Warning for references to child abandonment and discrimination.
When babies began to be born
with tiny, naked wings and tails,
at first the people rejoiced at
the sign of God's work.
But when the pinfeathers grew in,
sometimes they revealed
Then the adults began to realize
that this gift came with a price.
Not every child had the grand wings
of eagles or peacocks or pheasants,
or even the humble and common
sparrows, doves, and chickens that
made up so much of the world.
There were baby goths in vulture wings.
There were infants with plumage
that hinted of hidden ancestry.
There were henfeathered boys
and girls with cockerel plumes
curling proudly over their hips.
There were parents who couldn't cope with it.
Some of the children were abandoned
when their pinfeathers opened out into
colors or shapes displeasing to adults.
They were abandoned on doorsteps
or in daycare, left on street corners,
and when older, sometimes they
ran away on their own volition
rather than staying at home,
unwelcome and unwanted.
Yet for every parent who rejected a child
for somehow not being what was desired,
not having some privileged plumage,
there was someone else who
longed for a child of any kind.
There were would-be parents
who haunted the group homes
and the adoption agencies, who
didn't care what plumage a child
had or didn't have, only that there
was a child in need of parents
just as they needed a child.
They only wanted an opportunity
to build a future together,
just like any family.
In the end, family of choice was
the ultimate exercise of free will:
God might put angel wings on people,
but it was people who decided
what to do about them.
* * *
Pinfeathers are new feathers that haven't opened up yet. Watch a video of feather development.
Child abandonment occurs for many reasons; often the child is unwanted due to some undesirable trait.