July 1, 2009

Michael Jackson and Fatherhood

I have to admit, never in a million years did I think I'd be discussing Michael Jackson on my blog. Lord knows the rest of the world is discussing his life enough already. This post really isn't as much about Michael Jackson as it is about the value our culture places on fathers and parenthood and the genetic definition of parenthood.

The media has been filled lately with the news that Michael Jackson's children might not be biologically his. It's been filled with news of a woman who is wholly absent from their lives perhaps gaining custody due to their supposed biological connection (which now is in question as perhaps she was a surrogate). Michael Jackson aside (since he may or may not be father of the year), this leads me to wonder what value we place on the people who tuck their children in at night, tend to their wounds, drop them off at school and who they call dad. Does biology trump all of that?

The way that we are defining parenthood in our society both legally and culturally is very disturbing to me. I think we'd all fare much better as a society and a culture if we opened up our language and defined motherhood and fatherhood more accurately as those who act as a mother and father not as someone who has passed on their DNA. I think this would not only create a better atmosphere for adoptive and foster parents but also for the birthmothers and fathers who make a very difficult life decision and who also may take an active role in their child's life through open adoption. A more broad definition of parenthood honors the many important roles that can be played in a child's life.


  1. Well said. I couldn't agree more. When I came across the news stories about Michal Jackson and Debbie Rowe not being the bio parents, my initial reaction was, "So what!?"

  2. This is a very well written post, and I agree completely with what you are saying. I think our society in general has a narrow minded way of viewing many things, parenthood being one big one.

    Sometimes it feels like all the adoption education in the world wouldn't be enough to change the way people think on a fundamental level.