Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Ties That Bind

Only a really special mommy blogger would neglect to write an essay on Mother's Day.  Just so we're clear,  "special" is more accurately defined as "preternaturally delinquent".

I kinda dropped the ball.

In a separate post, I will bore you with the sad tale of how a 30 minute trip to the Oasis Family Fun Center rapidly snowballed into the 12 day (and counting) viral and bacterial infestation from hell.   How Little M and I have escaped being thrown into the street-- or alternatively, to the wolves-- is actually a miracle for the ages at this point.  Between the two of us, we've had pink eye, two sinus infections, an ear infection, strep throat, and have coughed pretty much nonstop for weeks.  We're an absolute joy to be around and I'm now on a first name basis with the pharmacy tech at CVS (Hi, Mark!).

Oh yeah, and my driver's license has been scanned so many times in the process of purchasing the good, behind-the-counter decongestants that I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the state police now suspect me of building a meth lab in my basement.  Which is ridiculous.  Not because I'm above meth at this point if it makes me feel better, but because anyone who sat near me in 10th grade chemistry class knows that I am incapable of anything that is even remotely related to, you know, chemistry.

Can we file this under "partially excused delinquency"?

Then, there was another slight problem.  For having written something like 50 posts related to motherhood, I didn't have the foggiest clue as to how to tackle the Mother's Day post and adequately do it justice.

I had all sorts of ideas- most of them bad- so I resorted to pinterest and other internet timesucks instead.

And then, I came across a few articles---on msn.com, which last I checked, was a respectable news source- that really, really, really rubbed me the wrong way.

Article #1- Katherine Heigl Shows Off Her Adopted Daughter
Article #2- Nicole Kidman's Adopted Daughter Says She's Not an Absentee Mom
Article #3- Sandra Bullock's Mother's Day With Her Adopted Son

WTF?   What? The?  F###?

Why the qualifier, MSN?   Why the asterisk?  It's insensitive.  It's disrespectful---to the parents and to the children. And it's just plain wrong.

These celebrities were with their CHILDREN.  Not their adopted children.

I can't imagine anyone introducing their own child as "This is Jane- my adopted child."  Seriously?

How do you think those kids would feel if they read this article?  Like they're somehow less real, less connected, less part of the family than a biological child?  I can't speak for these children or their feelings, but I have to say that it is irresponsible to even take the risk that they would feel that way.

What's more, those statements undermine the parents and the families they've built.  It's as if the news sources are somehow saying that families which are constructed in other-than-biological ways are less valuable and less intact.

That's total crap.

There's very little about life, or about parenting, that's universal, but I do strongly believe that the following three statements apply to virtually all families:

1.  Bringing a child into a family is the result of a lengthy process.  In some cases, that lengthy process is pregnancy.  In others, that lengthy process is pregnancy with the knowledge that you'll be a single parent.  In others,  that process is infertility, then fertility treatments, then a pregnancy.  In others, that process is infertility, then fertility treatments, then surrogacy.  In others, that process includes the myriad of steps involved in an adoption---which could include last minute decision changes by birth parents,  months spent in a foreign country,  months spent with social workers and lawyers and therapists.  In all of these cases, it's the result of a long, often painful and frequently expensive process.

(And, if you ask me, the process I went through to have Little M- the, wow I'm pregnant process with virtually no interventions to speak of--was the easiest of all of the options.)

2.  The raising of the child---you know, the actual parenting part of the show-- is where families are made.  It's the love, the wiping of the noses, the cleaning of the puke on the floor, the shuttling to travel baseball and travel soccer and ballet lesson, the checking of the homework, the chasing away the closet monsters, the tea parties, the games of driveway basketball--that makes a parent.  Not the manner in which a child enters a family.  The everything that happens AFTER a child enters a family.

3.  It's love, it's commitment, and it's hope that builds a family.  It's not biology.

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