Our new series is about a man and a woman who decided to have children, and adoption and lots of self-discovery. Noémi writes about her and her partner’s personal experiences. The series takes you through the idea of adoption to the decision, followed by the subsequent application and the process of obtaining the certificate of aptitude for adoption. Noémi writes honestly about their feelings, telling without taboos about the steps during which they discovered themselves more and more and everything they experienced along the way. The series is about a couple living in Hungary, so it presents the adoption system of Hungary. Written by Noémi Szabó.
I’m wondering where to start our story. Really, when did it begin? Maybe when already as a child, helping an abandoned child through adoption seemed a real and relevant option. Maybe when an unexpected pregnancy ended in an abortion when I was 19 years old. Perhaps when I came to the conclusion that I would be reluctant to bring one or two more people into this uncertain world (both due to environmental reasons and the political and social trends of Hungary). Maybe at the age of 27, when me and my partner got over the adoration felt exclusively for each other and felt that we’re a bit alone tete-á-tete, and when planning to have a baby, thoughts like “I can’t imagine myself pregnant” and “I’m afraid of giving birth” came to my mind. Perhaps when, after a few months of trying to conceive (having stopped with birth control after about 10 years), I got scared and backed down on having a baby.
I’m still not sure.
My first serious thoughts about adoption
But let’s start at the beginning! After the “baby project” (oh, how much I hate this expression!) went phut after unsuccessful attempts of trying to conceive in the second half of 2018, for a while I felt that I didn’t even want a baby at all. I’m still too selfish for it: I’ve just started making enough money to not have to worry about it, I don’t want to break my blossoming career in half and I’m not ready for years of night feeding.
After getting over all this, in April 2020, I once again felt that our years-long and stable relationship was indeed ready to start a family. I felt longing – the two of us had experienced so much together, it was time to share it with someone else! However, I still resented the thought of pregnancy and childbirth. I became less and less hesitant to express, in the beginning only to my partner, that I don’t want this. No matter how many of my girlfriends (some of whom have been dreaming about starting their own family since childhood) with babies gushed about having children, I was simply not thrown into a fever by the thought of a fetus growing inside my tummy, who then even needs to leave somehow.
I shared all my fears and worries with my partner, Ádám. He fully understood and accepted them. I mentioned to him the idea of adoption. Fortunately, he didn’t dismiss it right away. Of course, unlike me, he hasn’t been thinking about adoption since childhood (the thought of having children in general almost never even crossed his mind, except for the last few years), so it was completely new to him. He had plenty of unanswered questions and fears. But he’s very smart, so he realized that one tends to fear the unknown. So, he was willing to get acquainted with the subject of adoption. This attitude and his support were really reassuring for me.
Getting rid our fears through understanding
Around the same time, I found the adoption blog örökbe.hu and Zsuzsa Bognár’s book, The Psychology of Adoption. For days, I read the blog non-stop. I also got the book and finished it in a day and a half. As I read, I felt waves of growing certainty and insecurity washing over me. A multitude of findings and questions were stirring inside me:
Deep poverty (Hungarian definition): “Poverty characterized by living under the relative poverty threshold for an extended period of time without the apparent possibility of breaking out of it without outside intervention.” cskwiki.hu
“The theory of early bonding comes from an English psychiatrist, John Bowlby. He first published his theory in the early 1950s. The essence of the theory is that humans, as a species, are born with an instinct that causes the infant to form a close relation with the person caring for him. The novel idea of the theory was that he considered bonding as satiating a primary need rather than learned behavior.” Zsuzsa Bognár: The Psychology of Adoption
By the time I’d finished the book, a lot became clear to me. I outlined the things that are up to us to decide: I’d rather adopt an older (1-3 years old) child, because you can already get to know the personality of a child of this age when you meet them for the first time, but a newborn’s is a gamble. Although in case of newborns, open adoption, during which you get a chance to get to know the biological parents or at least the mother, is not uncommon.
We also learned that the waiting time gets shorter if we are more accepting, so the fewer conditions we set, the fewer years we have to wait. The issue of Gypsy ethnicity is a big one. I have come to the conclusion that ethnicity is not very important to me, it’s not the main force creating what you are, rather nurture.
Even more knowledge
In May, the author of the blog örökbe.hu, Zsuzsa Mártonffy published her book The Child With Two Mothers. Naturally, I bought this one as well and read it, as I wanted to know more and more.
Meanwhile, Ádám also read, researched and pondered, with the same thoroughness he does everything with. By doing so, he managed to gradually familiarize himself with the process and the difficulties, work his way through his fears and structure his emotions.
It started to become clear that we are taking part in a hard self-discovery course. We accepted the challenge and overcame obstacles nicely.
What will our social environment say?
The question above can often pop up in any of us. Unfortunately, we depend heavily on the opinion of others. It wouldn’t be a problem if we would just listen to and accept the opinions of others, as others hold a mirror in front of us, through them we can truly see ourselves. But we must not allow ourselves to be overly influenced by the view of others!
Of course, we also thought about how our families and friends would react to the idea of adoption. We don’t let our families have too much say in our lives – even though we’re fortunate because they aren’t even trying to do so :). Nonetheless, we really wanted them to support us on this difficult journey as we should not fool ourselves: there will be difficulties. Our parents and siblings are accepting, cool and loving. The parents of both of us are divorced and our moms don’t live with our dads, and homosexuality is present in the family. With all of this, we’re able to live together in almost complete happiness. I think our family model doesn’t really meet today’s “expectations in Hungary.” :) All in all, we weren’t worried about the acceptance of our families.
Our friends are also open people. It’s a colorful bunch with colorful attitudes to life. Educated and empathic people – no wonder why we’re friends with them! We came to the conclusion that after the first surprises, they would probably be unprejudiced towards our plan and support us. And if some of them wouldn’t do that, then maybe our friendship wasn’t strong enough to withstand this. And we don’t care about the opinions of strangers, so we weren’t afraid that we couldn’t handle strange looks and choice words.
After our stretch of self-discovery and collecting “all available” knowledge, we also applied to a “starter course”, but that’s for another part of the series.
At the same time, fate decided that a close relative of ours would decide that she can’t raise her baby she didn’t plan to have, so she is giving her up for adoption. You can read about this in Part 2.
Source of featured image: wikimedia.org
Translated by Ádám Hittaller