Thursday, March 19, 2015

Dear Elton John, It’s Not All About You

Photo by Richard Schatzberger via Flickr

Dear Elton John,

I’ve heard about the argument between you and fashion designers Dolce & Gabbana over their recent comments about gay couples becoming parents via IVF.

I understand why you were offended on behalf of your own two sons when D&G called children conceived through IVF “children of chemistry, synthetic children.” There is no such thing as a synthetic child. All children are conceived when an egg from a woman is fertilized by a sperm from a man, whether this fertilization takes place inside or outside of a woman’s body. I join you in outrage on this point.

And I understand why you and others are offended by D&G saying, “We oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one . . . .” I was adopted as a child, and I support gay couples adopting children who need families.

What I cannot support is anyone, gay or straight, creating a demand for adoptable children that results in babies being relinquished unnecessarily, or that results in paper orphans being created to fulfill someone’s desire to “build a family.”

And I cannot support children being created with the express intention of denying them full knowledge of their biological identity for the sake of satisfying someone’s desire to “have a child of my own.”

I have read that you and your husband, David Furnish, created both of your sons via IVF using a surrogate mother and a mixture of both of your sperm. It has been reported that the identity of your children’s mother—i.e. “the surrogate,” or was there a separate “egg donor,” I’m not sure—will never be revealed and that you do not wish to learn which of you is the father of either of your children.

As a person who lived more than thirty years without knowing the identity of my biological parents and whose original, factual birth certificate has been legally kept from me, I feel you have deliberately done the unconscionable to your sons. You are purposefully deceiving them, not only in denying them knowledge of their mother, but even more ridiculously, denying them the knowledge of who their biological father is, though they live with him! Why put them through years of guessing and the inevitability of a DNA test? What a sick joke to play on someone’s life—and yet you gush on about how much you love the boys!

Do you know that we adoptees are having to fight every single day for the right to our own identities?

Dolce and Gabbana make an excellent point when they say, “You are born to a mother and a father.” We are all conceived when an egg from one woman is fertilized by a sperm from one man. This woman is the biological mother. This man is the biological father. They are not inconsequential. These facts do not change, no matter how many other parents a person may have.

Yes, gay people should be able to marry and create families through ethical adoption, however gay rights should never trump children's rights. Children's rights are human rights.

Every person is entitled to know their own biological identity.

An Adoptee

Karen Pickell was born and adopted in Ohio in the late 1960s. She reunited with her birth mother in 2005 and with her birth father in 2007. Her husband is an adoptive father of two children, now grown, from his first marriage, one of whom was adopted from Korea. Karen and her husband live in Florida with their two biological children. She holds a Master of Arts in Professional Writing from Kennesaw State University in Georgia; she has published poems, essays, and stories, and is currently drafting a memoir. She previously served on the board of directors of the Georgia Writers Association, as editor for the Georgia Poetry Society, and as associate editor of the literary journal Flycatcher. Karen recently founded Adoptee Reading Resource