Adoption a lifelong commitment

2 years validity of the registration of prospective adoptive parents

One of the essential components of the process of finding a home by adoption is to provide children and families a larger information base to the emerging identity and consciousness about adoption. Doubts and mixed feelings are to be settled and a complete overview of the investment into bringing home a child that is not born into the family has to be given to the aspiring parents.

This requires devoting time to educate oneself besides sessions with counselors and adoptive parents.

This aspect, which is considered key to building happy homes, has been virtually bypassed by the new CARA guidelines, which promise a destitute child a home in the shortest possible time but does not guarantee that the child will be safe and happy. At least two full days of preparation is required for intending parents going forward to adopt a child.

During the process, transparency holds the key with the stakeholders to respect the sentiment and right of this way of family building.

Post-adoption services are an absolute must to support the family’s learning on sharing the fact of adoption with the child and conversing on the topic at various ages. We need to provide the adoptee based services on ‘Search’ in time as all adopted children have shown interest to search for their biological families.

Fear of rejection or simply fear of the unknown, fear of not being accepted by one’s biological child or fear of society not accepting our child are perhaps some of the reasons why adoption remains a taboo subject. Adoption is a lifelong pro-cess. The new guidelines do not seem to have an inbuilt monitoring system or a mechanism to take parents through the process to ensure that adoption is indeed successful. Parents should educate themselves on this unique relationship built by adoption, and learn to grow with the child and adoption itself.

Preparation towards adoptive parenthood needs a mature approach with opening of the heart, and training of the mind to understand that the child is one's own, yet has another identity. This pre-requisite is missed in such a process that seems quite impersonal.

Some adopted children go through repeated trauma due to misinformation and shortcuts which do not have a legal sanction.

Here are real stories from a social worker’s register, which underline the importance of an interactive process:

Manjula was born as the 4th girl child of parents who could not afford to keep her. A couple who did not have a child got to know of the baby girl and wished to adopt her. They were happy she was bright and healthy. In the course of growing up the child was informed about her origins.

As a teenager, her grades began to slip at school. The parents were disappointed and there was some friction around the issue. One day the mother screamed and said she no longer could keep her in her home. M knew of her birth mother who refused to have anything to do with the girl. Today she is in a government institution.

B was a mother of a 6-year-old girl and the husband’s family was keen that they have a grandson to bear the family name. Unable to conceive a second time, B very reluctantly consented to adopt a male child. As the boy turned out to be more energetic than she could cope with and she began to discipline him by beating. It was another couple of years before the father realised that he had a wife who needed as much help as the child. Unable to care for both he returned the 7-year-old to institutional care.

(The writer is the Secretary of Sudatta Adoptive Families Association and former Chairman of the Juvenile Welfare Board of Chennai)

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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