More than 20 years ago, Ann Pollak travelled to Calcutta, hoping to volunteer alongside Mother Teresa. The experience would spark a years-long process that would eventually lead her to adopt a severely handicapped child from one of the care centres run by the Missionaries of Charity.
“It has not been easy, at all, but the blessings have far, far outweighed the sacrifices,” Pollak told CNA. “Oddly, in adopting a blind child, I began seeing the world through my own eyes from a different perspective.”
Nearly 18 years ago, Pollak adopted a child from one of Mother Teresa’s orphanages. But adoption was not initially her intent.
In 1995, Pollak travelled to India in order to meet Mother Teresa. She spent two weeks doing volunteer work and was impressed with Mother Teresa’s constant smile, and the fact that despite winning a Nobel Prize and being globally famous, the religious sister was very approachable.
Pollak would return to do volunteer work numerous times in the years that followed. In 1997, about a month before Mother Teresa’s death, she was working with handicapped children. She was assigned to feed one little girl, Rekha, who was blind, autistic and mentally delayed.
“She had the sweetest smile on her face,” Pollak recalled of Rekha. “I just fell in love with her.” She also believed that the child had potential to develop and grow, if she was able to get the proper care and attention from a family.
A year later, Pollak returned to India to see if the little girl was still there. She was.
But as time went on, she became frustrated with her inability to find anyone to care for the girl. She began praying every day, asking God for a solution. Although she had not previously considered adoption, she began to feel an inner call to adopt Rekha. “I couldn’t find any other solution,” she reflected.