13 March 2023 |
Dear Aunt Sevvy,
My unmarried, unattached daughter recently came to my wife and me and announced that she’s going to have a baby. She says she’s had no luck finding a husband she wants to spend her life with, and she’s getting older, and she’s always wanted a child, so she’s going to get pregnant from a sperm donor.
We surely won’t reject her, but it’s really ripping my heart out to see her take this step that seems so contrary to the pattern we set for her growing up.
Oh, I should add, she’s very involved in church, a Sabbath School teacher and deaconess, and I wonder how the church will react when they see this.
Signed, Reluctant grandparents.
Aunty certainly understands why religious people feel uncomfortable with unusual methods of reproduction, such as IVF, surrogacy, or, in your daughter’s case, sperm donation.
Yet should we be? We Adventists accept other types of medical procedures that allow us to change our body if something is wrong. We are even okay with medical procedures that correct problems that we have brought on ourselves—for example, a heart procedure that is necessary because of a sedentary lifestyle or unhealthy foods.
Some might argue that having a child that doesn’t have both a mother and a father is irresponsible. Yet Aunty would remind you of the wide variety of families children grow up in in our modern world: single parents, LGBTQ+ parents, divorced co-parents, grandparents raising children. The idea that a child must have both a mother and a father in order to live a happy, well-adjusted life would probably doom many of the world’s children!
But it seems clear to Aunty that God guides and strengthens children even in families you or I might not think are ideal. You only need to read the Bible to confirm that: look at how many of the Bible characters grew up in unconventional families!
So please: rather than focusing on your concerns for your daughter’s reputation (or your own), be happy for her. I would go so far as to congratulate you for raising this young woman with the confidence to make such a difficult life choice. What she’s doing isn’t easy. But why should she miss out on her heart’s desire to raise a child because she has been unlucky in love? Does being unlucky in love make a person unfit to care for a child? Certainly not.
Aunty trusts you will be kind and supportive grandparents. Raising a child is not easy even when you are doing so with a partner. She will need help to raise your grandchild. It takes a village to raise a child, and you are a part of that village. Help her with chores and with childcare. Take your grandchild to dance lessons or soccer practice or dentist appointments. Sit with your grandchild in Sabbath School and church. Buy that beloved little one new shoes when they grow out of their old ones. Be the doting grandparents that you would for any grandchild, no matter how they came into this world.
And I hope you will defend your daughter if the church gets weird about it. Both she and your grandchild deserve your full support.
So I say: congratulations to you on your upcoming grandchild—and Aunty thanks you for raising a daughter who has the strength and courage to do what she knows she needs to do to have a fulfilling life.
You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—without identifying the writer. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and her opinions are not necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.