An abandoned three-year-old girl from India who was refused by many couples seeking to adopt because she had no nose has finally found a new home.
Kristen Williams, 44, adopted little Durga after a number of couples refused her because insects had eaten away her nose when she was abandoned at birth.
But Durga has now started a new life in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her eight-year-old sister Munni, who Kristen also adopted from India in 2012.
Kristen said: ‘I look at my girls and I’m so happy. I had set out to adopt a child but this journey has brought me so much more. I feel so much love for my girls. They’re my world and I can’t wait to start our lives together. To call them my family just fills me with joy.’
Kristen, who is still single having never met the right man, started her adoption journey in Nepal, in 2010. But the following year the US suddenly suspended all adoptions with the country.
So Kristen was introduced to India and very quickly came across little Munni who had been in an orphanage since 2009.
She said: ‘I was looking through the lists and lists of children up for adoption on my computer screen from an agency and there were just so many. It was heartbreaking to see how many girls need a loving home in India. But I suddenly felt this pull for this little girl. Her name was Munni and she was just five years old at the time. I don’t know what it was but we connected. I just knew she was my daughter, I felt we had to be together and I got the ball rolling.’
I had set out to adopt a child but this journey has brought me so much more
Over the next two years Kristen was put through paper work and court processes in order to adopt Munni, but she never gave up.
‘I knew I wanted Munni in my life so I did everything in my power to make it happen,’ she added. ‘I wasn’t giving up on her no matter how long it took.’
Eventually in December 2012 Kristen met Munni for the first time.
Kristen came to know that Munni had a scar on her forehead in the shape of a horseshoe but no one could tell er how it got there. Munni was quiet and withdrawn but Kristen felt nothing but love for her.
And on February 14th, 2013, Kristen finally became Munni’s adopted mother.
She said: ‘I call her my forever valentine because it was all finalised on Valentine’s Day. It was such a special day. I was so blessed. She opened my eyes to so much. And I knew I wanted to adopt a little sister or brother for Munni.’
Kristen, who works as a secondary school teacher in Loveland, told her adoption agency as soon as she arrived that that she wanted to adopt again. And they promised to keep her notified of availabilities.
The adoption process relies heavily on agencies and its caseworkers matching prospective parents with children.
And it was Kristen’s caseworker that told her about little Durga. She had been abandoned in a bush at birth and insects or animals had eaten away her nose. Apparently the police found her clinging to life and took her to a nearby clinic in Kutch, in Gujarat, western India. Chances of her survival were slim, but she fought on. Eventually she made a full recovery and she started her life in an orphanage. But there was no funding or money available for treatment to her nose. Durga had spent all her life with no nose.
When Kristen first saw a photo, she didn’t hesitate. She said yes immediately and knew that Durga would be forever happy in a home with her and Munni,
‘I remember that Munni and I were driving home from the part one day and my case worked called saying: ‘We have a little girl for you and you’d be a perfect family for her’, and I told her to send her information over immediately,’ Kristen remembered.
As soon as Kristen and Munni walked through the door they logged onto the computer and Durga’s little face smiled back at them.
Kristen said: ‘I cried straight away. This gorgeous little girl with such beautiful eyes had suffered so much. Munni looked at her photo and said: ‘Is that my little sister?’. I said yes immediately. The case worker asked if I needed 24 hours to think about it but I said no, not needed.’
The adoption process meant Durga was then locked to Kristen and no other prospective parent could meet her.
But Durga had been refused by many couple because of her missing nose.
Ilaben Anjaria, the Superintendent of Kutch Mahila Kalyan Kendra centre, in Gujarat, said Durga arrived at the care centre in September 2011, weighing just 1lb 3oz and was just a day old.
‘Her nose was badly nibbled by insects and she was very weak and we were afraid she wouldn’t survive. We tried our best to take good care of her and we used to feed her with cotton balls soaked in milk.
I cried straight away. This gorgeous little girl with such beautiful eyes had suffered so much
‘We named her Durga. For three years we tried our best to find a home for her. Three couples that initially volunteered eventually rejected her because of her nose. Then we contacted an agency licensed with foreign adoptions. Finally Kristen’s agency got in touch.’
There have been only six children at the centre and more than 25 families are waiting to adopt a baby but none of them wanted to adopt Durga.
‘We’re so happy for Durga that she now has a mother and a wonderful new life in the US. She’s very cute and lovely child. Kristen has assured us Durga will be happy and she said she will bring her back to meet us when she’s older.’
Kristen has now taken eight months off work to spend time helping Durga settle into her new home. She said her parents, older sister who has four children, and brother in law, have been a big support and having embraced both Munni and Durga as members of the family.
Kristen has also been to see surgeons in Ohio to discuss Durga’s nose and when she’s older and grown much more at around seven-years-old, she will be able to have a new nose.
‘Munni is over the moon with her little sister,’ Kristen added. ‘She’s the doting older sister already. She won’t want to go to school incase she misses out but we need to get a nice family routine going so life can become as normal as possible for Durga.’
Kristen would still like to marry one day but said any man she meets needs to be completely happy becoming a father to her girls. ‘It will take a very special man to take all three of us on. I’ll never say never, of course I would love for them to have a father, but I’ll be very careful about who enters our lives.’