Innocently reading the Sunday New York Times, I encounter this line: “she is considering having a second child with her ex-husband because ‘I already know that demon, I already know what’s there, even genetically.’”
This is what it has come to? Well, only when the Build-a-Family store fails you. Move over, eHarmony, what’s love got to do with something as practical as wanting a child? There are now cyber-stores where scenes like this one can come to play out:
“I’ve met so many women in this same situation, who aren’t married and feel like they missed the boat,” said Dawn Pieke, 43, a sales and marketing manager in Omaha, Neb., whose daughter, Indigo, was born last October. Ms. Pieke met Indigo’s father, Fabian Blue, on a Facebook page for Co-parents.net in June 2011, not long after the end of her 10-year relationship. She wanted a baby, but feared doing it alone because, she said, “I didn’t grow up with my dad.” Rather than focusing on a love match, she decided to find someone to share both the financial and emotional stresses of child rearing.
Mr. Blue, for his part, had wanted to be a father since 2006. He had considered adoption, but “figured no one would let a single gay male adopt a child, and I didn’t have the kind of income for a surrogate,” he said. He went on Craigslist and parenting Web sites and had coffee dates with a handful of women, but “just like in any relationship there needed to be a spark and it simply wasn’t there,” he said. With Ms. Pieke, though, he said the electricity was palpable from the start. The two corresponded on Facebook and then Skype, asking each other questions about everything from religion to dating to child-rearing philosophies. By November he decided to move from Melbourne, Australia, where he was living, to Omaha.
“My twin sister was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ ” Ms. Pieke recalled with a laugh. “I said, ‘No. He wants a child. I want a child. We want to meet and see if it’s anything bigger.’ ”
They first met in person on Thanksgiving 2011. “I felt like this guy was my relative or long-lost brother, but then again he was also a stranger,” Ms. Pieke said. They continued the dialogue: reading each other’s medical charts, undergoing fertility tests. He moved into a separate bedroom in her home, and, she said, four weeks later, “He handed me a semen sample, we hugged, and I went into my bedroom and inseminated myself.”
Someday, some kid is going to read that line when he asks his co-parents how they met.
The piece closes with another woman:
who already has two children aged 22 and 4 from previous co-parenting relationships, said she had only met “desirable, accomplished men” while seeking her third, including a married man whose wife did not want another child but gave him her blessing to have one outside the marriage. (This is California, after all.)
Regarding her next partner, she said: “It’s about whether we can relate to each other, but also about being shrewd and making a really logical, rational decision for my future unborn children.”
I’m hoping at least she sees that with-the-married-man arrangement is going to fail on the relating, shrewd, logical, rational tests, based on the fact he is married to another woman.
Is this really our world today? That the best you can do is avoid marriage all together — insurance against divorce, you see!
The truth, of course is: That while New York Times might be good for highlighting the extreme, making it fashionable, men and women are wondering what to do if they want children but all they have seen is marriages that didn’t work, if they even saw that, and no one they are meeting seems to know or be up to any better. (I’m thinking of all the men and women Kay Hymowitz writes about, among others.)
Our culture and national policies have to be conducive to families and civil society, because random co-parenting arrangements aren’t havens of love and commitment. And they sure ain’t sacraments.
Our churches and community associations need to be free and flourishing to swoop in with love and support and wisdom for young people and reaching older single folks who are looking for something other than being alone or trolling the right website with the DNA of her dreams.