Maryam’s Story

Maryam’s Story

Maryam and her husband always knew they wanted to adopt one day.  What they didn’t know till much later on in marriage was that that would be the only way they would go on to become parents. Four to five years into their marriage, they were having difficulty conceiving. She had multiple tests done, the doctor explained to her that she had ‘unexplained fertility.’ In other words, they had no answer for her as to why she couldn’t conceive. As she described; “it was a whole ocean you’re thrown into, with no real direction.” After one of her three failed IVF attempts, she was told she had stage 4 endometriosis. It was then that her adoption story properly began. 

“(on adopting) We wanted to give a child a forever home.”

Maryam explained that she and her husband had always wanted to adopt but wanted to have a birth child first. She had always been open to the idea of adopting since her birth father passed away when she was a little girl, and her stepdad had essentially adopted her and her brother. She understood the importance it could have on a child’s life and wanted to provide that to a parentless child. She was lucky enough to get full support from her family and friends, but her husband’s family were a little more apprehensive. They were worried that the couple wouldn’t be able to love the adopted child as their own, however, once the baby arrived, everyone was smitten, and all these worries faded away. 

The adoption process for the couple took around two years from start to finish and Maryam stated that she found it quite enjoyable, viewing the experience as a huge learning curve. She felt she learnt a great deal about herself during this time. Eventually, they were matched with a 10-month-old baby girl. Maryam opened up about how, although elated with the new addition to her family, she felt overwhelmed and unable to bond with her daughter in the same way her husband had. Looking back on that time now, she believes she was suffering from post-adoption blues and feels she should have gone back to work earlier to retain some semblance of normality.  She admits that her journey into motherhood wasn’t an easy transition, and she struggled with not working and throwing herself into caring for her daughter full time. It took Maryam a few months to start feeling comfortable in her new role as a mother, and she hasn’t looked back since.

“(on motherhood) Nothing can prepare you for it… nothing. Until the child is with you, you’ll really have no idea.”

Something that isn’t discussed enough is the way adoption can test your relationship. For Maryam, the initial stages of adoption weren’t debilitating for her marriage, but she quickly realised once her daughter was in the house that she had a different idea of parenting to her husband. As the primary carer of the child while her husband was at work, she was beginning to feel a lack of support from her partner, and they clashed over how their daughter would be raised. Maryam and her partner separated for a variety of different reasons, and they went on to co-parent their daughter. 

When asked what she’d tell prospective Muslim adopters, Maryam told us ‘’it’s absolutely imperative that you have a solid support network to lean on before, during & after, including people who have gone through the experience.’’ She stressed how important it is to have a clear Islamic understanding of the issue of mahramia and the impact it can have if parents go on to separate. It is so important to understand and discuss, beforehand, with your partner on how you’ll parent your child. Go through potential scenarios in detail before your child arrives and try and get on the same page. Being completely transparent with your partner about your wants and wishes in regard to your adopted child will alleviate potential future problems. Keep that channel of communication always open and flowing. 

“(on being a mother) It’s so important to have something that will keep you in tune with your individual self… you’re a mother, but also a woman. Don’t neglect yourself in the process of parenting.”

Focusing on bettering yourself will ensure you’re a better parent to your child. It’s important to cultivate a strong sense of sense outside of your duties to your child. 

While it may seem like a negative end to Maryam’s story, she explains that adopting her daughter, and her consequential divorce has taught her invaluable life lessons. She feels that her daughter is the reason she gets up every morning – she wanted to be a better woman for her. Maryam and her ex-husband continue to co-parent, the road has been slippery, but they have put their daughter’s welfare at the heart. They both play an active role in their daughter’s life.

 “(on her daughter) “she’s taught me more than I could ever teach her.”

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