Thursday, June 28, 2007


Listening to Jeff Gammage discuss his book China Ghosts: My Daughter's Journey to America, My Passage to Fatherhood on Fresh Air yesterday nearly made me cry. Gammage wasn't particularly excited about becoming a parent when he and his wife traveled to China to adopt their daughter. (This after being unable to have biological children.)

I adopted a dog from the SPCA and would never buy a purebred. How could I, when so many great dogs need homes? Yet I view adoption as a last resort, even though
when I think of the efforts I have gone and will go to in order to become a parent of my biological child, I'm frankly a little embarrassed. It brings tears to my eyes to think of all of the children in orphanages around the world, yet I'm still hoping to have my own child.

Part of the reason is I want the experience of pregnancy. And I undeniably want a child that's genetically related to me. But why? Are my short, chubby, musical, cheese-hating, Type A Jewish genes so precious that they must be preserved for posterity in creation of another human being? Of course wanting biological children is rooted to some degree in narcissism. I think it also reflects a passion for one's family and roots -- particularly important to Jews who saw our ranks decimated last century.

My child will be only 50 percent related to my partner and I. Most of the time I cling to that 50 percent, minimizing the donor's biological importance. But occasionally I wonder, if I'm only getting that 50 percent to start with, why not just dump it and go for adoption? If I have my own biological child, does that leave one more child in an orphanage somewhere who will never have the kind of loving home I could provide?

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