NO MORE MOMMIES?
Imagine my surprise when I read an e-mail from a parent group that I belong to. The e-mail concluded: “Kellie and Michelle, mothers of Pamela and Jack” * [italics added]. I had seen Kellie a couple of times and I noticed that her ethnic background did not seem to match that of her supposed children. But then again, this is Los Angeles and if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you can’t judge a child until you’ve seen both parents. The e-mail, however, confirmed what I’d thought: Kellie and Michelle had indeed adopted two children together, calling themselves the children’s “mothers.”
Many Christians oppose the idea of two women or two men forming a supposed family by taking someone else’s children or paying someone to incubate a child or being impregnated with some anonymous father’s sperm. I don’t know why the religious only seem concerned when this family tampering occurs with homosexuals. Why does anyone, religious or not, think that forming artificial families is acceptable?
Most churchgoers congratulate a husband and wife who’ve just returned from China, complete with Asian baby girl in tow, an infant cut off from her family and culture. The Asian mother and extended family, subjected to a horrendous system that forces parents to abandon their baby girls, are hardly given a second thought. Nor do those who congratulate seem to consider the cruelty of forcing the traumatized baby into an extreme and permanent culture change.
Similarly, when people who’ve used someone else’s egg or sperm to conceive hire a surrogate to carry a baby, or have a doctor’s help in creating five or six embryos, only to use two or three, others congratulate them as well, not realizing the effect that unnaturally conceiving children has on the life of the surrogate whose womb is used or on the life of the human being that this method creates.
Many adoption agencies allude to Moses as the first adoptee, creating the illusion that adoption itself has somehow been sanctioned by God. What adoption agencies leave out of Moses’ story is that the Egyptian king at the time was commanding midwives to kill every male child. Yes, midwives. When the midwives obeyed God and refused the king’s order, the king asked the people to “cast into the Nile” every Hebrew male child. Moses’ mother tried to save her son’s life by hiding him as long as she could. When a girl found him in the bulrushes, the girl “went and called the child’s mother” to nurse baby Moses. (Exodus 1:15-22, 2:8)
Let’s compare that to the current adoption scene. Rather than calling on the mother to ensure that the baby has the best possible food, women who adopt either pump their body full of hormones so that they can pretend to breastfeed or feed the baby artificial formula, even when they know who and where the child’s mother is. Men have even undergone this bizarre scheme, pretending to nurse a baby. Breastfeeding by a baby’s true mother is so natural and helpful to the child that I can’t help but wonder why babies are whisked away, often immediately after birth, and the mother is discarded like last month’s magazines. Moses’ mother, however, remained important to Moses.
When Moses was an adult, he “went out to his people and looked on their burdens.” (Exodus 2:11) Note that the people referred to here are the Hebrews, not the Egyptians who raised him. Imagine this scenario in today’s adoption world, in which most states seal truthful birth records and falsify the birth certificates that we adoptees must use. When my own natural mother, from whom I was separated for over 34 years, called the Office of Vital Records in the state in which I was born, she was told that she could not obtain my birth certificate; the worker’s exact words were “it’s as if you never had a child.” Does anyone believe that God wants mothers to be treated this way?
And yet, most people will go right along with taking a child from its mother. They congratulate the taker and pretend - right along with the $1.5 billion U.S. adoption industry -that the child has miraculously acquired a new set of parents, falsified birth certificate and all. The truth is that while we have many people who may function in a parental role in our life, we all only have one set of true parents, one mommy and one daddy. Sometimes we are separated, physically, legally, emotionally, or a combination of these, from those parents. Parents, however people like to deny it, can never be replaced. Only when we realize that every child has only one mom and one dad will the idea of “two mommies” become the absurdity that it should be.
Recycling children via adoption has not always been so popular: Prior to 1900, “the general trend . . . seemed to be to attempt to keep mother and child together” (Costigan 28). Even in the early twentieth century, “several states and municipalities passed laws attempting to prevent the separation of mothers and children, and requiring mothers to breastfeed their children for at least three months” (Costigan 30). With so many benefits, emotionally and physically, for the breastfeeding child, this arrangement still seems to be the one that is truly in the best interest of the child.
When the mental health industry became involved and social workers deemed themselves professionals, things began to change. Single pregnant women were called everything from "unwed" to “neurotic” to “feeble-minded” (Costigan 34). After World War II, with many servicemen returning home sterile, the pressure was on for young and single mothers to surrender their children to these wonderful veterans and their wives. The so-called nuclear family was celebrated on television and mothers who gave their baby to strangers to raise were deemed to have “greater opportunity for . . . further development.” (Costigan 36) Well, yes, but it is hard to say what a mother will develop into after she loses the child she’s carried inside her. I have interviewed many such mothers who were traumatized by the experience; the loss of their son or daughter to a stranger has affected their life negatively in many ways.
One thing about sin is that none of us can truly say we’re without it. Mental health, on the other hand, is a nebulous entity. Just ask the American Psychiatric Association, who, until homosexuals began protesting in the early 1970s, had declared homosexuality to be a disease. After 1973, the disease was erased--Now if we could only do that with cancer. The flexibility of mental health diagnoses is handy when you’ve got people storming into your convention, as homosexuals did the APA convention, and you can stop the protests by changing the disease to a non-disease; but it also allows us to condemn those whom we want to condemn and edify those we want to edify. In other words, yesterday’s nervous habit may become today’s ADHD which may become tomorrow’s schizophrenia. Today’s mother may become tomorrow’s non-mother. And who decides? People trained in Freud, Skinner, and all those other mental health monarchs.
Unfortunately for the family, the definition of parent and family has fallen under the whims of the mental health professionals. Social workers and media eager to help them began so successfully deeming people parents who weren’t that we began, in the latter part of the twentieth century, to refer to “parent” as a verb, as if everyday I wake up and decide whether or not I’ll be parenting my children today. In reality, parenting is done at conception. It is a transitory state of fatherhood and motherhood that the media have promoted to us that has helped to weaken our family structure. The truth is more lasting: Parents are created at natural conception and do not change throughout a child’s life.
In our brave new society, we refuse to believe such permanence. Parents are interchangeable; children are recyclable. If God does not bless us with a child, we cheat. We covet and take someone else’s eggs or their child or we sidestep God and go to a fertility doctor who can help us concoct the family we want, selecting for sex or other characteristics if we like. Children are no longer looked upon as a blessing, but as a right. If we are not blessed with any, we believe that we have every right to obtain one, by any means possible.
With such an atmosphere, it’s easy to see how natural parents began losing their value. My own father was not allowed to communicate with my mother while she was locked in her maternity home prison. It’s hard to be a good dad when you’re never allowed to see your child. But separation of the family, including allowing the father to wash his hands completely of the whole situation, and not listing him on the true birth certificate, was part of the plan. Having a father interfere with social workers’ supposed counseling of the mother by proposing marriage or talking with the mother would slow the supply of babies. According to Nathan Cohen’s Social Work and Social Problems, published in 1964, the demand for babies in my year of birth was already growing:
"Because there are many more married couples wanting to adopt newborn white babies than there are babies, it may almost be said that they, rather than out of wedlock babies, are a social problem. (Sometimes social workers in adoption agencies have facetiously suggested setting up social provisions for more 'baby breeding.')"
Add single people and homosexuals to the list and you’ve got an even higher demand for babies today. Babies are being imported from China, Russia, Guatamala, and other countries to fill the demand. Never fear, however, there’s a new idea that will help increase the supply of babies. Studies show that separation from our mother, even at birth, can have devastating effects on children. Soon, however, we may find that mothers are completely discarded. I first learned about artificial wombs when I read an article about them a couple of years ago. Now, we learn that artificial wombs are a mere twenty years away. These artificial wombs “would both expand the range of reproductive choices and make the differences between men and women matters of technological convention rather than biological nature.” Well, we wouldn’t want biological nature to interfere with technology, would we? (The New Atlantis)
With formula feeding, we manage to separate children from their mother after birth. With stranger adoption, we take children from their natural families and place them with families that aren’t their own, asking everyone to pretend that these children belong in those families. With embryo adoption, we separate children from their mother before birth, giving the woman who carries the child the extra benefit of being able to tell the child about the pregnancy. Is it any wonder that mothers ourselves and our most important function of giving birth may soon be deemed obsolete? Could it be that one day, potential moms may be asking, “Why take the risk of gestating my child in an old-fashioned womb?” (The New Atlantis)
The next time you become angry at a couple who claims to be “two mommies,” ask yourself how often you’ve capitulated to the rhetoric of this brave new world, how often you’ve called someone who’s never given birth and passed along genes a mother, or how often you’ve looked at an Asian child with two people who are clearly not her parents and believed that they are family. And then remember this scene from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, describing a world in which babies are decanted, according to society’s demands:
When questioned about the word “parent,” “there was an uneasy silence. Several of the boys blushed” at what they had learned was smut. The Hatchery Directory helps them out: “The parents were the father and the mother,” [emphasis added] the director explained to the young boys, who had learned that family was as derogatory as any four-letter word our present-day mind can think of. ‘Mother,’ [the director] “repeatedly loudly . . . leaning back in his chair, ‘These,’ he said gravely, ‘are unpleasant facts; I know it. But then most historical facts are unpleasant’.”
In Huxley’s book, babies are decanted in a hatchery, not born to a mother. Mothers and fathers are part of an ugly past and embryos are conditioned to be in a certain caste for life. Mothers are not only unnecessary but looked upon as smut. Family is a dirty word. In the past half-century, we have been encouraging mothers to give their child away and we call the people who take the child "parents," when guardian would be an honest term.
With the advent of in-vitro fertilization and other reproductive technologies, many women often think that they have every right to have a child, whatever the means. If the technologies don’t work, then people pay someone else to carry a child, asking another woman to give away the baby who’s been attached to her for nine months. Some take a mother’s child, rationalizing how much better off the child would be with them rather than its true parents.
These methods of cheating desensitize us, making it easier for us to say that a child can have two mommies; in a few years, we’ll be saying that a child can have no mother. In fact, Michael Jackson has already claimed that about his own supposed children, on nationwide television. As we head toward this brave new world, let us not blame only homosexual activists for leading us away from true family. The people who approved of stranger adoption and who sat silently while fertility doctors performed their hocus pocus to create babies in a test tube are now reaping what has been sown. When mothers cease to exist, we will have only ourselves to blame.
*names have been changed
Cohen, Nathan E. Social Work and Social Problems. New York: National
Association of Social Workers, 1964.
© 2005 Tricia S. Vaughan
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Tricia Smith Vaughan has a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication, a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, and a Master of Arts in English. Before she became a mom, she taught first-year English Composition and Literature for five years at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.
She has written for the Los Angeles Times, Durham, N.C.’s Independent Weekly, Raleigh, N.C.’s News and Observer, and other newspapers. She performs stand-up comedy and writes about homeschooling and other momly stuff.
Web Site: www.comicmom.com.
Many Christians oppose the idea of two women or two men forming a supposed family by taking someone else’s children or paying someone to incubate a child or being impregnated with some anonymous father’s sperm.