Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What is a family?

I have quite a few friends, relatives and acquaintances who are in same-sex partnerships, either as a marriage where permitted or otherwise.  Several of them have children, either by adoption or surrogacy/insemination.  There are those who bristle at same-sex marriage, as well as at the notion of same-sex couples raising children.  "Unnatural" is a common objection, since these unions are not intrinsically procreative.

Strange, then, that the same fundamentalist perspective that rejects same-sex unions is so enamoured of adoption!  Adoption is many things, but "natural" is certainly not one of them!  Raising children that are not even remotely biologically related to oneself as one's own does not produce any evolutionary advantage, and is extremely rare in nature -- far more so than homosexuality!

And yet, both same-sex couples and adoptive families expand their understanding of "family" so as to shoe-horn themselves in.  New definitions and roles are created in order to seem as "natural" as possible.  It is interesting that same-sex couples in fact adopt in great numbers those "hard-to-place" children that mainstream adopters avoid -- older children, special needs, minorities, etc.  Having already embraced an unorthodox family make-up, they are more ready to take these other steps.

What is "natural" about "family"?

1 comment:

  1. It's hard -- perhaps impossible -- to come up with a definition of "family" that will please everyone. Cultural attitudes change, and what we consider "normal" would not have seemed so a few hundred years ago... and vice versa. (Not that long ago, polygamy was an unusual but accepted practice in some places. And what would people then have thought about modern interracial marriages?)

    I guess I've always gone by the cliche: home is that place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in... and family are the people that take you in. But that doesn't answer the question, does it? No doubt there were (and are!) wonderfully warm, loving, supportive polygamous families, just as there are "normal" heterosexual couples today who would do their kids a big favor by divorcing.

    Will homosexual marriage be as accepted someday as adoption is today? Time will tell.


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