Parents with biological children choose to adopt for several reasons. They yearn for a second child, but may not be able to conceive due to medical issues. The age of the parents also plays a role. For some parents adoption is a more practical route than spending lakhs on treatments to conceive. For yet others, it is the idea of giving a home and love to an abandoned child that makes them gravitate towards adoption. Clearly, the reasons for choosing to adopt a child are varied. The only thing that matters is whether a couple is adopting their first child or second (after having a biological child), the adoptive parents must be completely in sync with each other.
Meryl D'Souza*, who adopted a baby girl after having a boy of her own, says, "Adopting was something we always wanted to do. The idea was to give a child a home. But then we thought it would be better to first have a biological child, so that we first understand what it means to have a child. Our daughter has been a great blessing to us and has helped us a lot more than we thought we would help her."
Most people adopt when the first child is of a perceptive age, that is, when they can explain to him/her about a baby coming into the family (Meryl adopted her daughter when Jonah*, her biological son, was 2.5 years old). Much like in the case of biological children, most adoptive parents go for a second baby only when their older one is ready to accept another person into their life.
Neville Carvalho, who heads a communications firm in Mumbai, adopted a child when his son was 8 years old. At the time, Neville and his wife were involved with Ashadeep, an orphanage for children with HIV/AIDS. "While working with these children, we realised that the only thing really missing in their lives was the experience of love. Everything else was available to them. Gifts, clothes, food, etc. through donations, was plentiful. That got us thinking about adoption, and providing a child with love," says Neville.
When adopting through the process set by CARA, the agency or social worker who does the home study report (HSR), includes a question on whether the couple has any biological children, and what are their ages. A reason for adoption has to be provided by all prospective adoptive parents whether they have a biological child or not. The agency will be keener to know the reason for adoption, if a couple already has a biological child. This is primarily to ensure the adopted child will be taken care of and to make sure the parents don't differentiate between their own and the adopted child.
Once you supply satisfactory responses, the process that follows is the same as adopting when you don't have a biological child.
Telling the biological child
If you have a biological child, it is important to take the child into confidence about your decision to adopt, just like you would explain it to your extended family. The older child might resist, knowing well that he would have to share the attention of his parents with another person. In Meryl's case, she had a talk with Jonah a month before she brought the new baby home. She says, "He didn't seem too keen on having a sibling. But after we brought the baby home, he was thrilled! He loves her a lot and is very protective of her now."
Kids behave in accordance with their parents' conditioning and attitude towards the new baby. Treating both children alike is paramount in such a family setting. It is important also, to talk about the adoption in a positive light even to your extended family and friends, because your biological children will definitely be listening!
To reiterate, since the society at large today accepts adoption wholeheartedly, kids both biological and adopted, grow together without any problems.
*Names changed on request