The Problem with Physical > Mental

This morning, Husband’s alarm went off an hour before mine needed to, which is a curious thing since he’s still sleeping and had no reason to wake either of us up at a specific time. Bless his heart. 

First, I started stewing over how people must snow themselves into thinking their OBGYNs/hospitals are not performing abortions, and how the high cost of healthcare is probably covering overhead, so more of each patient’s money is going toward that than their tax dollars to Planned Parenthood abortions (which would be zero since federal tax dollars can’t be used for PP abortions). My assumption is they’ve never thought about it, so here I am thinking about it for them (and to recap, I firmly support Planned Parenthood). 

This led me straight to adoption (which is my preferred choice when it comes to an infant one cannot care for for whatever reason, but certainly I do not govern anyone’s choices but my own). And then to: most people want healthy, perfect babies. And then to: but not everyone — some people will adopt babies with disabilities or deformities. And then to: which is more preferable to them than adopting foster care children in their own backyard, a child for whom they do not need to wait, a child who will be less expensive. And then to: which must mean physical deformities trump behavioral problems in preferability. And then to: why?

People don’t tend to hide their fear of behavioral problems or mental disabilities. After all, look at all the anti-vaxxers who’d rather their children die from or infect others with mumps or measles all to avoid the (zero) possibility of the autism spectrum.  I could really go on all day about THIS hot button topic, but let’s not and say we did. And while most of society says, “No no — this small group of people isn’t representational of how we view things,” I fear that it may be. We’d rather our children have an outward, physical problem than an inward, mental one. 

Which brings me back to adoption. 

It’s speculation on my part, certainly, but it seems to me that’s the underlying fear of adopting local foster children. They might have mental disorders, problems with addiction, learning disabilities, or something that requires them to go to therapy and take medication. (And I’m specifically talking about individuals who are open to and willing to adopt babies or children with physical deformities here — I know most people want perfect newborns, unblemished from the world’s tragedies, particularly those of the Asian variety, who carry with them an often 7+ year long wait. What must it be like to be wanted for that long. Foster children certainly don’t know.) Years of medical tests? A lifetime of procedures? Catheters or surgeries or wheelchairs or physical scars left on their small faces? This we can handle as a family. We will come together, bolster each other up, and we will conquer the world together. 

Somehow forgetting all the while that these physical scars, these outward signs of being different, will without question lead to psychiatrists or psychologists, to speech therapists, because this child could very easily be traumatized. I am in no way saying these children should not be adopted — on the contrary, more should be because one doesn’t really risk more by adopting an imperfect child than the plausibility of giving birth to one (medical histories only go so far back I imagine, though I’m an adoptee, so mine consists of nothing). 

I’m just saying children with physical deformities or scars may be as emotionally and mentally broken as a child without them, who was, however, born to a mother with addiction or who lost his parents to the prison system or who has no other family to care for him. 

Furthermore, you may, as my parents did, adopt a healthy, seemingly perfect infant who will eventually go on to be diagnosed with a slew of mental illnesses, who takes medications that on occasion make her physically sick, who some mornings simply cannot get out of bed, not even to eat. (I don’t even have the luxury of saying, “But at least I’m physically perfect!” because I have adult-onset acne and back problems and a torn labrum in my right hip.)


What are the problems we have, as a society, with neurological and mental disorders? Why are they worse and more daunting than physical? And what can we do to fix that?


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