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Posted by on Dec 7, 2006 in At TMV | 21 comments

A mother and a father can’t replace love

I sat down this morning to write about the reactions to Mary Cheney’s pregnancy, but as I mentally organized my thoughts, I was distracted by activity outside. It was my neighbor leaving for work, and I paused to watch as she wheeled out the trash cans, carried the recycle tubs, and then helped her young daughter into the backseat before closing the garage door and driving away.

On the weekends there’s a lot of activity at their house, because my neighbor’s parents are often there. What is not there is a “Daddy”… yet that little girl — bright, happy, charming, and well-mannered — has love all around her.

By deliberately choosing to adopt and raise a child alone, is my neighbor denying this child something?

Or how about the single dad I know, who has been fighting for sole custody of his two daughters for years, but is consistently defeated by the judicial desire to give the mother full access. It’s unfortunate that she thinks the girls (both young teens) look “cute” in skin-tight jeans and midriff-baring shirts, forgets to send them to school with lunch (or lunch money)… and that her 16-year-old daughter from a prior marriage just had a baby. But she’s the mom…

And then I came across this:

A court-appointed attorney who recommended a judge return a 21-month-old child to her home where she later died says child abuse investigators failed to prove the girl was in danger.

[snip]

The abuse investigation had centered more on the mother’s boyfriend, who was caring for the children when A’Anya received second-degree burns on her back and first-degree burns on her right cheek from scalding water.

“My heart grieves daily and constantly for the loss of A’Anya Cantley,” [attorney] Wilson said. “I truly believed because the testimony was against the boyfriend, and also based on my heart-to-heart discussion with the mother, that as long as the mother was monitored and the boyfriend was not present, it was in the best interest for the children to be with their mother.”

But CPS supervisor Julia Ceaser said repeatedly at the hearing that the children would be in danger if they were returned to the mother.

Stories like this are in the news every day… and yet people are in an uproar because a couple that has been in a committed relationship for fifteen years wants to have a baby (CNN):

“Just because you can conceive a child outside a one-woman, one-man marriage doesn’t mean it’s a good idea,” Earll said. “Love can’t replace a mother and a father.”

Polimom thinks the correct structure of that sentence should be, “A mother and a father can’t replace love.

Every time I read about a child beaten to death, burned, or abused by one of its parents, I flash back to thoughts and conversations I had during the five years I spent trying to have a baby of my own… because it wasn’t easy, and Polimom lost two in the attempt. Yet my challenges weren’t as tough as that of my best friend, who was trying to have a baby in that same time-frame — also without success, and she remains childless to this day.

She would have been a great mom.

We talked a lot on the phone in those years, both to give one another support and comfort, but also to marvel at the ease with which others could conceive — even those who didn’t particularly want kids.

Especially those who didn’t want kids, and (as I often think), don’t deserve them.

It isn’t a “man and a woman” that creates happy, healthy children. It’s commitment to and love of the kids themselves.

If social conservatives want to make a difference in the lives of children, then they should be focusing all that righteous energy on the kids — not on the sexual orientation of couples who demonstrate the commitment and desire to raise them.

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