For Bappaditya and Jeeja, it was love at first sight when they met Hiya at a home in Odisha's Koenjhar district in May.
The world celebrated the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Monday. But for a couple in Kolkata, it has been a celebration everyday since June 7 when their adopted daughter came home. The mother, one of India's best known and most vocal disability activists, has cerebral palsy.
For Bappaditya Nag and Jeeja, it was love at first sight when they met Hiya at a home in Odisha's Koenjhar district in May. They had applied for the adoption two years ago. It was a long wait but meeting Hiya simply erased all the uncertainties.
"It was love at first sight," says Jeeja Ghosh, 48. "She was just four months old. We just loved her."
But when Hiya finally came home, it was not the happiest time. Officials involved in the adoption process raised questions about Jeeja's ability to take care of Hiya, and not just her physical ability but even her mental health.
"They obviously don't know anything about cerebral palsy. They should have. And then they said Jeeja was physically unfit. I told them, yes, we may be unfit to run a full marathon but we are fit to become parents," Bappaditya said.
The eastern region head of Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), the nodal adoption agency, was very supportive, they said and finally the adoption sailed through.
The word 'Hiya' in Bengali means 'heart'. Jeeja and Bappditya found theirs and lit a candle for other people with disabilities who may also want a 'heart' of their own.