Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Microstory 963: Adoption

When I was four years old, and still felt okay with making wish lists, I asked for a baby for Christmas. I wasn’t asking for a baby brother or sister, and I certainly wasn’t asking for no doll. I just figured it was about time I have a child to raise myself. Of course this was an absurd idea, but that’s how deeply my imperative to raise children was, even back then. I ended up getting that doll, named him Johnny, and changed his clothes every other day. A few years later, I had still never had a girlfriend, and didn’t think I ever would. Surprise, Past!Self, you were right. A neighbor told me that some children weren’t raised by their parents; that they were given to other families. She didn’t go into detail about why this was necessary, but I figured it out over time. I realized that this was the most logical choice for me, and I’ve held to that sentiment ever since. There are currently hundreds of thousands of children today in foster care—in the United States alone—who have not yet been placed in their forever families. Many will age out of the system, and have to fend for themselves as adults. This reality bothers me quite a bit, and has led me to developing a fairly radical stance on the matter. I keep seeing TV shows and movies get into this issue. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl can’t have children, so they find a surrogate. If it’s a comedy, the surrogate is probably crazy. If it’s a tragedy, the couple just go their whole lives without children. That’s such a terrible message to be spreading to audiences. Infertility/sterility are good reasons to not conceive a child, but not good reasons to not raise a child. It’s troubling how rarely adoption occurs to characters, and they almost never consider adopting an older child. Never forget, you have options.

Everyone wants to be biologically related to their children, and they seem unwilling to budge on this. I don’t how well these fictional stories reflect real life, but judging from the number of foster kids, they’re pretty accurate. The fact is that there are already plenty of people in the world, so we don’t need to be making any more until we find a way to protect those people first. I would love it if your only way of having a child is by conceiving one, or using science, but there are too many kids in need of homes that can’t be unborn. Families come in all shapes and sizes. You don’t need a baby, and you don’t need it to be your baby. Older children need good homes just as much as the babies, but they are easily dismissed—or trivialized, which is how it looks in that new Racist Mark and Rose Byrne film, Instant Family. It’s true that I’ve not yet seen the movie, but since half the trailer shows people “hilariously” getting hit in the head with various objects, I don’t have high hopes for it. Now for the radical part, I’m not entirely convinced that conceiving children shouldn’t be illegal until every child in the world is placed in a good home. The problem is that this would be impossible to enforce, because any punishment for a breach would only hurt children further. So you’re free to go off and live your life as you please, while children across the globe are all but alone. If everyone with the means to adopt did so, our problem would be solved overnight. That’s really why I’m trying to publish a book, because nobody’s going to give a child to a single man who doesn’t have much money, and that has always been my life’s primary driving force. Without it, I probably wouldn’t have any ambition, because the next generation is perpetually the point of life.

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