I once asked a male friend of mine, who has been married for 10 years and still childless, whether he would consider adopting a baby? He answered, without hesitation, in the negative and adding that “it won’t be of my flesh and blood, therefore I probably won’t accept it as truly my child.”
On the one hand I could see where he was coming from as it’s totally reasonable for married couples to want to have children that carried a combination of their genes. It’s with such pride and joy to hear people remark that the baby has your eyes or your husband’s nose. Nothing quite says that the child is yours than hearing how adorable your baby looks because he has your dimples. Moreover procreation has been part of the human experience ever since we began to walk on this Earth. It’s nature’s way of extending our existence, in essence to ensure the survival of the species. Perhaps that’s why the act of procreation is itself so pleasurable!
But sex is just a means to an end and takes all of 15 minutes to complete. Conception for most couples is not a problem. Some may take a bit longer into their married life to conceive but most will get to experience that happy bundle of love in their arms. The hard work comes later when the baby is born and the long, hard journey to maturity for one’s child begins in earnest. From sleepless nights tending to an infant’s endless demands, to seeing them off to school to worries about her friends and life choices, a parent is confronted with an almost impossible myriad of situational decisions. It’s no wonder that many are overwhelmed and make mistakes. Tragically, this sometimes lead to cases of abandoned or horribly abused children with many resulting in a fatal ending.
Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother. ~Oprah Winfrey
But what about those unfulfilled couples who don’t get to experience the same exhilaration of their own biological child? Are they destined to spend their days together filled with a huge void in their lives? And what about love for a child? Is it the exclusive domain of children who are lucky enough to be born to a set of parents?
Nature versus nurture. We have often heard of this dichotomy. Does being an intrinsic part of you i.e. nature guarantee that your child will get the full benefit of the parental instincts to protect? Will your genes predispose her to heights of achievement or will the child flourish and bloom under a strong regiment of love and encouragement i.e. nurture no matter who his parents are? I believe that all children deserve to be loved unconditionally, without baggage of origin, race or colour. Nurture is the common denominator which forges bonds between parent and child whether or not the molecular connection is there. After all our genetic heritage is essentially just a jumble of chromosomes. In many cases the best genes do not automatically manifest itself and they don’t preclude us from a life of abject misery nor gift us a lifetime of accomplishments without that central ingredient – love. And love is not the monopoly of biologically connected parent and child.