Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Adoption is eco-friendly

We went to see Dr. Eric Strauss give a talk about Cape Cod ecology a few weeks ago. I brought the photos of Yun Gui because I knew some of my fellow Cape Wildlife Center volunteers would also be there, and they'd chastised me last time for not bringing the pics. We got there late, though, so we quietly crept in and sat down in the back. We figured we'd show Yun Gui around after the seminar was over.

Dr. Strauss was excellent. He spoke at length about species population problems, including the human variety. The China one-child policy came up, too, in the context of it being an ethically questionable approach to a legitimate and serious problem. The whole time, I kept thinking about how important it will be for Yun Gui to learn about the environmental issues facing our society. It will be even more important in a few years. I think it would be absolutely awesome if he grew up to be a biologist or an ecologist or even a park ranger. Or even just be like his Mom and Dad and volunteer to save the world - one species at a time.

Dr. Strauss was just starting to wrap up when... our cell phone rang. Oops. How rude. Good thing we forgot to turn it off, though! It was the pediatric specialist. Husband o' Mine darted into the kitchen and asked the doctor to call us back in half an hour. Then we did our best to discreetly bow out.

"Sorry," I apologized - it was a small, talkative audience and intimate enough so that our actions were noted. "This is a great talk and I've really enjoyed it, but we have to go. That was our pediatrician."

"Oh, I hope everything's all right," he said.

"Oh yes," I assured him. "We don't even have our child yet."

Just then Gina noticed the large envelope in my hand. She was one of the volunteers who'd demanded to see him. "Are those the photos?" she asked. "Let's see!"

So I took them out and passed them around - first to the front row and Dr. Strauss, who grinned appreciatively and opined, "Adoption is a very ecologically sound practice."

"He might even be someone's second child," I remarked, referring back to the previous discussion on the one-child policy.

"What should really be done now," he added, "is that health insurance should pay for adoption the same way it pays for childbirth. It's such an effective method of population control, but it's so expensive that I bet lots of families who would love to adopt can't afford it, so they end up giving birth to their own children because it's paid for by their health plans. It doesn't make any sense. If adoption cost the same as giving birth, it would go a long way toward solving the population issues."

Interesting viewpoint. I like it! Another factor, of course, would have to be a reduction of the social stigmas involved with adoption. Many couples opt for adoption only as a last resort, and even then they engage in lots of soul-searching to make sure they're prepared for what they expect to be an ordeal. I know there are some notable true horror stories - everyone who adopts hears about them. But, I dunno. To me, fertility treatments sound like an ordeal. Adoption is just family-making. The leadup is different, but once the adoption is done and the family has adjusted, it has the potential to be a normal family in every way. Just gotta overcome that lingering stigma.

And if saving the planet is a higher priority than passing on your own personal DNA, then adoption may be the way to go! As far as I'm concerned, human DNA is human DNA. I have it, my husband has it, Yun Gui has it. No problem.

This month starts frog season. Which means that now that I've done my bit for the human species, I'm free to concentrate on the local amphibian species - spring peepers first, then green frogs, wood frogs, and if we're lucky, maybe even some pickerel frogs or gray tree frogs. Maybe someday Yun Gui will participate in FrogwatchUSA with me. We'll get him started early. Kids love getting opportunities to save the world. It'll be their world much longer than it'll be ours. Who even knows if pickerel frogs will still exist when he's my age? We humans might just crowd them out.

Anyway - back to the pediatrician! He requested updated medical and developmental records for Yun Gui. I asked the adoption agency for them, and they just came in yesterday. Exciting stuff! Yun gui is getting bigger and has a distinct personality, which the record-keepers described. Now I'm just waiting for the records to be emailed to me. I keep hitting 'refresh' 'refresh' 'refresh' and then checking my 'spam' folder just in case.

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