Monday, February 04, 2008

On adoption: Does it matter that kids look like their parents?

The big thought provoking thing going on for the past week in the Field Notes household is whether to adopt. My regular readers may remember that about a year ago at this time I had to have surgery to remove several huge ovarian cysts. All medical experts agree that my chances of raising a child of my own DNA is pretty near nil, and I have for the most part come to accept that.

But, I still think it would be nice to be a mother. I'd be an amazing mother, I am confident of that. But, the big question facing us around here is what to adopt. A newfoundland or a human?

I love my canine babies, but they will always be D.O.G.S. and unfortunately they are not valued or accepted the same as human babies by all members of my family. My sister will never let my fur kids inside her house and that means we won't ever really visit her for any amount of time. Nor will they come visit us for the same. That is unfortunate and not my choice. We will also never be able to travel around the world with our kids, introducing them to other cultures and the rich fabric of human life. We will never grow old with our kids, nor will they ever be able to care for us when we are aging – not that I would expect them to. We won't be able to see how they grow to resemble us as and adopt our mannerisms as they mature. But we will also have a minimal impact on the planet and won't go through the enormous expense and emotional burden that children bring.

When I think about whether to adopt another newfie, which as a breed is about as human as you can get in the dog world – friendly, forgiving, emotional intelligent, loyal, affectionate, smart, obedient – or whether to take the plunge and adopt a human, I can't but help to think that the reason I most want to adopt a human child instead is just plain selfish: To see whether they turn out like Mr. and Ms. Field Notes.

Isn't that selfish? Well, I think it's an awfully shallow reason to adopt a human child.

My thoughts turned to that today when I received an email from the breeder of Her Royal Highness the Newfoundland. The photos of my newfie's "birth parents" confirm that she is the spitting image of her mom and dad. It is downright uncanny. (The black and white landseer newfoundland above is her dad; the rest are her mom).


Psychgrad said...

This is just my opinion, so take it with a grain of salt...but maybe if you're still at the point of debating whether or not to adopt a dog or a child, you should hold off on adopting a child.

As far as wanting to adopt a child to see who he/she turns out like, I have somewhat of a similar feeling - curiousity of what a child I've raised would turn out like. Also, considering your background in evolution, it's not surprising that that's something you would be curious about.

Psycgirl said...

I think its good that you're putting so much thought into this decision. I think your children would definitely turn out to be like you and your husband - its inevitable when you're raised by loving parents that you will be like them.

Anonymous said...

I my opinion, genetics are the base which starts to form the person you will become whereas the environment you are raised in truly shapes the person you will be.

There are betting pools on sports stars kids to see if they turn out to be superstars like their parents (Andre Agassi's kids come to mind). Will they be the superstar their Dad was? A lot of that depends on the environment they were raised in... if they are raised in an environment that challenges them physically and mentally and helps them mature in to an athlete then I say they have a pretty good chance. But if you were to take that same child, and deprive them of support and challenges to help them grow as an athlete I'll bet against them. Genetics can only take you so far- look at racehorses... Secretariat never sired a foal that attained his greatness and he was bred to the creme of the genetic crop for over 20 years! It's the environment that ultimately shaped his offspring and I think the same applies to children.

If you adopt a child, they may not look like you (but is that really important?) but I am willing to bet that their mannerisms, habits and interests will mirror yours especially if you adopt at a young age because that is the enviroment they were raised in and in the end that is what is important. But what most important about adoption is you are giving a child a loving home, something every child deserves but unfortunately some will not get.

NewSeattleBoy said...

Count me selfish also, because I'd prefer to see more people like you and Mr Field notes around and I think you'd both make great parents.

Jenrosesegrest said...

This is how I feel about my furry babies that walk on all fours. I love them and cherish them so much, but like you said although we view them as our children they will never be accepted along the same lines of real human children. Like I doubt they would allow me to take my lulu on a cruise or a commercial flight, sitting next to me. I too am not sure of my reasons for wanting children, at times I do feel that it is somewhat selfish, or vain, of me to want a child so that someone will remember me, or take after me etc. Of course these thoughts and statements apply only to myself, but it is somehting that I feel deserves a great deal of thought prior to making the decision to have children be it naturally or via adoption. I wish you luck in your decision making, and admire you for putting into it such deep thought as it is a very important decision responsiblity. Sometimes I wonder if my dogs could talk, would it be Mommy I Love you, or would it be where the hell have you been the last 8 hours.
well sorry for rambling so,

Lost In Wonder said...

Continue to think about it. When it's time, you'll feel it.

outofthepinksky said...

Both your post and the comments are very interesting to read. I don't think I can add anything of much substance. All I can say is that I like dogs more than kids...but that's just me putting my opinion out there because of an overdeveloped sense of self importance ;)

rtisan said...

gorgeous dogs!