“The only option is if you go through a surrogate mother. I’m sorry.”
The gynaecologist sighed as he looked at the sheets of paper bearing dismal test results regarding the state of my fertility. It had been eight months since my miscarriage, and I decided that I needed to go for a more detailed check-up on my female parts.
This time however, I didn’t cry. I was saddened and heartbroken again, yes. But I also felt – well at least, now, I know how things really are and I can move on with life. Of course, I’d feel a twinge of wistfulness every time a girlfriend excitedly announced she was expecting, or get all clucky when I played with my godchildren.
My husband and I had a discussion – we were at the stage of our lives where we were very comfortable in our marriage and jobs and enjoyed travelling regularly. However, we both agreed that we would like to raise a child at some point. The gynaecologist told us that he had “some available China women” on standby to carry our baby if we wanted, and my mother actually told me to consider this, so at least my husband’s family gets to “continue their lineage”. However, this was something we were not comfortable with, and eventually, we decided to find out more about adopting a child.
We went for a pre-adoption seminar organised by a family service centre. The complex flowcharts that mapped out the application process overwhelmed us, and the Q&A wasn’t much better with people asking about “the cheapest and fastest way” to adopt with Excel spreadsheets. What a meat market this is, we thought to ourselves.
But we also thought about the fact that there were all these babies in this world with no parents, who would have a tough childhood growing up in an orphanage or in poverty. We braced ourselves for the huge amount of paperwork ahead and submitted an application for the Home Study Report, which required every excruciating detail about our personal lives, health and finances.
Two months later, we were scheduled for the first round of interviews – which took three hours. It was draining, but fortunately, our Home Study Report officer was an adoptive mum herself, and shared some of her experiences raising an adopted child. After our second round of interviews where she did a two-hour inspection of our home, she told us to start making queries with adoption agencies while she would prepare to approve our Home Study Report (this would give an official ‘green light’ to adopt).
“There’s usually a waiting list at the agencies, so it can take up to two years to complete the adoption process. Just be mentally prepared,” the Home Study Officer advised us.
A few days later, I made my first phone call.
“Do you want boy or girl?” the guy over the phone asked me.
“No preference,” I said.
“Heng ah, because girls got long waiting list. If you want ah, I got this baby boy just arrive from Malaysia. Very fair, very big eyes one! Very rare to get, so you want to view?”
“Ok, then you must bring your cheque book. If you like him, you must make deposit immediately. Like I say before, this kind of fair fair baby very hard to come by one so you must take before other people take!” he said urgently.
I felt utterly conflicted after that phone call with the adoption agency guy. On one hand, I was excited that there was a baby available for adoption like right now. On the other hand, I really didn’t like the hard sell tactics and how the baby was being pimped as some premium piece of property. My husband growled, “I’m going to give that guy a piece of my mind later!”
But in the end, when we saw the this grub-like three-month-old yawning and smiling at us, we said “yes” immediately and didn’t even mind that they kept going on about how he had a “prosperous” look and will bring good luck to our family. We realised that the people who worked at the adoption agency really did love all the kids that came their way, but had no choice in “promoting” them because that was the reality of their business.
Two weeks later, this precious little baby boy came back to our home. We became parents in such a flurry that it didn’t register until we saw him fast asleep in his cot on the first night. And we thought, how simply amazing, this little human being (our son!) is.