I Saw Mommy – or Progenitor A – Kissing Santa Claus
- Thursday, December 21, 2006
If you like hearing yourself called "Mom" or "Dad," you might want to get it on tape. Those days may be rapidly disappearing.
In Spain, all birth certificates have been changed from listing "Mother" and "Father" to "Progenitor A" and "Progenitor B."
The old classic "Daddy’s Little Girl" now becomes, "You’re the end of the rainbow, my pot of gold, you’re Progenitor B’s little girl to have and hold."
Earlier this year, the Commonwealth of Virginia issued a birth certificate to an adoptive couple that read Parent 1 and Parent 2.
Canadians have erased the term "natural parent" and replaced it with "legal parent."
The roles once determined by a man, a woman and a pregnancy are now increasingly determined by the state.
The Commission on Parenthood’s Future, a nonpartisan group of scholars and leaders concerned with marriage, family, law and culture, recently released a white paper titled "The Revolution in Parenthood." The revolution is that the "two-person, mother-father model of parenthood is being fundamentally challenged."
So long, Mom. Bye-bye Daddy.
The examples are global: In Australia, proposals are on the table allowing children conceived with the use of donors to have three parents.
In New Zealand, donors are allowed to "opt in" to parenthood if they wish. It would be natural to assume that if one can "opt in," one can "opt out." As though opting in and out of parenting were viable. "I’m opting out this month, you take over."
In Erie County, Pennsylvania, a 62-year-old man and his 60-year-old girlfriend commissioned a surrogate to carry triplets. When the couple failed to pick up the infants (perhaps they had opted out that day), a judge released the babies to the surrogate. The surrogate has been raising the babies, but now the commissioning couple is fighting for access.
How can you not feel sorry for children born into a family configuration like that?
In Canada, an adopted child has the right to know the identity of the biological parents, but revealing the identity of a donor is a federal crime punishable by fines and prison time.
Polyamorists (meaning "many loves") are also being heard. The Heartland Polyamory Conference was held this fall in French Lick. I’m not sure how successful it was. Their web site featured a four-day schedule grid that had only two events listed - lunch and dinner. In any case, polyamorists also are clamoring for recognition in the redefinition of family. Meet the fam, progenitors A, B, C, D, E, ad infinitum.
In the midst of all this family turmoil, the voice of sensibility calls from France, where a parliamentary report acknowledges, "the desire for a child seems to have become a right to a child." The report cites the "precautionary principle" and advises a ban on surrogacy should stand.
The desire to procreate, reproduce, and have children is one of the strongest desires known to mankind. The heartbreak of infertility, the ache of yearning for a child is enormous. But the desires and aches of adults are only one part of the story.
There is something gravely disturbing when we deliberately create families with multiple parents, anonymous donors, and the ability to opt in, before the babies are even born.
The Commission on Parenthood calls for something that will sound familiar to parents – a time out -- a five-year moratorium on the laws and proposals that are redefining the roles of parents, often at the expense of the kids. The commission asks that we take a deep breath, pause and carefully prioritize the needs of children.
There can’t be nearly as much harm in waiting as there is in charging ahead.
Columnist and speaker Lori Borgman is the author of several books including Pass the Faith, Please (Waterbrook Press) and All Stressed Up and No Place to Go (Emmis Books). Comments may be sent to her at email@example.com.
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