The price of manufactured kids

South African Christo and Theo Menelaou with triplets.
South African Christo and Theo Menelaou with triplets.

I’ve barely slept the past couple of nights. No, I don’t feel unwell. And I am not finding life particularly overwhelming.

What has stirred me is the future of Joshua, Zoe and Kate, the surrogate triplets recently born to South African same-sex couple Christo and Theo Menelaou.

The baby boy and his identical twin sisters were delivered prematurely at just over 31 weeks. Their first weeks of life were constantly monitored in the hospital until they were considered strong enough to go home with their dads.

Surely I should be rejoicing over these three precious bundles of new life. Well, I am. After all, every new life is a gift. I am not questioning this.

My angst comes from that fact that everything Joshua, Zoe and Kate have experienced in these first few months of their lives almost mirrors that which my twin sister and I underwent.

We too were born two months premature, weighing in between 3 and 4lbs each and then immediately removed from the heartbeat and presence of our birth mother before three months of hospital monitoring. Our fate was to be adoption by a married couple who already had three of their own biological children. Ours was a benevolent response to a difficult situation.

So why have I been awake at night mulling over Joshua, Zoe and Kate’s future? Well, I believe their life journey has taken a malevolent twist in a very deliberate situation.

It wasn’t until my thirties that, through prayer and reflection, I started to get in touch with the truth that, deep down within me, although raised in a home where blessings were in abundance, I had carried around with me a primal wound since birth as a result of being abandoned by my biological mother. And primal wounds hurt deeply.

The person in whom I was formed, of whom I was created, from whom half of my very personhood was connected, had stepped aside from my life journey within minutes of my birth, the time when my twin and I most needed a mother. She had not planned to get pregnant, and certainly not with twins.

The pregnancy undergone by the mother of triplets Joshua, Zoe and Kate was planned, and their mother’s departure from their sides had been designed from the outset.

This leaves each triplet carrying around a primal wound and a deep inner pain that acts like a lens through which they will process every aspect of the world around them.

How can I be so sure of this?

This winter, two men in their 60s – both unknown to each other – shared with me the stories of their adoption and their recent meetings with their birth mothers. Their stories, like my own, could be encapsulated in the phrase: “a buried part of me finally came home”. This was echoed by both men’s wives who shared passionately about a deeper, hidden aspect of their spouses’ personas now rising up and finding breadth and freedom through such a discovery.

Then there are the courageous and heart-wrenching stories of adult children of same-sex parenting such as Dawn Stefanowicz and Robert Oscar Lopez who speak as adults of the intense gnawing pain experienced through being deliberately given two parents of their opposite sex while being denied the parent of their own sex during childhood.

Why then, I ask myself, with the knowledge we have today of the primal wound experienced by a baby when it is removed from mother at birth (think too of the woeful tales of childhood pain and desolation from the Stolen Generation) do we stand silent as touchy-feely news articles are written about vulnerable lives like the Menelaou triplets?

We merely keep inflicting the same pain, but in a different guise and at an earlier stage of life.

I am not judging fathers Christo and Theo’s ability to do the best they can at parenting.

Similar to singer Elton John and David Furnish with their two sons, these men live in a privileged compound where Oscar Pistorius was their neighbour prior to his conviction. It would certainly appear that financial security is something the triplets may never need to worry about.

But the foundation of healthy child development doesn’t begin with finances.

Strong relational access to all biological roots wherever possible, and especially to mother, is the first act of responsible parenting.

There is no wonder that Elton John said of his first son: “It’s going to be heartbreaking for him to grow up and realise he hasn’t got a mummy.” The truth is, he does. It is just that a same-sex couple’s desires now trump the basic rights of a child without any repercussions. If gays want kids then it’s goodbye mommy, or goodbye daddy from lesbians.

The rights to parenthood are now being championed above the responsibilities parents have to children. Where, I wonder, is the outrage at the primal injustice forced upon these triplets in the name of love by their same-sex parents?

Of course, gay surrogacy and a rise in gay parenting will become commonplace should Australians vote yes to the mirage of same-sex marriage in the forthcoming plebiscite.

The right to marry will mean no discrimination can be shown against same-sex couples’ demands to have children.

Are we really stupid enough to want to repeat the abuse and neglect of children within our nation’s future legislation?

A very small minority of adults who wish to inflict their ideology onto vulnerable minors, as we already see happening with the Safe Schools Coalition, is slowly preparing the ground for an entire future generation that will think and act in accordance with their distorted ways. We are not powerless subjects beholden to an abject future. For the time being at least, we have choice and remain the masters who can shape what is to come.

So, please spare a prayer, and latterly a vote, for the growing number of Joshuas, Zoes and Kates who deserve the greatest benevolence rather than a covert malevolence sown into the start of their life journeys. Maybe then we can all get a good night’s sleep.