The adoption process in Kenya has for the last several decades been considered an unnecessary, long and tedious process. It is a subject that has been dogged with controversy and has been associated with negative stereotypes and misconceptions.
Many at times, the generals’ public idea of adoption is filled with horror stories, uncertainties and inaccurate information. In the harsh glare of the skewed “negative impacts portrayed by most people in the society, many parents have shied away from building and growing their families through adoption.
The parents willing to adopt have also continued to experience various hurdles in the adoption process, the biggest of them being misinformation and lack of information. There was a time where ignorance may have been considered bliss. But in our current times of technological advancements and information accessibility this shouldn’t be the case.
It is a sacrilege to still believe in the myths of our retrogressive cultural practices. Forgive their ignorance, some of you might say, for they know not what they say, but there comes a moment in history, where ignorance is not a forgivable offense. This is a moment where only wisdom has the power to absolve. This is why we will attempt to debunk some of the biggest adoption myths in Kenya.
The Adoption should be kept a secret
For many years, many societies, especially in Africa, many people have stigmatized adoption and consider it a secretive affair. This is mainly attributed to the fact that women willing to give their children out of adoption were usually young and had the children out of wedlock. Today however openness about the adoption process is encouraged and preferred by all parties involved, including, birth parent, adoptees and adoptive parents.
A parent should never feel ashamed of themselves for choosing the option and the child’s history and background should be something openly talked about. Open adoption help the children have a deeper understanding of their adoption history. They can get to understand reasons why their birth parents chose adoption and shun out all the negative ideas carelessly thrown around by their peers.
The birth parents of a child or the relatives can take a child back after the adoption is complete.
This is another major misconception that many people believe about adoption.
“Mimi siwezi lea mtoto, wa wenyewe! Ndio sazile tumezoeana vizuri ndio mama mwingine akuje aseme ni aunty yake na anafaa kwenda home na yeye?” Many women declare.
However this is not the case. After a baby is born and placed with an adoptive family, the birth parents have a determined amount of time to revoke their consent in accordance with the Kenyan Law. After the revocation period has expired, the birth parents cannot change their minds because they are not able to legally regain parental rights. During the finalization process where an attorney presents the case to a judge, the adoptive parents are made the legal and permanent parents of the adoptee. This irrevocable.
The adoptive family will never love the adopted child the same way biological families do
Many people believe that the love between a parent and a child is formed within the first two weeks of their lives together through imprinting. Since most of the children are adopted at the age of two and above, they believe missing the child imprint would affect their closeness. Others believe that there will always be a jealousy between the siblings from the adoptive family and the adoptee. They say the jealousy can be so visceral that it can threaten to tear the family apart.
Regardless of the time taken to create a bond between the adoptee and the adopting family, the connection between them is organic, genuine and strong as they could be between biological parents and biological children.
You have to be very Rich to adopt a child
It is a popular misconception that adoption is done by the rich or those with too much money to spare on another hungry mouth. But the reality at hand is that adopting a child may require some fees and other costs but you don’t have to get a six figure pay slip every end month. Actually currently in Kenya, you can adopt a child for as little as between KES 15,000 and 25, 000. Naturally taking care of a child requires some kind of capital but there are very many approaches that one could take to finance adoption. There are several grants and loans that one may get online to help adoptive parents assuage their adoption expenses.
Some people are too old or too young to adopt
Did you know that in many country’s adopters only need to be age 21 and above to adopt. There is also no upper age limit to adopt a child. Many adoption agencies only expect one to have the health, willingness and vitality to see the children get to the age of independence. The only consideration given is that of your age comparative to the age of the child. Younger children are usually placed with younger parents.
At the end of the day, remember that adoption is beautiful process which can change the lives of the children and adoptive parents.