Another Intelligent Response to an Idiotic Comment: Adoption
You would be amazed at how often I hear some version of this one: “You say marriage is about attaching mothers and fathers to their children and to one another. What about adoption?” Or, “you say kids need a mom and a dad. I had a stepfather who was better than my biological dad.” Or the worst version of this I ever heard, “you broke the bonds between your adopted son and his biological parents. How can you say biology is important?” This last comment is particularly idiotic because my son was in a Romanian orphanage for over two years before we had ever heard of him. The bond with his biological parents had been broken long before we ever came on the scene. Yet, to some of the radicals, the fact that I am an adoptive parent makes me a hypocrite or moron for believing that biology matters.
So, what is the proper answer to this type of comment? Here is the short version:
Just because most adopted children do reasonably well, it does not follow that we can throw all the babies up in the air, and decree that whomever they land with will be their legal parents. Yet that is precisely what the advocates of anonymous gamete donation are proposing. From the child’s point of view, the second non-biological parent they end up with is completely random.
Likewise, the advocates of ‘de facto parenthood’ are advocating something quite random, and really dangerous. If an unrelated person hangs around long enough, that person can count as the child’s parent.
If the unrelated person really wants to be the child’s parent, and the biological parents consent, then they should do an adoption. Period. End of story. That way, everyone knows what is going on, who has consented, and most importantly from the child’s point of view, who has made a lifetime commitment.
It is possible that some people making this point are doing so in good faith. In that case, I would say those people are confusing the systemic with the particular. Yes adoption works well in particular cases. It doesn’t follow from that fact that you would want to scrap the biological system, and replace it with something else. The fact that we make provision for exceptions to the rule doesn’t prove that the rule is a bad rule.
I’m not at all convinced that everyone who raises this point is doing so in good faith. Hence I feel justified in being ever so slightly snarky about it.