So, I knew that I wanted to start a blog about my adoption/parenthood process, but I had NO EARTHLY IDEA what to call it. I often have this problem with creating online identities, perhaps because my main one is a great one (with a pun!). But I was kicking around my bedroom, avoiding cleaning it (which is oddly, the same thing I’m doing at this very moment), when my eyes fell to my paperback shelves. My favorite science fiction author by far is Octavia E. Butler, the much-missed afrofuturist, and in the Patternmaster series, there is a book entitled Wild Seed.
It’s about the meeting of a parasitic post-human from ancient Egypt discovering an essentially immortal shape shifter in 19th century Africa and courting her to join his breeding-humans-for-tasty-souls project. You know what? Read the book, you won’t regret it. But the main character, Emma, is referred to by Doro as a “wild seed”. She’s not part of his human husbandry program, but she is more powerful than any of the people he’s managed to breed, and he wants to introduce her into his breeding stock for her strength and novelty.
I read this book for the first time long before I ever was interested in food or farming, so it was my first introduction to the value of breeding in wild seed in establishing healthy cultivated crops. When my eyes fell on the book, however, I started thinking about my attitudes toward adoption. Basically, I don’t like monocultures in any form. I am the product of an interfaith marriage. In my religious life (one of the places most apt to produce a single-worldview environment) I go out of my way to be a part of pluralistic communities. I live in a diverse city. My family of origin was created through transracial adoption, and I intend to continue that practice. My adoption process, and the fact that I was not just open to, but preferred to take a child of color, was partly motivated by wanting to create the kind of family and community that I want to see. Although “wild” is a problematic term for the child I will be parenting, this little person will be coming from outside my community, outside my genetic legacy, and be clearly marked as originating from elsewhere. And I value that, like farmers value unique genetic material, to make their crops and animals better.
The “come true” part of the blog title also originates in a book: The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan. That’s where I first learned that apples are among the plants that do not come true from seed. If you plant a seed from a red delicious apple, the resulting tree will not produce red delicious apples. It will most likely produce inedibly sour apples that are only good for making into liquor. You know what? You should read this book too for all the science. So that part represents my wish for this wild seed I’m bringing in to cultivate: that ze will come true to zimself and to the values of zer upbringing. My father now says that he came into adoptive parenthood incredibly naive, expecting nurture to overrule everything, and it was difficult for him to learn to recognize the differences between him and my eldest siblings (and then later, to recognize the commonalities he had with biological children). I hope that I can help my future child be connected to zer heritage, both genetic and familial, and recognize the sameness and difference that will connect us.
So: Wild Seed Come True; a hope for my future.