The purpose of life? Allegedly (for us blokes) it’s: grow up, get a job, get married, have kids, become a grandad, retire, and then die peacefully.
I’ve achieved three of those things. Growing up, getting a job and I was once married. I did want kids at some point, though if I am to be honest with myself, my desire to actually have them was maybe a little less than that of my ex-wife. My attitude at the time was that if they turned up, great. If not, it’s not the end of the world (though I was concerned about ending the family lineage and not being able to give my parents grandkids).
My ex-wife really wanted kids, and as soon as we were able to do so, we started trying. Unfortunately there were a number of stumbling blocks, and ultimately we turned to IVF treatment which got us further than we had ever been. But disaster struck there too, and I nearly lost her and the baby as a result of complications.
But even this didn’t hold us back – we tried to adopt internationally (there are many reasons for doing so versus domestic adoption, one reason being the age of the child being adopted, which for for first time parents, matters a great deal), but the cost was substantial and even with our salaries, it was prohibitively expensive.
In the end we went our separate ways. It wasn’t just about having children, but there were a number of other factors too. I felt that maybe I had rushed things a little too much – I practically proposed to her a day or two after meeting her. I’m not known for my patience, it must be said.
Being single again for the past 5 years since the divorce, dating has been challenging. I’ve found that many women around my age on dating sites have already had families. One or two children. Either separated or divorced. Fewer women have no ties. And every time I’ve joined these dating sites I’ve always wondered about the question: “Do you want children?” I don’t think it’s an easy question to answer.
What really brought my around to being a dad was volunteering at an NGO in Beijing, China, around 2008, helping orphaned children heal. A young girl of around 5 or 6 came up to me and latched on. We played for a good while, and I noticed that on a couple of occasions she would bite me. Apparently this was common among children in this situation and was an attachment issue. But I didn’t mind. I really took to her, and her to me. Saying goodbye was extremely difficult, and thinking about it now brings me to tears. But the good news, and what’s makes my heart glad, is that she was adopted by a lovely American family. As far as I know, she is doing extremely well in that environment. But I cannot help but think she could have been with me and my ex-wife.
And this is why I’m very pro-adoption. If I were to date a woman that already has children, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. But would I biologically want my own? I still don’t know. I really don’t. Given the madness that’s going on in the world at the moment, I’m not sure I’d want to introduce a new born baby into the insanity that is Brexit, Trump or Putin (and the rest).
Having read about birthstrikers, it makes me think that perhaps not having children of my own helps my own community and even the whole planet. By assimilating into somebody else’s family seems a more sensible thing to do. You may not necessarily seen to be THE dad to those children, but at least you’d be A dad (though secretly you’d want to be the former).
Life goes on. I’ve no a clue what’s going to happen in the next 5-10 years. I may meet someone. I may not. Work keeps me extremely busy most of the time (with a possible detriment to my social life – I take work extremely seriously and if I were to lose my job, there goes the house and everything I’ve worked hard to achieve). But I do know I need to put myself more out there. I had a considered adopting a dog. But that’d go down well with my neighbours who also have dogs. I couldn’t leave a dog at home alone even if they have enough stimulus to keep them busy.
In any event, the answer to life, the universe and everything remains 42.