Breaking all the stigma of adoption in her own country, Rasha Mekky, Founder of the Facebook Page “An adoption story in Egypt”, talks about her journey from the day she adopted her son.
Rasha adopted her child, Mostafa, five years ago when he was only four days old and she was 45. At that time, she used to hear negative comments about adoption, “people are used to defaming the adopted child but I never had this view,” says Rasha. Due to the lack of awareness on adoption in Egypt, Rasha believes that many people do not know that they can actually adopt children and get them to live along with them “I personally did not know anything about adoption in Egypt until I was 44 or something,” she adds stating that this was one of the motives behind creating her Facebook page, “An adoption story in Egypt”.
The first reason which prompted her to create the page was the feeling Rasha had about wasting so much time trying to give birth to a biological child and not considering adoption as an option. “If I knew that adoption existed in Egypt earlier, I might have had five or six children by now,” she says with passion. Not only that, Rasha found that people were hiding it, and would not share their adoption stories.
“If people did not hide it and were used to sharing their experiences, more people would have been aware of adoption in Egypt, it would have been normalized and people would have been open about it,” says Rasha. Rasha mentions that she is always shocked at the amount of ignorance shown in the comments on her page. She is usually attacked with accusations of spreading false information. These accusations are often backed up by religion stating that adopting a child is just forbidden. “I can’t believe that people think so. I don’t know where they got this information. The Prophet PBUH honored adoption, so how come they say so?” Rasha wonders. Since the day Rasha adopted her son, she has been going back and forth between Egypt and the United States to get all the paperwork done. She used to talk with people about it and post on Facebook asking if she could get connected to certain figures and authorities. “So people knew about it, I wasn’t hiding it since day one,” says Rasha. That was when Rasha first started helping people out with their concerns on adoption.
When she started receiving too many questions and messages, Rasha was advised to create her own page to provide all the needed answers. She did and created the page ‘An adoption story in Egypt” and it went viral right away. “I was contacted by journalists and different Television channels, but those were not the most important to me. My main goal was to respond to women who wanted to actually go and adopt children,” says Rasha, explaining that to these women, she was the only source of information so she put them as a priority fearing that any of them would drop the idea of adoption if she does not respond to them. “I was happy to call each one of them and did not mind if the call went for hours,” she adds. Regarding the challenges Rasha faced, she points out that the only challenge was the paperwork and all the procedures she needed to go through to get it done. “The issue was with the used terms and their translation. In Egypt, we don’t have adoption written as a term on papers,” explains Rasha. In Egypt, the used term is foster care (English for Kafala) which is not the same thing as adoption, it indicates a temporary family to the child. “For me to have a paper that proves that I am the only legal guardian to Mostafa and that I am his mother, it took me four years,” says Rasha. Rasha is working on facilitating the process for other people who want to go through the same procedures and be able to go to the United States and that is one thing the page is doing. “I don’t want them to go through what I did and for it to take them four years as well,” Rasha insists.
Rasha sends a powerful yet sweet message to all families who are hesitant to take the adoption step.
“I just want to tell them how my life changed for the better after adoption. Nothing is compared to this feeling,” says Rasha.
She also adds, “I have tried everything, worked, earned money, traveled all over Europe and been to so many places while being single. But nothing is as satisfying as having a child.