I watched the news this weekend, and to me if you don’t turn it off you will go postal. It was the same old arguments, saying the same old things, and nothing ever changes. In a nutshell, Democrats caving in to Conservadems or chasing a few moderate Republicans to produce a compromise that isn’t change, and Republicans crying, “the sky is falling” and using fear to maintain the status quo. Or, and least I forget it, the press being led around by their noses as they cover this never ending drivel that masquerades as debate, failing to challenge the fear mongering or how the compromises will make the bill less effective. Meantime we have the Palin saga, where the country has mistaken celebrity worship for leadership. It is as if we have become the National Inquirer Nation. As Tom Friedman so well said this weekend, if we keep settling for sub-optimal solutions to our problems, sooner or later we will no longer be a great nation (Advice from Grandma).
So I turned to drama and newspapers. It seemed that there was a theme out there about adopted children seeking their real parents. The first was an episode of Lie to Me, where some 16-year old figures out he is not the natural son of his parents and then rejects them to go looking for his real parents. The other was the story of how DNA testing is showing that more fathers than you would like to believe are raising children they had no idea weren’t theirs. In one rather disturbing tale, this poor guy finds out his daughter isn’t his, divorces his wife, but still pays child support after his wife marries the father. Go figure. (New York Times, Who Knew I Was the Father).
Now these stories about how it affects the relationship between the child and the adoptive or deceived parent drive me nuts. I have an iron in this fire as I am an adoptive parent. I adopted my girls when they were five. One is no longer with us, killed by a drunk driver, but the other is still my little girl even though she is long grown up. I just don’t get the blood thing. He/She is my blood so I have to stand by them, but if they are not, well then the knot that binds is not so permanent. Really? That is what I don’t get. Once you take them in and take the responsibility to parent them, part of that is the unconditional love of a parent. You love them with all your heart and who donated the sperm or the egg becomes quite irrelevant.
I guess there are two sides to this story and it is natural for an adopted child to want to know about his “real” parents. One of my daughters did decide to look up her real father after she was grown. I think she was disappointed. There was no there there. To me parenting is about being there, about being a parent not a friend. It’s nice when you can be both, but at certain stages of their young lives, that creates havoc. It’s about that unconditional love thing I was talking about before. And here is what is really key: You need to be the Rock in their lives. You may be old, and old fashioned, and out of touch, but you represent some stability in this chaotic world. You are there. I love all my children, and I just can’t understand how you can parse it by where they came from.
I guess it is nice to think that you are part of that Rock, genetically. But there are some serial killers out there that didn’t get their evil from their gene pool. They got it from how they were raised and loved. I think that being a real parent is what you give your children in love, self-confidence, and dare I say it, morals. How they approach life is a reflection on whether you should be anointed parent. I am blessed. My children are fairly happy and strong. They like a good adventure. They know whatever they happen to stumble over, we will be there for them while we can. That is parenthood. Forget the genes, unless you have a medical crisis. Who the hell was there for you through all those tough times?