Monday, January 31, 2011

A family is more than the sum of its parts, or the relative densities of blood and water.

I'm pretty much thinking I never want to have kids.  And, while this is personal choice, I also believe it is a matter of faith.  I believe very strongly in zero population growth, even the negative population growth that comes from having no biological children of your own.  The least you could do with all the poverty and homelessness in the world is to adopt children who need families, and then you're not adding to the overall population of the world anyway.

In the event this raises questions in the validity of a family with adopted children, I would like to point out that family is not confined to your blood relatives; rather, it's a shared experience of living.  I live with three other girls, and I would consider them as much my sisters as my biological sisters (had I any).  But it doesn't even have to be the shared experience of living together; when I worked backstage in high school, I had a family in the people I worked with, spent time with, shared joy and frustration with.  Family is much more than a nuclear unit of Mom, Dad, Jane, and Billy.

I don't think it's responsible to suggest that some people you live with would have the same rights to you, your possessions, and your life as the family you grew up with.  I suppose that's the defining factor: growing up and coming of age.  Yes, there are all the legal definitions that [necessarily] allocate resources and responsibilities.  Those are important, too, in our society.

I write this thinking about families I know with adopted children.  It's no big secret to them, and as far as I know my friend has always known she was adopted.  She has had contact with her biological mother, starting when she was 18 (which I believe was the mother's stipulation).  And that's that.  The two other children in the family are biological, but she has no less claim to her parents' affection.

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