Why Karin chose to adopt as single person
One year old Maja is sleeping in her crib. Karin, Maja's mother since four months ago, tip-toes through the apartment in the north of Stockholm in order not to wake her.
In the kitchen , Maja's chair with bib, and the stacks of CD’s with colourful covers on the table, makes it clear that this is no longer a single person’s household.
“Maja loves music”, says Karin, as she pours the tea. It’s been three months since Karin and Maja, accompanied by Karin’s father for support, was greeted with hugs, flowers and stuffed animals by Maja’s new family at Landvetter Airport.
Karin Hallin grew up in Gothenburg. She decided to become a Christian in her teens and found its origin in the Mission Church in Fiskebäck .
“I have never doubted if God thinks it is a good choice to adopt as a single”, she says.
Over the last fifteen years of her life, her main focus in life has been to work with international aid. She is currently with the Christian Council of Sweden in Stockholm, but in the past worked and lived in different parts of the world.
About herself and how the decision to adopt emerged, Karin tells: “I have had some long-term relationships, but for various reasons, there have never been children. In my thirties I realized that I still want to have children, and I want it to be a conscious choice on my part if it is so, or not”.
How do you answer those who say that a child needs two parents when you decided to adopt as a single person?
Karin answers: “There are so many children who have no parents at all, while I have the finances and ability to care for a child. When a single person chooses to adopt, the social welfare board examines that the person has a well-functioning network. My support from family, friends and colleagues regarding adoption has been huge.
Sure, I've had friends who were worried that it will be a struggle being a single parent, but everyone around me has been very supportive and I have never felt that my decision has been questioned. When I brought Maja to the church, we have been met with open arms.”
Maja wakes up and Karin brings her to the kitchen where she sleepily cuddles in her mother's arms.
Karin tells how she has, in addition to taking the big decision about adopting as a single person, also reflected on the difficult issues surrounding intercountry adoptions. She was, firstly, concerned about the high-profile cases where adoptions have gone wrong, and secondly the major issues regarding unfair economic structures in the world resulting in people abandoning their children. She comments, “For me it's important not to shield myself from the issues, but at the same time I felt comfortable with the process of Maja’s adoption. My consolation is that I am also in my profession working daily to change unjust structures in the world”.
She kisses Maja , who has woken up properly and want a clementine .
When the opportunity to adopt Maja came in June 2013, it was after more than four years of the adoption process! Just a few countries allow single persons to adopt, and therefore the process was extra long.
“Maja was extremely longed-for and the anticipation through the years has been incredibly difficult”, says Karin.
But, when Karin tells how it was Maja - of all the adoptable children - who finally was matched with her, she speaks of it as a miracle.
In South Africa , social services examines whether there are parents or relatives who can take care of a baby that might be adoptable. If not, finding South African adoptive parents are the next option. Only if there is no one suitable in South Africa, intercountry adoption will become an option.
Karin also filled in the application that she would consider adopting a child with special needs.
Therefore, she was surprised when the Swedish Adoptionscentrum contacted her with the news - on a Tuesday in June2013 – that she has become a mother to a little healthy girl!
“After the announcement I cycled home wobbly, it was a crazy feeling. Only nine days later, I would be in South Africa. And two days after that, on Maja's first birthday, I got her”, says Karin.
The South African organization, Abba Adoptions that handles adoptions to Sweden, has Christian values. After Karin and Maja’s introduction to each other it was clear that they were instantly comfortable with each other and a definite match. Karin was told Karin how the match between mother and daughter came about: an Abba-social worker had read Karin’s profile and felt Maja fitted with Karin, but, she turned away those thoughts because Karin was single and also open to accept a child with special needs - there are not many people that say yes to a child with disabilities.
The decision on which parent the child will get is done in a meeting between staff from Abba, where several suggestions for parents are discussed.
Karin tells, “In the meeting all felt strongly that Maja and I belonged together after all, and they decided to pray about it. The next day, they were in agreement: They felt that it was the Lord's leading that Maja would be matched with me. When they told us, both me and my father, who was with me started crying. Maja is a small miracle! How could I think otherwise?”.
Maja is clearly tired of sitting still in her mother's arms. She wants to move, and on unsteady legs she runs out into the living room.