There's a line in the movie Parenthood that goes something like this: "You need a license to drive, a license to fish, heck, you even need a license for your dog. But any [idiot] can be a parent." You don't need approval from anyone to get pregnant and become a mom.
On the other hand, if you want to adopt a baby, you have to go through a pretty intense application process. Among other things, you have to be fingerprinted, provide recommendations, give evidence of your physical and mental health, and sometimes you even have to be a certain religion, or be married for a certain amount of time.
Angelina Jolie thinks that adoptive parents are more fit to raise a child than biological parents because their backgrounds and personalities are scrutinized to see if they're up for the challenge. But when she gave birth to a baby nobody investigated anything.
She said, "It should be hard to be a parent, period. I go through many things to adopt. I'm fingerprinted, I'm checked, I go through home studies. I have to prove I'm a decent citizen; a good human being. That didn't happen to me when I gave birth, so it's interesting that there's no background check when you bring a child into your home in that way."
This week, Mommy Blogger Lisa Belkin asked in her blog Motherlode, "Should Parenting Require a License?" She says she's beginning to think so after seeing so many stories in the news about "bad" parents. One of the stories that upset her recently included adoptive parents who failed to report that their 11-year-old son was missing. That just goes to show you that any parent—biological or adoptive—can be neglectful.
So what about the idea that we all need to get licenses to become and stay parents? Maybe we'd have to pass a test, take continuing ed classes, and get our licenses renewed every so often.
Should you need a license to have a baby?