The Politics of Gender in Child Adoption
Keywords:traditional reason for marriage, economic prowess, traditional expectation, childlessness
The child is the traditional reason for marriage. Children are revered and esteemed as source of pride, strength, security and economic prowess for the family. Thus, a family’s strength is measured by the presence of children in that family but sometimes this traditional expectation is defeated by the issue of childlessness. This condition is known to be the cause of marital instability in African culture just as marital success is based on the ability of a couple to procreate. Child adoption is the plausible option for the childless couple in our society as it affords them the opportunity to have children, they can call their own. However, adoption is not without challenges. Certain socio- cultural practices, norms and values that border on gender keep affecting the practice of child adoption. It is against this bedrock that this paper seeks to x-ray those gender issues that are fueled by culture and how they affect child adoption practice. The paper was substantiated with a survey and a comparative review of some empirical studies on the subject matter. The instrument for data collection was a twenty-point structured and open -ended online questionnaire while the population was fifty male and female members of the Counselling Association of Nigeria (CASSON) and the Anglican Diocese of Ideato WhatsApp platforms. They were purposively and randomly enlisted to participate in the study with equal opportunity given to every one of them. Analysis was done in simple percentages and for the unstructured responses an open-coding technique was used to identify patterns in the responses. From these patterns, categories and subcategories were identified, to group the responses. The findings show that women (70%) resolve the problem of childlessness by adopting a child but more men (59%) do so by marrying a second wife. The most preferred sex in child adoption is the male (75%). The husband’s preference for the male child (92%) female child (8%) while the wife’s preference for female child (57%) male child (43%). The study recommends a mass enlightenment programme to re-orient the people out of the culture that limits the woman’s access to child adoption.