It makes no sense that childless couples in Africa would rather remain childless than be a parent of an adopted child. It’s really sad, because everybody deserves to have a normal family experience including childless couples. The irrational myths in Africa about child adoption is the Robber of this joy that could be experienced by thousands of childless and parentless individuals in Africa.
About two years ago, Jim Kazynski a fan from Germany shared a story about his sister’s adoption of an African child on my blog. I promised to blog about an issue his comment stirred up but I couldn’t blog about it early enough before he passed. He was one of my readers I always looked forward to hearing from. Writing about crazy myths about adoption in Africa reminds me of him. Now, lets move on to the topic, shall we?
It must be surprising for you to know that there are more people adopting children from Africa to other continents than Africans ourselves. Yes, this has been an issue that has been going on so much that it is being discouraged by some child protection agencies around the world. As much as this saddens me, I want to treat the myths Africans have about adopting a child on a lighter note.
Child adoption is low in Africa because;
1. “The child adopted could be a witch or wizard“
What they often say is that I don’t know where the child comes from. I’d probably invite a witch or wizard into my home in a form of a baby. Someone else’s child could be a witch or wizard but yours can’t? What is witch craft? How does a child become a witch or wizard? If you answer these questions and this point still makes sense to you, then…wow!
2. “It’s still not your child.”
Being a parent is not only about having sex and giving offspring. What people refuse to realise is that being a sperm donor or an oven for a child is not all that it takes to be a parent. A parent is someone who is there for a child, loves a child, becomes that parent’ figure in a child’s life. Biology is never as concrete or reasonable to man more than psychology. In other words, at the end of the day, what is genetic or scientific does not matter as much as what is seen, touched or felt.
3. “The child will leave me in pursuit of his real parents”
First of all, you become his parent…his real parents. You are the one who’s there and has been there as a parent. There is nothing like real parents….there can only be biological parents. See, being a parent is more about love and being there for your child and that fear of your child leaving you for his biological parents is nothing to worry about if you come to realise this. You will and will always be that child’s parent no matter how unlikely your child will run off in pursuit of the unknown biological parents.
4. “It’s a waste of investment”
Our social structure has been made up in such a way that children are parent’s investment for the future. “When I’m old, my children will look after me.” This phenomenon threatens the will of African couples to adopt a child with the intention that the adopted children may not feel obliged to take care of them in their old age especially when they find their biological parents. The reality is this, if you are a child’s parent…you are his parent and that cannot change. Unless you weren’t a parent to the child. A biological parent can never take the place of a real(adoptive) parent. Because you are his real parent.
5. “If something happens to the child, I will be in trouble with the child’s family and the law”
This concern makes me laugh a little. You are the child’s legal family if the child is properly or legally adopted. There is no extraordinary trouble existing when your adopted child gets hurt unless you inflicted the injury on the child. The child is yours in the eyes of the law and it should be in your own eyes as well.
6. “I can’t afford to adopt a child”
I find this statement even on the lips of couples that’s been childless and praying for a child for more than a decade. So then you ask yourself, “When they actually have a child, how will they take care of the child?” I don’t get why Africans can be so desperate to add to the population than consider adopting a child that needs love, care and attention.
I believe that it is very beautiful and absolutely feasible that a couple tries adoption while they wait for the blessing of a child of their own. Even if they never have their own, they can always know that they gave life to a child; probably not physically but knowing that the life they gave was more than their children’s biological parents gave them.
Let’s root for child adoption in Africa. Those in orphanages and other children homes deserve the experience of a normal family too.