Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Half Muslim – maybe? Half child – I think not

I was speaking with a stranger a few days ago. The gentleman was in the service industry and ran a family business with his wife. The subject turned to his family and he said he had 3.5 (three and one half) kids.
Okay, that's an unusual number. Children normally come in whole numbers – unlike Muslims who are sometimes half-Muslims!
Maybe his wife was pregnant and baby number four was on its way? Hesitatingly I enquired about the 'half child,' fearing that perhaps I was getting too personal. It turns out his wife and he had adopted a boy and referred to the boy as a 'half-child.'

It's not for me to tell people how to speak of their children. Yet, it seems somewhat odd, if not wrong, that a son is referred to as a 'half.' Adopted or not, a son is a son.
A bloodline is a unique feature. It's not surprising that modern DNA testing can match identities among distant relatives, probably by isolating the one unique chromosome an individual carries. (I am no scientist, nor do I watch CSI to know enough about DNA testing to speak authoritatively on the subject.)
Nevertheless, to the Grand Moofti, an adopted child does not deserve to be singled out from her (biological) siblings. The way an adoptee is spoken about reflects how she is seen by her adopted parents, as a full member of the family or as an outsider.
Kids are kids. They soak in their environment without adults even noticing the process. A child's self-confidence and self-perceptions are largely based on acceptance by their immediate family. Adopt a child and then forget she was adopted. Adoption becomes a secret that travels to the grave.
There are no 'half-kids' in the world.
Of course, readers may legitimately question the Grand Moofti's qualifications to speak about kids. It's true, his credentials are restricted to periodic interactions with nephews, nieces and other kids who fondly refer to him as 'uncle.'  

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