One of the many “programs” God planted in us was the desire have children. If that desire wasn’t there, we would never have perpetuated the race to over 7,000,000,000.
For the first time in history, we have choices on how to fulfill that desire. A few generations ago a “barren” couple was pitied because they obliviously had done something to offend God and the demise of their family name would be their punishment. However, today’s medical sciences and the acceptance of adoption along with single-parent families have reduced the number of people who die without an heir or a legacy.
A question often asked of those growing their families with these methods is if we are doing this for ourselves or the sake of the child.
Is it selfish wanting what God appears to not have given us?
When Fran and I had moved out of the fertility stage, we did not seek treatment because I saw this as an uncertain path. For the same financial investment without the medical intrusion, the adoption path was a better one for us. I am not a fan of infertility treatment but I am also not qualified to talk about what I have not experienced. I don’t know the feelings of not to have a child born of you. Fran and I had three biological daughters before adopting.
Is it selfish adopting a child from another country, who looks nothing like the parent(s), and raising them as our own child?
When my daughter Gemma was studying the migration over the Siberian land bridge in school, we talked about how those people were her ancestors. The ancestors of the other five members of our family are from several parts of Europe. It is selfish of me to have adopted her from Guatemala City and be raising her in an all-white family in Indianapolis? Is it because of my selfishness that she will always be different from the rest of her family?
There are people that would answer yes; maybe you are one of them. The authors of the Hague Convention Concerning International Adoption feel that way and see international adoption as the second to the last resort for orphan—orphanage being the last resort. There are fellow Americans who would sooner have a black child grow up in foster care than to be adopted into a white family. To me, that is an extreme of selfishness.
I believe God intended for me to have four daughters. Three of them were born in Muncie, Indiana and one was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala. True, Gemma and I have no biological similarities except that we are both human. But she is as fully my daughter as are the other three. I told her the other day that I understand a little of what she must feel because I am the only man in our family. She smiled and hugged me.
Is it selfish choosing to raise a child without the benefit of two parents when all research shows stable children come from stable two-parent homes?
I am talking about a single person who uses medical science or adoption to have a family, not about a widow or divorced parent raising children alone.
Like the infertility issue, I have no first-hand experience in this. Can a one-parent household do the same job of raising a child a two-parent household? Of course not. Change any variable in a child’s life and it changes the outcome of the adult who grows from that child. Now I didn’t say a single parent could not do as good of a job, I said a different job.
Can it be selfish to lay down your life because of your love for another person? Yes, if you do not have the resources to care for that person. That goes for all three of these. Therefore, presuming the person has the resources, I would ask the single person what is your motivation for becoming a single parent? Why is she choosing this? Does he really understand what it takes to raise a child alone? Is this in the best interest of the child? Do you have a strong support network? Have you thrown your rose-colored glasses away?
A stable adult who can honestly answer all these in the positive is not selfish but is in for the biggest challenge of their lives.
Are Doing It For Us Or For The Sake Of The Child?
Before answer the question we started with, let’s look at where America is today:
- American families with more than 3 children are often asked if they are Catholic or Mormon because their families is so large
- Nearly 15,000,000 American children live in poverty
- Just as many people are receiving unemployment benefits
- 3,000 children are aborted each day
- Number of married American household is below 50%
- We live fear of each other and after being constantly told about our right to privacy, we pushed people away from each other
- We have replaced the front porch of a century ago with a Facebook wall.
And people say we who grow our families using medical science or adoption are selfish?