Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Why I should not be responsible for getting your son circumcised

This blog is, as you know, my version of a journal. I have avoided posting for a few days because I am worked up about something that is very controversial, and as a rule, I don't like to get people all riled up about something I post.


I have a hot button issue flashing in front of me, and it is hard to think about anything else.

One of the biggest challenges of foster parenting is not having any say over the babies' future, or much control over the babies' schedule. Foster parenting is a job. A job with terrible pay, where you do not get time off. And that is okay - it is rewarding and important work. But my time is not my own, and decisions are made that I do not necessarily agree with. I have to be at appointments when I am told to be at appointments - and appointments are not necessarily scheduled at my convenience. His parents have visitation with him twice a week, I have to be at WIC appointments once a month, and  - because Dude is a newborn - we have pediatrician and early-intervention type appointments to make sure he's thriving, and to provide continuity of care when he leaves my custody. Translation: up to 4 days a week, we have somewhere to be at a specific time.

Doctor's appointments are the worst - the waits are long, and the visits are especially fraught with tension - mostly because Dude's mom is there, and she wants him to be circumcised, and it hasn't happened yet.

And this is where it gets tricky. We chose not to circumcise our son. Just thinking about the actual procedure makes me queasy. Listen, I get that it is the parent's choice, and in this situation Dude's parent is choosing to have her son circumcised. But I am struggling with it. As a foster parent, I am proud to care for each child as if they were my own. To use my judgement, to do my best for each of them. And in this particular case, I can't.

And it really makes me uncomfortable.

I did try to be supportive of her choice. I called the clinic for days on end trying to get someone to agree to circumcise him, to no avail. At our next appointment I asked the doctor directly. I knew it was important to the mom, and my job is to support her parenting efforts, and encourage her interest in Dude's well-being. So I did my job. I asked the doctor if Dude could be circumcised. And then I tried not to pass out at the thought of having it done right then and there.

"Getting circumcised" the doctor said sternly, looking at me over her glasses, "is the least of his problems."

I had to disagree. If someone suggested cutting off part of MY genitals, that would be a serious problem.
Just ask this guy: He stands on Venice Beach. Or at least, he did. We met him in 1998, and Sam had his picture taken with him. Right now, I kind of want to call him and ask for some back-up.

I see the doctor's point. Dude has bigger issues (more on that later). And honestly, the issue is not circumcision in and of itself. The issue is that I cannot use my best judgement, because in this case my best judgement is irrelevent, and to some people very controversial.

But what is hardest for me to accept is the idea that I am doing wrong by any of my children - the ones who aren't circumcised, and the ones who will be.

1 comment:

Amber, theAmberShow said...

I was wondering how this would be handled, actually. I'm sorry. What an awful position to be put in. (I'm with you on removing part of someone's genitals. Ugh.)