Some believe that adoption is the best way to handle the silence and boredom of a home without children while others believe that the presence of a child at home begets another.But the million dollar question is how the couple will treat the adopted child when they are eventually blessed with a child of their own, will the affection and care continue afterwards?Ummi Tanimu, an adopted child, now a housewife and mother of three said looking at herself as a mother and the bond she shares with her kids she cannot help but to wonder why any mother will want to abandon her child or give her out for adoption.She said she remembers clearly the love that always existed between her and the people she thought were her biological parents. The show of affection, care and instructions she receives to guide her to avoid making mistakes and so much more.But all these changed years later at the birth of her ‘sister’ whom the family received with a huge ceremony and happiness. Even though she was still young to understand what is happening around her then but Ummi can attest to the fact that her parents were overwhelmed with joy.Her experience actually started months later, when she no longer received the kind of attention she was used to. She was also being shouted and spanked when given instructions. She realized that she could no longer play freely in the house as she used to nor get her mother to do her bids anymore.For Ummi what follows years later was better imagined than said, “I saw hell and at a point I attempted to run out of the house but my daddy caught me and tried to make me see reason why I have to be patient with my mother,” she said.According to her, the punishment metted out to her was too strong for a child like her and as a result she became a scared child who fidgets at the voice of her mother. When she was about 19 years old , her dad made her to understand that she was adopted and they cannot trace who her real parents . He could not give her details of how she was adopted, but advised her to start preparing her mind towards marriage as that is the only way she can have her freedom, “but he also made me to understand that am not under pressure to do that,” she added.“I got married three years later and left the house and I still see my mother as a wicked woman because of the treatment she metted out to me without considering that it was no fault of mine that I was adopted. I can’t do that to anyone’s child,” she said.Mrs. Joy Odeke, a business woman in Abuja believes that there is no way any woman will treat an adopted child equal with her own biological child no matter how much she tries.She said though some women who are naturally wicked go to the extreme when dealing with children that are not theirs, and give them punishment too great for them to bear.Odeke said: “I have seen a woman who wanted her adopted child out on the streets by all means because she could not stand the fact that her husband considers him as the heir to his business, after all attempts to poison the mind of the husband failed.”To her, the best thing is for couples adopting children to be ready to take full responsibility to the end and there should be a firm reminder that they cannot do away with such a child no matter what.A source who works with one of the orphanage homes in Abuja and does not want her name mentioned said the issue of parents maltreating adopted children after they beget their own biological children cannot be easily addressed because of individual differences and also because it is more of an emotional thing.She said: “When one gives birth to a child, you cannot express the kind of bond that is formed between the parents and the child but when it’s not your biological child whatever bond you have with such child can easily be broken, but that should not be a yardstick to treat the child badly.” She said no parents will abandon their child when he or she turns out to be a menace but it will be so easy to write off an adopted child who is not your blood.Speaking on what the orphanage homes can do for children who are adopted, she said when people fulfill all requirements to adopt a child, they can only be monitored for a period of time by the authority concerned but that cannot continue when a child is of certain age.The source revealed that most orphanage homes cannot take back some children because they need space and resources for the ones with them.She admonished couples that maltreat their adopted children after they are blessed with theirs, saying they failed to understand that the child could be the reason for the blessing and besides that such a child could turn out to be great in future and make them proud parents.For Chinyere Nweke, a civil servant, it is only parents that lack understanding that will maltreat such a child. “When you adopt a child, it is expected that you take him or her as your own child which is the reason for the adoption in the first place, treating the child badly means you are not a good mother,” she explained.She said it is possible to stay with such children and no one will know that they are adopted unless you decide to act otherwise and the child and even your own biological children will begin to see the difference in your attitude and begin to ask questions.“Adoption should be done only by couples who have a good heart and to see it to the end, which is by making the adopted child see them as the real parents and have equal chances with their biological children,” Nweke said.Jane Ballblack in an article titled ‘Adoptive parents don’t love their children the same way biological parents do,’ said “that’s an uncomfortable notion for a lot of people, but it’s true. We don’t love our children the same way. We can’t.”Ballblack noted that nothing about parenting is simple as all parents juggle their dreams, instincts and conventional wisdom, and in the end, most of them leap with faith. She said: “What’s different for adoptive parents is that adoption adds an undercurrent to the parent-child relationship, and every decision we make passes through that current.”Sally Bacchatta an adoptive mother and publisher of ‘What I want my adopted child to know: An adoptive parent perspective’ explained that adoption is painful, unsettling, joyous, and affirming. More than anything, adoption is the way we came together, and she will always be grateful for that,” she said.
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