Add Hope in One – Raising Awareness about Child Adoption

“Shelter” – one of the most important needs in every human life. For many of us, this is “home”- a place where we receive love, protection, care and security. This is provided by one or two individuals called “parents”. From the time a child is born, they heavily depend on their parents and family for protection, to fulfill their needs and to obtain guidance through the years to come. Parents are a child’s first teacher and the best teacher as children look up to them as their role models in how to handle the world around them. Parents highly influence children in order to promote positive growth and development. 

The word “home” could have a different meaning to some – an “institution” where children are sent to for many reasons which include poverty, natural disasters, neglect/ abandonment, abuse, disease or any other issues. All children want the same thing, the stability of a home. This is where adoption can play a vital role. Child adoption is a process where a person assumes the parenting of another child, from that person’s biological or legal parent/parents. 

“Add Hope In One” is an initiative by the Rotaract Club of Wellawatte on the norms and regulations pertaining to Child Adoption in Sri Lanka. The main aim behind this initiative is to educate the general public on the Child Adoption process by providing a deeper understanding on the criteria of eligibility, institutions to approach to adopt a child and the legal process involved. Moreover, in some instances, the adoptive parents face denial from society when adopting a child mainly due to the “fertility” status. Hence, the project is also carried out with the aim of breaking the stigma related to child adoption. 

November is referred to as Adoption Awareness Month. As the first step, they conducted the “Smiley-face” campaign on World Adoption Awareness Day, November 9, 2020, where Rotaractors from various clubs, posted a selfie with a smiley face drawn on their palms. The aim of the campaign was to raise awareness and get people talking about adoption.   

The club organised a virtual panel discussion on November 22, 2020, with a set of experts to help bridge this knowledge gap, in the hope that it would help bring people one step closer to adopting a child. The panel of experts included Ms. Milani Salpitikorala (Attorney-at-Law, Founder and Director of Child Protection Force) and Mr. Dhananjaya Perera (Director Programmes – SOS Children’s Villages, Sri Lanka). Both individuals have a vast knowledge of this subject as they have dedicated their time and profession to this worthy and noble cause. 

Before the discussion, they had an inspiring opening speech by the District Rotaract Representative for the year 2020/2021 Kavindra Kasun Sigera. He stated that “Adoption is looked at in a very negative perspective due to social stigma. As a result, there is a lot of uncertainty amongst the public as to why we should adopt a child and how they can adopt a child. There are so many unanswered questions around the subject matter.” He also thanked and wished the Rotaract Club of Wellawatte well for taking up this tremendously impactful initiative to educate society about child adoption.

The discussion covered a number of areas concerning the subject addressing the legal, emotional and psychological aspects of adoption. They also talked through the concerns on the adoption process, eligibility criteria and how adoption could result in a significant drop in child labor and end violence against children.

Being part of the largest youth movement, not only in the country but also in the world, Rotaract Club of Wellawatte is constantly looking at areas that need improvement, to see how to make the world a better place. Being put in an institution is never a child’s fault and adoption is for a child who needs a parent, not a parent who needs a child. So if you want to be the reason for a child’s smile and give a beautiful meaning to their life- here’s your chance. The second phase of the event will be held on February 21, 2021, from 5 pm onwards via Zoom. For more information on the registration, reach out to the project organisers on 0777 792 452 or 0777 141 334

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