Adoption nationale en Inde / domestic adoption in India

Not child’s play Saturday March 22 2008 18:46 IST Lakshmy V Zairudeen
Becoming a parent, whether through the natural process of carrying a pregnancy full-term or not, is a big responsibility. In India, where parents take care of their children even after they marry, this responsibility is not to be taken lightly. In traditional Indian society, raising a family is the next step after marriage. As this is taken for granted, the inability to have children is often viewed as a failure of some kind and hence the humiliation is unbearable for many. More often than not, the woman is blamed and this is inevitably followed by threats of divorce and pressure from the husband's family to allow him to remarry. It is ironic that a society that believes a child is a gift of God often forgets that it’s indeed God's will! As the most common reason for adoption is infertility, the decision to adopt comes after years and sometimes decades of trying to have a child in the natural manner. The process of adoption takes one through emotions ranging from intense hurt and grief to inexpressible joy. Though our societies are going through a multitude of changes in culture, the concept of adoption is still a sore topic in families. For successful adoption, there needs to be open communication, acceptance and adequate family support. Adoption is a personal decision, but the feelings and attitudes of others should be considered in terms of how these will affect the parents and child. The family’s acceptance of an adopted child, therefore, becomes a life-long process. The parents of adopted children often face the dilemma of whether or not to tell the young one the truth, often caused by the fear that their adopted children may go in search of their biological parents and break the bond with the foster parents completely. Some parents who decide to tell their children the truth believe that they made the right choice. “It’s better my son knew the truth from me. I was paranoid that Tarun (her son) would leave us after finding his birth mother or blame us in some way but I also knew that he deserved to know,” says Renuka, a 58-year-old homemaker in Hyderabad. After a search of six years, Tarun finally found his biological mother — whom he visits whenever he can —but lives with Renuka. It’s a misconception that only maladjusted people feel the drive to search for their parents. Adopted children's search for their biological parents comes from a longing to search for a relation and not a relationship. “Who're my parents? Why did my mother not want me enough to keep me with her? Was I a mistake? Who am I?” are some of the common but important questions that plague adopted children. The search for biological parents can become a long and tedious process and it is advisable for foster parents to support this quest. Biological mothers give up their children for reasons unknown to the child. Hence, they may resent the child’s quest and consider it an intrusion to their present day lives. The adopted person can view this as rejection, which can cause emotional trauma if proper care and moral support is not given by the adoptive parents. This strengthens their bond with the child and often brings relief to many. Kannathil Muthamittal, a Tamil film directed by Mani Ratnam, addresses the nuances of raising an adopted child and telling her the truth. The film did not fare well commercially, but has won many accolades. Raising a child is no mean task. If you’re adopting a child, it is a permanent commitment that is laced with concerns such as rejection, loss and betrayal. The onus is on you as a parent to make sure that you're giving this child the best care and a loving home. Drawn to babies As corny as it may sound, there are couples who adopt a child simply because they love children. “I have three children — a son and twin daughters — but I wanted a larger family. Hence, I adopted two children, a boy and a girl,” says Revathi, a homemaker. “I was more than willing to let Renuka, my sister, adopt one of my children but our families were not too comfortable with the idea. I adopted Veda and Vilas from the same home that Renuka adopted Tarun,” she says. Akhilanandam, her husband, loves children as much as his wife and says he would love to adopt more, “but my financial situation doesn't allow me to.” Sometimes, a couple may already have two daughters but crave for a boy. With no control over the sex of a natural child, they find it safer to adopt a child of the opposite sex. Also, a person may wish to remain single but want to become a parent. A classic example is Sushmita Sen, who at the height of her career adopted a girl, Rene. There are also those who choose to adopt despite the ability to become biological parents out of a genuine urge to control population or to help out a friend or a relative who has fallen on bad times. “My friend lost her husband in an accident few years ago and as hers was a love marriage, there was no support from her family. So when she received a job offer from Australia, my wife and I adopted her six-month-old daughter Yashodha,” explains Abhimanyu, a software engineer from Bangalore. His friend still keeps in touch with all of them, including Yashodha, who is now four years old.


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