Thursday, November 13, 2014


Parenthood by choice

We have some family birthdays coming up, and a new member of the clan due soon, so I have parenthood on my mind.

I am Pro-Choice.... But I wonder if you and I define that the same way?

I do support the right for a woman to have control of her own health care, (and think the State needs to stay out of the examining room) but it is more than that. 

I think people who are parents should actively choose to be so. Because it is a tough job, without holidays or vacations or paid overtime. It is a full-time job for at least 18 years, and often much longer. And, even when the kids are "adults" you aren't out of a job, you just become a consultant, rather than a direct supervisor. 

I have 2 sons. Both amazing. Both loved more than life. And, in both cases, there was nothing even mildly accidental about their presence in my life or our family. In both cases, they were desperately wanted, anticipated, and unconditionally loved long before I ever held them in my arms. We became a family, and I became a parent, completely by choice. Twice.

With George, we became parents by adoption. Anyone who has ever been through an agency adoption knows that it is not a simple, casual, or non-invasive process.  If we hadn't wanted a child more than we wanted our privacy, self-esteem, time, effort, money, or anything else in the world, all we would have had to do, at any point in the process, was just stop turning ourselves inside out to please the agency, the court, and the social workers. No need to ever say "no"-- everything would come to a screeching halt if we'd just stopped saying, "PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!!!" every time we were asked.

I physically gave birth to Mike, but Michael came to us, small and sick and way too soon, after a pregnancy that no one really believed could be or would be successful. We knew Michael was enroute to us before George's adoption was finalized. In both cases, had we not made an active decision to become parents, it likely would not have happened. 

If we hadn't wanted children, simply doing nothing would have been sufficient.

You see, in order to BE a parent by choice, you have to believe with everything in you that love trumps biology. That the heart and mind are more important than genetics or biology. That fate (or God or the Universe or whatever you call that entity bigger than all of us) intended for this particular small person in need of the strength and support of your hands and heart to fill the empty space in yours.

Doesn't matter how the children in your care came to be there. Traditional birth, adoption, surrogacy, marriage to a spouse who already had one or more kids.... kids need parents BY CHOICE.  People who are ready and willing and happy to be there of their own free will.

It's OK to make a different decision.  It's OK to decide not to have children, no matter what anyone else says. And it's OK to say, "I can't make that commitment," and allow someone who is willing and able to step up and care for them. 

Because children need parents who want to be there. 


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