Those who know me understand that I often joke about my greatest sources of pain– it’s a coping mechanism that I’ve used for quite some time. So while it is cool now to joke about the fact that I was essentially a baby from the Love Boat, let me be very clear about the fact that this was no joking matter back in the ’70s.

Today, over 40% of children are being born out of wedlock, and so I am deeply concerned about the love stories– or lack thereof– that their parents will share with these children. Many of these children will be raised in single parent homes, be at high risk, and will live in poverty. Their chances of surviving and overcoming all these challenges is greatly impacted by their parents’ ability to keep it together for them. It will not be easy for these kids, and this is where I believe it is my mission to be their voice and provide a glimmer of hope.

Despite great odds, it is possible to break free from the sins of our ancestors and forge our own path. My colleague, Mark Baer, in California sent me an article this weekend that led me to realize my story of having parents that were never in a significant relationship is now something that I can share with 306,000 births each year in the U.S. His article went on to emphasize how important it is for these children to be shielded from the anomosity their parents might feel towards each other.

No one should ever have to grow up wondering about their lineage. No child should ever have to question whether s/he was a mistake. Children are the greatest gifts in life, and I hope for the sake of future generations that parents will filter their own emotions, and promote as much family contact as possible for these children.