Thursday, October 11, 2007

Attachment

I read this news about a dark-haired Czech couple who had DNA tests conducted to quell rumours about their blond-haired daughter. But as the tests revealed, the baby was not theirs. They went to the hospital to find that there had been a mix-up, and another couple had their daughter. So now, the parents have decided to SWAP their babies after TEN months of caring for the wrong baby.

How heart-wrenching it must be for them! As I always tend to do (bad habit), I tried putting myself in that situation. If it turned out that there had been a hospital mix-up and Puttachi was not my biological daughter, what would I do? Give her up? NO WAY! But then the girl out there was my biological daughter, the one I had carried in my tummy for 9 months! Would I not want her too? I would, I am sure. I would willingly look after both the babies. But of course, so would the other mom! What a horrible situation.

My heart goes out to those parents. By agreeing to swap daughters, they have perhaps done the logical and practical (in the long run) thing. But I cannot bear to imagine the heartache that they must be going through.

I just realized how unimportant a "blood" relation is, when it comes to children. Would I have loved Puttachi even an iota less than I do now, if she hadn't been my biological daughter? I don't think so. My love couldn't have been any less. Then, by inference, it hardly matters whether you have a biological child or whether you adopt a child! So why go through 9 months of pregnancy and increase the population of the world, when you can do everybody a world of good and adopt a child and give her a good home? Is it that "our flesh and blood" is so important?

I would love to hear what you have got to say.

27 comments:

Collection Of Stars said...

WoW! That was thoguht provoking. No, I would not love my daughter any less if she was not biologically mine - the love and attachment grows with time. I did not start loving my daughter the minute I saw her nor did I get all emotional. She slowly grew on me and now I cannot imagione life without her.
On adoption, yes, I would surely love to adopt a child. There was an article in yesterday's Times Of India about this guy who had adopted a little boy - hats off to him and to all those parets who have adopted children.

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

My reaction to this question is: if I don't care about the mom, I don't care about the child. Meaning, if I had a one-night stand with some random gal and I never met her earlier or later and then suddenly she turns up at my doorstep telling me she has my child, I wouldn't care so much. On the other hand, if it is my girlfriend who I really care about and want to marry someday and she gets my child, I would take care of it. That way, the adopted child question does not really matter for me. Yeah, I know --- I'm a guy.

But you're right --- the situation must be heart-wrenching for both sets of parents. I would watch the comment space here further. :)

Altoid said...

Shruthi

Its the biological process of giving birth that generates a lot of the maternal instincts. I agree someone who hasnt given birth is also capable of just as much love as one that hasnt. But the feeling of producing another human being from one's own flesh and blood is definitely euphoric. And if one has all the tools to bring out one's own, then why not? So to that effect, a biological birth is widely practiced. Of course, there are plenty of instances of biolgical parents adopting, ones that cant also adopting, ones that have made a conscious decision to only adopt, even when they are capable of being biological parents. At the end of the day, its all in the mind. And one's life and thoughts will definitely change, with a child around, biological or otherwise- thats the universal truth.

Just my two cents :).

anoop said...

The need to have an offspring and by that extending your lineage is an instinctive thing! Its very hard to go against instinct.
If I was so very interested in adopting a child I would still get a biological child and also adopt another child. This, i would do only after making sure I (and obviously my spouse) can love each child to the same capacity.

sunshine said...

In case of an accidental swap like this, you'd care for the child you have because you always "thought" it was your biological child, the child you carried in your tummy and gave birth to. The thought is the beginning, and then you continue to nurture it in the false knowledge that it is YOUR child. Adoption is different, you know from the very beginning that it is not yours. A noble deed indeed, but you start with the knowledge that it is someone else's child till you learn to love it, care for it, and with time, it becomes your own. It is like acquiring any other possession, you aren't attached to it when you don't have it, but once you are associated with it, you do not want to let go of it. The point of difference between adoption and an accidental swap is- You knew in adoption that it wasn't yours, and you "beleived" it was yours in an accidental swap.

p2 said...

I'm still called Puttachi by my parents. :) I've never known what it meant but I loved the sound of it.e

Anonymous said...

Shruthi,
When I made a comment in front of some relatives about my desire to adopt a girl baby, I was told that I was being selfish, and instead of enduring the pain( and pleasure) of carrying a baby, I was choosing the easy way out!! I could not believe what I heard!

While looking into the legalities of adopting a baby from India while staying in the US,the rules are so complicated that very few actually feel like going through the process.. Thats so sad,considering how many kids could have been "home" by now, if the red tape could be avoided somehow!
-Vidya

Devaki said...

Shruthi, my husband and I have debated over this often. But each time we end up debating for a while and then give up on the idea as impractical. Not that either of us is against adoption, but we feel very apprehensive about it.

The foremost reason is that I’ve heard so much about the special feelings of motherhood from the mothers around me, I don’t feel comfortable with the thought that I might miss out on it. You’ve asked, is flesh and blood important? Since I am not a parent I may not be able to comment on it w.r.t. children, but think of our parents, siblings and cousins. Isn’t there a special bond we share with them just because they are family?

Then again, there is the fear, what if I adopt but am not able to care enough for the child? What if I am not able to give her the love she deserves? If I feel the urge to give birth despite everything, would that be fair to my adopted child? Finally, there is the issue of social acceptance which is still rare in India, at least among our relatively conservative families and that scares me a lot too.

So – we don’t have the answers ourselves and it will be interesting to see what this discussion brings up. We still have a couple of years to go before we plan a baby and our debate is still ongoing, so there is a chance we might change our minds completely! Of course, if we are not able to give birth for any reason, we would go for adoption and probably be just as happy with it. But knowing you have a choice and then consciously cutting off that choice, now that’s tough for us.

shark said...

I was or rather still am very passionate about adopting a child.
Not that I want to "skip" the pregnancy but more because I would be able to give a home to a child.. who is so much in need of it.

but this idea does not gel well with the elder generation. One day when this topic came in our house.. my mil was like "what! how can we accept somebody else's child as ours"... this made me think..
it's not enough if just the parents accept the child... the whole family should be willing to embrace it.
I wouldn't want to bring a child home and then not give a proper environment for it.

Also I have heard from some of my colleagues that the Adoption process here in India is very cumbersome. This is mainly to restrict child trafficking, but even the genuine parents will have to suffer. They say it takes anywhere between 2 to 5 years to adopt a child... the wait period is quite high I feel.

Iya said...

I am not a mother yet, but your question about Bilogical babies does seem to stir something in me. Well if someone comes to know after a certain period of time that the baby is not bilogically theirs i dont think it will make much of a difference as by then they wud already be too attached to the child..but a case of adoption is a little different... i will never forgo the feeling of getting my child to this world...yes logic says y have more when there are children who need homes but when ever did logic work where heart was in question....

Jay said...

"I would willingly look after both the babies"
I thought the same while I was reading news report last night. So much so, I was scheming ways to keep the other mom out of the way...:-) I know. I get carried away... sometimes...:-)

Anonymous said...

Adoption is not a noble act, it is just a recollection of our long-forgotten responsibilities. It is definitely not about giving a home to some homeless, but about the beginning of the dawn of knowledge that we are one family (logically and emotionally as well). If an adoption is not based on this understanding then probably that act of adoption fails.

In that sense what the swapping mothers did, was the most meaningful and intelligent act. No doubt the mother would have loved the accidentally swapped kid as well but even the remotest anticipatory thought of her biological kid growing somewhere else (had the mothers known and not swapped back) would have defeated the purpose.

On a different note, the parents could have decided to stay together as one family!!

- Raaji

rash_mi said...

Hi Shruthi,

I believe "blood relation" does matter and plays a vital role. People who claim they dont like kids tend to change their opinion once they have their biological children. There are chances that the opinion could change in case of a adopted kid (if at all they go for it for some reason). But natural instincts always have a priority. The feeling of "MY baby" does not come so easily and satisfactorily with adopted children. Agreed it takes a lot of effort, time and commitment to make it happen and that's where the difference is.

-Rashmi

Anonymous said...

Wow!! Dear Shru. My wish might even come true. Read the new article again from your own link. There are developments.
- Raaji

Shruthi said...

All, thank you so much for your views! I will come back with detailed responses and more questions for you in a day or two.

Kadalabal said...

Adoption is not that cumbersome if you go in right way. It will not take period of 3 years to 5 years as mentioned by shark.
I know cases where all is done in short period a known couple of mine did it within 3 to 4 months and they decided to adopt from a orphanage and they were particular about a baby girl. girl is so cute and it already 4 years over and it is a great feeling. of course they took after chances having their own baby was remote. the whole family has accepted and they are doing fine.
there is other relative of mine who have adopted again a girl from poor
known family may be distantly related to his wife. this is also working wonderful and they are all happy
pregnancy is god/nature given gift
for woman and I feel they should undergo this to feel the growth of child and the period in which child in in womb is supposed to be one of wonderful experiences they have.
after having one biological child if you adopt another from a low strata of society and give a beautiful life to one more then it is simply superb and I personally feel this should be done before their own child grows up and understands it is not his/her own sibling.
a good discussion on the issue and I think I remember there was a discussion on adoption in one of the blogs earlier too my memory is not helping to recollect. (*become old!!!)

pranesh

Anonymous said...

It is all in the mind.When a child is told that SHE is mother He is Father , the Child accepts it without any questioning.The Parents are the One's who try to morally Judge the Issue to their convinience.If your thought process is pure and straight forward , i guess you should take a child or baby at face value without conisidering biological aspects.

Raj said...

Even if we were to seek a cold Darwinian explanation, we will find that what it talks about is the propogation of the entire species. It is true that individual instinct is a subset of the 'species instinct', but the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

What that means is that 'biological' or 'adopted', the human species is unaffected. It doesn't make a diffrence, so long as the species is flourishing.

Incidentally, I admire the way you have framed the question and sought answers.

Another way of finding an answer is to ask, if you were to know today that your parents are not the real ones, and your actual, biological parents live elsewhere, how would you react?

Artful Badger said...

I think a child is an extension of who you are and a way to carry on your legacy. Thus, the attachement! One hears of orphans who go in search of their true parents, so the desire for blood ties is hardwired I would think.

rajk said...

That was quite an article..I read the news snippet...Amazing...I thought such hospital blunders only happened in India!
As regards your views on adoption/giving birth, having given birth myself, I know it is an amazing feeling and if one is biologically capable, there's no reason why they shouldn't have a baby of their own..They could always adopt another child, provided they could love that child as much as their biological one...
Things like carrying on the lineage etc. is meaningless to me.

Viky said...

I think parenting is more about fostering the child than giving birth per se.

For all the arguments of genes coming in and determining your character, there is also a counter argument in the fact that habits and behaviour can be inculcated by the immediate surroundings.

To a baby, it will matter little, who the parents are - it will grow up to believe that the one who cares for it is its mother. If you do not do better, a baby may well think its wet nurse is its mother.

I am reminded now of Steve Jobs (Apple), whose biological parents put him up for adoption, with a clause that the foster parents will make sure he goes to college. Though poor, his foster parents sent him through college to honour that commitment - but Jobs dropped out. Till date, Jobs maintains that his foster parents are his only parents. :)

ahiri said...

i liked your post on credit cards at Jikku.

Kadalabal said...

Anonymous :L child is not at all a problem in accepting provided it is taken at a age it will not understand.
the problem is society which consists of so many people relatives friends foes who may spoil the innocent child when grown up be revealing these things in some conversation then the whole mind of the child becomes confused and what next it has to face and what adopted parents have to do at that time is a big Q mark
pranesh

Anu said...

Hey Shruthi, you are echoing my thoughts. When I was in school, when my teacher taught us about population problem, she asked us to suggest ways to reduce it. I told her maybe if childless couple can always adopt orphan children, population problem could be a little less. Then my teacher had told me, it was tough to convince people to adopt children who didn't have their blood.

Also, I have seen among some of the childless couple that they adopted somebody within their relatives. So I guess it depends on people's attitude that needs to change. Which is a herculean effort to make but all the same not impossible.

-Anu

Pradeep said...

A very good topic, Shruthi, to ponder over. Yes, the difference between biological and emotional. It's difficult to separate them, but they are two different entities after all.

The answer to the question is: biological procreation is natural. When that's not possible one adopts. But nothing stops anyone from adopting even if one can procreate naturally.

At the end of it all, Shruthi, it's all about individual preferences. There'sn't anything right or wrong about this -- just like many other things in life.

Shruthi said...

Collection of Stars, same here. The feeling of love only grew with time. That is why I feel that it might probably not matter at all whether the child is biologically mine or not!

Sudipta, what if the girl you love has somebody else's baby? :D Let me guess... you will not love it if she has the baby after you met her, but will if she had it from a previous marriage, etc. ;)

Altoid, I totally agree about that euphoric feeling. It is also wonderful to see the baby and marvel that you have produced it. But from my experience, the love for the baby in the tummy is different from when it is outside. Once it is outside, the love had to start from scratch... I just couldn't relate the two babies and believe that they were the same. Btw, very wise words!

Anoop, hah, you hit the nail on the head... whether it is possible to love both babies the same way. And you are right, I don't know how I would react in that situation. I believe I would love both the same, but that's just hypothetical thinking.

Sunshine, beautifully said. And just the thought that popped into my head after I put up this post. A very valid point. And I guess this would affect the kind of love in the beginning... later on I doubt if it would make a difference... but again, I am just guessing.

P2, oh wow! now you know?!

Vidya, gosh.... that's quite funny! Btw, I don't really think the adoption process is that difficult, is it? Probably there is more red tape for NRIs... I am not sure.

Devaki, the only reason I would advocate biological motherhood is, yes, the lovely feeling of carrying a child. But as for loving a child, I guess it shouldn't matter! Btw, I know many, many adopted kids... I think it has gained social acceptance already! "But knowing you have a choice and then consciously cutting off that choice, now that’s tough for us." - absolutely.. makes no sense!

Shark, rightly said. If the family is not receptive, then there is hardly any point in adoption. I am not sure that adoption is that difficult... is it, really?

Lya, you are right - "the question of the heart"! Logically everybody would like to have a biological baby!

Jay, hee hee.. I did too :D Join the club!

Raaji, philosophical words.. about Vasudhaiva kutumbakam,etc! Great new perspective. And you are so right, if the moms opted to stay with the wrong child, the knowledge in the corner of the mind that the biological child is just round the corner.. it would be horrible.
Btw, thanks so much for pointing me to the update! :)

Rashmi, I am not sure about the fact that the feeling of "my baby" does not come satisfactorily... my take is that it will. Once you accept any baby as yours... the love and attachment will come naturally I think. Babies do that to you... they force you to love them! :)

Kadalabal, I don't think there were any discussions on this topic on my blog :) Thanks foryour views!

Anon, that is true!

Raj, beautiful, and very interesting perspective. Thank you for this. My brain is whirring away :D And as for your question, it is from the perspective of the child. If it was I, I would have wanted to know my birth parents, I guess.

Artful Badger, aha.. yes. In the long run, I am sure the parents, had they not swapped, would never rest in peace.

Rajk, I am of the same opinion as you are!

Viky, I also remembered Steve Jobs when I read this article :D And LOL at wet nurse. Yes, if the baby is not told at all that its parents are not the birth parents, it will hardly matter to the baby, I guess. Even if it is told, it will not matter, I guess, except for the curiosity to know who the child's real parents are.

Ahiri, thank you! :) Lovely name you have, btw.

Anu, that's true.. but it is heartening to see that there have been a lot of adoptions around me... most of them outside the family, no relation at all. It is changing, slowly but surely.

Pradeep, exactly! Individual preferences, and the confidence in the ability to love and provide for the child either way.

Poppins said...

Full and Full Drama Queen you are ! :) No other comments please, it's too horrific for me to even contemplate !

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