As you all may have read that I have been entering in and out of my home country Singapore for my driving lessons, one of the prominent news have been making rounds on the newspaper as well as social media.
In summary, a gay Singaporean couple had their child borne out of surrogacy in America and tried to have their 4 years old son to be legally adopted by one of the Singaporean father but was thrown out of our court because surrogacy is not legal here.
While the issue here is not targeting at gay biases, the judge chooses to deny the adoption because on the basis of surrogacy not being “possible in socially conservative Singapore“. You can read more here.
I love my country and proud to be a Singaporean
Now I love my country and proud to be a Singaporean, tolerating some of the laws passed because I felt they do serve to protect our citizens’ needs, looking beyond my own objectives with the reasoning to look at the bigger picture – for the greater good of the majority of Singaporeans. But in this case, I felt I need to voice out because a child’s future is at stake here.
While the boy is still with his loving parents, not in any danger of abandonment, he does carry the stigma of being an illegitimate child in the eyes of the law and most importantly, his application for Singapore citizenship is on the line. This means that he is on a dependent pass which has to be renewed periodically, with the possibility of rejection.
Based on judgement grounds released on 26 December, District Judge Shobha Nair declined to allow the application on the grounds that the applicant may have to move overseas if his child was not granted Singapore citizenship. “The reason for the birth of the child in the US was precisely because it was not possible in Singapore,” she said. “It does not further the interest of the four-year-old child. A four-year-old child will thrive anywhere in the hands of loving people.”
For one, the generalized statement of a child will thrive anywhere in the hands of loving people irks me. It is common knowledge that a child needs routine and constant moving will result in poorer quality of life as an adult.
Without the stability of a citizenship, the future of the child to be able to stay in Singapore permanently hangs over his and his parents’ head. If his dependent pass is not renewed, he will have to exit Singapore and return back on a 3 months tourist visa.
The reason for the birth of the child in the US was precisely because it was not possible in Singapore
Sure, one may argue that it is the fault of the parents to seek surrogacy outside of Singapore and now trying to get into the back door of the legal system when the front door is firmly shut. And before you can ask why the parents did not instead approach to adopt a child, adoption agencies in Singapore does not look favourably at gay parents’ application and the only way, one of them can adopt a child is through lying that he is not gay and remove all evidence leading to it.
So should the parents just forgo their dreams of having their own child? Who are we to deny the basic human instinct to procreate and love? Most importantly, what has the child done to be punished?
You can do all the fault finding and finger pointing at the wrongful actions by the parents. Call them irresponsible. Fine them heavily for desperately wanting a child but getting a child through unconventional means.
But don’t punish the innocent child.
I do understand that the courts do not want to set a precedent and open a can of worms, allowing even the thought of slight possibility that parents can now through commercial means, get a child by throwing huge monetary benefits at the surrogate mother, and a woman can now offer her womb for rent as long as the client can pay. I believe each case can be dealt on a case by case basis and on compassionate grounds.
What is done, is done. You can’t shove the child back into the womb of the surrogate mother and pretend the birth didn’t happen. Instead of a blatant no because you want to uphold the laws, say ‘let’s see how we can resolve this unique situation’ and come up with a balance of stricter penalties, revise the adoption regulations, educating the public and not punish the most innocent party here.
The child did not ask to be in this situation, he did not have a choice.
You can tell this incident truly pains me. What could have the courts do in such unique case? Do you have the same sentiments as me? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Best things in life are meant to be shared, start spreading MiddleMe around, after all, sharing is caring.