Smriti Gupta

Jul 14, 2020

3 min read

Want to adopt a child one day? Choose your spouse carefully.

I met a couple over coffee to answer their questions about adoption in India. During the 2-hour chat, it became painfully clear to me that the husband wanted to adopt but the wife didn’t. He cared about giving a future to a child and was extremely excited about adoption. She saw adoption as an unnecessary step since they already had a biological child. I didn’t have the heart to tell the husband that adoption seemed unlikely for them. The wife was going to tell him anyway.

Few months later, a good friend of mine mentioned how he was keen on adopting one day, but his girlfriend wasn’t. He asked me what to do. I awkwardly told him that they needed to sort out their joint life goals and he needed to figure out what took priority for him, the current relationship or adoption.

It goes the other way as well. A thoughtful woman recently mentioned how she had wanted to adopt for years but couldn’t do that due to the resistance from her husband’s parents. She waited over a decade and finally started the adoption process. Indian adoption forums are filled with similar stories — women bemoaning the fact that they are keen to adopt, but their husbands or in-laws won’t agree.

Adoption is not something everyone thinks about before they get married. But there is a good reason why you should. You may have wanted to adopt since you were young. Or your heart may have opened to adoption later in life. Or you may have reached adoption through infertility. Irrespective of the path, if you have a spouse, both of you will need to agree before adopting. You can surmount challenges posed by any extended family or relatives, as long as you and your spouse are in agreement.

But you will get nowhere if you and your spouse disagree on adoption. It may take years of counselling and convincing, and finally your spouse may or may not agree. So if you are single and plan to get married, take out some time pre-marriage to understand your potential partner’s attitude towards adoption. People evolve so the initial answer may change over time (hopefully for the better), but it will give you an idea of the person’s flexibility or rigidity about adoption and their approach to the world. Then make your decision about marrying them.

As I write this article, I am fully aware that even in this day and age, many Indians are not allowed to choose their spouse. But if you are one of the lucky few who have a choice, use it judiciously. And what if you are already married? Well, pass this article along to the next hopeful cousin, friend, or neighbour who is dreaming about marriage.

[ Here are all the articles and videos that I have created about adoption in India.]