Adoption is a broad and complex subject. But we are all in agreement that it's a powerful act of compassion and sacrifice. Even if it is done with the intent of wanting something for yourself, like a family of your own. It can be hard to truly understand the motives for someone becoming a parent. Some say it's a biological desire, others say its societal expectation. Just like adoptive mums, adoptive dads also face many struggles. Especially if they are a\u00a0single parent. In order to honour the unsung heroes of our community, we must first acknowledge their struggles. These include the insurmountable pressures and stigmas that come with not being biologically related to your children. We often think of honouring someone as being heart-warming, even sentimental. But more often than not it's about educating ourselves on the various unpleasant issues that these individuals face on a regular basis. Here are just some of those that you should know about. \u00a0Single Men and Adoption In the grand scheme of things, there may not be much difference between being an adoptive dad and an adoptive mum. In fact, being a married couple will usually fast track your way into being adoptive parents much quicker than if you were a single woman, or worse a single man. There are much bigger hurdles for single men to adopt than a married man. In fact, many agencies, both within and outside Malaysia, generally discourage adoption. Or will make you jump through many hoops just to qualify as a potential candidate. Some well-known Malaysian celebrities who are single adoptive dads do exist. Which points to the fact that while probably difficult, it's possible for you to start your own family in Malaysia if you're an unmarried man. However, as a caveat, Muslim men are not allowed to adopt female children. That means that a significant number of single dads in Malaysia may never get to experience the joys of raising a daughter. Challenges of Being an Adoptive Dad The Same Ones Adoptive Mums Experience As much society likes to make hard and fast rules about gender issues, or draw lines between male and female experiences, most of the time they overlap. Especially when it comes to parenthood. The same struggles that an adoptive mum face are the same ones those adoptive dads do. For instance, the adoption process itself is often drawn out (although as mentioned, it may be much worse for unmarried men). There may also be added anxiety and pressure from having to explain to the adopted child about their adoption status later when they're grown. Not to mention the social stigma of adoption itself due to close-mindedness and societal expectations. In some cultures, couples are expected to prove their legitimacy as parents by having biological children. But adoptive dads also face some unique issues that an adoptive mother may not face. For example, in Malay families, adopted daughters cannot take on the paternal surname of the father. This can cause some legal problems later such as inheritance and marriage. While these challenges are more systemic and legal in nature, the following presents the challenges that adoptive dads go through as a result of their gender. The Myth of the Incompetent Father Sitcoms have painted the image of the bumbling, blundering father who leaves his kids in dirty diapers and leaves food to burn on the stove. This is the main gist of the popular stereotype of the 'incompetent father'. A myth whereby a majority of society may believe that men can't, or rather shouldn't, be taking care of children alone. This is simply a gross generalisation. There is no doubt that there may be irresponsible and lazy fathers out there. However, a majority of dads, biological or otherwise, do a great job of raising kids regardless of any fatherhood or caregiver experience they may have. And much like mums, men also have a paternal switch that gets turned on when they're around babies. But this issue isn't only faced by adoptive dads. Biological dads and stepdads face this prejudice as well. People in general seem to have a hard time trusting men with children. The Male Stigma Finally, the elephant in the room. The real reason why some people don't like the idea of men, especially single men, adopting kids. Many people also worry about adoptive fathers potentially abusing their kids. This is due to the association of the male population with crime, violence and paedophilia. And not to discount these alarming and significant statistics, but it does pose a problem for truly good men to start their own families. It unfortunately only takes one bad apple to spoil the whole barrel. Many truly good-hearted and decent men have suffered the consequences from the actions of other less honourable ones. So, it is perhaps something that we all should learn as a community\u2014not to judge someone based on their gender, but on their personal character. Honouring the Adoptive Father Figure in Your Life Chances are you don't need an expansive list about what you can do to make someone's day a little better. Or honour their sacrifice or acknowledge their struggles. Most of us may consider treating them for a meal, buying them presents, or organising a party, etc. But the best thing you can do is to spread awareness, and encourage destigmatisation\u2014which not many people may be willing to do, or even know how. You may not care as deeply about this issue unless you know an adoptive dad, were raised by one or are one yourself. So, if you really want to make a change, start by putting yourself in their shoes. Help bring more light to the issues that they have to face. That is likely the most valuable gift you can give to an adoptive father\u2014more so than a Rolex watch or a barbeque set. Mummies, don't miss out on your chance to get limited Motherhood.com.my vouchers today by casting your Motherhood Choice Awards 2022 votes here! For more insightful stories and fun recipes, stay tuned to Motherhood Story!