I DON’T WANT YOUR BABY
Monday, March 11th, 2013
The first time I mentioned, to the hearing of my mother, that I would like to adopt a child when I was older, I was sharply rebuked. This reaction left me puzzled, for though I had heard someone saying before that Nigerians weren’t favorably disposed to adoption, I had waved it off because I couldn’t believe anyone would be opposed to what in my opinion was a benevolent gesture. So, I set out to find out the truth about Nigerians’ attitude towards adoption, and here’s what I discovered.
Having a child is one of the yardsticks by which the success of a marriage is measured; therefore infertility can be one of the strongest sources of pressure on a marriage. Sometimes, the woman (who mostly bears the brunt of the stigma of infertility in our society) is made to believe that without children, her place has not been secured in her husband’s home [Ginger’s blog]. Adoption is one of the options that can be used to manage the situation.
Upon research on the subject, my fears were confirmed. The Ebunoluwa orphanage confirmed that in Nigeria, customs and traditions have it that children who cannot be cared for by their parents are taken in by someone within their extended family, but the idea of taking in or adopting a child who is not somehow related to the family is highly uncommon.
In a survey by Ezugwu of 264 women who were having difficulty conceiving in South-Eastern Nigeria to determine their knowledge, attitude and practice of child adoption, it was shown that 183 of them [69.3%] were unwilling to adopt, while only 81[30%] were willing to consider adoption.
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In most cultures today, marriage has bee a big ‘project’, especially when it comes to payment of the bride price. Research shows that, because of the endless demands made on the intending husband, the celebration of traditional marriage ceremonies seems to be on the decline. Such factors have been the cause of low patronage of the traditional marriage institution and a threat to the family system. This has made many parents give out their daughters without sweating the details of traditional obligation, or run the risk of leaving them unmarried.
Gift exchange has been an essential part of marriage rites and ceremonies in Nigeria. It involves the exchange of materials or money from the man’s to the woman’s family, but practices differ among communities. The bride price may be payment in cash, gifts or the rendering of services by the groom and/or his family to the family of the bride. Payment of the bride price is one of the most significant traditional practices in Nigerian traditional marriages. The fulfilment of the bride price confers on the marriage recognition under the customary laws of the relevant communities. Traditionally, bridal gifts were to bring about a bond between the two families. It was emblematic. It was to unite the couple as well as to bring the families together. In the past, it was given freely by the future husband and not demanded by the bride’s family.
But the opposite is what we see and experience in recent times in relation to payment of the bride price. Today, the practice of bride price is aggressively negotiated, thereby reducing ladies to mere commodities for exchange. This has also made families to see their daughters as a source of revenue generation.
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