Adoption on the rise in Kurdistan Region

24 June 2021

Clad in black and bursting with happiness, Jamila Qadir tightly hugs a baby girl wrapped in a white sheet. The child is bright pink and her head appears large in proportion to her scrawny little arms and legs that jerk back and forth. Qadir gently rocks her with one hand and tries to feed her from a bottle with the other.

Together, they made the perfect picture of mother and daughter.

Qadir seems unsure of how to express how much joy the child has filled her with; it is the first time her house has been transformed into a family home. She had been desperately wanting a child for more than 15 years, and her dream has finally come true through her new adopted daughter. In the space of a single minute, she kisses her baby girl more than ten times.

Over a decade of built-up anger and distress have now melted away with the child’s arrival, she says, remarking that she would otherwise by dead.

Their bond seems as strong as that between any parent and their biological child.

“I feel that I’ve carried her in my belly for nine months and nine days,” she says.

She waited roughly three years for her daughter to be placed with her but many others have waited longer. Dozens of other parents in the Kurdistan Region currently waiting to legally adopt a boy or girl.

At least 100 children have been adopted since 2016, Erbil Juvenile Court figures show. Some sixty more parents have applied.

Nazanin Ahmed, 42, has had no children since being married 20 years ago. She is just one of the many applicants who hope to have a child placed in their care.

In Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region, some parents abandon their children or are caught neglecting or abusing them. Those like Qadir and Ahmed are perfectly happy to raise them as their own.

As Ahmed said, “It’s much better than having no children. It’s God’s blessing and the feelings are unspeakable.”

Untold numbers of children are taken from, or abandoned by, birth parents around the world every year, mostly from Asia, Australia, Africa, and the Middle East.

No one knows how many the children are in this predicament locally, the head of a research team in the Erbil court system, Samir Anwar, told Kurdistan 24.

Parents abandoning children usually leave them in front of mosques, homes, or outside the city, according to Anwar, who recommended that parents wishing to adopt should register their names first and wait until their turn comes up to be considered for the process.

The court monitors and investigates applicants for six months to make sure they are willing and able to care for a child, Anwar noted, saying, “There were parents who were not decent as we noticed that they hurt the children and abuse them.”

The court feels that adoptive parents should own a home and have a healthy income to be able to raise a child. If they are approved, the government will then register the children under the name of their new parents after the legal process is completed.

Sami Muhammad and his wife of seven years has been waiting since 2018 to be matched with a child by the court. He says he and his wife have previously tried all kinds of doctors and medical treatments to have a biological child, but to no avail. Then, they learned about the adoption program and immediately registered their names.

Ahmed and Mohammed are still waiting to have a new child arrive, with Ahmed stating that she will never give up hope and wait years more if she has to. There are at least hundreds of parents in the Kurdistan Region exhausting the list of potential fertility treatments, signing up for adoption, and waiting.

Qadir, with her new baby daughter, is so overjoyed that she can barely utter complete sentences. While talking for Kurdistan 24, she cries almost continuously with an outpouring of emotion, thanking God every now and then.

She says that she prays for all other mothers in her former position, earnestly saying, “May God bless them all and give them a child one day.”

Editing by John J. Catherine