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!