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Aisha and Raza's personal journey

My husband and I have two gorgeous children, our daughter, DD who is 3 and our son, DS who is 9 months old. 

Of the several thousand pictures we have taken (thanks to apple) I have put together a few that really reflect their personality and our pride.

Like many adopters we negotiated the fertility jungle first. I think it was a necessary pathway, because once we had closed that door adoption was a no brainer. We wanted to adopt a new born. The UK didn’t appear to offer the chance to be matched with new-borns so we looked to Pakistan. The Edhi foundation forms part of the social welfare system of Pakistan. They operate a system of cradles placed all over the country where new-borns can be left. Mrs Edhi personally sees to the placement of all the new born children, preferring UK adopters.

We began by applying to the IAC, international adoption agency in the UK. After 12 weeks of home study and a panel interview the Department For education issued the all-important certificate of eligibility.

We submitted our application bundle to Mrs Edhi and followed it up with a series of phone calls mostly to get us on her radar. In august 2011 we travelled to Pakistan with suitcases full of nappies baby equipment and clothes. Arriving in the blistering heat of Karachi we touched base with Mrs Edhi to arrange our initial meeting.  The meeting was a vetting meeting to test our commitment. It was thorny and rather intimidating. But despite that the very next morning we received that all important call, “you have a baby daughter”. We had a 2 hour window to return to the office. There we were greeted by our bundle of joy. Tears of sheer happiness overwhelmed us. Barely orientated we were quickly ushered out and directed to the hospital for a medical assessment. Our family had begun.

The process in Pakistan takes 4 months.  First we had to obtain the release papers from the Edhi foundation stating that no one had come forward to claim the baby. Then we obtained the birth certificate, the guardianship order, the passport and finally the visa. The visa can take 3 months. 

I was on unpaid leave from work, and my husband obviously had to return to work after two weeks. So the separation was a stress. Other stresses included being away from home, restriction on our movement due to security, the heat, the load shedding the mosquitos and the traffic! But all this didn’t matter, we had a baby in our arms within 3 days of landing in Karachi.

Finally returning home the next stage of the journey began. We were reviewed weekly, then monthly by social services and then finally we went to court for the UK adoption order. And then we repeated all this again in March for our son. 

Being able to bond with a new born is amazing. We missed nothing of their development and that is a fantastic feeling. Pakistan offers this. Adopting from Pakistan means you are placed almost straight away. Your son or daughter stays with you the whole time. There are no attachment issues, there are no concerns about institutionalisation. Of course, there are things that you don’t know, like birth history, birth maternal or paternal history, but it doesn’t matter. 

For anyone considering adopting internationally, Pakistan is a great place. I would definitely recommend it. We are not wholly averse to a third trip. Watch this space……

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