While going through the administrative process for international child adoption, the first form that prospective families are required to complete asks the question “Why do you want to have a child?” The candidates for parenthood are given only two lines to answer this life-sized question.

This plain question illuminates the difference between the processes of becoming an adoptive or biological parent – to get a biological child, parents do not need to fill in forms or analyse and justify their reasons. The question, however, is relevant to most people at some point in their lives

In our work “Why do you want to have a child?” we have asked this same question to many different people: those who already have a child, people who wish to have a child, as well as people who have decided they don’t want children. The people interviewed did not know the question in advance, and were therefore unable to prepare an answer beforehand. The work reveals the interviewees’ feelings of surprise, discomfort or hesitation at being suddenly confronted with the unexpected question.

We ourselves have lived with this question for the last few years and this work gave us the opportunity to relate our own feelings about it as well as to share the question with others. We have included our own response to the question by including ourselves amongst the interviewees.

The work is supported by the Arts Council of Finland.

Why do you want to have a child? premiered at the Aine Art Museum, Tornio, Finland, on November 27th, 2009. 

Why do you want to have a child?
2009
single-screen hd video
38:00

directed, photographed and edited by
minna rainio & mark roberts