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Adam’s Story of Abandonment and Surprising Adoption

Exclusive Interview

The disadvantaged in society holds a special place in Islam. The Prophet (PBUH) set innumerable examples of how to treat the less fortunate. While Islamic teachings encourage productivity and self-reliance, they also lay a strong emphasis on the concept of charity and benevolence.

Huge rewards are promised to those who care for the impoverished, orphans, widows, refugees and victims of neglect or abuse.

The Prophet’s companions used to compete with each other to adopt orphans and fulfill the needs of the penniless. Such was how the early Muslims were carefully nurtured under the care and wisdom of the Prophet (pbuh).

Unfortunately, today we live in a world of cruelty and indifference. Abuse, neglect, baby dumping and many other social problems – some of which cannot be imagined by our ancestors decades ago – are on the rise. We boast about the ever-increasing wealth, scientific advancement and knowledge. Yet we silently suffer from each other’s selfishness, apathy and materialistic worldview.

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When someone spends money on lavish birthday parties or a posh vacation in Europe, we nod in agreement and feel amused and respect them. However, people who make sacrifices to help those around them remain forgotten and unappreciated.

Dr. Noradlina Mustafa Kamal is a young doctor who works in the Neurosurgical Department of Kuala Lumpur Hospital. Deciding to adopt an abandoned baby at a young age, she faces the challenges of social stigma and has to strike a balance between pursuing her career ambitions and devoting herself to her adopted son.

Most young women of her age are occupied with their own either families or making money and enjoying life. Dr. Mustafa Kamal has chosen instead a completely different pathway.

Here is an interview with the doctor to learn more about her hope, fear, concern, and joy. She also has a message she wants to convey.

Can you tell us briefly about the baby’s background and how you met him?

Adlina: Adam was born on March 27, 2010. His full name is Adam Firhan. It was given by a Social Welfare Department officer, as he was abandoned by his mother for an unknown reason. Adam was then sent to RumahKanak-KanakTungkuBudriah in Cheras (TungkuBudriah Children’s Home) under the care of the social welfare group.

Since the day he was born, he had multiple visits to Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Hospital for respiratory problems. At two months old, he required further treatment and was this time sent to Kuala Lumpur Hospital where I was working as a junior doctor (house officer) at that time, doing my pediatric rotation when Adam for the first time, crossed my path.

What motivated you to adopt Adam?

Adlina: I was driven by love. The nurses in the ward bathed, fed and gave him medications every day and unlike other babies who received regular visits by loving parents and relatives, I saw how lonely this particular baby was. A colleague of mine took some extra responsibilities in looking after him initially and after a while, we started taking turns. I would stay back after office hours to bathe him and feed him.

I did this for four months and I finally found myself overwhelmed by love for this motherless baby. One day, I was doing on-call duties when my sister came to send some food. I decided to show Adam to her. She was deeply touched at the sight of the beautiful baby and excitedly informed my mom.

That was the starting point of our family visiting him every week. I eventually could not resist the attachment I had grown to this boy and so I made one of the biggest decisions in life: to adopt him. I felt like I was ready to commit myself to spending my whole life with him and taking every responsibility. My mom and sister were very supportive. My father was yet to be informed.

What was your family’s reaction to your decision?  Did you find society around supportive?

Adlina: I thank Allah for the support I got from the two closest people in my life: my mother and sister. At first, I was worried that my father would be opposed to the idea, but I had no choice but to be transparent with him. Thank God, he took the news quite well and backed me. Now Adam has become his best friend and they are inseparable!

Some people around doubted my ability to look after Adam as I am a unmarried working woman, but I am lucky to have a family who supports me and has been extending a lot of help in taking care of him. Some others came up with questions like, ‘Why are you adopting? Is it because you do not want to get married?’ That never really occurred to my mind. I simply wanted to share what I have with this innocent boy who has no one else in this world.

Allah has blessed me and my family with so much happiness and comfort and we feel strongly that we need to share these blessings with those who are deprived. Abandoned babies and orphans are by all means innocent and there is a reason why they have come to this world in such condition.

I do not agree with the opinion saying that only babies who come from a good lineage should be considered for adoption. Since babies are all born in the state of fitrah (unadulterated, pristine human nature), does it make sense to discriminate against those coming from poorer or disadvantaged backgrounds?

Humans are not given the freedom to choose into which family they would be born or from what genetic make-up they would originate. The factors determining one’s worth are their own deeds and intention, hence what really matters is how these babies are brought up and educated.

What have been the most difficult challenges or obstacles?

Adlina: The first difficulty was going through the process of adoption and the waiting I had to endure before it became legal. I went to court several times to get the adoption finalized. Initially he was under my temporary custody until 2 years of age. Each day I would pray hard to God that Adam would stay with me and that no one would suddenly appear to claim him. I was in constant worry.

The second challenge was breastfeeding him. I decided that Adam deserves the best and that as a mother, I need to provide for him what other babies receive without asking for it. Since I was never married and pregnant before, it was very difficult for my body to produce milk. My experiences of taking hormonal pills and doing what is known as ‘power-pumping’ in my attempt to breastfeed Adam were not very pleasant. Nevertheless, they were priceless. I knew I did my best and that Allah rewards His servants according to their deeds and not the outcome.

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About Raudah Mohd Yunus
Raudah Mohd Yunus is a researcher, writer and social activist based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Her research interests include aging, elder abuse, human trafficking and refugees health. She is the editor of two books; ‘Tales of Mothers: Of courage and love’ and ‘Displaced and Forgotten: Memoirs of refugees.’