Archive for May, 2008

Terminology revisited

Posted in Adoption, Rants on May 29, 2008 by Brad

Someone left a response to a response I left on this post by Nicole. The original post was not about terminology at all, but terminology has a tendency to raise its head when I have the audacity to call myself a birth parent.

The response was:

I take it from your post that you are likely male, and thus would be an ejaculation father, as men can’t give birth and even the people who coined and promote the term “birthmother” admit that the term “birth father” is a gestational impossibility (which is why they favour “begettor” or “male genetic ancestor” for the male half of conception).

New one on me there. Ejaculation father. I think I like it. That way, I can run away after the deed and not need to appear at the birth to claim my coveted title.

But I digress. Because this is not actually about me. Because what this person has done, by turning my title into a physical act, is turn mothers of loss into incubators.

There are three reasons I call myself a birth father.

  1. I was commenting on Nicole’s blog, and she does not like it when I refer to myself as a sperm donor. (Yes, I am being flippant here).
  2. It is the most widely understood and accepted term in the world at large. Natural father and biological father do not necessarily imply relinquishment, and I personally dislike the first father term because to me it devalues the father Sprog now has.
  3. At the time of Sprog’s birth, I was his father. I did not sign those rights away after ejaculation. I signed them away after his birth. I am therefore his birth father, not his ejaculation father.

When you devalue my role by referring to me as a father by bodily function, you do the same to his mother. Instead of her role being an ongoing one in our son’s life, you have turned it into a physical process with a beginning and an end. You have turned her into nothing but a vessel to hold someone else’s child.

Furthermore, you imply that my relationship with his mother was nothing more than passing ships in the night. That his existence was the result of a sordid drunken romp in a back alley, and not the expression of love between two people with an ongoing commitment to each other. Sure, for some people it does happen that way, and there is nothing wrong with that. But to stereotype birth parents in this way is to reduce their power and silence their voices.

Sea of Tranquility

Posted in Adoption on May 28, 2008 by Brad

I just read a post by Nicole, an open letter to Y. It resonated with me because this is one of my biggest bugbears when it comes to Sprog’s parents. I think they are Vulcans.

They are just so damn placid. Sometimes I want to beat crap out of them to get some kind of reaction, because there never is one. Even when I showed up at their door jonesing, the reception was calm and yes… gracious. They were firm, but not angry. Not one iota of anger. I was bracing myself for “Get the fuck out and never come back” and it never came. And on that same visit, after I disappeared one afternoon and never came back, there was silence for months. Just silence. And it creeped me out, so I wrote them a letter of apology. And there was more silence in response. And then, Sprog’s dad invited me on a camping trip so that we could discuss the situation. And we discussed. And it was all very calm. Not a trace of anger, resentment, anything negative at all.

It scares me that they are not human.

How can I ever measure up? Where do I get off parenting Lamia? I am not this calm, unruffled, perfect parent. The other day, Lamia screamed for 5 minutes straight while my wife was out and I was trying to put up drapes. You know those screams, the ones where they are screaming so hard that no sound comes out for awhile. Anyways, I yelled at her. I yelled at an 8 month old baby, this baby who I love more than life itself. If I can do that… why can’t Sprog’s parents? Do they ever yell? Or has he just spent his life in this sea of tranquility? Is the calm just a facade?

I am not sure which is more scary – facade calm, or real calm. If it is real, then I know how my son lives, but I am creeped out by it. If it is a facade, then I know nothing about his life. Less than nothing.