“We named him Noah because my husband and I always had a thing for prophets’ names. Adam was a consideration too but we just loved Noah; it’s such a nice name. So we stuck to it in the hope that he’ll grow up to be just as honourable.
My husband and I wanted a semi-open adoption. That means we wanted to meet his biological family and get to know them through a moderator. If both parties agree to meet, the adoption agency will coordinate a meeting session.
It’s not too close for comfort but there is still contact. Unfortunately, his birth mother and her family wanted a closed adoption. They didn’t want to know who he is, where he is or who we are. They didn’t want anything; not even pictures. I completely empathise.
Sometimes I feel that they were protecting themselves because they didn’t want the heartbreak. They probably wanted their daughter to move on with life because it can be hard to give up a child. As parents, they would want what’s best for their daughter.
My husband and I went down the adoption route because a month after we got married, we discovered that he had a tumour in his brain. He’s all good now; but, as the tumour was in a part of the brain that controls hormones, it affected his fertility.
IVF was not an option for us and we couldn’t go down the surrogation route as that’s not allowed in our religion. The next best thing was adoption. I accepted that reality with an open heart instead of wallowing in self-pity.
We went to an agency that works with unwanted children or those up for adoption and fostering. The birth rate in Singapore is very low so it was a long wait. The waiting list was made even longer by the fact that there were many couples also looking to adopt.
One fateful day, we got matched with Noah. When the agent showed us his picture, I felt relieved but also a bit nervous because I didn’t know how my husband would react. What if I said yes and he said no? Then we wouldn’t be able to go through with the adoption.
But once my husband saw his photo, he wanted him and all my doubts went out the window. It quickly dawned on me that this was my baby and I was going to pick him up from the hospital and go home with him, all within a day. It felt surreal.
Ever since that day, I feel like I’ve lost out on a lifetime of sleep (laughs). My husband and I always joke that parenthood is about two people trying not to lose it at the same time, so we take turns losing it.
I remember one night when the baby was crying. I thought my husband was attending to him but he thought I was attending to him, so we both continued sleeping. There were definitely nights which saw a lot of yelling and slamming of doors.
People say being a parent is wonderful – yes it is – but they tend to downplay how hard it really is. And I didn’t even have to go through childbirth! For those who had to go through childbirth and recovery and raise a baby? It’s really, really difficult.
That isn’t to say you don’t need help because you didn’t go through childbirth. You’re still new to being a mother, regardless. I think people aren’t fully aware of how much support adoptive parents need because we are just as clueless.
But what makes motherhood worth it is seeing him grow into his own person. I recently noticed how his play is more intentional. It used to be him just throwing things or knocking things down. Now, it’s stirring things in a cup and pretending to drink from it.
To see that intellectual growth in your child is amazing. I think that’s the role of a mom – to nurture. Whether he becomes a good person or a bad person is a result of how I raise him, so I’ve become very aware of the example I set because I know he’s watching me.
If ever his birth family wants to see him, I’m very open to it. I do want to tell him early on that he is adopted. As early as possible; as soon as he can understand it. Because identity is a very big part of your self-esteem and confidence to go forward in life.
I’ve seen people who discover that they’re adopted when they’re older and their whole world blows up. I don’t want this for him. I want him to know early, build upon his identity as an adopted son and own it. This is my circumstance and it is what it is.
And if he ever reads this story one day, I want him to know that he’s always loved. I want him to know that he’s lucky to have more than one family and that no matter what, he will always have a forever family in me.” – Nursyazanna Syaira, Fluff Bakery Co-Founder, 33
Interview by: Arman Shah