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Adoption: Should I Consider It?

Why adopt?

Adoption can be a wonderful thing. On the one hand, you have orphaned children; on the other, you have infertile couples who long for a child. The needs of both the child and the prospective parents can be fulfilled through adoption. This marks the beginning of a relationship where needs are met beautifully like a key turning in a lock. It is not just childless couples that go in for adoption. Some couples feel that they would like to offer a secure and loving home to an orphan. Others may want a child of a particular sex, or they may be too old to have a child, or a biological child may have a high risk of having genetic problems. Single parents also have the option to adopt.

Somebody else's genes

However, adoption is not an easy decision to make. It is very important that both the husband and the wife should want to adopt. People can be very hesitant about adoption because they are not sure about the child's genetic inheritance. Such people feel secure in the fact that it is their genes that have been passed on to the child so they are not going to be confronted with nasty surprises. And always at the backs of their minds runs the thought - what kind of people were the child's parents? 

Couples considering adoption should remember that whether one has a biological or an adoptive child, children are unpredictable creatures. Just because a child carries its parents' genes does not necessarily make it superior in any way. Both heredity and environment work in tandem to shape the development of a child. Adoptive parents often have more control over the variables in the sense that they choose when to adopt, the sex of the child and they can check whether the child is physically and mentally normal before they take a final decision. Biological parents do not have this luxury. 

I want my real mummy

Another major fear that plagues adoptive parents is that the child may want to seek out its biological parents when he becomes older. What if the child cannot get over his abandonment by his biological parent? Prospective adoptive parents are always apprehensive that this sense of abandonment may be so strong that the child may never be fully able to reconcile himself to the fact that they are his parents no matter what they do. This may also lead to the child wanting to seek out his biological parents when he becomes older.

What is the procedure?

Adoption can be a long drawn-out and frustrating process with red tape at every turn. There is a lot of paperwork involved. Once the couple has registered with an adoption agency, they have to submit a number of documents. The social worker attached to the agency will have to be satisfied that the couple will provide the child a good home. This will involve home visits by the social worker, joint and individual interviews with the couple, etc. Couples may have to wait quite a while before the baby actually comes home. This can take as long as three to six months or longer. 

Once the agency has found a compatible child, the adoptive parents will be provided with the birth history, social background and medical profile of the child. The natural mother's identity is kept confidential according to the law. The prospective parents can have the child examined by a paediatrician to eliminate the possibility of congenital abnormalities and to make sure that the child's mental and physical development is normal. If the prospective parents feel that the child does not meet their expectations, they are free to refuse the opportunity to adopt. However, the agency may take several consecutive refusals as a sign that the couple is uncertain or not ready for adoption. Once the couple has made a final decision, they will have to approach a lawyer to file the relevant papers in court. The court decree marks the end of the adoption procedure and the beginning of a long and wonderful relationship.

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