When I was twenty, I met a woman who remarked that she wanted to have a baby someday because that child would love her unconditionally. “HAH!!” I rudely retorted. “Relationships require constant maintenance. In the end, it is your child’s choice of what kind of relationship to have with you, if any. If you want unconditional love, get a dog.”
Since girlhood, I have always assumed I would have my own children someday because I love kids, and that’s what grown-ups do — reproduce. Recently, however, I have begun to question that assumption for the first time. Why make babies?
Yeah, yeah, progressing the species… I know. But, I don’t mean in the general sense of why should other people choose to reproduce; I mean, specifically, why should I reproduce? Why should I make new life when there are already far too many children in need, children who are surviving without loving homes and families?
As a twenty-something young woman, part of me feels guilty. Another part of me feels selfish. I would only be making a child because I want the experience of raising a child. But, that’s just it — children are people with their own needs, yet I’d be creating life for my own amusement. That self-service feels unjustifiable to me.
Moving forward, if I choose to grow a family larger than just myself, a life partner, and a pet or two, I intend to adopt children, foster children, or both. I admit that I have somewhat of a hero complex, and I am a problem solver. I am naturally drawn to people who others would describe as “broken,” and I feel an immense drive to assist such traumatized people in improving their daily lives. That everlasting source of challenge and intrigue is one reason why I will be a psychotherapist someday.
The largest problem I see with adoption is the incredible expense, which could easily soar above six-figures. The extensive wait time is an inhibitor, as well. Fostering, on the other hand, has a less extensive evaluation process and waiting period and would allow me to help more children feel loved and empowered in the same amount of time I could otherwise spend raising my own homegrown child from infancy to adulthood.
I will reevaluate my thoughts when I hit my thirties and start thinking more seriously on this topic. But, for now, my baby cannon is officially off the market. (Sorry, Mom.)