I just met two sets of adoptive parents for a lifestyle story on adoption - and of course while you're busy looking at things in terms of "case studies", you tend to miss the human angle, what makes it all worthwhile.
One family opened their home to us and also thrashed their way out of a moral dilemma - on whether to let their adopted daughter speak to us on the subject or no ... And to their credit they took her more seriously than the glitz of a couple of seconds of fame. They chose not to talk her into giving us a couple of bytes, saying that they didn't want her to grow to the much pricklier age of 15 and regret whatever she'd said. Good point, because who would she blame? Her parents, naturellement!! And of course the extra attention almost never helps when you're 11 - when even your friends are just looking for a reason to pick on you. So yes, good choice, I'd say.
Our second "case study" is a single mom...She runs a centre for kids with learning disabilities, and by her own admission, has been through the relationship game...just never found someone to make it stick. But that doesn't mean she doesn't want kids. To the contrary, she's always wanted kids. So there you go...
This is the face of the new India - on the one hand, we proclaim that things are Changing, with a capital C. And they are, no doubt about it, at least in the big cities. So someone who adopts is no longer just typecast as infertile, it could just as easily be a single mom (or the one single dad in the country to have beaten the odds) who wants a family, just hasn't found the right partner.
And more power to you, singletons...where does a desire for a career preclude a desire for children?
And yet. It's just been assumed for so long that if you're single, you're not stable, there must be something slightly "wrong" with you. And yet. It's just been assumed for so long that if you want to adopt a child, there must be something more than slightly "wrong" with you.
(And for the record, "So why don't you have your own kids?" has got to be one of the MOST insensitive questions known to man - a) it's none of your business b) it's crass c) what do you expect someone to say? Justify themselves, somehow?! How insulting to feel the need to explain that your fallopian tubes are a little out of sync?)
To meet people, to read about people, to watch people who've chosen to adopt kids, as a natural alternative - without claiming they're doing the world a great favour, or some sort of charity - without making it a big deal...there's something progressive about that. Though, as one of my case studies agreed, the real news will be when adoption is no longer a topic of conversation in itself. (Unless you're a Pitt or a Jolie, of course, and you adopt an entire village in Africa! For that, you get an award and a whole lotta attention!)
To end on a more embarrassed note, painting a picture-perfect flowery tale of adoption and not acknowledging that there are several horror stories out there, well for that I should just be shot. Just read in the papers a story on a 12-year-old adopted girl who was abused and forced to work as a domestic help, not to mention being treated differently from her adoptive sibling. The ghastly side of human nature still very much there, of course. (And the attitude in "objective" people, that of course you don't treat adoptive siblings the same, well, pardon me, but that's just BS)
Can I just say, if you don't have it in you, just don't bother. Not just adopting, you'd probably not cut it too well as a parent either. Of course you're right, I have no idea what it's like, not having kids myself, but right from wrong...that's what they teach you kindergarten onwards. It's not rocket science.
More about Amrita Tripathi
Amrita Tripathi is a news anchor with CNN-IBN, and also doubles up as Health and Books Editor. An MA in Philosophy from St Stephen's College, Delhi University, she has also taught a few undergraduate classes at her alma mater, informally! When she is not tracking health issues, Amrita is busy chasing the literary dream. Her debut novel Broken News was published in 2010. Before joining CNN-IBN, Amrita worked with The Indian Express.
- + Child sex abuse: The horror show stats and signs to watch out for
- + Sexist is as sexist does
- + Aghast at New Delhi
- + On the election trail: race for White House
- + Aung San Suu Kyi in the house
- + On Rushdie (being Joseph Anton)
- + The right to bear arms
- + What's to celebrate about India?
- + Of loving and leaving Bhutan