WATCH: “We loved her from the first moment we received her photo” – girl’s adoptive parents
Josephine Vassallo Parnis said, “everywhere we go, everyone we meet with, she just brings joy with her. I see her growing up and developing and I say what a wonderful decision we took.”
Patrick Parnis said, “she has brought us such joy and you think to yourself, I will take care of this child and give her all my best to grow, to develop, to become a decent adult.”
Patrick and Josephine are the adoptive parents of Tara, who will celebrate her second birthday on 25 February. Tara is from Bangalore, in South India. It will soon be a year since she came to Malta.
The couple at first had applied to adopt from Slovakia. A year passed by and they heard nothing so then they looked to India. They knocked on the doors of Aġenzija Tama and started the process to apply for adoption from this faraway country. In the application, they did not choose whether they wanted a boy or a girl but just asked for the child to be three years or older. They were therefore stunned when it was suggested to them to adopt a six-month-old baby. They discussed it and agreed to adopt her.
Ms Vassallo Parnis says, “at the end of the day, adoption is a gift. We thought, why are we making certain conditions when our aim is to put a smile on someone’s face?”
In July 2017, they received the first photo of Tara. Her mother had taken her to the orphanage when she was just two days old.
“I remember the day when we received the first photo of Tara. We loved her from the moment we saw her picture. Then came the waiting. You have to be very patient. We went through a roller coaster of emotions which tear at your heart. In December 2017, the Court procedures began and on 6 January 2018, we received the news that the Court had taken its final decision and Tara could be our daughter.”
They immediately began preparing to leave for India in less than 20 days so that they could bring back their daughter. We asked Patrick how they could rest assured that Tara was healthy.
He said, “we had a medical report review which they sent us. We took it to our doctor who verified there were no problems and from that point on we decided to go ahead.”
The moment finally came for them to go to the orphanage and see Tara…not just from a photo but to actually pick her up and hug her.
Patrick says, “that was a moment of immense happiness. It is overwhelming. It is very emotional, very sentimental. You think back on all the plans you made so that you can finally see her in your arms.”
Josephine said, “at first I didn’t recognise her, but Patrick went directly to her. On my part, the scene which will remain in my mind is seeing a carpet and a group of children and babies sitting on this carpet on the floor. All of them playing. All of them happy together. There were babies who were only five days old. That scene was heartbreaking. That is when you understand why you took this step. Our aim was to give a better life to a little boy or girl.”
Patrick added, “you are on a high cloud seeing this little girl, to make sure everything is all right so that she can start bonding with us. Basically, in the first four days we just used to go from our hotel to the orphanage. We didn’t take her back with us to start bonding before we took her to the hotel, because that is as far as you can go. To get her out of the country we needed to prepare her passport. ”
Josephine and Patrick say that in India they have found another family. They have kept in touch with the orphanage and often send them photos and information about the life of their daughter, such as her Baptism, Christmas and her attendance at a nursery. Apart from this, as a family, they go to India often because they believe it is important for the child to know about her roots.
Josephine points out, “I want Tara to be proud of her past. There she has an extended family who welcomed her and loved her, who gave her everything they could and we have continued in that path.”
Patrick and Josephine are very grateful for the help they found from Aġenzija Tama and the Malta High Commission in India.
Josephine says, “an experience such as adoption is one which is full of huge emotions and today I say it was the most beautiful trip and the best decision that we could have taken together as a couple. The important thing is for the couple to both agree on taking this step, that both of you really want to go for adoption.”
Patrick Parnis said, “Tara completed us. When we say it is a complete family, mind you, we did not scratch the idea of adopting again. Tara gave us the real family atmosphere.”
Asked whether they would consider adopting again Patrick said, “Yes, but to be clear we have to settle down first. But we do not exclude it.”
You can follow the programme DISSETT on TVMI.