My three-year-old daughter plays as I write. She calls out for either her dad or me every alternate minute. It’s as normal as in a household where a child is being raised by his/her biological parents. The fact that we are not genetically related is immaterial to our parent-child bond — the same cycle of love, hope, anxiety, stress, and craziness ensues!
I have wanted to adopt ever since I was 18, so for me, it is just another way of becoming a parent by choice. In my profession I get difficult questions on why and how one should adopt. Here’s an attempt to address some of the fundamental thoughts supporting adoption.
1.We often get questions by couples that are planning a baby and have chosen to undertake rather physically and mentally intensive infertility treatments. I understand that the urge to give birth is natural, but in my experience, raising an adopted child is by no means being a lesser parent.
2. What if the child doesn’t turn out to be like others in the family? In fact, I have seen multiple cases of children who are absolute shadows of their adoptive parents, in everything from expressions to behaviour. The parenting, the environment, and the values imparted all play a role here.
3. Then comes the classic Nature vs Nurture debate. One has no clue about a biologically born child until one truly ‘parents’ the child. Every parent has hundreds of questions which reflect this anxiety. Also, whenever a child is seen in the wrong, another finger always points towards the parenting that the child has received. So what’s really more important — birthing or parenting?
4. No separate skills are required for raising an adopted child. Nurturing only needs love. We all know that it’s important to create memories of love with our children, to play with them, or to simply be with them when they need us. It is absolutely the same for every child.
5. Even history and mythology support adoption. The most popular example is of Lord Krishna, whose tales and anecdotes are all around his adoptive parents –Yashoda and Nandlal.
But now as a society, we are more welcoming towards adoption. Aditya Tiwari, who created history in India by bringing home a special child said, “Once Avnish held my finger, I just couldn’t look back. I left no stone unturned in bringing him home.” He is not alone. As per CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority of India), adoption has seen an increase in 2015.
What about those obvious doubts and fears that you might still have on your way to adoption? Here’s how to deal with them:
1. What if the child asks existential questions like “Who am I”? Yes, that’s natural and the child needs to know that you aren’t his/her birth parents. Our adoption counsellor told us that we must share the truth as normally as possible, while our daughter enjoys lap time. The earlier you share, the easier is the acceptance. I simply tell my daughter that she was born out of my heart and her friends were born out of their mothers’ wombs. I have her trust and I choose to share with her as much of the truth as I know.
2. How will the extended family accept the child? Think about it: we call out ‘dada’, ‘dadi’, ‘didi’, ‘bhaiyya’, and hence they exist. If you don’t introduce a child with a relationship tag, then s/he is a stranger. The parents create a whole world for them and usher them into it. I do believe that if your conviction to adopt is firm enough, your doubts will melt away and the answers to all such questions will emerge. Every parent may not have the same answer but will have one for sure!
3. What about the biological parents?Yes, you can’t eliminate them from the history of the child but they don’t chase you if you adopt legally, following the norms laid out by the CARA, which governs and manages the adoption process in India. This involves truckloads of documentation, unlimited patience, and a lot of faith in your own destiny. So you can tell that it’s definitely not as interesting as conceiving your own. You wouldn’t even know the date you will have your baby, so no EDD too! But once the baby is in your lap, you are a PARENT and the rest is all the same.
The only exception is that once your child turns 18, if his/her quest to meet the biological parents is alive, s/he is entitled to it. Now dreading that situation is like not getting married in fear of a divorce 18 years later. If you can trust a full-blown adult, then why not a child you have raised yourself?
In today’s times, parenting is so complex that no one should dive into it until they truly want it. Once you are sure, it doesn’t matter where the child comes from! Adopt because you want to become a parent and not just because it is a noble deed.
Wish you luck in whichever way you choose to be a parent!
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)