Adoption: Our Journey

Ever since we adopted our kids, I’ve had a lot of people ask me about adoption: people who wanted to adopt, or who knew people who wanted to adopt; or, occasionally, people who had adopted.

When we were thinking of adopting, I went out of my way to find people who had adopted. And I, the world’s greatest phono-phobe, called up two separate people, complete strangers to me (though linked by a couple of degrees of separation), and asked them personal, intimate, and almost nosy questions about adoption.

So, for all those who want to know about adoption, for those who want to know whether it’s ok to ask me about adoption, for those who are wondering whether they want to adopt, and for anyone who knows anyone who… well, you know…

Here’s my take on adoption. Questions and comments welcome.

Adoption was not an easy decision to make. For me, personally, it wasn’t something I had always wanted to do. It was something that was forced upon me by our inability to conceive naturally. This is a messy issue, there are a lot of strong, horrible emotions mixed up in it. And yet, opting out of the whole aided conception business, and eventually, after some months, deciding to adopt, was one of the best – no, probably THE best – decisions I’ve ever made.

Adoption itself is not easy. It’s a weird way to have a family. Instead of doctors, you meet social workers; instead of hospitals, you do the rounds of orphanage and court room. You have to convince people that you’re worthy of being parents; you even have to get people who know you well to write a letter saying why they think you’d make great parents. This is weird, believe me. Flattering, no doubt, when you read the letters, but weird.

There are other differences. With pregnancy, you know roughly when your baby will come, with adoption you only know when she’s already home. Even in pregnancy, there’s the fear of somehow losing the baby; but in adoption there’s no real expectation of even getting the baby till she’s suddenly home with you and it’s done. We hadn’t had the courage to buy anything other than a couple of frocks and a couple of night-suits each for the twins – what if it didn’t work out? We didn’t even buy the diapers until after our first visit to the hospital. So talk about being unprepared.

We each had our fears and concerns, not just about the decision to adopt, but even after the kids came home. Would they be absolutely normal, emotionally, psychologically, physically. Would they be completely healthy? Of course, any parent has these worries, but ours were based on ignorance. We didn’t know what our girls had been through, medically or emotionally. What were those strange scars and bites on her body? Chicken pox? Syphillis? Scabies? Why were they so short and thin? Were they malnourished? Would they grow normally? Would their intellectual development be normal?

Before we adopted, I’d read on a number of websites about parents saying that adoption didn’t make any difference to how they felt about their kids; that they loved them just as much as they loved (or could have loved) their biological offspring. Well, I don’t have any way to say whether or not I could have loved biological offspring more. I feel that I love my kids in as balanced and normal a way as I possibly could. The fact of their being adopted doesn’t make any difference to how I feel about them. I do wish, sometimes, that I had given birth to them; I even think that if I had, they might have resembled Amit and me more, which would have been nice; but I don’t wish that I’d had any children other than these. To me, they are mine.

I know that there are still many difficulties for us on the road ahead. Soon, we’ll have to start explaining to them about adoption – current wisdom says, the earlier you tell them, the better, and that makes sense to me. Then will follow a lifetime of questioning. Questioning where they come from, who they really are, what their biological parents are like, why they wound up with us, what life would have been like… And, certainly, at some point they will question our love for them. It is only natural. We will have to face all this and more in the years and decades that follow. We might have got their birth certificates, but our adoption journey is far from being ended; it has only just begun.

And then there are the other people. The people who are outright mean, or who – often unintentionally – say insensitive things. So far, people have only been able to get through to us, but as the girls grow up and start understanding more, they are going to be at the receiving end too.

And yet, despite the complications, despite the worries, despite the differences, despite the irritatingly lingering regrets over infertility, despite everything… deciding to adopt is the best decision we ever made. I can understand people not being sure about making this momentous decision; I can understand the many, many reasons not to adopt (though I can’t say I empathise with all of them); I can understand people eventually deciding that they simply can’t go ahead with it. It’s not an easy decision for anyone. But, for me, for us, it was absolutely the right decision, it was the decision that brought our girls home to us.

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10 Responses to Adoption: Our Journey

  1. Lubi :) says:

    Thank you for writing this out Anamika.

    I am going to share this piece, with some close family ‘n friends, that perhaps may need it more than me.

    God bless you ‘n yours…Amen.

  2. poupee97 says:

    Thank you, Lubi. Go ahead and share with whomever you think this might be interesting to.

  3. doug H says:

    I don’t know what I could say that could compare with the wonderful elucidation of the tribulations and rewards of adoption that you’ve so beautifully expressed.

    One thing I’d like to wish for the people of the world, though, is to realize the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he said: “I have a dream that someday people will judge people not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
    America, being composed of people from all over the world, is growing closer and closer to King’s dream.
    Inter-racial couples and the products of their unions are no longer so horribly ostracized and put down. We’ve come a long way in the past 50 years, as a nation, on this front. Would that the rest of the world would do the same. Putting others down, for whatever reason, is just a trick of the ego to raise one’s own self up by comparison. Its one of the baser aspects of human nature, and the sooner we all learn to try to be non-judgmental of others and more honest about our own short-comings, the better off the world will be.

  4. HS SANDESH says:

    Hi. Awesome blog with great content. I’m seriously in love with the way you write articles. I mean i can imagine the way your mind things when you sit in from of your computer and start pouring your heart. Anyways I’m HS Sandesh from Bangalore and it would be my privilege to have your link on my site. Can we exchange Links..?? Have Fun..CHEERS

    “message.blog.co.in”

  5. entisar says:

    Mika, my friend will contact you once she gets back to the UK. I think I’ve put her in touch with the best possible person 🙂

  6. Andaleeb says:

    It was wonderful to read this post. I’m very happy you took this decision and its all turned out so very well for you. It always looks easier on the outside but I admire your courage for going ahead with the decision and in the process making your lives so much more richer.

  7. poupee97 says:

    Thank you, Andy. 🙂

  8. sujatha says:

    Anamika,

    Your post makes me relive every moment of our adoption journey and believe me, its almost as if you were there with us. My husband and i shar practically every emotion that u have put into words so beautifully, only in my case, i was always convinced that adoption was the best thing for us and he was the uncertain one.

    BTW, we are through with our hearing anf our now proud parents of little Avinash Vignesh who came to us at 5 months and just turned one end March. And as u rightly said, he has become such an integral part of our lives that i wonder how we ever lived without him and sometimes i wish i had indeed given birth to him

  9. poupee97 says:

    Hi Sujatha, nice to read your comment. Thank you.

  10. Amit M. says:

    This morning the girls had a roaring fight. One grabbed the new pink pant and the other who was left with the new orange pant wanted the new pink pant. T hit M on the head with the orange pant. M hit T on her chest with the pink pant.
    T said,” M, you always hit me on my heart. One day my heart will break!!”.
    M retorted,”OK good, so what can I do if your heart breaks!!”.

    Adoption?? Whose got time to think about adoption when I have such pressing problems to resolve!!

    On a serious note, the emotional problems of adoption are highly over rated. Loving and caring for a child is so intrinsic to human kind that whether a child is biological or adopted becomes meaningless soon after birth or adoption. Parents with biological kids don’t go over this fact everyday in their minds and neither do parents who have adopted.
    So, for anyone who is thinking about adopting, just go ahead and do it. There is no risk, only joy and happiness as long as there are no pant fights :-).

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