The story of that contest for adoption has touched deeply into our public concern. It's more than a transatlantic tug of war, and raises enormous issues. As all the commentators have pointed out, the need for proper regulation of adoption, where full interviews are conducted, histories monitored, children matched with prospective parents and all the checks and balances in place, is vital. For in a society where adults have all the power, the interests of children have to be safeguarded to the utter limit.
Babies' needs are intense. They depend on the fundamental self-giving of parents for food, warmth, touch, understanding, protection, care. They are distinct persons. Their minds and bodies are formed with great intellectual strides each day; learning to identify the smile of an adult, the corner of a room, the sudden freshness of a breeze. Parental love provides the shape to their existence and well-being, and allows them to respond in security and trust.
Empathising with the child is thus basic to the structure of parenting, for the relationship requires commitment to unselfish care. God delegates to parents the task of bringing up the children God loves into maturity. A civilised society is one where this relationship is respected and legally protected, and where children are honoured.
From a Christian perspective, the meaning of children lies in their identity and ultimate worth as given by God, not in their usefulness to others, whether that use is emotional or economic. God's value on babies is beyond sentiment or price, and ours should be too.