Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Speaking as an adoptive father, this turns my stomach. Leave aside, for a moment, her callous disregard for the welfare of the boy. What, precisely, did she think she was going to tell her daughter some day? That she never had a brother? That she had, but he was too much trouble, so she gave him away, and who knows what happened to him? What kind of monster is she? What kind of monster did she want her adopted daughter to know her to be?
Iin answer to David Frum's question: the woman should at minimum have run the risk of having her adopted daughter taken away from her for doing what she did.
We are moving, as a matter of law, in the direction of viewing children as property. Abortion on demand, surrogate motherhood, joint custody in divorce settlements and certain aspects of the adoption "industry" - the context in which all these cultural developments are taking place is the redefinition of children as property and parents as owners. This is the central moral horror of the contemporary West.
No one has the right to adopt. NO ONE. There are, unfortunately, children all over the world who lack parents, who lack parents who are minimally competent to care for them, or who have been abandoned by their parents. When the state gives custody of these children to other adults, it places on their shoulders an extraordinary responsibility. That responsibility must be proved, it must be earned, and it can be lost.
The natural family is an institution ontologically prior to the state. It is therefore naturally immune to state interference except under extraordinary circumstances of violence and abuse. For the state to, through an act of law, admit someone to that immunity implies extraordinary trust. That trust is no one's right.
If a woman has children for someone else under contract, that woman, and her contractors, should come under enormous presumptive suspicion, because the contract's very existence implies a dangerous corruption of the concept of parenthood and family. If a couple with children divorce, the should both come under suspicion, because their actions imply a willingness to place their own individual interests above the interests of their children, and of the family as an organic unit. These presumptions of suspicion could, of course, be overcome in any given instance. I am advocating bias, not prejudgement. But there should be no equality in matters of such grave responsibility, and no suggestion that these matters are matters of rights. For we can only have rights to that which we control, that which we own, and children must never, never be placed in that category.