Single women and custody


I am following up in newspapers with the news of the government social department actions to deal with the problem of abandoned babies. It seems that they are more open towards facilitating Jordanian married couples to take custody over those babies and provide them with family support. Custody is the acceptable way in an Islamic society where adoption is forbidden in Islam. As far as I know, you can raise a child as yours but can’t give him your name in order not to mess in races. So custody is the word for us in Jordan, and there are rules to regulate this process.

Yesterday 2/26, while reading Al Rai’s newspaper, an article caught my attention. The article was talking about child custody and single woman. While custody in Jordan can be granted to only married couples, the writer highlights the unfairness towards single women who never got a chance to get married and thus never had a baby of their own. A lot of spinster women dream to hear someone calling them ‘mama’ and we can make their dream come true by allowing them to get custody over those children.

I find introducing such topic in the most popular newspaper in Jordan and to the conservative society we have in Jordan some how daring. The idea of having single woman taking custody over abandoned children and raise them alone has never been introduced to be discussed to the Jordanian public. I rushed to read the writer’s name, and to my surprise, she turned to be Suhair’s Bushnaq, which seems to be focused on this issue, and whom I critisized in a previous post for her request of more restrictions on our domestic workers. My surprise was triggered because I didn’t expect that the woman who had no compassion towards other domestic workers women, can have this strong compassion towards spinster women who wish to have a baby for their own without getting married.

To be honest, Jordanian society is so traditional. A single parent family is something no one believe to be healthy. Both women and men are pressured hard to get married and stay in that marriage no matter what problems they may face. With current inflation of prices, and the continuous increase of life expenses that became unbearable to a large group of Jordanians, a lot of men find themselves forced to either postpone their marriage plans to a very late age, or cancel it all togather. Jordanian woman in the other hand, whom social constraints forbide them of proposing to men, and thus have to stay passive waiting for their chance to come to their door, are becoming more and more desperate to grab such chance where a groom is becoming a rare coin.

A lot of women in Jordan are raised with a mentality of not desiring a man, at least not in public, as a result they focus their dreams on having their own family and children. and thus finding themselves growing older as single, and being helpless about it, their dreams get shattered in front of them every single day.

I personally believe that a single parent is better than a no parent, and while Suhair encouraged courageously allowing single women to get custody of abandoned babies, I do encourage to expand it for single men as well who didnt get married for any reason. Ofcourse constraints to guraantee the sanity of the person and his/her behaviour should be applied with great care.

22 thoughts on “Single women and custody

  1. i think if any family whether married, divorced, single for any reason can afford adopting/holding custody of an orphan/abandoned child should do that because they would be saving a life if they are up to proper parenting. why not? i think its something very human to do.

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  2. I love this part:<>To be honest, Jordanian society is so traditional. A single parent family is something no one believe to be healthy. Both women and men are pressured hard to get married and stay in that marriage no matter what problems they may face.<>Fadi, I’m impressed.As for the subject at hand, we’ve discussed it at length before. My conclusions are simply, single parents are not fit to raise kids on their own. Male or female. It doesn’t matter. A single parent household suffers more and might not be a healthy environment for the children. This is not to be confused with single parenthood of the biological parents.The child welfare organizations need a desperate transfusion as some of my readers have explained. Sadly, we see more money being spent on trivialities in this society a thousand times more than when all the child care centers need. The government should find ways to encourage charitable spending from major corporations by offering them tax benefits and incentives to do so. Or now that there’s hardly any subsidiaries, more money need to be pumped into the child welfare organizations to ensure they live a stable lifeExcellent post Fadi ..

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  3. Suhair Bushnaq has redeemed herself to me in this. I agree with Tala, any form of family unit is better than institutional living. It is one of the strengths of Jordanian society, the extended family, as a single, unmarried person has a circle of parents, aunts uncles and cousins who carry the load.

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  4. This is a brilliant post. I agree with ALL of ur points, and in fact, it makes ME want to blog about my desire to be a single mother if I so choose to be.And also, HAHHAHAHA about the RED!😀 You crack me up🙂

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  5. Nice topic. I personally agree to what you say for its practical value.I think that a heterosexual parents model is the most natural way to raise a child.I am not sure how much nature can teach us, but I think that nature has some kind of wisdom… I am not sure how far this argument can go!!In short, we can say that having heterosexual parents is most favored way. But in certain cases, this might not be feasible.Here comes the option of custody by different models… Single mother… Single Father… Or even homosexual parents, like say having two fathers, or two mothers.So if the number of parentless children exceeds the number of heterosexual couples who are willing to adopt, then the idea of alternative models can be a viable option.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    So does sex-ed, as we know it in the US, exist in the Arab world? Is it taught in Jordan, or Lebanon, Egypt or Syria?

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  7. A child belongs to a famliy of 2 parents but to a child abandoned at birth having a single parent is way better than living in some organization where the best thing this kid might get is a teacher who dedicates her time to parenting a group of so many !It is not the best but it is the least of 2 evils ! If this is to happen in our society , it will need a long time for people to accept it …

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  8. What a great post fadi.Single people who want to be parents should be given the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and instincts.3anjad fadi your blog is my favorite, your subjects are always good and always make me think..

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  9. I would like to say few stuff about this subject personally, the fact that this is a closed Muslim society makes the subject so hard to discuss with the government, even though I personally believe that it would be nice if the abandoned children got loving and caring family to care for them which comes to the kids benefit in the end which increase the chances of getting healthy citizens. so if we didn’t take it from the parents perspective and looked at the children it would be very helpful and it would come for the best for both sides.

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  10. Tala, hi🙂, exactly! Providing a home for any child is very human. Government should support people who want to help.Qwaider, thank you :):)So do you think an orphanage house is better than a house of a single parent? As Kinzi said, we, in jordan, even benefit of having the extended family. A single parent doesnt have to do everything alone. His/Her own parents/brothers/sisters and even friends can help. What a child really needs is love, no matter how many parent he/she gets.Kinzi, Suher has redeemed herself to me as well😛. Good point about extended families in Jordan. Government should take that into consideration.Hal, hehehe, Red suits you😛. You have wrote a brilliant post too. I loved it! Bravo.

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  11. DM, “So if the number of parentless children exceeds the number of heterosexual couples who are willing to adopt, then the idea of alternative models can be a viable option.”BINGO! That is the point! Why deprive people from achieving their dreams to be parents and why deprive those orphans/abandoned of having a parent? I don’t think that the sex or number of the parents matter. What matters really is the amount of love you are capable of giving your child. anonymous, what do you mean by sex-ed?lost within, true. A child is better with a loving home than an institution. 7aki 7aki 7aki, you always make my day with such lovely comments! I am really HAPPY to know that my blog is your favourite. THANK YOU for telling me :):):)qu.ing, I wish that we have stronger media outlets that help pressure the government doing better. We can at least try to raise our voices, and hope someone their is listening!

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  12. Great post fadi🙂I agree, and I totally agree that the number or sex of parents doesn’t matter, some people have soo much love to give and have the ability to be great parents, why would it matter if they are single or married and why would their sexual interest matter? And maybe a single parent can dedicate more time to the child..I think this is similar to the difference between catholic priest and orthodox priests .As far to my knowledge catholic philosophy is that a priest should not get married to be able to dedicate his life to religion and people , while orthodox think that he has to be married in order to be able to understand people’s problems ..Both have valid points of views🙂btw, my grandmother, who is 78 years old, was under the custody of two single sisters , that was in Serbia in early 30’s

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  13. bambam says:

    WOW ! I am loving the tone of everyone here, well this is rare to see everyone agreeing thanks Observer. Any home that will provide love and attention to the kid is better than any institution. but honestly speaking, those kids are like a hidden sector of society. some of them are in touch with their parents but are incapable of taking care of them😦 just out of curiosity, has any one met an orphan raised in an institution outside of it ?

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  14. actually I met some orphans, 4 of them who were raised by a couple who already had kids and she treats them as if they were her own kids.and non of them is corrupted and they all love her as if she was their own mother.so it’s normal for people to connect on such levels and in fact they need it.

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  15. Natasha, good analogy😛, Catholic and Orthodox priests! Love is all what matters, isnt it?🙂bambam, I m loving the tone as well, espcially that everyone is telling me that this is a great post🙂

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  16. Zayed says:

    My concern about single parents raising a child does not stem from their ability to love or to offer affection. I’m sure some single parents can give more than 100% of love. But maybe the point of the law in forbidding this comes from the fact that maybe a single parent cannot afford to raise a child, time and money wise.We all know how difficult it is to do it with both parents constantly struggling, I wonder how hard it would be on 50% capacity.I mean, just think, the parent must work in order to support the child, what will the child do alone at home if he/she is too young to go to school? It seems difficult for me. And while I understand the Law’s point of view in protecting the child from, let’s say negligence, I don’t necessarily agree with it. I think a committee should be appointed to deal with the parent’s appeal, case by case.If a parent (man or woman) could convince a committee that he/she would represent a good guardian for that child, then so be it. However, I think this solution may be too much trouble or costly for the country unless the parent is willing to pay some sort of sum for the committee’s trouble.

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  17. <>I mean, just think, the parent must work in order to support the child, what will the child do alone at home if he/she is too young to go to school?,<>and how do you avoid that problem when both parents are working ? and there is extended family usually to resolve that or a maid a single parent is the same case as with both parents working full time.

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  18. Playing Devils advocate here…institutionalised living may lack the intimacy of a family, be it single parent or couple. However in benefits from constant regulation, protecting the children from exploitation… or more like making it easier to protect the children from such things. If the children were cared for by a family then the government would need a social services sector to monitor their progress… and this is very hard. Workers get bogged down with work, often overlook subtle yet tell tale signs of abuse… as they only visit the families occassionally etc.Now, to focus on the single vs couple question. It seems that the motivation for allowing single women to take care of kids is to allow women to experience motherhood. But what about the child? does he/she deserve a chance at both male and female influences in his/her life? of being with other children like him/her? so that he does not feel like the odd one out and reduce the chances of him being bullied by the relatives of the foster parents or kids at the local school?Actually this is not such a new concept in Jordan. SOS the orphanage in Jordan (branches in amman and irbid) actually have a system where they will allow one of their female (sinhle) volunteers to foster children when they are young, but they attend the SOS school and resturn there when they reach puberty. This mixture of home living mixed with a strong link with the institution seems to give a good middle ground. The child has more one to one time with an adult who cares for them and who has been tested by the institution, and also a community to interact with other kids in the same situation.

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