In India, a family isn’t considered complete without children in it. Often the unsuspecting couple who has barely finished their honeymoon, are interrogated as soon as they return, to the barrage of poky family members who nonchalantly put the girl on the judgement altar by constantly asking her, absolutely private questions like family planning and motherhood. It isn’t considered a private matter at all. So the couple isn’t supposed to feel offended at such an infringement of their privacy. The obsession with the “Raja Beta” syndrome, the apple of the grandparents' cataract and tear-filled eyes, as to who is going to be the progeny ahead, makes many young brides lose sleep over this.
Often after marrying off the children, many parents become dramatic and put pressure only on the bride with arguments about their short life and that they will soon die after getting a glimpse of their grandchildren. The unborn baby is going to take the family’s legacy ahead. So, it’s imperative that the couple bear children sooner than ever.
Why Does Adoption In India Remains A Taboo Subject?
In this pressure, many couples who are unable to conceive find themselves at a loss, to keep up with the constant stress of being answerable as to when is the “good news”?
Couples are forced to try every method possible to have children, which is only about their blood and genes running into progeny. This often leads to couples facing severe mental pressures, if the wife can’t become pregnant within the stipulated time of a year or two of married life. The man in this is never put on the judgment altar, even if his sperm count could be the problem.
Couples rarely adopt for reasons of doing good to society or the sole reason being that, of bringing home an abandoned child. It is often found that after multiple trials when a couple realises that they may not be able to have a biological child, they ever, grudgingly come to terms with the idea of adoption. The question is, what if the child doesn’t turn out the way they imagined their own to be?
It also doesn’t help that extended family members add to the burden of the couple with zero encouragement. Instead, they narrate horrific stories of adopted children who never fit in with the family or worse the nightmarish tales of the ones who suffer from lifelong trauma and anxieties. These narratives discourage couples from adopting. Blood is thicker than water is the adage generously used when it comes to anyone outside the bloodline in a family.
So it’s commendable when couples muster the guts to break the news to the family that the idea to complete the family is maybe going to be the method of adoption from an orphanage.
India's Recent Adoption Data Reveals More Girls Were Adopted
In India, from 2021 to 2022 there were 3,142 domestic adoptions. Out of this, there were 1,856 girls and 1,286 boys. Thereby, accentuating a steady rise in the number of girl children being adopted. According to CARA, It is estimated that there are approximately 29.6 million stranded, orphaned and abandoned children in India, out of which only about 4000 children get adopted annually.
Single women can adopt a child of any gender but unmarried men are ineligible to adopt female children in India. The rise in the number of girls being adopted clearly shows a gender sensitisation that is happening in our country. Many families choose to bring home a girl child.
Adoption isn’t a choice that everyone is capable of making. It can be a scary and extremely exhausting process when the child slowly adapts to the new home, the familiar smell of security on the blanket, the missing of the biological mother and the endless fears surrounding the baby’s acceptance of the new home is a very difficult journey. Add to that it is equally tough for the parents, to start a new life.
What many parents dislike is that it is considered normal for those who adopt a child to be termed as its "guardians," "foster," or "adoptive" parents. They don’t want the labels as they try hard to nurture the child as their own.
Adoption isn’t an easy path to embark upon as a couple. The adoption process is intense and emotional. As we understand the majority of the children who have been put up for adoption, have been separated from their birth parents and come through the care system, having possibly experienced abuse or neglect. This itself isn’t an easy situation to be in as a parent.
But if a couple is mature and sure of themselves, as they understand that it takes time to foster any relationship, therefore it will be the same with the adopted child too, the ending can be a beautiful family with parents who have not only given a home to the children but also a new life to an infant who needs the warmth of a mother’s bosom and the embrace of a loving father’s arms.
Authored by Mohua Chinappa, an author who runs a podcast called The Mohua Show
Views expressed are the author's own.