Is adoption good or bad?
The debate rages on but as for me, I always believed that children need a home so I had no issue adopting a child.
My story shouldn’t deter anyone who wants to adopt babies; I am just unlucky with mine, that is all.
I am one of those women who was not blessed with the gift of bearing their own children and so the option of adoption was for me, not as a last resort but as the only option.
I lost my fallopian tubes to ectopic pregnancy. Not one buy twice.
The first time was after I just got married. Three months after our wedding, I began to see blood. At first, I didn’t know it was pregnancy because I didn’t even know I was pregnant because I thought it would take a while longer. I attributed my pain to my menses which was unusually heavy. Then came the excruciating pain that made my husband decide he must take me to the hospital. The knowledge about ectopic pregnancy came to me two days later after I was admitted at the hospital because it was discovered that I was pregnant but the egg was developing in one of my fallopian tubes and it ruptured, causing the heavy flow and loss of blood I had mistaken for my menstrual flow.
The doctor told me there and then that my chances of being a mother had been halved as I had just one Fallopian tube; but he also said with that with one tube, I could have a dozen kids.
He didn’t warn me that I could have a repeat of the same thing that would completely botch my ability to carry children in my womb.
I was miserable for years, especially after my husband fathered three children outside from two different women.
Now, I run a crèche, and for someone who is childless, a crèche was the closest thing that could give me the joy of holding babies and nurturing them because you see, I love children.
One day, I saw a crowd gathered outside my crèche. I feared the worst at first but when I drove close by, I saw it was a baby in a carton, an old milk carton, yes. The baby was wrapped in newspapers, not even a shawl. There was a note on the box and it read, “Madam Rashidat, please take care of my baby, I don’t want him.”
Yes, my name is Rashidat.
I immediately picked the baby up and rushed inside to cover the baby. It was a baby boy; an infant with the umbilical cord still fresh and dangling from his navel. I cleaned him up; reported to the police; then took him straight to the hospital.
It is protocol to report such an incident at the police station because this baby would not be the first we had found, though this would be the first that named me specifically.
I was excited.
I mean, the mother was handing her child to me, though I didn’t even know who she was…even to date. But the prospect of being a real mother was such a happy moment for me. I called my husband, he said I should do whatever I saw fit to do, so, I decided to adopt the child and raise him as mine.
After a few days of back and forth, police gave me the all-clear saying since I had been named in the note, then I could have the baby but I also had to go to see them at the ministry in Alausa just to be sure I wasn’t running foul of any law. We did a bit of back and forth and eventually, I was given the go ahead to take the baby home.
Oh, all the while, the baby was on admission at the LASUTH, from where he was taken to an orphanage but after I got the all-clear, I went to pick up my son and took him home. Finally, I had become a mother!
Ahmad, my son was a beautiful boy with the soul of a devil!
I loved him like he was my flesh and blood and indeed, I felt he was. He was a beloved child and indeed reciprocated my love until he got into secondary school when he began to lie to me. He would steal, he would skip classes, then he kept failing and repeating classes. No mother would be happy with this. I changed his school, thinking perhaps he was being badly influenced in that school. My son would be the one they called out during assembly; he would be the leader among those insulting teachers; he would be counted among those caught smoking igbo behind the school walls. I spent many nights sleepless, asking myself, what I did wrong.
But as a mother, I could never give up on my son. So, yet again, I changed his school. The truth of the matter is, he was expelled from that school, so we had to leave. I put him in a boarding school, thinking the system would tame him but he came out worse.
My husband, at this time, you know men, he had begun to deny that Ahmad was his real son; anytime we were called by the school, he would say, “I did not give birth to a child that would disgrace me.” So, on matters that concerned Ahmad, I was on my own.
I fasted and prayed for my son; no mother gives up on her child. I begged, I threatened, I denied him certain privileges just to show him that he couldn’t continue with his behavior but nothing worked.
We managed to finish secondary school and at the university, I wasn’t at all surprised when I heard he had joined a cult.
One day, I asked him if he wanted to kill him. I gave him a knife to get it over and done with because this instalmental killing was too agonizing. He just dropped the knife and walked out and for almost one month. He didn’t return.
Of course I was out of my mind with worry. When he returned, I found out he had taken all my original C of O and sold two plots of land I bought years back, plots that I was waiting to appreciate before selling to take care of myself in old age.
Two plots of land in Mowe! I would have got nothing less than N30 to N35 million for the two.
Now, I have nothing! If I pursued the matter, he would be jailed; what joy would that give me? I was pained; I had him arrested but after a few days, I was the one who went to bail him and drop the charges. Why? He is still my son!
Does he know he was adopted? Yes, there were too many people who knew how he came into my life, so I couldn’t hide it for long and his birth mother never showed.
But do I regret adopting him? Never!
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)