With a drop in fertility rates and the desire to help children in need, a lot of couples and single women and men are opting to adopt kids. However, do all those who adopt a child maintain similar standards of child care that they would have for their biological child? A recent social media post will come across as a rude shock if you think that they do. Apparently, a couple wanted to ‘return’ the child they had adopted because she wasn’t learning new things ‘fast enough’. As per the counsellor who was asked to intervene, the parents aren’t willing to adjust their life to accommodate the therapies which the child needs. They also do not want any long term responsibilities and they don’t want to be answerable to their relatives as to why did they adopt a child who needed additional care.
- A couple allegedly wanted to 'return' their adopted child as she wasn't learning new things 'fast enough'.
- Parenting and adoption remain devoid of discussion on raising special needs children.
- Would the adoptive parents disown their biological child had she or he needed special care?
- People who can't love a child unconditionally should be discouraged from adopting them.
Does this couple think that children are toys or electronic gadgets which can be returned if they fail to meet their expectations? Would they have disowned their biological child, had she or he needed special care? Is the fear of social shaming so big, that they are willing to ‘return’ a child they chose to welcome in their lives?
There are a lot of aspects to adoption and parenting which we don’t talk about in India. Some days ago Padma Priya, who hosts India’s first podcast on child adoption Dear Pari, wrote a post on SheThePeople criticising how many people continue to think that adoption is about picking children off the street and is an act of sympathy and “humanitarian” gesture. They feel they are doing the child a great service by giving him a home to live in, food to eat and bearing her or his expenses. But is that parenting or charity? Also, most people still do not understand and fully comprehend the struggle that is parenting. Couples often end up adopting as a last resort, to fufill the social obligation of having a child. Or they just want to fill a void in their lives, but on their terms and conditions.
The thought that their adopted child may need special care or therapy doesn’t often cross their mind and thus they aren’t mentally prepared for the challenge. This case also exposes the bitter truth about the discrimination which some parents hold in their hearts for their adopted children. In a country obsessed with intelligence, any struggle on the child’s part in the learning department is seen as a parental failure. Biased parents spare no time shaking their hands off adopted children, because they feel they aren't to be blamed for the problem the child faces, and thus they shouldn't have to deal with it. Suddenly, a child who was the apple of their eyes becomes an unwanted burden.
But then again it is unfair to generalise, as previously many people in the past have come forward to adopt children with special needs and become parents who are devoted to ensuring well-being of their children.
This case does make one wonder though, whether or not there needs to be an expansion in the conversation on adoption. Can we prepare those interested in adopting a child for such struggles beforehand? However, what needs to change truly is the deep seated alienation that some parents hold for their adopted children. Such a mind-set exposes itself when the child doesn’t turn out to be the perfect child that the parents had promised themselves because in India we just refuse to accept imperfections among our children.
Children aren’t toys that one can exchange when they don’t turn out to be as per to your liking. This is why only those who are willing to love their adopted children unconditionally should be allowed to do so. After all, parenting isn't a commitment one can back out of.
Pic Credit: Elite Agent
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.