“The couple has been married for 5 years, they still don’t have kids!”
“I know the name of a baba that can surely solve this problem”
We’ve heard the stories at family functions, a young married couple being the target of ‘the gossip aunties gang’ solely because they haven’t had kids yet and the most methodical approach to “solve” this is resorting to practices that involve visiting a Dargah and eating 7 seeds of the fruit that’s harvested once in a millennium.
It’s almost as if the only way to nurture kids into a loving household has to necessarily involve a direct blood-line. Oh wait, it isn’t.
Yet, India’s adoption rates remain abysmal because our views on family structures have always been synonymous with blood. We believe that a child that we don’t conceive or one that hasn’t grown within our bodies can’t be our child or our real child anyway.
According to UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund), there are roughly 153 million orphans worldwide. Every day, an estimated 5,700 more children become orphans. Yet, the total number of adoptions in India ranges from 2500-3000 annually. Where are we going wrong as a society to embrace children in need into families with the means to satisfy these needs?
What generally comes to mind when we think of adoption is that it’s a solution, yes, but for what, exactly? Children are often relinquished and torn away from the traditional family systems due to war, natural disaster, poverty, disease, stigma, and medical needs.
Having closely seen families struggle for years with IVF treatment only because the grandmother isn’t ready to accept a child that isn’t their own into the family as it “messes” with the lineage has made me realize that our systems are built with such fragility, almost as removing blood from the equation breaks one of the most important bonds, the one we share with our parents. While I respect the desire of most couples wanting to be biological parents, think about how many kids are just longing for families to call their own?
We’ve heard the statement “Children are the future”. It doesn’t only apply to those we consider ours biologically, so why not move forward and help create a better world tomorrow by welcoming someone into our homes.
Written by Asma Abidin for MTTN
Edited by Andrea Xavier Gonsalves for MTTN
Featured image by Eiko Ojala
Artwork by CR Sasikumar