June 20, 2021 03:51 PM | by Jasmine Kamal
Inspired by the Series ليه لأ: Challenging the Concept of Adoption
In 2019, we interviewed Rasha Makki, who started , ‘An adoption story in Egypt’ initiative and page to encourage women who are facing trouble with having kids to adopt children. I remember then, that she told us about her experience and how she decided to adopt her child, Mustafa. She was proud of what she did and said that her adoption experience made her see her life differently. I remember that after my meeting with her, I was deeply moved by her experience and wished that one day, all women who would know that they can feel motherhood in different ways and not just through pregnancy.
And, it seems that Menna Shalaby, and the makers of the series, 'ليه لأ' feel the same way and decided to address the issue of children’s adoption by unmarried women in this season of the series. The first season, starring Amina Khalil tackled the issue of marriage and women choosing their independent path, and managed to achieve outstanding success. The series continues to raises several important questions, which I am sure is on every girl’s mind. So, we thought it’s necessary to shed light on these questions and answer them.
The "ليه لأ’ series part two addresses the topic of adoption, from the very beginning of where to start thinking about adoption, how society sees it and so much more. The series challenges you to face your thoughts, it did for us and here is what we found ourselves asking and thinking.
Is motherhood really related to marriage and childbearing?
We were raised to believe that women grow up, get married and become mothers, and no one ever told us that life is full of surprises and that it doesn’t always work out like that. We may grow up and not find a partner in life, or at least not find a man to marry early on in life, as happened with Menna Shalaby’s character in the series, ‘ ليه لأ ’ who reached the age of 38 without finding a partner in life. Does this mean that we have to be deprived of motherhood until we find a man and get married? Or, what happens if you meet the love of your life a little late in life, and the woman is unable to have kids?
The feelings of motherhood has always been explained as one generation forming a family and creating another generation. Which begs the question should marriage and motherhood be a package deal? Can you have one without the other? Can’t motherhood come out of the package and be formed in a different way?
Should a woman just marry a man in order start a family and become a mother?
Once again, Menna Shalaby brings up an issue faced by most girls, a woman who didn’t marry early on in life. Although we fully believe that marriage does not have a specific age, but society always sets a specific period of time, and as soon as a women cross that age, she is pushed towards marriage to have a house and family.
In Nada’s case, her friend Sally, pushes her to marry her doctor friend, played by Firas Saeed, even though she does not love him. But, from her friend’s point of view, it’s a great opportunity to get married and start a family, and this is exactly what Menna Shalaby rejects. Despite her strong desire to become a mother, she believes that she does not have to accept the idea of marrying any man, just because she wants to start a family.
What if we could practice ‘motherhood’ differently?
In the second episode of the series, "ليه لأ” Menna Shalaby challenges the idea of becoming a mother in a traditional way, and why is it women don’t think of adoption to create a family. There are millions of children who really need mothers, and it will make no difference to them if that mother is a young woman, or a mother who already has other children, or whether she is married or not. All they need is a woman with a big heart, ready and able to care for them.
So, why does society not accept the idea of adoption, especially for unmarried women?
In Arab societies, the idea of adoption is not easily accepted. There seems to be a lot of reasons why a woman shouldn’t adopt:
- You will not find a man to marry you with an adopted kid.
- No man will accept to raise a child who is not his own.
- Why adopt, you should look for a husband to marry to have children.
These three phrases revolve in the minds of the majority of the sons of Arab societies, not only that, but some believe that spending and raising a child who is not your biological son is a waste of time and money, because this child can grow up and then search for his biological family, then leave you.
‘Adoption’ should be considered as one of the ways to fulfill the dream of starting a family and starting the motherhood journey. Whether you are married and having problems getting pregnant, or even just want to give another child in this life a family, it’s time to change our view on adoption.
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