PETALING JAYA: Four years ago, Hamidah saw a fireman crying over the lifeless body of a newborn. And it changed her life.
Hamidah (not her real name) found out later from the baby’s teenage mother that she had dumped the baby because she had not known what else to do, having been ostracised by her family, friends and even the baby’s father.
“I knew then that I had to do something because this just wasn’t right. I just could not let incidents like this happen again,” Hamidah said.
Hamidah, a media worker, then founded a volunteer organisation called Kami Sanggup Ambil Anak Angkat (KSAAA). The group uses Facebook to reach out to those who need its help.
She began reading up on relevant laws and speaking to those in the welfare sector to gain a better understanding of what she could do.
“The group matches the needs of people who want a child with those who cannot care for theirs,” she explained to FMT in a recent interview.
Since its inception, the group has helped ensure that more than 40 babies were either adopted or kept by their biological parents.
Hamidah said in cases where a biological mother (biomum) wanted to give up a child for adoption, she would contact couples interested in adopting a child and arrange for them to meet with the biomum.
She said this was to ensure that the biomums and adoptive parents could discuss matters related to the pregnancy and upbringing of the child.
“Just because a person is giving up a child for adoption, it does not mean that the biomum does not have any rights, such as visitation rights or a role to play, such as breastfeeding the child.”
More than just adoption.
“We also help biomums who want to keep their baby by taking their cases to the relevant government agencies to help them get the support and assistance they need.”
She related a recent case where a couple in Kedah, both 17, wanted to give up their unborn baby for adoption as the husband was only earning RM600 as a parking attendant and they could only afford to rent a tiny room in a flat.
“I spoke to the biomum and said, look, if I can get your husband a better job and if I can get the authorities to help you, would you consider keeping your baby?”
“She said ‘yes’, so I started making some calls. I managed to get her husband a job in a factory which pays better and comes with benefits, while the Kedah Zakat Department volunteered to pay the rent for a people’s housing project unit for two years.”
Hamidah said the group did not accept any fee for its efforts. However, families which want to adopt a baby have to set aside money which goes into a special fund.
“This fund is to deal with ad-hoc cases where we have to take biomums for check-ups or buy the biomums items before an adoptive family is found.”
Hamidah hoped those who were seeking to adopt children or give up their children would reach out to her group (Kami Sanggup Ambil Anak Angkat) if they were unsure of what to do.
Earlier this year, it was reported that according to police statistics, about 100 babies are dumped each year, more than half of them dead.
In 2015, a total of 104 babies were found dumped, with 61 of them found dead.