Family Friday: adoption and conception


Why do you want to go through the heartache of charting fertility signs for a minimum of six months, the expense of buying sperm or the rigmarole of finding a known donor, an uncomfortable insemination process, nine months of pregnancy, labour and then have the non biological mother adopt the child? Why don’t you just adopt a child?

It’s a very valid question. I imagine it is a question that we will have to answer for our friends and families on multiple occasions.

When I sat down to write this post, I was desperately trying to think of reasons to justify our decision to pursue insemination.

Then I remembered: I do not have to be a perfect parent. We do not need the perfect reason for wanting to pursue insemination. We have every right to create an intentional loving family.

However there are people who genuinely believe that same sex couples should adopt children rather than pursue insemination. As a strongly opinionated woman, I have several theories on why this is so.

The first theory concerns masculinity. I strongly suspect people are afraid that men are being rendered obsolete. Perhaps they believe that lesbians will be able to conceive a la The Baby Formula.

Conversely I think that the contribution of men is highlighted in lesbian conception and child rearing. Obviously lesbian couples need to decide how to obtain sperm. Furthermore, I’ve been thinking about our little lesbian family and male role models. In particular I’ve been thinking about the throw away line “Children need male role models.” Why do children need male role models? What do children gain from having men in their lives? I think about the men that I know and whether my child would benefit from having that man’s presence in their life.

However deconstructing ideas about masculinity and family is probably more threatening than simply ignoring the role of men in conception.

To get back on topic.

My second theory is that people have misconceptions about the adoption system.

I think people expect that their niece/nephew/grandchild/ will be a white, healthy baby. This stems from an unrealistic view of the adoption system, whereas the majority of children in need are generally older and have behavioral/psychological/physical/or a combination of disabilities.

Then, if a white, healthy baby can’t be found, I think people expect international adoption is simply wonderful.

I understand that some people think that international adoption is wonderful. I am certain that some people are wonderful parents to adoptive children who do not share their ethnicity and history. However, I need to be honest about my limitations. I don’t think that I would be a good parent to an internationally adopted child.

I do not think that I would be able to provide adequate information about our child’s culture, language and family. I would be able to provide some information through the internet, books and documentaries, but I do not think that would be enough.

Furthermore I would not be able to relate to our child’s experiences with racism. I do not think that I would understand just because I’m a lesbian. I do not think that homophobia and racism are the same type of oppression.

Plus I don’t think I would be able to be the best advocate for a person of colour. Wife and I both have white privilege. We can’t understand the ways in which race pervades every aspect of people’s lives. Would we dismiss a concern of our child because we did not understand it? I know that people dismiss my concerns about homophobia and heteronormativity. What if I did the same?

Whilst I remain open to the idea of welcoming an older adopted child into our family, I don’t think that I could be a good parent for a child adopted internationally.

Are you planning on adopting children? Inseminating? Share your thoughts!


4 responses »

  1. New blog design? It looks great.

    So we must be on the same wave length or something. I was just tweeting about wanting some guest bloggers to post on my blog to talk about their decisions on how to have kids. I love that you have thought about what your limitations are. Ironically, it seems that you are probably a better candidate then a lot of people who are adopting internationally. I wonder if Madonna and Angelina ever considered these things. Anyway, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • As always thank you for your comment! I just changed the WordPress theme. =D

      The antics of Madonna and Angelina Jolie + Brad Pitt make me really angry. Madonna is upheld as the saviour of the “third world.” Angelina Jolie + Brad Pitt are lauded for wanting a “rainbow family.” When will people realise that children are not dolls that you can collect in a variety of colours! Those children are going to experience racism and white privilege and (more than understandable) are going to want information on their language, history and culture! The idea that these celebrities are colourblind is pathetic!

      As I mentioned I’m opinionated. đŸ™‚

      It would be really cool to hear from other couples about why they want to have children. I guess it’s not usually something that people hash out in the blogosphere.

      (P.S I sent you a twitter friend request =D)

  2. I appreciate your post and also the comment. My partner and I are in the early stages of parenthood. We know we both want children in the future and have had difficult and separate experiences with adoption. My partner on a more personal level, witnessing the struggles of an adopted sibling and myself as a social worker working with families and clients with Reactive Attachment Disorder. That being said I actually appreciate Brangelina, etc encouraging and challenging the notion that families must fit the dominant norm to be happy and healthy. We are already a multi-racial family and thus even if one of us has a child biologically (AI), he or she will not racially reflect both of us. I think the more we (all of us) can be open to the idea that the definition of a family is composed of love and other values and also open to learning about cultures different than our own, the more we can grow as a society.

    • Thank you for the comment. I’m definitely not opposed to learning about cultures other than our own. In fact, it is through studying other cultures and languages that I realised that I am not equipped to raise a child who was adopted from overseas. I can’t relate to their experiences with racism (and I think it would be naive to think that people of colour will not experience it). If we can move on to a society where race truly does not matter, then it will not be problematic for me.

      I will admit that Brangelina have done a lot to discourage the notion that family only consists of blood relatives. I am very interested in furthering our ideas about what is a family (I am working on a post about the parenting revolution that I would like to see).

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