Monday, April 29, 2013

Margaret's Story-Circumcision and the Adopted Child

Shortly after we adopted our barely 4 year old son from an Eastern European country, we took him to a local pediatrician for an routine examination. He had no medical needs at that time, but we wanted to get familiar with the doctor. Our new son had already been examined by the international adoption clinic at a major hospital, so we knew his medical needs were met.

The doctor examined our son quickly and asked us if we'd thought about circumcision. Yes, I told him, and we were not interested. The doctor quickly explained the reasons for why we might want to have it done, including "increased risk of infections". "We haven't dealt with infections yet, and if they become a problem, perhaps we'll consider it", I told him. Then he told me that "it would be best done before kindergarten" and when I dismissed that as well, he quickly gave me a patronizing nod before leaving the room.

I had not even researched circumcision that that point. I knew that most of Europe no longer practices routine infant circumcision, including my child's native country, and that was enough for me. It did not seem like a fair choice for me to make for my child at 4 years old. A child I barely knew at that point. I was shocked that our doctor would advise an unneccesary cosmetic procedure on a young child, who had recently been through the trauma of international adoption. He barely spoke any English at this point, and our doctor was advocating that he go under anesthesia to be surgically altered. I will absolutely seek necessary medical care for my child, but I do not believe it is my business to make cosmetic decisions about his penis.

My son is now 6 years old. We now have 2 intact adopted sons and have never had a single infection or problem with either of their genitals. Now that I know more about circumcision, I am very glad I followed my gut and completely ignored the doctor's advice.

1 comment:

  1. "it would be best done before kindergarten"

    That quote from your pediatrician was so revealing of the real motive behind American RIC: the fear that an intact boy will be bullied by circumcised boys, and later will have difficulties keeping girlfriends. In other words, Anteater = Epic Fail Social Life.

    When the body and attitudes about the body clash, don't alter the body: reexamine the attitudes.

    I was very fortunate that my pediatrician in the 1950s supported my mother's decision not to circumcise me.