Friday, August 20, 2010

Maness Moms Equal Fatherless Children, Part 2

A further clarification regarding donor children, and the research of the Institute for American Values, after Jessica left a comment at the previous blog: Manless Moms Equal Fatherless Children.  (It was too long to be merely a comment.)

We know that the ideal two-parent family is impossible for everyone; we also believe that women today ought to be given all the help they can to be able to raise their children, with or without fathers. We do not encourage adoption except in extreme cases, and then never with sealed records. We at First Mother Forum believe that whenever possible children should full knowledge of who each parent is. This is an unalienable, unassailable right, and to deny it to anyone is to commit a grave moral failing.
But families break up, men don't marry the women they impregnate, and women often do not want to marry or live with the men whose babies they carry. One of my granddaughters did not see her own father after she was two years old--so she has no memory of him--and then he died a couple of years ago, when she was seventeen. That's not a pretty story, but it is her story, her life.

But she, just as the children of the other situations I mentioned, knows who half of her DNA and cultural heritage comes from. She was not denied a full and complete identity, as are most donor children, and adopted people. We know that is changing somewhat but not with any urgency despite the evidence; children today are still being adopted within the United States in closed, sealed adoptions, and the movement to change the laws has been mired in archaic attitudes and uninformed legislators. That is one issue. But here we are focusing on another.

It's the test-tube creation of children who will grow up without knowledge of their fathers, or mothers, in the case of purchased eggs, that we do not condone. I have no problem with single mothers per se; it's the fad to create children with whatever means possible--eggs from the U.S., or the Netherlands, wombs in India, high-priced eggs here at home from Ivy-league coeds, anonymous sperm donors, sold or donated embryos. I was watching a silly show on Bravo about a designer the other day, Flipping Out, and the unpleasant "star" of this icky reality show wanted to buy a friend's unused embryos--two for $5,000. Or $10,000 for a child. I could hardly believe how insensitive and crass he was about making the offer; he was quite aggressive about it. I believe in this new series starting he has a child; I don't know if I can bear to find out where or how he got him or her. I internally cringe when I hear that the daughter of someone I know is out shopping for anonymous sperm, and no one thinks it is unusual. Or creepy.

It is this blase attitude about throw-away origins today that leads us as a people to create a class of individuals who will never know what biological ties to the human race they have, and we decry that this is becoming an acceptable fad today. We are doing this without knowledge of what this means to the people so created in laboratories, and without any intention of giving them the basic biological information that the rest of the world has. The people so created are taking part in some grand eugenics experiment without their consent.

Your daughter, adopted from China, almost certainly is healthier being raised by you in a culture not of her birth, and by a single mother, than languishing in a Chinese orphanage and then released without ties to anyone. Some who comment here will not agree with me, but that is what I believe. Being a single parent must be a difficult and sometimes lonely road, despite its rewards. And yes, while we are aware of abuses in the system in China, I have to assume that the one-child per family led to the wholesale abandonment of girl infants, many who ended up in North America.

There are very likely positions of the Institute for American Values that we do not agree with. I said in a previous blog (When Daddy's Name is Donor...) that the name alone is worrisome because I can only imagine other positions it comes with. So be it. But as far I know, no one else is doing this kind of research; for that reason alone, it is worth reporting as it bears on the health and happiness of donor children and adopted people, and as such, needs to be publicized as the culture condones it, with comedies such as The Switch and The Kids Are All Right.   

The book above, Lethal Secrets, is an earnest, thoughtful treatment of the topic. If anyone else has new research on this critical issue, I'd love to know about it.--lorraine

5 comments :

  1. It is a relief to know that, like Annette Baran, you are not opposed to known donor insemination.

    I know a fabulous couple, both of whom are mothers by donor conception through a known father who continues to engage himself in their family life.
    They are great parents who are providing a better environment for their kids than found in many, MANY traditional heterosexual family situations.

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  2. Thanks, Lorraine, for clarifying. I don't believe in designer kids either, or in buying and selling embryos, or in anon donation. I also don't believe people should start out with the impulse of *wanting* a child without immediately checking their attitude. Which children actually need families? That is the only question to ask. Early in my adoption journey a child care worker brought me down from my perch pretty quickly on that and I never forgot the lesson.

    My concern is that many of the bedfellows of the Daddy Donor researchers really do disapprove of single motherhood per se and would not be aligned with your views on single motherhood generally, gay rights, or gay marriage. This is a huge disagreement, not a little one. Their philosophical disagreement goes right to the heart of what makes a family.

    There is a right to know one's origins, no question about that. But there is no right to a married mother and father. Nor is that the only positive model for kids.

    Single motherhood can be lonely at times but it can also have its benefits, which usually pass by unnoticed to the general public. If we support the rights of mothers to choose something other than adoption, then we must support the idea that it can work.

    Thanks for taking the time to let this issue be explored.

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  3. A few thoughts about single motherhood. Like marianne, I was told "a child needs a mother [pause] and a father" -- the only way for my child to gain a father was to lose her mother. In order to construct a proper family, I had deconstruct the natural one.

    The practical matter is my daughter had a father, albeit a man who did not want to marry me. If I had kept her, she would have known who he was and, I believe, would have been able to develop a relationship with him. Much preferable to being raised by strangers.

    Today I know several men who have children with women to whom they were never married. They are devoted to their children.

    I have no problem with single women or men deliberately creating children; the caveat is that the children should know their biological parents and have an opportunity to have a relationship with them.

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  4. And let me add a mea culpa for that first rasher statement. Of course I agree with Jane. She was away or she would have caught that misspeak of mine right away!

    Here is what I added to the blog--actually both blogs, the first and the second (though the wording is slightly different:

    We at First Mother Forum believe that whenever possible children should full knowledge of who each parent is. This is an unalienable, unassailable right, and to deny it to anyone is to commit a grave moral failing.

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  5. That is much more clear:-) Thanks for changing the statement.

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