November 10, 2014 by Kambili M.A. Chimalu
“God, please give me one child. Even if he dies, I don’t care. I just want people to know that I am a woman.”
This was part of a prayer that a woman said in her desperation to satisfy one requirement that is expected of Nigerian women: bear children.
Children are a blessing to parents. They ensure the continuity of the human race, so when we attend weddings, we often hear the elders praying for a fruitful marriage that will consist of sons, daughters, twins, triplets, etc. The wait for the time when the bells will ring to announce the birth of a new child is almost instantaneous. So, what happens when one, two, five, or nine years down the line and there is still no bells being rung to announce the birth of a new child.
The issue of childlessness is an issue that affects a lot of couples in Nigeria. Churches are filled with desperate women looking for the fruit of the womb. Women run from one church to the other hoping that some miracle will occur when they get to that new warehouse church. With this vulnerability so apparent to almost everyone, these women become instant preys to all the scam artists out there seeking to capitalize on their desperation.
Not too long ago, a video circulated of a group of “men” taking turns to have sex with a woman all the while telling her to chant “Amen” as they had their way with her. She was promised the “miracle” of a child for just the simple price of a gang-bang.
Cases like this break my heart because I see women who believe that they are out of options. They are under enormous pressure from spouses, family members, friends, and even society to produce children, so they are almost always willing to try anything.
The problem, I believe, is that even though childless couples are always willing to try anything, they often overlook or rarely consider one obvious choice: ADOPTION.
Yes, adoption. Adoption can be a blessing to couples who are finding it hard to conceive, but why is this a rare choice for Nigerians to make? I understand that the majority of us are strongly attached to the concept of “blood relatives,” but family is being redefined everyday and is becoming increasingly more inclusive.
I have had friends say that they wouldn’t want to adopt any child with “armed-robber-blood” in its veins, but I firmly believe that to be hogwash. This is the time when I come down on the nurture side in the nature vs. nurture debate.
There is no guarantee about any child in life. The fact that we birth some children ourselves does not determine that they will be angels walking amongst us when they grow up. It is the values we instill in them that will determine who they turn out to be. Our duty will be to love all children with the love that endureth and instill in them human values that will carry them through life.
Thousands of children are abandoned in Nigeria each year, and if we must save the lives that are our own, we must start the conversation on adoption as a viable and stigma free option for childless couples. If childless couples adopt some of these orphaned children, they will be blessing both themselves and the children in the process.
ADOPTION IS AN OPTION.