Handing the children over to substitute families, instead of raising them in state welfare centers can play an important role in their all-round development.

10 Deprived Kids Find a Home

Zahra Banasaz is a middle-aged woman, who has 12 children living with her. Only one, a 12-year old girl is her biological child. Her 3-story residence located on Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti Street has turned to a warm and cozy place for the children deprived of a loving family environment due to no fault of theirs.
Banasaz, who heads the 12-member family, lives on the first floor with her daughter, and a five-year-old boy whom she adopted permanently when he was barely 18 months old. The others five girls and five boys also live in the building on two separate floors, the Persian language newspaper ‘Sharq’ reported.
“I have paid $5800 deposit for the building and the monthly rent is $2450; but thanks to philanthropists, the rent is taken care of,” said Banasaz.
Not all children have the chance to be adopted permanently. Handing the children over to substitute families, instead of raising them in state welfare centers can play an important role in their all-round development and can ensure their future success, she says.
Welfare centers are too crowded and as the caregiver-to-child ratio is low, caregivers don’t have much time to spend with children when they are in need of love and affection.
“Two years ago, I took responsibility to take care of four children. I asked my relatives to donate whatever they had in their homes that was unused. This way I was able to furnish the building. A little later, I took responsibility of seven more children.
They are not adopted, she clarifies. “But they are living in a family environment under direct supervision of the State Welfare Organization.  Living with a family instead of a welfare center can help lay the foundation which is essential for their future life.
The children are living with her since two years. A major problem she faces is that some of the kids still don’t have ID cards, without which they can’t attend school.  
“Therefore, I give them lessons at home, till such time they get their ID cards and are able to go to school.  It is a pity that children of negligent parents are often deprived of their rights because of their parents’ irresponsibility.”
The second problem is that Banasaz has not got permanent custody of the children who are all between 3 and 11 years. “To get permanent custody I will have to transfer the boys and girls to two separate buildings, which I can’t afford.”
She rues that the present law doesn’t protect children of negligent parents.”I don’t think we should wait for a legal enactment in such cases. The people themselves should come forward to help the children, as they are the most valuable assets of our community.”
Around 22,000 children are currently living in 600 welfare centers across the country. Presently, 80% of the kids are not orphans but have irresponsible, negligent and addicted parents.
Few people are willing to take custody of children with irresponsible parents, since biological parents can come back after some years to claim their parental rights, and wrest their children from an adopter by a court order, which is quite often the case.
Such children don’t stand a good chance to be adopted permanently, but till legal enactments are passed, substitute families could make a huge difference for them.


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