Reflections on adoption
Monday, January 18th, 2016
The day our daughter was born was of course the most beautiful day of our lives. It was on that same day that I came to realise many things, firstly that all children belong to God and as parents we have no control over what or who we are given as offspring. We also have no control over the immense love that wells up inside us upon the moment we catch the first glimpse of our child’s innocent little face. It was also on that day that I realised that my love could extend to any child in this way; I didn’t have to give birth to her.
As our daughter approached her second birthday, it was time to think about a sibling for her. Adoption has been something that I had been contemplating since giving birth. There are so many Muslim children in care and in orphanages around the world, I felt a deep sense of responsibility towards them and a belief that we will be questioned about them on the Day of Judgement. I also learned that at the time of our blessed Prophet, peace and blessings be eternally upon him, there were thousands in the community raising and caring for young orphaned children.
After raising the topic with my husband, he happily agreed and we began to look into the Shari’ah implications around adopting. We found out that once I had breast fed a young child she would carry all the rights of a daughter over me and I as a mother over her.
We always said from the beginning that we wanted to adopt a girl. Many in our sub-continental community didn’t understand. Why were we adopting at all? If we were to adopt why a girl and not a boy? Because, after all, boys are better than girls in the sub-continent mindset. In fact what we wanted to do through this adoption was not only complete our family but to revive a forgotten Sunnah and remind the Ummah of the barakah of raising girls.
The process began in earnest with a four day induction course in which we learned about the different aspects relating to adopting a child. This included highlighting the difficulties and issues faced by many children here in Britain. This was a very emotional and hard hitting experience but by the end we were thoroughly convinced that we were doing the right thing.
After eight months with a lot of meetings and paperwork, we were officially approved as adoptive parents, alhamdulillah! Next came the waiting game as our social worker looked for a “suitable match” for our family. Another seven months later the wait was over! We were matched with a beautiful 16 month old girl and advised that we would begin the handover in a fortnight, and bring our soon to be daughter home.
It felt like the slowest two weeks. The days seem to drag as we prepared ourselves and our eldest daughter, four years old by then, for the new arrival. On the first day we were to go to the foster carer’s home to meet our new baby. She had also been prepared for this meeting and was shown photos and videos of us. Overwhelmed with utter joy, fear, excitement and love, we stood at the front door and knocked. As the foster carer opened the door and we greeted her I saw our little girl for the first time (the image is still locked in my mind). She was stood in a hallway looking and smiling when the foster carer said, “Look it’s mummy and daddy”. I tried my best to not cry uncontrollably but the tears nevertheless rolled down my cheeks as we walked in. I had dreamt of this moment for so long. We were able to spend the next ten days with her, falling completely in love and feeling whole as a family.
At the end of the ten days we finally brought her home and began settling her into her new environment, which, alhamdulillah, didn’t take long at all. I was also able to re-lactate and breastfeed her. We have now been a family of four for twelve months and we can’t imagine life without both of our girls, they are truly precious gifts from Allah.
The whole journey from start to finish has been incredible, there have been emotional ups and downs but we both feel that Allah through His infinite Mercy guided and made easy each step and gracing us with the patience needed. I strongly recommend all Muslim families and couples to consider adopting in the UK, the reward in both worlds is immense; the Prophet Muhammad, eternal peace and blessings be upon him has said “Whoever looks after an orphan will be like this with me in the next world.” (And he crossed his index and middle finger over one another.)
– Anisa Rasul (Umm Maryam).