...and then

Monday, 29 March 2010

A readymade family

It rarely happens in my life that two people who I love are married to each other, unless it is someone in my family. So I consider myself extremely lucky to have as friends a wonderful couple who have been married to each other for 10 years. I will not mention their names here for many reasons although I am sure they wouldn't mind for the most bit.

Being a mother to two children, I am beginning to understand why a lot of people don't want kids. I also get why many do. And I also understand that some people are totally okay with not having kids even though they want them.

My friends just had their adoption go through and brought home a gorgeous little boy. Something in my stomach is dying to break free and put his name down here to tell him how special he is but I can't. Privacy is sacred.

Adoption is a hugely sensitive issue in more ways than one. No one wants to think that they can't have kids. No one (I know) wants other people to think that they are being 'charitable' by adopting a child. No one wants to surprise themselves and find that they can't actually love their adopted child when she acts out or displays traits that neither of the parents think they have.

I have always wanted to adopt a child. I went as far as deciding I'd be a single mum putting the adoption process in motion before I married. I could never tell why it is that I wanted to adopt but I knew I did. Is that okay? I realised it is not. One needs to know exactly why they want to adopt. And unless the answer is clear, it would be the wrong thing to do.

I know people believe that one shouldn't adopt as charity. I agree, but only if the prospective adoptive parent is going to treat the child like it should be grateful. But if a person is capable of love then I don't see anything wrong with a person adopting because they want to give an unfortunate child a life of love and security. Adopting a child is a fantastic way of rehabilitating it, providing it with food, shelter, education, opportunities but most of all, love.

At last count, there we 12 million abandoned children in India and if reports are to be believed a horrific 90 per cent of this number was girls. And take a wild guess at how many adoptions happened last year. Go on. Less than 4000. Can anyone explain those two trends?

I am a relatively new mother, both  my kids are under two years of age. And I've spoken to many, many mothers recently and almost all have said they were hoping to have a girl when they were pregnant. I have a few friends who have opted to adopt and have all ticked as their gender preference, girls. Maybe I am living in a pretty little well that's urban India, maybe all these girls that are being abandoned are coming from rural areas. But can someone explain why this dichotomy exists? Why am I meeting women who actively want daughters and at the same time 90 per cent of all those kids abandoned are girls?

Have any of you been to an orphanage? I went before I was a mother. I don't think I want to go back as one. I don't think I can look at all those mad monkeys there and wonder how they're smiling like diamonds even though they have no families to call their own. I don't want to see little babies rocking themselves to sleep. I don't want to see a baby cry and cry and cry and it be attended only when the poor overworked attendant can.

I am still considering adoption but I don't know when. I need enough money first and then I need to know that my existing family and I will accept the new child as our own. 

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Blogger scarlet pimpernel said...

Can single men adopt ?

4:28 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Not unless you are in Bombay. The Bombay High Court has allowed single men to adopt in Bombay. Elsewhere it's a concept that's yet to catch on.

4:34 pm  
Blogger scarlet pimpernel said...

Oh yeah ! Maximum city

4:41 pm  
Blogger Judy Balan said...

I wanted a girl too when I was expecting and God was kind. Now I want a boy as well and I imagine I will have one someday. An adopted one, hopefully. Just as soon as I hit paydirt with a best-seller :-| Speaking of adoption, I love what Sushmita Sen told her daughter Renee - 'All babies come from mummies' tummies, but you came from mummy's heart' :)))

6:27 pm  
Blogger Saltwater Blues said...

My cousin and his wife living in Dubai adopted a baby girl in India last year and let me tell you the paperwork and all the other nonsense that goes with it has been an absolute nightmare! Apparently the institution where they adopted the child from have some kind of monitoring policy which means they have to bring the child down to India every few months in order to comply or else the institution has the right to revoke the adoption ... or something like that.

@Judy: Call me stupid but that thing Sushmita Sen told her daughter makes no sense to me.

9:57 pm  
Blogger Sumira Khan said...

I started typing a comment but it was so long that I decided to add it to my own post instead. :) Read it here.

2:55 pm  
Blogger deepa ravi said...

RQ yes its amazing all the women I know desperately wanted a girl. A family I know also adopted a girl after their own baby boy died at birth! But its really an urban trend. You do to the rural areas and they want boys. Even urban areas - you look at the North - the Punjabis would still curse their DIL it she delivered a boy. My good friend in the US gets constantly jibed at by her MIL because her only child is a girl. So yeah the world is biased towards boys. Having said that I'm so glad my only child is a girl :)

@And Judy yeah that is a wonderful thing said by Sush Sen. :)

7:49 am  
Blogger Naushad said...

loved the blog...!

8:18 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Naushad: Thank you so much for visiting :) Muah!

1:21 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Judy: I fervently prayed for a girl too. Both times :) And I have to agree with SWB, I don't know waht SS said means. All the best on the adoption. I truly hope you can do it.
SWB: I was wondering where you went to. Kasa kai? Christians do have a harder time adopting in India because of the guardianship clause, which, by the way, was drafted in 18 bloody 90. It's been more than a hundred years since then and Christians and Muslims are still given only guardianship, not parenthood. Makes no sense. Send me their email id? I'd love to do a story, and I hope the story will make it easier for them.
Sumira:Read your post before you commented :) Thanks!
Deepa: Here I've got to say that Punjab gets a lot of flak for their love for the boys but TN is no better. In fact, TN tops the list of states where female infanticide exists. Dharmapuri, Madurai and Salem districts being the biggest criminals.
So here I am going to defend the Punjabi and say, there's worse.

1:41 pm  
Blogger starry eyed said...

I can't stand SS comment on adoption myself...all our kids come from the heart...and I get annoyed with parents who use this "you come from my heart" line ONLY to talk about adoption....you won't believe how many kids believe they were never born, only adopted because of this sentence...parents need to start talking about the truth with their kids as they grow up.

Liked your post, and yes, I agree that one needs to know WHY one wants to adopt, have done a post on why adoption should not be considered an act of charity here.http://starsinmeyes.wordpress.com/2009/12/21/adoption-is-not-choosing-a-child/

You know, I think that the rehabilitation, education, opportunities, safety, saving the girl child etc are all 'SIDE-EFFECTS' of adoption, and should never be considered the primary motive to adopt...it's a set-up for failure of the adoption.

As for the discrepancy b/w abandoned and destitute children and number of kids adopted, it's simply because the former are not legally free and the procedures and paperwork required to set them free are very time-consuming and cumbersome...so they're languishing. And it's really a good idea to adopt the legal way to avoid hassles in the future...so the number of parents waiting far exceeds the number of kids legally free for adoption.

As for the title of your post, yes adoption is a way of building a family, but I did get VERY offended when my m-i-l called my son a readymade baby, like he was a product of a factory.

As for the dichotomy b/w those who want daughters and those who abandon them, it's 2 different bunches of people. One is the typo who still think the girl is a burden, and the other thinks she's a blessing.

And yes, I haven't been able to go back to the agency we adopted from, even though the kids were well-taken care of, just the thought that they're without parents makes me want to take them all home. And I can't.

7:41 am  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

starry eyed: Thank you so very much for this comment. Just goes to tell me I shouldn't talk about things I don't know.
Completely agree with you in the title of the post -- it was lazy posting and I honestly don't think of adopted families as readymade ones. I also don't think that just because you have a baby, you automatically become a family. It takes working at relationships and lots of love, forgiveness and space to become a family. I in fact intended a question mark at the end of it and forgot. Then, it was just laziness that kept me from changing it.
Also I didn't mean to say that all those reasons are why you should adopt, I just meant to say that those are great reasons apart from the single most important reason that you want to adopt a child.

5:28 pm  
Blogger starry eyed said...

Hey TRQ! Hope I didn't come across as preachy or critical. I didn't know zilch about adoption before I started out :) And I still don't know most of the answers...plan to find out on the journey!

Agree with all you've said! And liked your post too...otherwise I wouldn't have commented. :)

Definitely it takes a lot of work to become a family, whether by birth or through adoption. Just that the belongingness of birth is taken for granted, and the attachment in adoption is often viewed with a critical eye.

7:00 am  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Yeah, it's sad when you think of how attachment to adopted children is looked at critically. After all the person you choose to spend the rest of your life is, most often, not of your own flesh and blood, correct? And no, you didn't come across as preachy or critiquing? But even if you did, so what? ;)

2:07 pm  

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