Once upon a time in a land long ago a little girl told her fairy godmother that she would never ever give birth to a child, the thought horrified her and she felt no real connection or yearning to be a mother one day. Okay so this isn’t some fairy tale, the girl was me and the godmother was actually my mother. As a kid, I was adamant I would never have kids and if I really felt the need I would adopt, I was sure of this. Fast forward 15 years and here I am, married with two kids of my own. Who would have thought? Certainly not me.
I still think about adoption and whether that is something I seriously could have undertaken. Over the summer we visited with some friends and a discussion about adoption came up. We discussed whether we could adopt and introduce a new child into our family with our own biological children. I liked to think that I could do this, that if I desired another child that rather than add another human being to this planet I could help one that is already here They say the proof is in the pudding and since I realistically plan to keep my family as it is I will never be able to answer those questions.
Adoption is defined as the process whereby a person/family assumes the parenting of another from that person’s biological or legal parent and in doing so permanently transfers all right and responsibility from the biological parent or parents. Let’s face it that is no small undertaking. However many people do it and it is not just about having a child of their own it is about adding a child to their already existing family unit. Recently I saw this article about the Catoe family who adopted two girls with albinism, this isn’t the first time I have seen or heard of people purposely choosing to adopt children with albinism.
Why do people adopt a child with disabilities when they could adopt a non-disabled child? From what I have researched it is usually because they have other goals and characteristics. The parents tend to have biological children of their own or they have previously adopted or fostered. They may perceive themselves to be successful parents with unique skills required to parent a child with a disability. They may have experience in working with school systems, health care providers and have a level of awareness concerning how to advocate for a child with a form of disability. Parents of adopted children with a disability speak with incredible amounts of joy the children they have adopted bring into their lives. And they talk about the how enriching the children are to the family.
Whatever their reasoning behind the act of adoption I am thankful those people exist. I have great admiration for anyone who chooses to adopt whether it be out of necessity, charity, love. It is those people who really make you want to do better and be better. With all the unrest that is occurring across the planet right now, it is always refreshing to see a willingness to help others, to see kindness and compassion and to feel hopeful. As Martin Luther King said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
Featured image – black and white image of Nash facing the camera, eyes downcast with fingers to his mouth, in the background is his brother with brown hair facing away from the camera.