Opinion | Guest Contributor | 2015.11.09 | 26 Muharram 1437 AH
November 9 is World Adoption Day. It is a day to celebrate family, a day to raise awareness for adoption, and day to raise funds to support families in their adoption. Ambassadors from all over the world are organising events bringing together people from all walks of life to celebrate the power and beauty of family brought together through adoption. As a contribution towards this global event we have the honour of presenting a post by a regular guest contributor, Fatima Moolla of Timeless Teenz, who is an adopted child.
Sometimes those who care for us and love us aren't the ones who gave birth to us. It is said that the bond that links true family is not one of blood, but of respect, loyalty and those who bring joy to each other. November 9th, being World Adoption Day leaves me feeling wanted and appreciated. Adoption is a beautiful initiative in which unwanted or parentless babies get good homes and whereby barren families get the opportunity of being parents.
The greatest man to walk the earth, Nabi (salallahu alaihi wasalam) had an adopted son Zaid whom he loved dearly. There is nothing wrong with adoption in Islam as long as an adopted child is made aware of his or her biological lineage, yet it is disappointing to note that it is looked down upon and barely acknowledged in our communities. *[Ed note: please see attached link: The Fiqh of Adopting a Child by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam.] People see it as flaw when a loving couple accepts a strange baby as their very own. Even as far as family gatherings are concerned, that child is pointed out as so-and-so's 'adopted child’. There seems to be a stigma attached to being adopted. A feeling of being 'different' and always being asked uncomfortable or hurtful questions, or being flung nasty comments and remarks, to both parent and child. This topic is not easily spoken or written about, but today, on World Adoption Day I have the courage to share.
I write as a collective, because this is the feeling of many adopted children. In the early years at the back of our innocent young minds we understand that as 'adopted children' we are special – as gifts sent from above. This is only until we hit our teens, and that is when life comes crashing down and the reality of adoption strikes us like a lighting bolt. We tend to glamourise the pain of being adopted and bottle up our feelings. We harbor feelings of anger and resentment toward our biological parents. This leads to rebellion and denial, and also convinces some of us that we are 'ugly' or 'worthless' or that we simply don't possess beauty. We tend to have a low self-esteem because of being teased by peers or not being accepted by a particular group of friends, and will do anything to fit in. Or, we may even distance ourselves from people and become hermits. With most who are adopted being ‘only’ children - we prefer to be alone and live in a little bubble far away. There are days, where we lash out at our parents and have terrible mood swings that we regret later. We have to deal with crying for no reason and feeling low at odd times. Adopted children also tend to be suicidal and destructive at some point - but overcome it after accepting that it is the Will of Allah and that everything happens for a reason.
Counselling may be a solution to ease the terrible resentment or confusion we feel for our biological parents. We imagine what life would have been like to live with them for a day; we wonder where our birth siblings are, how old they are, and what their names are? We ponder who we really look like? We overcome the challenge of not looking like our adoptive parents. We assume we were bad babies to be 'given away' according to our limited terminology. On our birthdays we dwell on whether or not our biological parents ever remember us, and what their emotions were when giving us up. Did they give us a last kiss? Did they write a letter that could be read by us when we were grown up explaining everything? Having to cope with all these unanswered questions can be overwhelming and mentally distracting for a child.
When it comes to our adoptive parents, these are the people we adore and treasure - for they are the only parents we know. They love us unconditionally and would sacrifice anything for our happiness and comfort. To us they are like angels, as they have rare qualities within them - hearts of gold. We admire them for their generosity and kind hearts. It is not a simple task to bring an unknown baby into your home and love and care for it. It takes a lot to be affectionate towards a baby who isn't your own, yet accepting it as a part of you. There are many expenses involved in adoption apart from normal parenting fees. That is why those who raise an orphan will be so close to Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam) on the day of Qiyamah. As mentioned in a hadith, Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam) said:
“I will be like this in Jannah with the person who takes care of an orphan.” Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wasalam) raised his forefinger and middle finger by way of illustration. [Sahih Al-Bukhari]
My dua to Allah Ta’aalah for my beloved parents and all those special parents around the world who have raised an orphan, adopted a child and accepted us as their family, is that Allah grant them all that their heart desires and lofty palaces in Jannah with streaming rivers and that Allah shower his mercy and blessing upon then. Ameen.
The world needs more beautiful people like them.
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