We've met some gays who have adopted children, and quite frankly, we were a little worried. It didn't seem to us that they were mature enough to be having children - still living the party lifestyle. But then again, this could describe my own parents. OK, bad example. But in fact, it might describe a lot of parents who have kids while they are little more than kids themselves.
There is also the issue of whether you like children. Yes, kids can be fun, at times. Always nice to bounce a baby on your knee - and then hand it back to it's Mother when the diaper loads up with doo-doo. I rag on my parents a lot, but when I think of all the literal shit Mother had to go through (and I am sure Dad didn't handle much of it), I can forgive her chronic alcoholism, bipolar disorder, and penchant for knife play.
Oh, that. A reader asks, "don't you want to pass on your genes?" Uh, well, about those genes. I guess there is "crazy" in every family, but it seems to strike in every generation of ours. And I've seen how some family members get it, and some get it more than others, and perhaps we all get it a little bit. Seems like a 50/50 proposition. Would you want to "pass on your genes" if you knew there were these sort of odds?
So for a lot of people, having kids is just a matter of "no thanks" even if they could have them. For others, it is heartbreaking, as they want children, but due to medical issues, cannot. And yet for the vast majority of Americans (I suspect) pregnancy is something that "just happens" when you don't take precautions, and having a family becomes a foregone conclusion. In fact there is a finite possibility that there is some little Bobby running around out there that I don't know about. He or she would be about 30-40 years old, I suspect.
Adoption is one option for people who want to have kids but can't - and for those who had kids and don't want to. And I've known a lot of adopted people over the years. Most seem pretty well adjusted, although one or two seemed to lean on their adoption as an excuse to be an injured party. One friend of mine, after many beers, would wail, "Did I ever tell you I was adopted?" to which we would reply, "Yes, in fact, every time you have seven beers, you bring this up!" You can use your being adopted as a crutch, or just move on with life and realize that you are probably far better off than you would have been, being raised by a teenaged Mom.
If you don't have children, of course, you are sometimes excluded from this little parenting club. I hear this all the time from heterosexual couples who decide not to have children (or can't and don't want to adopt). The other Moms in the cul-de-sac of Foreclosure Mews Estates tell them, "you don't understand what it is like to be a parent!" which is either posited as some sort of transcendental experience or a recurring nightmare, depending on the parent, time of day, and how many martinis they had. These sort of folks posit that having kids makes you special, and until you do, you are only half a human being.
It has been my experience that the sort of folks who say this are in the distinct minority and are usually the worst sort of parents in the world, as they are latching onto this "parent" thing as a source of identity, as well as a means of lording over the lives of small, helpless people. If you get that sort of thing, just ignore it and find new friends. Odds are, they will exclude you from their Mommy-fests anyway.
Of course procreating is sort of essential to the continuation of the species - which is why I guess people are inclined to do it, and in fact, it is a primal urge. But then again, I think that the overall survival of the species takes more than just a Mom and Dad, but a society as a whole, and even those who do not have children have something to contribute, directly or indirectly, to that society. Just because you didn't squeeze out a squealing brat does not mean your life has no worth or meaning. It just means you don't have a little copy of yourself running around after you die.
And I am OK with that. I guess one thing I have enjoyed about life is living on the outside looking in, which is perhaps where I get my own unique perspective on life from. It is funny to me, but a lot of "straight" people assume that gays want to be married (sure - for the purposes of Social Security) and have kids and be "just like one of them." But not me. The whole advantage of being different was to be different, and please don't take offense but I don't want to be just like you. Although, I guess, it would be fun to be a "Dad" and tell Dad jokes and drive a minivan with the family to Disney World at least once in your life - saying, of course, "If you don't pipe down back there, I'm turning this car around right now and going home!"
Sadly, I never will experience that joy. I suspect more than one Dad would tell me I ain't missing much!