By Francis Quamina Farrier
IN many countries around the world, November is observed as Adoption Month. Adoption, which is a step further than fostering, is not a widely discussed topic in Guyana, and there are quite a number of Guyanese adults, especially married couples who do not have children of their own, but are not sure whether they want to foster or adopt. There is also the likelihood that they may never have even thought of fostering or adopting. One of the reasons could be that in Guyana, fostering and adopting have not been readily done officially. Yes, there are many youngsters who have no parents or permanent guardians and are sometimes tossed “from pillar to post” as the saying goes. Others spend many of their formative years living in institutions such as orphanages.
Nonetheless, many children have been fortunate and were taken into foster homes where they are welcomed with open arms and became one of the loved members of their adoptive family. There are those couples who are unable to become pregnant, which is an embarrassment to some degree. Open-minded people do not judge or are not critical of couples who are childless. That is just not done. In fact, it could be regarded as being disrespectful and cruel to make negative comments to, or about, couples or individuals who do not have biological children. Not everyone is destined to be a parent. Relatives and friends may and could drop a hint or a direct suggestion to such a couple to consider adoption as an option. One would have to appreciate just how close to the couple, or one of them, the person who is making the suggestion should be. Indeed, recommending adoption is a sensitive issue. Not every childless couple or individual consider themselves capable of proper parenting and have no intention to adopt.
Since November is observed internationally as “Adoption Month,” we will look at this way of caring for a child or children who have no parent to care for them and who need to be adopted by one or two adults who willingly foster or adopt them legally; children who need a stable and loving home environment permanently. There are hundreds, even thousands, of children in Guyana who need stability and love in their daily lives. More particularly, they need adults who would listen to them when they have problems to solve. In most cases, such children receive the need for tender, loving care from adults who, if not parents or guardians, are professional custodians in institutions such as orphanages or boarding homes.
Let us look at the kinds of persons who do not make good foster or adoptive parents. A single male applicant will not be granted foster or adoptive parenthood of a female unless the court is satisfied that there are special circumstances that justify it. A person or couple who are known to have been cruel to previous children in their care will also not qualify. However, those individuals who are known to be kind and loving and have the financial capability to care for one or more children properly are most welcome, not only in November, Adoption Month, but any other month in the year. There is a secondary way of adopting; that is by regular and dependable financial support for the child or children; be they within your community, or some distance away, or even in a foreign country.