Nov 15 - When Adoption is Plan-B
Category: Submission by FoJ Counsellor
In my journey as a counsellor, I have come across several parents who echo that adoption was their Plan B or the last option, having tried several therapies or methods to conceive naturally. There are mothers who proclaim that the current cycle of IVF would be their last one –as they have Plan B ready, namely adopting a child. While it is understandable for parents to try all possible means to have a biological child and they should explore all possible options that medical science can offer, before giving up, there are consequences when parents hop over from Assisted Reproduction Techniques (ART) to adoption as Plan B.
Approaching adoption as Plan B means that it is considered an inferior option for building a family. It suggests that adoption is being viewed only as a means to fulfill the need of a parent. It means that the parent is not really committing to raising a child, but bringing a child into the home as a last resort. It means that the parent has residual feelings towards adoption and the onus is on the child to fill the gap felt by the parent.
Adoption is Plan B when parents feel it is a compromise to bring someone else’s child into the family, but there is no other option. It is a Plan B when a parent loses a child in infancy or later, and looks for adoption as a means to replace the void. Adoption is Plan B when there is an unmet need either to find a child, a heir to a property or a child of a specific gender and an ideal child is sought. In all of these situations, the focus is excessively on the child, and not the parent. The child has to deliver what the parent misses. So much so that the need of the child is completely absent. There is a higher possibility of adoption being a Plan B in adoption of older children, especially by Indian parents.
Following are the typical situations and profile of parents who approach adoption as Plan B:
The list is endless as we continue to encounter myriad of situations developing before parents. The core issue remains that parents have not invested time in understanding adoption. Adoption may have been the last of the options before parents for building a family, but they need to comprehend what they are getting into, make themselves aware of what adoption seeks of them, and commit themselves to adopting a child whole heartedly – making adoption PLAN-A whenever they choose to proceed with it.
Pre conceived notions about the kind of child they could adopt. They usually insist on child of a given gender, color, social background and even caste!
An expectation for adoption to be over in a few weeks’ time – having waited for years with alternate methods
Desire to see at least 4-5 children, from which they could choose, before they can confirm the child they would like to adopt
Insistence on conducting a battery of medical tests, a comprehensive medical report available for each child notwithstanding. This often develops risk of even healthy children turning sick with repeated blood tests, exposure o X-rays, trauma of extensive diagnostics, as parents often argue with their interpretation of the reports and not accepting the child, even after prolonged medical examination.
Isolation of family with the process of adoption – some times to the extent of the mother faking a natural delivery through adoption
Preference for a very young child even if there is significant age gap between the parent and child
Comfort in not sharing the fact of adoption with the child, or delaying the same to the extent possible
Continued disillusionment with adoption as the child is constantly judged and measured for its responses as against empowerment of the child as per her potential
Sudden dissolution of adoption before or after the court order as parents proclaim the child to be below their standards or expectations
Overemphasis on what the parent is doing for the child – be it nursing, caring, school admission, vacation, shopping etc. The parent finds it difficult to believe that all this would have been done for their biological child as well. There is an air of “charity” hanging around the deed of adoption.
Inability to distinguish between parenting issues and adoption related issues.
Insecurity of the parent arising from the child discovering the fact of adoption (where not shared), reference to birth parents, desire of root search, comparison with other children in similar status etc.
Parents who harbor sentiments of adoption being a Plan B are more at risk of being defensive about adoption, are less comfortable talking about it with their children, avoid socializing with other families in adoption, refrain from mentioning adoption where required (such as legal process, school, doctor etc.), carry a guilt of being incomplete, fail to present adoption as a concept – and a happy one at that – to their children and ultimately are responsible for their child too developing a stunted conception of adoption. The lack of parent’s comfort reflects upon the child’s uneasiness with their adoption, and their identity as an adopted child.
In contrast, parents who make an effort to understand what adoption actually is, reach out for resources and groups dealing with adoption and submit themselves to the process, giving their 100% are able to come out of the shadows of whatever might have triggered adoption and make attempts at effecting adoption with a child centric approach.
Parents need to realize that there is always some trigger for choices we make or have to make in life. Adoption is one of them. Fighting against it, or embarking upon adoption when not prepared for it shall create conflicts and deliver a less happy experience. Adoption requires to complement the need of the parent with an equal appreciation of the need of the child and deriving synergy out of the divine relationship that ensues.
Adoption is just another opportunity to discover our hidden strengths and bond with another human being – much more vulnerable, dependent and forthcoming than us. It is a spiritual experience waiting to be explored.
Experience the difference When Adoption is Plan A
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