Minda Cox meets her biological parents after 19 years
Kolekebailu (Udupi district): “My dream has been to contact you... I have been thinking of you and want you to know how grateful I am to you for keeping me alive and taking me to the hospital... I can take care of myself very well. I use an electric wheelchair. I take classes in the university and am becoming an artist... Someday I would like to meet you and thank you for loving me.”
This was a letter written just a few days ago by Minda Cox, relinquished in 1988 by her biological father to a hospital in Manipal because he feared he did not have the means to take care of a child born without limbs. Seven months after the incident, the baby was placed in adoption by Ashraya, a Bangalore-based adoption agency, with Catherine Cox. Minda now lives in Bolivar, Missouri, with her adoptive mother. In India for a reunion on the occasion of Ashraya’s 25th year, Minda wrote the letter when told that her chances of finding her biological parents were remote.
However, a report in these columns on Minda’s quest set off a search that would lead the young woman to Kolekebailu where her father is a petty shop owner.
Kalavathi, and her husband, Shankar Shetty, had to jostle their way through a crowd gathered outside their tile-roof house on Sunday to reach the van bringing Minda and mother Catherine.
This was the moment for which 19-year-old Minda had been preparing herself for years. Kalavathi, on the other hand, had less than two days to gather herself for a reunion with her oldest daughter whom she never expected to see. “I look just like her!” said Minda as a tearful Kalavathi embraced her. For Minda and Kalavathi, hugs and tears conveyed all that had remained unsaid in these years.
“I never thought I would see her,” said Kalavathi holding Catherine close. “I might have given birth to her, you gave her life,” she said.
Her father Shankar said. “I knew we did not have the means to take care of you. We were very poor and lived in a mud hut those days.”
But “why” was not a question Minda had come to seek an answer to. She had come, she said, to seek reassurance that she would be accepted with her disability, and to reassure her family that she was well.
“I did not know if you even wanted to meet me,” said Minda to Kalavathi. “And now I feel so strong here, safe in your arms,” she said.