st January 2016, Aditya was given permission to adopt Binny and bring him home. Binny got a new name – Avnish. Aditya was legally Avnish’s father.
Initially, his family thought Aditya was taken the wrong decision, but seeing his dedication and passion for this special child, they ultimately supported him wholeheartedly.
Aditya recalls that when Avnish arrived, he was around 2 years old. He looked like he was never bathed and had layers of dandruff. This was followed by feeding issues and digestive disorders which every infant goes through, but for Aditya, this was their first experience taking care of a baby, that too, a child with Down Syndrome. Over the next few months, Avnish had to go through various surgeries and was put on a ventilator. Aditya took such good care of Avnish’s health and diet etc, that he started to recover.
Within the next 7,8 months, Avnish was healthy and playing around like any normal toddler. He started going to school, cycled, played the drums, and went to the park to play with other children, and watching him gave Aditya pure joy.
When asked, if wasn’t he nervous about suddenly becoming a father at 27, he said,
“There would be nothing to frighten you if you refuse to be afraid,” says Aditya.
Even though the adoption procedures were completed, Aditya did not stop his fight against injustice and the human rights of differently-abled people in India. He spoke against child trafficking and laws in favor of specially-abled people.
In 2020, he filed a PIL in Madhya Pradesh high court and proposed a one-pension policy for India’s disabled persons. Every state has a different pension policy. In Madhya Pradesh, it was Rs.600 while in Delhi it was Rs.2500. If a person has a disability certificate, they deserve a similar pension with no expiry date.
After five years of living with Aditya, Avnish was a changed happy boy. He desired to climb the highest mountains and just to support his dreams, Aditya planned an expedition to Everest Base camp with Avnish. It was something impossible to even comprehend. To arrange funds, to train Avnish and safely take him up where few tread, was like asking for the impossible.
Aditya took Avnish to various different locations like Kashmir and other small treks to acclimatize him. Finally, in 2022, this father-son duo actually reached the Everest base camp and unfurled the Indian Flag.
“Down’s on the Top of The World” it was!
Aditya gratefully says,” Thank You God for giving me an incredible child. I am not a perfect parent but lucky to have a perfect child.”
Avnish had successfully climbed 18,200 feet, Kala Pathar Mount Everest, at age 7, with a down syndrome condition and undergoing multiple surgeries. The main aim of this climb was to create awareness about differently abled children and the issues of down syndrome.
This news was all over social media. And then came the biggest honor- The National award for Individual Excellence- the “Shresth Divyang Bal Puraskar” (Outstanding Child with Medical Condition). This was given to Avnish by Madam President herself. It was given for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities for the year 2022 on the “International Day of Persons with Disabilities” defined by the United Nations.
Avnish was India’s Youngest National Awardee of “Shresth Avnish”. What an achievement for the father, Aditya Tiwari, and for Avnish. A child who was given up by his parents, today, is being honored by the government of India as an achiever.
Destiny can be a real game-changer.
Avnish also participated as an Athlete in Special Olympics Bharat.
Aditya’s case story was shared on National and International news and many foreign nationals contacted him to seek help with the adoption procedure in India.
Aditya’s legal battle became an interesting project for law students to study adoption law in India.
Aditya highlighted various issues to the central government, as a result, changes were made in the system including getting a disability certificate, a separate category for Down Syndrome, Increase in monthly social security pension, and Insurance facilities for the child with special needs.
He was invited to one of the conferences at the UN and World Economic Forum HeadQuarter held in Geneva in 2019 for the work he is doing and implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) with Orphans and persons with special needs.
On international women’s Day 2020, he was honored with the tag of “World Best Mother”.
Aditya Tiwari is a true inspiration for many and received the Youngest Change-maker Award in 2020.
He has been a vibrant TedX Speaker twice.
He is a World Record Holder for being the First and Youngest Man to Climb Mount Everest with an adopted child with Medical Condition in 2022.
Also, been awarded the Global Shaper at the World Economic forum.
Today Aditya is considered a Social Reformer along with a Human Rights Activist.
I asked Aditya, what advice would he share with future generations, and he said, “Accept what you have and believe that every life has a meaning, explore the world, believe in yourself, feel the power of nature, and do for the best for the Nation.”
Dad has a vision for his son too- “I never discuss caste and religion with Avnish. I tell him, your Nationality is Humanity and your purpose in life is to make the citizens of your country proud of your achievements. ”
If every Citizen of India raised their children with such a foundation, the world would definitely be a happier place.
Aditya is truly an inspiration who swam against the tide to bring in the change that was required to achieve his goal and in turn help thousands of differently-abled people. Aditya has proved that anything is possible if you really want it..you just need to want it that bad.
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