Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Small Town Parenthood

"It was just an all-around awful situation."
"These people seemed to be stopping at nothing to get close to my child, and that's a really scary thing. ...It's a Pandora's box."
"Once they say, 'Hi, I'm your grandmother', or 'I'm your father', you can't undo that."
Lesbian parents of four-year-old boy, Cochrane, Ontario

"We won't see him, I guess, unless maybe he comes back 20 years from now, or something."
"We didn't have much of a say, even if we are grandparents. We would have liked to see him once in a while, even if it was just maybe once or twice a year or something."
Lesbian parents' son's grandparents
Video thumbnail for Inside a fertility clinic
Fertility Clinic

This situation can be considered a 'complication' arising out of an agreement by a high-school friend agreeing to a request from a former classmate years on, both living in the same northern Ontario community, to donate his sperm to that former classmate, a young woman with no biological interest in partnering with a man. The young man's agreement led to a home insemination procedure. And the donor had signed a document that he had no intention of intruding in the child's life.

He experienced a changed attitude, however, once the child was born, and did want access to the child, which the two mothers of the child he had helped father denied him. In Ontario there is no legislation that speaks to the rights of the parties in such arrangements. That being the case the young man brought a lawsuit to obtain access to the child, claiming pressure was responsible by one of the women leading to his initial, uninvolved attitude.

A trial was scheduled and then the case was settled. Part of the agreement in the settlement was that the sperm donor and his parents were permitted a one-hour meeting with the child, but at no time were they to make reference to their relationship to the child. And the meeting was to be a one-time concession; it would never be repeated. Quite the settlement, that. The parents of the sperm donor, stated he had little option, having run out of funding for the lawsuit, other than to reach a settlement.

One can imagine that that brief one-off meeting only served to whet their emotional appetite to somehow be present in the life of a child they had shared bloodlines with. And following that one-time meeting, the mothers of the child in question insist they became aware of the grandparents repeatedly driving past their rural home, located 13 kilometres outside the town of Cochrane.

The biological grandparents of the little boy, according to the child's mothers, followed them as well, while they were driving through the community. They claimed as well that their life was made difficult in the community by the interference of other people. "It got to be so absurd. I was constantly looking over my shoulder, constantly scanning the crowd at the store, at a mall, at an event."

When they contacted police about what they claimed was stalking and the discomfort they felt when strangers would approach them and behave inappropriately, authorities informed the two mothers that nothing could be done, unless someone actually trespassed on their property. One imagines the tender emotional anxiety of grandparents hoping to catch a glimpse of a child whose biological inheritance was part of theirs.

And it is made abundantly clear by the complaints registered by the two mothers of the little boy that they feel completely entitled to privacy, in the righteous belief that their child has nothing whatever to do with the three people who have been haunting the child's presence. A father and his parents, yearning to simply have some contact, however slight, with a child of one, grandchild of the others.

If the two mothers in that cozy little family of three had a wish for privacy, to be left alone, they had the option of some other manner of assisted reproduction offered to same-sex couples, where donations can be obtained anonymously from sperm banks. Their right to privacy would never have been contested, since an anonymous donor would have no interest in any offspring his sperm would be responsible for.

Instead, they extracted a promise from a man willing to help out in an unusual situation with the expectation that he would remain uninterested in the welfare and maturation of a child he had a profound connection to. The women's attitude of selfish refusals to allow any contact between the three people and the child born of their lineage represents an astonishing level of egotistical meanness of character.

Living in a small town of 5,300 people it would be inevitable that there would often be times when all five of the individuals involved, including the child, might come across one another from time to time. At such times, the father and his parents would be expected to completely ignore the presence of their son/grandson? The grandparents in fact, insisted that they had never deliberately trailed the couple and the child.

Although the lawsuit had been abandoned, their acute disappointment in never having permission to interact with the child, however, minimally, represented a blow to people who hardly deserved to be isolated from a child they considered partially their own by parentage. That no accommodation to their desires would be entertained by the two women represents a hard-hearted selfishness that leaves questions in the quality of the nurturance of that child

If society is so agreeable to the necessity of children adopted by parents who don't share the ethnic background of the child they adopt having exposure to their cultural heritage as part of their sensitive upbringing, why is it so different when someone living in a small town having fathered a child and wanting to have a presence in that child's life is denied the opportunity?

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

()() Follow @rheytah Tweet