All They Need Is Love

I haven’t always wanted to have children of my own. To be blunt in the 80’s my late first wife Madeline and me were simply too selfish. Our respective jobs dominated our lives, demanding a substantial percentage of our attention and commitment. Our home was a tidy, clean sanctuary from the world without intrusion: everything in its place and the sound of Brahms wafting through the air on a Sunday morning. When Maddie died a part of me wished we’d had children. What it must be to look into the eyes of a child with the knowledge that without a loving union they wouldn’t even exist. On the other hand there was an even greater part of me, the logical part that caused me to be thankful that there wasn’t a ‘mini-us’ running around following her untimely and tragic death. After all, I could hardly look after myself let alone another little being. In more recent times my lovely wife Liz and I had occasion to visit Vancouver as I needed to qualify in person to the Canadian authorities my expensive and long-fought right to residency. As we sat in Vancouver’s immigration department we spotted a huge group of Canadian couples that had just arrived from China each clutching a precious bundle of life. They’d been on a mass trip of adoption and had brought back a plane load of new life. Once all of the ‘ Oooh, aren’t they cute’ sentiments had been expressed there was something about the whole scenario that made me feel very uneasy. I wondered if Canada had finally managed to re-home all of its orphaned or disenfranchised children: surely not, and if not, why were all of these well-heeled couples being allowed to remove these babies from the land of their birth? Liz and I had considered adoption, going to the extent of application and attendance at one of the thousands of meetings that occur weekly as part of the extensive vetting process. In the end we decided we were just too old to give a child the realistic attention and the energy they’d deserve. I was being starkly reminded of my 80’s selfishness. However my eyes were opened to the plight of so many children in the UK who need to find the love and security of a safe and secure family within which to begin their lives in as ‘normal’ a way as possible. This week a woman from America had returned a boy to the home of his birth, Russia, with a note which told the Russian authorities that he was just too difficult to deal with. This overt, disgusting, consumerist and dispensable view of another’s life made me sick. It confirmed to me that all children around the world deserve the respect and commitment of the society of their birth. Me? I’ve since been given a third chance, becoming the step father and grand father to a beautiful family of children for which I shall be eternally grateful.

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