Birth Plan Anxiety: Circumcision

So, as I mentioned before, BMA had filled out a birth plan worksheet before we met last week, but I didn’t know what it said, since it hadn’t arrived at the agency yet. The day after I got back home, I had an email with a scan of the quick worksheet that BMA had completed outlining her wishes for the time surrounding the birth. Most of it was as I had assumed it would be, or what she’d told me. I am to be present at the birth and to share in making medical decisions, she wants time with the child, but doesn’t want to feed zer, she wants pictures. But two things that I had pushed to the back of my mind came back to the front in a wave of anxiety when I saw how she wants to proceed on the following matters: she wants to make the decision regarding circumcision, and she wants to name the child.

After the jump, I’ll talk about the circumcision issue, and in a later entry, about the thorniness of names.

Even at the beginning of this process, circumcision has been on my mind, since it goes part and parcel with converting any child I raise to Judaism. Although how the conversion will be approached hasn’t yet been worked out (trying to figure out if the Boston Beis Din is open to converting the child of a queer parent; if they aren’t, trying to figure out if I want to assemble my own beis din of rabbi friends or go with an established one of a community I don’t actually belong to), but I talked with a mohel (who is also a urologist) about circumcision, and the best decision medically and halachicly would be to have a hospital circumcision at birth and then hatafat dam at the point of conversion, probably at around 6 months when the adoption is finalized.

But the worksheet said BMA wanted to make the decision regarding circumcision. What if she was an intactivist? What if my steadfast desire to circumcise meant she didn’t think I was a good parent for her child? Would this be a huge problem, because it’s not something I feel I can compromise on. There are people who believe you can be a male religious Jew and uncircumcised, but I’m not one of them. Thankfully, a clarifying email to the agency later, it turns out that BMA wants to circumcise the baby if it is male, and I breathed a sigh of relief. All this anxiety, and we don’t even know if this child is male!


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