Depriving Children of a Mother Isn’t Something to Celebrate

Written by Patience Griswold

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his “husband” Chasten recently created a stir by announcing that they had adopted newborns Penelope Rose and Joseph August. In a rather uncomfortable photo-op, the two men are pictured in a hospital bed as if one of them had just given birth, despite the glaringly obvious fact that neither of them ever have or ever will. Not pictured, somewhere, out of frame, Penelope and Joseph have a mother who recently brought them into the world. And they will grow up without her.

But what is the response coming from mainstream media and fawning Twitter followers? “Beautiful!” “Wonderful” “Hope for the future!” If the future is children being raised without a mother (or without a father) in order to fulfill adults’ desires, then the future is not as rosy as people claim.

Placing the desires of adults over the needs of children should not be normalized and it certainly should not be celebrated. These two little ones will grow up with anything money can offer, but what they will be missing is something that money can never buy: a mother.

Adoption is a beautiful thing because it brings healing to tragic situations. In every adoption, a child has lost his or her parents, whether through death, abandonment and neglect, or a mother’s difficult choice to place her child for adoption in a sacrificial pursuit of her child’s best interest. Whatever the circumstances leading to a child’s adoption, the loss of one’s biological parents is a tragedy.

In the case of Penelope and Joseph Buttigieg, that loss is compounded by the fact that even after being adopted, they will grow up intentionally deprived of a mother. Because adoption exists to bring healing in the face of loss, it is important to keep in mind that the purpose of adoption is to meet the needs of a child, not to fulfill the wants of adults. This means that in an adoption, the child’s best interests must come first.

Children need both a mother and a father. Just as children are harmed by fatherlessness, so they are also harmed by motherlessness. No father figure, however loving, can be a mother to a child, just as no woman can ever be a father.

Erica Komisar has pointed out that a child bonds differently with her mother than she does with her father, and notes that “Our denial of the very specific and special physical and emotional role of a mother to her child, particularly in our attempt to be modern, is not in the best interest of children and their needs.” Fathers play an essential role in helping children develop resilience, communication skills, and healthy forms of independence, while mothers have an equally essential role in helping children grow in emotional processing and regulation, as well as developing a sense of security and attachment. Intentionally depriving a child of either one of these bonds ignores his or her best interest.

The natural discomfort of a picture of two men who never have, never will, and never can give birth posing in a birthing bed is a reminder that nature testifies to the truth proclaimed in Scripture. God established the family upon the covenantal procreative union between one man and one woman. Only the union between a man and a woman can form a new human life, and no other pairing meets a child’s needs the way that having a married mother and father does. The gushing remarks on social media celebrating two men adopting twins can never change the fact that these two little ones will grow up without a mother, and that is a grievous loss.

This article was originally published by the Minnesota Family Council.