Adoption and Motherhood
Adoption and Motherhood with Dr Ayshe TalayI was all of 16 when one day, I rushed out from the bathroom barely wiping my bum, and yelled out to my dad in glee. “Dad, dad, I’ve decided on my daughter’s name — Coral!” I said, being absolutely addicted to the azure waters of the Mediterranean in my homeland. He looked at me with a wry smile. “In the army,” he said, “we used name our faithful work horses Coral.”  My beloved Dad was oblivious to how this comment was likely to shatter his daughter’s spark.
 
Then at 36, weeks before I was to be married to a man who already had a young son, I had to have a total hysterectomy. Together with sliced off bits of me, gone was my dream of motherhood. I consoled myself in all manners possible (partly because he wouldn’t): the kids I worked with were “mine” as was the stepson; so what’s the problem? Get on with it!
 
When I finally realised that I was destined to become a mother, I was in fact guided my a series of dreams, in which a little girl kept calling me to come get her. At 39, I not only had my baby, but having learned that it was doable, I breastfed her for three months! I felt proud as a peacock, being able to share a skin on skin experience with her that no birthmother could. Oh, bliss…
 
She was my gift from the seas, and so she defined herself from the time she could toddle.  She knew and she was proud. When in primary school, she learned to say that she was the chosen one; that her parents had her by adoption.  She asked the peers who bullied her to ask their parents why they had them.
 
Join the She Inspires email newsletter to win beautiful jewellery!My major challenge was to let go of the common conception that I was a noble person for having adopted an abandoned infant. I hated the idea of my child being indebted to me but copped the “compliment” from others pretty steadily. Then one day, I was able to open my eyes to the fact that neither my child, nor I would have been whole without each other. I needed her as much as she needed me. Case resolved and closed.
 
My daughter is 25 now. She takes her name from the seas; she is beautiful, temperamental as she is loving, searching for her path in life, and recovering from a work related back injury. Looking at her, I can but send a prayer of gratitude for she has given me an unwavering purpose in life. She has, in fact, not only made me a better (less self-centered) person, but made me feel that I belong to the human race.
 
I’ve often asked her whether we should make an effort to locate her birth mum.  She laughs at the idea dismissively and adds that she knows all she needs to know. She can name her great grandparents and their offspring, their places of birth and death, if not their passions.
 
I sure can’t.
 
Then I look at women I know who are dying to conceive with IVF, adamant not to adopt. If they only knew what they were missing…
 
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Meet Ayshe Talay-Ongan

Meet Ayshe Talay-Ongan

Ayshe Talay-Ongan
Ayshe Talay-Ongan is an emeritus academic and still teaches in various forums. She is the author of three textbooks in developmental psychology. She lives in Sydney with her family and Simba, her cat.

Her debut novel Turquoise is now available at all good bookstores.

Read on...

Read on...

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