Hamza & Mehreen’s Adoption Story

Hamza & Mehreen’s Adoption Story

Hamza and his wife Mehreen had never looked into adoption, nor had it ever crossed their minds. The couple had no biological children and their family friend’s neighbour brought up the idea of looking into different avenues to grow their family – including adoption. Something resonated with Hamza and he began meticulously researching it. Not only did he read extensively on the sector, he also contacted various different scholars and imams and asked their opinion on adoption, and if it was permitted in Islam. He chose not to go to his local mosques, as he felt as if their opinions may be rooted in cultured and was lucky enough to be in a position of having contact with scholars and people of knowledge and wanted an informed opinion. He even reached out of the Sharia Council. All in all, Hamza’s research took around 6 months, and when he felt satisfied that adoption was the right avenue to go into, the wheels were put in motion. 

On the scholars/imam’s opinions about adoption; ‘the general consensus from them all was to go for it. They almost all had the exact same opinions on if we should adopt… which was to do it.’ 

Once the couple were ready to move forward, they contacted different agencies and found the perfect one. They began the process in 2012, and their daughter was matched with them in 2016. Hamza stressed that prospective adopters shouldn’t be put off the lengthy process, because a range of different factors extended the time it took for the couple to be matched. The assessment part of the process was pretty straightforward and moved by quickly. The difficult part was finding a suitable match for the couple, who were open to all races, ages and expressed that they would be open to adopting a child with mild disabilities too. The problem lay in the fact that there were not enough suitable children for them within their own council, and a few times over the years they would be matched with a child, and it would fall through due to factors such as religious and race differences.

Hamza explained to us that once you’re approved to be an adopter, you then have access to a number of different websites and events with profiles of all the children in the UK looking to be adopted. Prospective adopters can attend exchange events and meet with different councils from different parts of the country. The couple attended a large number of these events, and perused the websites too looking for a child to give a forever home. At one of the exchange events, Hamza and Mehreen found a child they were interested in adopting; a little boy. They were put in contact with his social worker and given a long report on him. Everything was going well, until they were told that his biological parents had emphatically stated that they wanted the child to be raised atheist. The devout Muslim couple felt that it just wouldn’t be a good idea to go ahead, as they would not be able to raise their child outside the cusp of Islam. Another time, their application fell through as the child was not the same race as them. This is just a few examples of the many incidents that added a great deal of time onto the couple’s adoption process. 

On the adoption process; ‘We were just hitting wall after wall.’

After a mentally taxing few years, the couple received a phone call one day telling them that they had been matched to a two-year-old girl. They didn’t get their hopes up, as they had received this same call countless times over the years. They were sent a picture of the child, and immediately said yes. They had their initial meetings with her foster carers and met with the adoption panel. Once the panel approved them, they started the introduction process. 10 days later, their daughter was at home with them. 

On why he understands it had to take so long: ‘if you understand safeguarding, and the precarious background of many of these children, you can understand why it may be long winded’ 

 The couple didn’t tell anyone about their adoption plans, except Hamza’s mother. Hamza understood that because she was from a different, more traditional generation, she wasn’t too happy with the idea of them adopting. Since she lived with them, they wanted her full blessing before going ahead. Hamza spent a great deal of time educating his mother on adoption and putting her mind at ease. Once she was fully on board, she actually asked the couple what they were waiting for – and to get a move on! Hamza’s mother sadly passed away this year but was able to spend a few important years with her granddaughter. They were extremely close, and she took her role as grandmother very seriously. 

On their daughter; ‘Our world revolves around her now.’

Their daughter is still young (8) but they’ve been open with her about her adoption story, and how she came to be a part of the family. Hamza coined the term ‘tummy mummy’ to explain to his young child that her adopted mother didn’t carry her in her stomach, she came from someone else. The couple have normalised this phrase to help their daughter better understand her beginnings. Hamza discussed how he wanted his daughter to feel comfortable to ask him any questions she had, and he and his wife would always be transparent with her. Their daughter has seen pictures of her biological parents and has asked to meet them one day. She’s proud of the fact she was adopted and tells Hamza and Mehreen that she’s happy to be with them. This attitude is a credit to the couple, who have gone above and beyond to make sure their daughter is comfortable with every part of her life story. Every September, before the start of a new school, Hamza calls his daughter’s new school teacher and explains that she is adopted, to alleviate any future awkwardness for her in front of her peers. The couple have considered adopting again, but their daughter has explained to them that she doesn’t want anything to change – she wants the three of them to stay the same. As it stands, they have decided to honour their daughters wishes and chosen not to bring another child into their home permanently but may foster at some point in the future. 

On what he’d say to prospective Muslim adopter; Like Sheikh Haytham said to me, the fact that these children need a home should outweigh the mahram issue.’

Hamza wants Muslims to be more open minded with adoption. He feels that because he did so much research before starting the process, he was better equipped to deal with the questions, initial stages and the lack of understanding from some social workers about Islam. He recognises that huge changes need to be happening to counteract the large number of BAME Muslim children that need to be adopted. Hamza has been invited to speak at various talks and panels about his experiences with adoption and is eager to help transform the way many Muslims view adoption. 

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