Sushmita Sen's 10-year legal battle to be able to adopt her second daughter
Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen's life has not been all glitz and glamor. Learn more about the single mom-of-two's fight to legally adopt her two daughters
Sushmita Sen was only 18 years old when she was crowned Miss Universe in 1994 here in Manila. Many agree that it was her unforgettable answer during the final round that won her the title. The questions was: "What is the essence of a woman?"
To this, the young beauty replied: "Just being a woman is God's gift that all of us must appreciate. The origin of a child is a mother, and is a woman. She shows a man what sharing, caring and loving is all about. That is the essence of a woman. "
The young beauty queen showed grit and wisdom during the pageant, but she also proved these traits to be true in her life.
Six years after that memorable night, Sushmita proved her answer to be true when she became a mother, but she did so in a less traditional way. In a conservative country like India, single women being able to adopt on their own is not widely accept. But Sushmita beat the odds and has fully embraced the role of becoming a single mom, which is something she fought hard for.
But the road to where she is now was not easy. When she tried to adopt her eldest daughter Renee, the court didn't allow it until two years later. Renee turned 17 on September 5, 2016.
"I was 24 years old, and I had been trying since I was 22 to become a mom by the process of adoption," recalled the beauty queen in an interview with Jessica Soho. "It took us a while and we got the custody for my first baby."
After becoming Renee's mom, she planned to adopt another three-month old baby girl and that fight was even more challenging.
"But the second child was actually a bigger court fight than the first one," confided Sushmita. "Because in India, the rules said, you could not adopt a daughter after a daughter. You have to adopt a son."
It took ten years, but she won the fight to adopt her second child Alisah with her patience and perseverance.
"It was a long wait," she answered, flashing her winning smile as she recalled her victory.
"Because in India, the rules said, you could not adopt a daughter after a daughter. You have to adopt a son." - Sushmita Sen
The 41-year-old prides herself in being a hands-on mom. In a previous interview with DNA India, she explained that she chose not to hire nannies for her girls to make herself responsible for "looking after" them.
She's raising them to be just as free-thinking and brave as she is.
"I will not encourage her to do anything in life that she doesn’t want to," she said in a previous interview with India Express, pertaining to her eldest's interest in joining show business. "But I just have one condition, and that is, she should complete her education before deciding what she wants to do."
"Although God has been very kind to me, it took 10 years for me to stand on my own feet and think independently that I can do this," said Sushmita, revealing how she used to feel bad about not being able to finish college.
"When I used to see others with Ph.Ds and Masters [degrees], and having graduated out of big universities in which ironically I have now delivered lectures, I used to feel bad about not having completed my studies," she explained. "So, it’s is my desire that my children should get a good degree."
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