Sarah Silverman Hops On The Straight Talk Express About Adoption, Depression

Illustration for article titled Sarah Silverman Hops On The Straight Talk Express About Adoption, Depression

In a world where moms depress the shit out of mild to moderately depressed women simply by continuing to exist after their daughters were ejected from the womb, comedian Sarah Silverman, who has been outspoken about her depression in The Bedwetter as well as her act, is ending the chain of pain here, she said on Thursday's The Conversation with Amanda DeCadenet.


"I don't want kids. I'd love to adopt someday and I have a lot of adoption in my family... I know that I have this depression and that it's in my family. Every family has their stuff but, for me, I just don't feel strong enough to see that in a child."


A study from the Handbook of Medical Psychiatry circa September 2011 indeed links major depression and genetics; first-degree relatives (parents, siblings children) are two to three times more likely to have it, although the specific genes have not yet been identified. Another, out of Stanford Medical School, asserts that unless the adopted child's biological parent had depression, being raised by someone who did wouldn't see them "catching it," which may be intuitive but is good to know nevertheless.

This is the part where I would praise or criticize Silverman's choice if I didn't feel too close to it to do so; one of my parents is schizophrenic and mental disorders are more common than cancer in my family. This, as well as my own moderate depression (at best, neutral; at worst, a big sucking black hole of inability to act and general doomed-ness that I am sure other depressed readers are familiar with), has made me seriously consider whether it was my responsibility not to have children. On the other hand, the final stop on this train of thought is the intersection of Eugenics Street and Gattaca Boulevard, so like... problems?

Silverman then goes on:

We live in Los Angeles, where everybody is like, "Don't get your dog from a breeder, get your dog from a shelter..." and I agree, but don't get your people from a breeder. There are human puppies in shelters and it's odd that that never seems to be a connection that people make. If you're not OK with yourself, it's easier to love a dog than a person in need because you don't see all the things you hate about yourself reflected back in the eyes of a dog. If Africa was full of springer spaniels dying of AIDS and starvation we'd probably take care of it in a day.


I liked her before, but I kind of love her now.

'Sarah Silverman Considers Adoption' []
'Is Depression Genetic?' []
'Major Depression And Genetics' [Stanford]

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As an adopted child, I find myself torn. I was placed as infant - a mostly white, healthy baby girl,i.e. - the child that people want to adopt. And even then my parents were still asked if they really wanted me because I have a forceps scar on the back of my head.

But there are hundreds of thousands of children in the US alone who are not white infants waiting, longing, hoping for a family to love them. The children that desperately need homes the most never get them. And that breaks my heart.

So, sometimes, when I hear people who are struggling with infertility, who spend their life savings on IVF or foreign adoptions, it frustrates me - there are so many children to love. Or people who say they want a biological child - it makes adopted families seem less than. I have two dear friends who are facing issues right now - I've even offered to be a surrogate. But when one of them goes on about needing her 'own' child, it stings. I wish more people would consider adopting an older (older being 6+months) child or a sibling group, or yes, a kid with special needs. Because life's still a crap shoot.

And as far as adoption being a brave choice or that adopted parents are saints - false. There wasn't anything brave, or charitable about my parent's decision - it was entirely selfish - they wanted a baby. Full stop.