Hannah and Imran had always wanted to adopt and had discussed the idea of doing so early on in their marriage. They had a birth daughter and son before deciding to look into adoption. Hannah explains that a huge reason of them wanting to adopt was because they wanted to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad.
“(on adopting) We were in a blessed position to have our own children and were lucky enough to have the capacity to take on another child.”
In terms of the adoption process itself, the couple described it as pretty straight forward. Imran stressed that if you do want to adopt, it’s imperative that you’re open minded, as the questions that will be presented to you over the course of the initial stages could be uncomfortable to answer if you are from a very traditional background and have not discussed issues that are prevalent in today’s society. Give or take a few months, it took around a year and a half to get their adopted child. The one thing that the couple were apprehensive over was the mahramissue, as Hannah was conscious of the fact that she had a boy and a girl already, so whichever way you looked at it, a new child coming into the home could be difficult. She didn’t want her birth or an adopted daughter(s) to have to wear hijab in the house, so it was important for her to get a baby quickly. The couple were given a 14-month-old baby, and as Hannah was breastfeeding her son at the time, she was able to then give her breastmilk to her adopted daughter. Many imams and scholars state that if you breastfeed an adopted child, the child becomes yours so the problem of dealing with a mahramin the house is alleviated.
The couple’s family and friends were totally on board with their decision to extend their family through adoption.
“(on people’s reactions to their adopted daughter) People were surprised, but we didn’t experience any negative reactions.”
When asked what they’d say to prospective Muslim adopters, the couple emphatically say, ‘go for it.’ They explain that as rewarding as it is, you need to remember to be mouldable and go in with your eyes wide open. Hannah describes the pressures she felt & continues to feel in making sure her adopted child and her biological children are treated exactly the same. She explained to us that it’s just not possible to treat every child in the same way – that’s not to say you don’t love them equally; but every child has different wants and needs and must be treated accordingly.
Hannah remembers her social worker telling her there was a chance she wouldn’t love her adopted child straight away. At the time, she thought this comment was strange, but upon receiving her daughter, she understood what her social worker was talking about. She stresses to prospective adopters/those in the process of adopting/new adopters that you shouldn’t put pressure on yourself to feel completely attached to your adopted child straight away – don’t rush into it, it’ll happen organically.
“(on her adopted daughter) You can’t underestimate the impact (adoption) has on a child’s mind…”
Fast forward to today, Hannah & Imran have four children, three biological and one adopted. The couple have always been open with their (now, 15) adopted daughter about her roots and how she came to be part of their family. They’ve kept in contact with her birth family through letterbox contact, however they have yet to receive a response back. The couple have expressed to their adopted daughter that if she wants to have her birth family in her life, she is fully supported by them to do so.