Love is one of the noblest and most uncomplicated emotions mankind has been gifted with, because it comes straight from the heart. It transcends many barriers and alters our misguided thinking that true love and affection for a child comes only through the umbilical cord.

The whole process of adoption involves an emotional challenge to the parents giving up their child, those adopting and, of course, the child himself. It is a mixture of fear, anxiety, anticipation and joy.

The first hurdle faced by adopting parents is the unawareness of the Islamic concept of adoption and the places from where they can adopt. After the adopting parents undergo a long emotional wait, the couple finally adopts a child and brings him home. They are eager to start their long loving relationship; however, more challenges are yet to come. Certain factors hamper the relationship between an adopted child and his foster parents – abuse and neglect towards the child from the parents’ relatives and the public, the child’s battles with a hereditary illness or abnormality and, hence, difficulties finding playmates of his age who would accept him. Once the child grows up and realizes that he is adopted, he might undergo a trauma of feeling that his identity is challenged. Adoptive parents are sometimes emotionally shattered when the child expresses the desire to reunite with his biological parents. Another factor that strains the relationship between the adopted children and their parents is the birth of biological children. Due to this, many parents and adopted children stand helpless in failing relationships, not knowing what to do.

Solutions to such problems exist. Some parents seek the help of counseling, while others deal with these problems naturally, just as any regular parents would with their own biological children. One must not become paranoid. Instead, remember that many problems adopted kids experience have nothing to do with the fact of adoption. Rather, it is probably due to their inborn nature, temperament or heredity.

I am, Alhumdulillah, myself a proud mother of an adopted baby. He is still too small to face the challenges I have mentioned. However, it is in human nature to be anxious about the future. The following observations have helped me prepare myself and will, Insha’Allah, help also others (who have taken on or are considering adoption) to deal with such challenges, when the time comes.

The adoptive parents and children must learn to regard each other as their own children and parents. They must know that even though they are not related biologically, they can get connected strongly through love and affection.

Their relationship must be based on trust. It is strongly suggested that the adoptive parents tell their children the truth about their adoption. They should break the news in such a way that their children understand and are not hurt. This must be done at an age, when the child will understand what he is being told.

The strength in our relationship with our children emanates from communication that is open and free. Every opportunity to discuss adoption, the child’s roots and his feelings about being adopted should be taken at the appropriate time.

The child should be discouraged from holding ill feelings towards his natural parents for abandoning him (if that was the case). Rather, encourage the child to forgive and make Dua for them, wherever they may be.

Treat every obstacle as a trial from Allah (swt). Deal with it positively seeking Allah’s (swt) help at all times and making lots of Dua.

If the biological parents appear and claim their child, be prepared to return the child to them, as Islamically it is their right. Be grateful that Allah (swt) let you experience the joy for a short while.

Always go the straight way as far as possible. Do not make a fake birth certificate / documents of the child or do anything else that is illegal. Give the child his own name, if he has one, as that is his birth right.

The adoptive parents should ward off the negative remarks towards their children and must assure them that they are always there to love them.

The relationship between the adopted children and their parents may be strained by the appearance of the biological children. Children will often feel insecure or neglected by the birth of a baby to their parents. An easy method for solving these troubles in the relationship is an open talk. Parents must explain to their adopted children that the newborn baby is their brother or sister. They must treat both children equally, as far as the Islamic law permits (for example, they cannot give the adopted child their name nor a part of the inheritance; rather, they may give him / her one third of their property at the most as a gift before their death) and encourage their relatives or friends to treat them the same.

Although they will always be special, never treat them any different than you would your own biological child. Do not spoil them or pity them excessively. Doing this may result in the child becoming overly conscious of his position, and he may take advantage by becoming spoilt or rebellious.

The adopted children and their parents must realize that their relationship is the most special addition to their lives. This understanding will eliminate the pain that some adopted children and their parents may experience at some point in their lives.

Lastly, as with all problems we face even while raising our own biological children, the greatest help and support during rough times comes from Allah (swt). Therefore, we constantly need to turn to Allah (swt) for help and guidance. Insha’Allah, Allah (swt) will make the experience of taking a little one into our homes pleasurable and rewarding!