Taking a Step Back And Thinking About the Meaning of A Genetic Link

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while will probably agree with two observations, the first of which is a broad generalization.  At least I hope you will.   I want to lay them out here as a premise to some thoughts more general than those offered in response to breaking news.

1.  People have different views about the importance of a genetic link when it comes to parentage questions.   In particular, some people assert that the people who provide the genetic material used to create a child ought to be recognized as legal parents because they provided that material.   Others do not agree with this view.   This division and its variations and elaborations has been the subject of a great deal of discussion here.

2.  I fall into that second group described above.   I would not tie genetic linkage to legal parentage.  I do not think a person should be a legal parent simply because he or she contributed DNA to create a child, although of course I would not disqualify a genetically related parent from legal parentage.

In a comment on a recent post someone–I think it was Kisrita–challenged me to explain why, given that I acknowledge in 1 that there are a wide range of views on the topic, I say that my view should prevail in law.    I don’t think she said it like this, but I took the point to mean that it could be seen as a bit much to say “yes, I see that many people have many different perspectives on this, but my view is the right one and so the law should follow my reasoning and not those other people’s.”     She asked me to justify this result.

I thought this was a very fair point to make and I’ve been giving it some thought.   This is my response.

When you consider making a rule governing an area where there is a wide-range of opinion/feeling/experience it is rather a challenge.   Perhaps it is impossible to please everyone.   And I’m not even sure pleasing everyone is really the goal.

In thinking about legal parentage my main goal is finding hat is best for kids generally.  And I tend to think that maintaining/protecting/recognizing critical social/psychological relationships is what is best for them.   (As an aside–something I really need to pursue–you’ll notice all the terms I use assume an existing relationship.  They don’t deal with who has a right to form those relationships.   That–for me from my point of view–is a different question and a very important one.)

Anyway, so that’s my first point–I want to be clear about my ultimate goal.   Now it may be that this goal–doing what is best for kids–is in fact widely shared.   Perhaps the division is really about what serves this goal–whether it is served by preserving critical social relationships or whether it is served by preserving/protecting genetic relationships.   I’m not sure this really makes anything easier, but maybe it’s worth noting.

It’s also important to me to be clear–I do not mean to argue that genetic relationships are entirely unimportant and should count for nothing.   Some of you have probably noticed that I used to be much more absolute about this than I am now.   I would now assert that the law should recognize genetic connections–at least those between genetic parent/child.  But I do not think this recognition needs to take the form of recognizing the person as a legal parent.

A genetic parent may be an important person for a child to know or to know about.   I’ve discussed ways in which the person may be important in a number of past posts–but it’s hard to find them to link to, alas.   I think the law can and should find ways to recognize the importance of the relationship without insisting that the genetic parent must be a legal parent.

So I think the assertion that I’m proposing an “I win/you lose” standard isn’t quite fair.   I’m suggesting something closer to a compromise–some genetic parents will be legal parents, some genetic parents will not be legal parents, but all genetic parents will have some recognized status–a status that can include defined rights and obligations–with respect to their genetic children.

But that said, I’m still advocating for a rule that serves the end I advance–that the critical focus should be on maintaining existing social/psychological realtionships.

It’s also worth remembering that the question I was asked–how can you acknowledge diversity of views and then advocate for a rule that leans to one side–is a question that can be posed to any of us.   In particular, those who advocate for a genetically based definition of legal parentage must answer the same question.   Because there are conflicting viewpoints here, any rule will necessarily create winners and losers.

I’m reminded of the harm done by the insistence on the primacy of the genetic link by a recent exchange in a syndicated advice column–Ask Amy.  Sad Dad (the author of the letter) lives in a family that is not so very unusual these days.   He wants recognition of the emotional and psychological reality of his family.   But his relatives insist on  genetic definition family.   His letter reminds us of the cost this view can inflict on others.    I think this is just the other side of the coin–why do people who take the genetic view get to impose their perspective on others and at what cost?




72 responses to “Taking a Step Back And Thinking About the Meaning of A Genetic Link

  1. I can’t find much to disagree with but…and I know it goes without saying generally, but this statement “that the critical focus should be on maintaining existing social/psychological realtionships” is problematic at times. Specifically in a contested adoption situation like Achane because he would lose because of stalling actions by those who want to create just such a social/psychological relationship.

  2. The Letter to Amy by “Sad Dad” is not representative of many of the cases we discuss on this blog. “Sad Dad” doesn’t say anything about wanting to replace and deny the existence of his stepchildren’s father (unless that father was an abuser or negligent).
    I like the way you formulated my “challenge”.

    I happen to agree with you that the law should protect existing relationships, although we may disagree about what qualifies as an existing relationship to protect.
    (provided that those relationships were lawful, as TAO so appropriately points out).
    However, please note that not only step parents have existing relationships- grandparents and aunts and uncles, and siblings do as well. Heck so do foster parents. Do they get the same consideration in your book?

    In addition, I remind you that you have often disqualified the genetic parent before anyone else has created an existing relationship in his stead, which is why I think that simply protecting existing relationships is an oversimplification of your position.

    • PS I think we disagree as to the extent genetic relationships are entrenched in society. That also plays a role in our disagreement. But it leads to the question, how entrenched in society does something have to be.

  3. PS Marilyn and I agree on some things but disagree on this that I would certainly call a non biological parent a real parent if they had indeed played the parental role and established a parental relationship. And I would not allow a biological parent to show up years after the fact and cause disruption, unless he was specifically invited.

    • but then Ki you are treating parenthood and children as objects that can be earned through effort and what can be earned through effort can also be bought. Someone has to have an oblgation to the child simply based upon existence not just through effort because what if nobody steps in to care for the abandoned child? What if nobody is waiting in line? Whose job was it? Who is failing that child? Who is that child’s father and why is he not here? Why is it that when he is found or does show up he no longer owes the child anything? The child is not a prize for the bio parent. He’s not to show up after an extended absense all ‘give me my child now thanks for babysitting’ – the person watching the child for him did not have to do that they did it because someone had to and they are a good person. But its not like their help negates the need for the father to take care of his child. Taking care of the child was not a prize or a privlidge for a parent its an obligation. So should it not be looked at that parenthood is a prize or privlidge for anyone it is not something that can be taken away entirely. You can take custody but the obligation is still really there which is why I say it should never be totally handed over to someone else. Too much is lost by the child and it is bad enough that they already have a crappy father they should not loose membership in his family or entitlement to inherit as well. The obligation does not come from effort it comes from having caused the child to exist.

    • Question – why not call that unrelated person an adoptive parent then? Or quasi adoptive parent? Why would you just omit that critical part where there is another parent out there somewhere that the kid is actually related to? What makes you want to just call that person parent as if they were the kind of medically relevant parent whose information might be gleaned from an original birth record and relied upon for medical research purposes by the CDC or by the child as part of a birth record relied upon for its medical accuracy – like for instance the weight length location and date are correct but the father’s name is just whatever is clever?

  4. “I think the law can and should find ways to recognize the importance of the relationship without insisting that the genetic parent must be a legal parent.”

    Arg, this is your same strawman again! No one ever insists that the genetic parent MUST be a legal parent. Each child’s situation is different and decided one at a time, according to the best interest of the child. There is no one size fits all rule that judges always follow, nor should there be! (Marilyn insists that genetic parents be held responsible, but she would certainly not say that legal parenthood should be assigned to them in every case, I’m sure she recognizes that they have only an expectation to, not a guarantee to parent their children.)

    • Yes the expectation is there but if the child is in grave and eminent danger the law should interfere to protect the child. I don’t think being a child’s parent gives someone the right to abuse or use or mistreat them. They have an obligation to take care of the life they created. That said I don’t think that taking away their authority like if they are abusive, means taking away their parenthood or their parental responsibilities in total anyway. Let’s say the abuse was so bad that the father is imprisoned for it and then is killed inside the prison in a fight. I think his social security death benefits and any estate he may have had should go to his child – the child deserves it. The child is still his child and he is still the parent and still has the obligation he just sucked at it and the child had to be protected, not kicked out of their paternal family or given a new identity. People should loose their authority and autonomy in those instances but not their obligation because to take away the obligation hinders the the child’s right.s.

      • Yes I agree, the birth certificate should always record the genetic mother and father even if they are dead or abusive or in jail. And they should be expected to meet the obligations of all their children (though after 18, can’t parents disown and cut their children out of their will for whatever reason? Does a legal heir have to share their inheritance with all of his half-siblings even if they weren’t ever part of the family?)

        • John I actually don’t think a legal heir has to share with the other kids if the will is written specifically to exclude someone or only names one kid then that is it and is the basis for I’m sure many a contested will. I think they should be an heir absent any specific exclusion since after all they got nothing out of the guy while he was alive. I have never once ever met an adopted person or donor offspring or anyone looking for family who it ever occurred to about money they just want to be part of their own family I’m the one who talks about money – never them. They are all really pure of heart and I mean that.

  5. PS I happen to disagree with the way you understand as being the purpose of the law- the best interest of the child.
    As it stands today, I think the law is designed to protect the best interest of the state. There main concern is to name someone, anyone as responsible for that child.
    Indeed constitutionally, that is the way US law is set up; a state must prove compelling state interest in order to interfere with the privacy and autonomy of its constituents.

    • That’s true, but they make the correct assumption that the best interests of the child are served by creating a strong culture with strong expectations for people to care for their own children and spouse and family. Otherwise we would take every child from poor families and force rich families to raise them, like Putin said.

    • And that reminds me of a point I wanted to make: I think that the best interests of a child born from donor conception or any intentional non-marital conception is to be removed from all the parties involved and raised by foster parents, because all the parties involved have proven themselves to be unfit parents and unconcerned with the welfare of children and society in general and their child in particular. None of them should be legal parents, not the social parents or the genetic parents. It should not be legal to deliberately conceive someone through adultery or illegitimacy, and people should not be able to do it anyway and get to keep the child they created. That’s like letting thieves keep their loot.

      • But John what you are failing to consider there is that the child should still have the right to rely upon their parents for physical and financial care. So unless they were a danger to the child or unless they flat out refused to take responsibility for their child really, the right thing to do is make them take care of their own damn kid to teach them that it is not ok for bio parents to objectify their children that way. You should not be legally allowed to make them as gifts or make them under contract where you agree to give the child up for step parent adoption in advance. Any evidence that an adoption or step parent adoption is based on an earlier contractual arrangement or future contractual arrangement should not be approved by the courts. If the parent abandons their responsibilities entirely then there should be criminal punishment but otherwise the child deserves to get cared for by their parents and taking them away from their parent punishes the child.

        • Nah, we put society over the rights of children to their parent’s support all the time. Sometimes judges reduce someone’s sentence if they have a family to support, but I don’t think it is something they are supposed to do. A child doesn’t have the right to keep his parents out of jail. Yes it punishes the child in some ways, but so does forcing them to remain the children of poor parents or musicians or druggy artists or something. That’s OK, every child is punished, even the ones raised in beautiful homes by loving parents, because they never get to experience hardship.

          • I love musicians and druggy artists those are my kind of people

            • I don’t mean to say we should take children away from them, I’m just saying that kids grow up in a huge variety of circumstances, some are poor and some are rich, some have smart parents some have dumb parents, some have parents that are so messed up they wind up in jail or dead, etc. So the idea that children should never get punished for the actions of parents just belies the reality that it happens all the time.

              • punishment is not the same as difficult circumstances. Punishment is a deliberate action taken.

                • Right, but the point is that kids face difficult circumstances all the time, so saying we should not do anything that puts any kids in difficult circumstances is silly sentimentalism. If parents commit a crime, the punishment will also punish the kids, that’s the just way it is. Same in reverse, if parents are rewarded, it will reward the kids, who don’t deserve it more than other kids but that’s the way it is.

          • it is pretty bad to pay the other parent of your child to abandon them with you. pretty bad to help them conceal their wherabouts and identity for your own gratification – yeah I have to think about that. I don’t like taking children from their bio parents unless its abusive I don’t know I do think its abusive to sequester a child from half their family but I’m scared to think separating them from the bio parent who raised them would be cruel on top of it. I feel like they should just have to disclose and then have all the records corrected like their spouse can’t remain named as parent on the kids records.

      • John if you think biological parenthood matters so little, and all that matters is marriage, you of all people should not be complaining about sperm donation.
        Your opinion is not based on any sort of reality by the way.

        • Where’d you get the idea that I think biological parenthood matters so little? I think all children have a right to be raised by their genetic parents and all children should be conceived by the couple that consent to raise them and care for them, and no children should be created from donor conception! The idea is to make donor conception illegal first, and then, once it is illegal, to not let people get away with doing it, so that it isn’t done at all.
          And my opinion is based on the reality that existed for millenia, up until donor conception started suddenly being legal about 50 years ago.

          • uh, because you advocate massive removal of children from their biological mothers and given to foster parents? Clearly you think that foster care as horrible as we know it to be, is better than those evil mothers who aren’t married….
            For the record, we USED to do that. pregnant young woman were shuttled away from society to maternity homes and pressured to give children for adoption. As those people involved how much good that did.
            your reccomendations are based on some ideal you hold in your head, not on any reality whatsoever that has anything to do with child welfare in real life.
            Your prescriptions for government control are more totalitarian that some of the more totalitarian countries around.
            I hope you have decided to become celibate.

            • I don’t advocate removal for children conceived under the current law, only those conceived by DC after we prohibit donation again, where it is proven they intended to break the law. So it wouldn’t apply to accidental pregnancies. It would only be for people who clearly violated the law by seeking to get pregnant with donor gametes. Criminals should not get away with crime, they should go to jail and lose the spoils. So there’d be no “massive removal” because the practice would end. It’d just be a few kids born to the few people who tried to test the law, to warn people not to break the law. Otherwise, if we let people get away with it, the law won’t stop it. And the goal is to stop it.

              • lose the spoils?
                no child is “spoils.”
                they are blood kin.
                your approach is as commodifying as any other child industry.

            • I wasn’t clear about that in my original comment, when I said that a DC child’s best interest was to be removed from all parties involved, it did sound like I was advocating that for existing DC children right now. But no, it’d be for kids conceived after we change the law and stop DC. Unless we do that, it is just my opinion that parents that do DC are unfit to be parents and harm the culture and society, and those kids would be better off raised by foster parents.

              • just your opinion? well why don’t you actually go out and get some facts about parental fitness and child welfare before spouting opinions.

            • And your comments about “evil mothers who aren’t married” and “we used to do that” about pushing adoption are totally wrong misrepresentations (rhetorical strawmen? willful lies? or do you actually think I think that?) of what I have been arguing for. I have never and do not advocate taking children from unmarried mothers or say that they are “evil”, and I don’t want to go back to pressuring single women into adoption, that was as evil as pressuring women into egg donation is, an early version of it. I think the current way we deal with unwed pregnancy is much better than it was before we held men responsible with paternity tests and child support, but I don’t think we should allow intentional unmarried conception, ie, using ART. And that includes married couples using unmarried gametes, by the way. I don’t think marriage gives a right to use donor gametes, and saying that it does actually undermines the right of marriage to use their own gametes.

    • Ki you are so right about that. It turns out that is why so many women on welfare loose their children through CPS unfairly or why many unmarried men loose their children to adoption. The moment the state has a case where it looks like they might have to provide financial assistance to the child because the parents are not well off – the state prefers an adoptive home. A single mother who never named the father on the certificate who is on welfare has a scrape with CPS and temporarily looses her kids, but completes all her court ordered therapy and drug testing is not likely to get her kids back because returning them to her means however many more years of financially supporting them with public money and giving them to an adoptive couple saves the state money. Were it to happen to a mother who was not on welfare she might not have lost her children even temporarily – look at all the movie stars that go to rehab and nobody takes their children from them.

      • on the other hand, a state can not simply violate a person’s constitutional rights because they deem it a state interest… but i agree with you they do look at things differently

  6. I’d like to begin with Sad Dad. I have had several friends over the years refer to their boyfriend or their girlfriend as either a fiance or as a spouse despite the fact that they were neither engaged or married. These friends wanted people to react to them and their relationship the same as they would react to a couple who was either engaged or married. They felt they’d earned that title and level of social respect due to the fact that theirs was a serious long term monogmous relationship. Essentially they want to be treated the same as married people without actually having to be married because they behave the way married people are suppose to behave. Based on that logic you could be treated as divorced if you simply behave the way unmarried people are suppose to behave. Essentially having people pass in and out of legal status based on their behavior rather than some silly old thing like a marriage certificate. Now I’m not sure what “treatment’ really constitutes whether it is responsibility for their partner’s debts that they are looking for or simply ‘respect’ from the hotel clerk – whatever that’s worth. Honestly if you are looking for that full marriage experience they could just get married, but some of them can’t because they are not allowed to and that bums them out because they are are not married but want to be. You see there is a difference and the difference is hugely important.

    See while they may want to pass in and out of marriage based on behavior alone, other people don’t. They don’t want to be suddenly responsible for their girlfriend’s gambling debts and credit card bills or their back child support just because they live together. That’s why, in fairness to all individuals it’s set up so theat you have to formally opt in to that situation by getting married so that it is clear to everyone that you voluntarily joined your property with theirs etc. In fairness to all people this should be available to people regardless of the gender of their significant other – but other than that its most fair to say if you want to be treated as married you must actually be married and then allow people to that. You should never refer to yourself as the parent of another person’s offspring, nor should you refer to yourself as the adoptive parent of a child that you did not adopt it’s just not true. Acting like something and actually being something are not the same something. The fact that you play a doctor on TV does not mean your actually a doctor. Living life as if you’re married does not make you married and living life as if you are a parent does not make you a parent when what you really are is a step parent. Neither does it make you an adoptive parent when what you really are is a step parent.

    It’s critical here to look at whether Sad Dad and his wife actually want outsiders to say that she is the mother of his two children, when she’s not and that he is the father of her two children when he is not. Its hard to tell if they are going around calling themselves mother and father and acting like they created all the kids together just because they are so in love and work so well as a unit together. That would be unreasonable and disrespectful to the children’s other parents and family essentially erasing them from the picture in order to create the illusion that all these children are the product of their love and commitment. They need to be careful because in honoring one another and the effort and love they have for one another’s children, they could inadvertently be making their children feel guilty for having another parent and other relatives. Imagine if your parent was so in love with his spouse that he wanted you to call her Mom and honor her as your mother and not mention to anyone that she was your step mother because your real mother was a junkie and did not have custody or something. That could really mess a kid up, its not fair.

    If they just want to be invited with to family barbecues then that is reasonable.

    • True but none of this is Sad Dad’s sisters business. She should just be nice to those kids. They’ve been through enough already.

      • Julie, did you bring up Sad Dad to show that people may care so much about genetic relationships that they would be mean and nasty just because they weren’t genetic relationships?

    • We don’t actually know if they have another parent in their lives, do we? It doesn’t go into detail in the letter, the other parent could have died or could have been a single parent adoption.

      • Well lets say the other parent died Rebecca. Would it not be twisted to tell your kids to call their step mom Mommy because their mother died and she’s the replacement? Kinda disrespects the mother’s contribution like there would be no kids to be rude over if it were not for her. Even in a step parent adoption to pretend that they are the parent rather than adoptive/step parent is kinda twisted.

        That said the family is living as a family unit and to invite just his kids for christmas dinner when he’s married to a woman with two other kids is fatly rude. To not also get them Xmas gifts if they’d all grown up together for a real long time might be odd but if my brother married a woman with two kids it would never occur to me to get them xmas gifts unless we were all super close hanging out all the time. I barely remember to get my own nephew and niece gifts so if the step kids got nothing in the mail from me i hope they would not talk smack.

        • I would say it ideally should be up to the kids in that situation, what to call the stepparent.

          • a name is a private decision made from family to family

          • Yes absolutely. My brother was around before I was he was my fathers kid for 7 years already when I came along. My brother was almost 15 when I was born. My brother changed his name the day he turned 18 to Dad’s last name. And I mean he went to a lawyer on his 18th birthday and called Dad at work and the lawyer said “there is a young man here that says you’ll pay the bill to change his name to Atkinson”. Dad said he cried and cried he was so proud.

            40 years later turns out my mother manipulated that to a great extent and now my brother can’t get a passport because his birth record does not match his drivers license and the records at the court were destroyed in a flood. Now dealing with his real father’s alzheimers and estate his other brother who retained the father’s last name has to handle everything because my brother his first born son has a different last name. Its a mess. But was a very sweet story for all my life and made my father very proud because he loved my brother so much. My brother loved him so much too. He called him dad and he called his dad bio dad, until now. Now he calls him dad because our dad passed away.

        • Marilyn excluding any child from whatever the other children are doing is hurtful and wrong no matter what the reason. Even if it was a foster child who everyone knew will be there only for a couple of months. If you are buying one kid a present you better darn well buy them all. No one deserves to be treated unequally. Don’t let your ideology get in the way of decent courteous compassionate behavior.

  7. What does sad Dad and his wife really want? This perception of ‘respect’ granted to parents vs step parents or married people vs unmarried people is more internal than external. Most of the time what people are looking for is not some legal benefit but rather they want the community they ingteract with to simply ‘respect’ them ‘as if they were’ whatever siblings or spouses or parents. And what does that really mean what kind of respect would they not be getting as boyfriend/girlfriend or step siblings or step parents? Is there some discrimination against boyfriends that I’m not aware of or against stp siblings that they are fighting against? What is so bad about just being who or whatever you are that we make it OK to say that you are something else because you like how you feel about yourself when people believe something that is not true about you?

    There is no legal status for a boyfirend but their is legal status for a step parent. They did assume certain legal obligations for physical and financial care of their spouses kid’s by others born born during or before their marriages – but as step parents, not as parents. The fact that it would be assumed your spouses child is yours does not make it true. If it is not true and someone else is named as the other parent rather than you, it would not erase your burden of physical or financial support in that your income is counted together with that of your spouse, you are on the hook for caring for your step children for as long as your married.
    This is good and affords people the opportunity to leave unfaithful spouses and leave behind any obligation to support their children born of affairs. It does not mean the child will be father or motherless because they already have that so you get to walk away and the child does not loose what they deserve from the people who made them.

  8. People are so upity they think they ‘deserve’ to be referred to as someone’s parent because they do the work of a parent. They get mad that people who don’t take care of their kids should be called parent when they put no effort into it. They think parenthood is earned through hard work and devotion that is a load of crap. Imagine if someone thought they had earned the right to be recognized as your spouse because they put a bunch of effort into it. What if suddenly you were tied to this person as your spouse because they put a bunch of effort and time in doing things for you that you did not ask them to do – you were just their girlfriend and the world got the impression that they were your spouse. Could someone just earn the right to possess you and call you their wife without getting married to you without any formal process where you could opt out. People think they can just put a bunch of effort into their step kids and be caled parents. It’s not about building a relationship its about explaining the nature and origin of a person’s obligation to a child, whether it is thorugh a direct parent child relationship or whther that relationship iis through the spouse and ends with the marriage or through the courts by adoption.

    • Marriage is a mutual arrangement between two consenting adults – parenthood isn’t.

      • Brilliant

        • That’s true for all children bio relations or not. NO ONE gets to choose the parents that will raise them.

          • That’s why non bio children are no more “enslaved” than bio children by simply pointing to the lack of choice.

            • Right, the distinction is between intentionally conceived children and children welcomed as surprises. It’s the intentional conception that treats a child as a material possession to be owned by someone, it doesn’t matter if they are genetically related or not.

              • If I take a step back it seems odd to me that we’d prefer that chlidren arrive where they aren’t particularly wanted or planned for rather than where someone really wanted to have and raise a child, but isn’t that the implication of what you’re saying here?

                I do not mean that I do not see your point–I sort of do. But the larger logic of what your suggesting seems curious. I’d expect that families that actually want children are better able to absorb the children they end up with.

                • Well if a couple doesn’t want children there are ways to avoid having children, such as not getting pregnant by not having sexual intercourse a few days a month, or using some kind of contraception. Or ending the pregnancy, if it would really be that horrible to have a child. But generally married couples shouldn’t have to fear having a child when it isn’t particularly wanted or planned for. Society should support families better so that children are not so horrible to have. On the other hand, they shouldn’t be something people want to have, either. People are too often made to feel they need to have children to be fulfilled or grown up, as a status symbol, to please their parents and prove themselves to their peers, and that objectifies children and makes them the means to an end. There is a middle ground where children are welcomed with dignity, neither wanted or unwanted.

            • Ki
              People are the children of the parents who made them. That is who they are. There is no choice in that, it is their true identity. Our parents put us in this predicament, we did not ask to be born, they are responsible for creating a life and are responsible for taking care of that life until their child is old enough to fend for themselves. We are not suppose to burden society with having to care for our young that is our job. Our kids don don’t work for us we work for them. They are not playing the roll of our child that is our obligation to raise – they are our child our obligation to raise. Abuse of the authority that comes with biological parenthood is to capitalize upon other people’s desire to experience parenthood by giving them yours to ‘play the roll’ of their child. Those people will raise that child “as if” he or she were their own child. Those people will assign him or her an identity that makes it look as if the child is theirs and not someone else’s. There is a HUGE difference between being sold or given to someone to PLAY THE ROLL of their child when you’re NOT THEIR CHILD, and actually being someone’s child. Being someone’s child is not being enslaved you are just living life as yourself as who you are identified as the offspring of the people who made you. You are not serving them as their child you really are their child, it’s not an act, not a sham, not something someone paid to have you do for them. Nobody sold or gave you out of their family and into this one. It’s the difference between being a wild animal existing for your own purposes, and being someone’s pet or livestock bred to serve a purpose as someone’s pet or food or entertainment. They can’t get out Ki, they are not allowed to be who they really are they must live life acting out the roll they were assigned rather than just being the child of the people that made them. They loose all kinds of rights Ki they can’t help a sibling imigrate they can’t take family leave act time off to help take care of siblings. it matters very much that they remain entitled to have their real parents remain their real parents. Its so much more than just raising a child Ki I have got to get you to get your arms around that and feel what they really have lost what was taken away from them.

              Ki they are making people for sale to serve as children to childless people. How can you say those people are not enslaved? They have half the rights, they were manufactured and purchased into the families they are being raised by and those people call themselves parents. Its stockholm syndrome.

              • organizedlibrarian

                “There is no choice in that, it is their true identity.” Who are you to define my identity? Forcing adopted people to assume identities of people they are genetically related to but have never met and have zero interest in meeting is insanity. It is just the way you view the world, not some universal fact. It may be how you judge relationships but you cannot make it true for everyone else no matter how hard you may wish for it. You don’t get to define everyone else’s identity!

                “they are responsible for creating a life and are responsible for taking care of that life until their child is old enough to fend for themselves” Really? A few threads ago you were posting about how people should be able to drop their children at institutions who will look after them temporarily until the bio parents can get their crap together. Let’s be honest here. Your real argument is that you hate adoption, adopted people and especially those who adopt and you will argue any and every point that suits your discriminatory views.

                ” We are not suppose to burden society with having to care for our young that is our job.” But people do all the time. As an adult, it is important to deal with the world as it is, not as you may wish it to be. All these obligations you talk about are the way you want things to be. Nothing more.

                “They can’t get out Ki, they are not allowed to be who they really are they must live life acting out the roll they were assigned rather than just being the child of the people that made them.” My favourite thing about being adopted was that I was never bound to any preconceived identity. Every talent was unique to me. My parents loved that I was so artistic whereas they weren’t, they marveled at my long slender fingers. I hate when my biological family tries to take credit for those things or tell me they are my grandmother’s hands. Who cares? I don’t. She will never be more than a dead lady I never knew and who wouldn’t have been to interested in her bastard grandchild anyway. I love the way my REAL parents love my hands and love my artistic side. Of course, how I really feel as an adopted person is of little interest to some lady on the internet with an agenda and who has never met me but has determined that I have Stockholm Syndrome.

                I find your comments so offensive and discriminatory. People like you are just eugenicists hiding behind a hatred of adoption. What adoption really needs is voices to legitimize the lives of people who don’t live with genetic relatives. You seem to think you are helping people but how can you possible do that when all you do is claim that every adopted person is living a sham? If you hear that your whole life you will have problems! Then you conveniently claim that adopted people are so messed up. How about you stop telling them their lives are shams? Maybe they will feel a bit better then! Adopted people need to stop trying to conform to the majority and stop caring about our genetic heritages. It is a dead end. It is foisted upon us by others who refuse to recognize our families and feel entitled to tell us our true identities. I reject all these attempts.

                • Chandler – I respect your viewpoints on adoption after all you lived it you feel it you know exactly what you are talking about and having equal rights would not force you to to change not a gd thing. You don’t have equal rights and it does not bother you because those are not rights that you would never choose to exercise. Much like your opting not to exercise your right right to remain silent, if you were granted equal rights it would not phase you because you would not have wanted access to your own medically accurate birth record or the records of your other relatives. You don’t care that you are denied recognition as a sibling to your siblings because you don’t like them and would never want time off work to attend one of their funerals. You would never be willing to take care of one of their permanently disabled children so you would not care that you are denied the right to claim your own nephew as a relative dependent on your taxes. You would never bond with a forign born sibling so it does not bother you that you would not be allowed to help them immigrate to your country. You would never dream of utilizing any of the benefits that you are denied by not being legally recognized as related to your genetic relatives. I think it is perfectly reasonable for you to feel the way you do Chandler but it is not perfectly reasonable for you to say that millions of other people should continue to be denied equal protection under the law just because you happen to be perfectly happy without those rights. You would be just as happy to not exercise the rights if you had them and other people could choose to exercise or not exercise their rights just like you.

                  You are way out of line picking on me like you did. I devote enormous amounts of my personal time helping people who ASK for my help because they cannot get past the obstacles deliberately placed to prevent them from finding out simple information about themselves and the people they are related to. Entire families are rendered helpless to prevent themselves from making the easily avoidable mistake of dating immediate relatives because of one family member’s desire to hide the truth from everyone else. The law needs to change so that nobody under any circumstances has the right to conceal information that is necessary for other people to make informed decisions about their health and the health of their children. If it pertains to anyone other than you, it is not your’s to keep private.

                  This particular brand of unequal treatment has not phased me in my personal life I have all my rights I know who I’m related to but I know that unequal treatment of anyone is an injustice to everyone. It does not matter if some people are perfectly happy in chains, the country is not suppose to allow people to be treated unfairly – they can stay shackled if they want if they find it more comfortable than the alternative but it should be their choice. You don’t think past your own experiences enough to realize that had your personal situation been different it might bother you that you are not free to do the things that other people are allowed to do, to know what other people are allowed to know.

                  You are mean and your accusations about me being some kind of eugenics crazed zelot are unfounded. I have never said anything about genetic parents being superior to adoptive parents. One type’s obligations come from making a child and the other type’s obligations come from adopting a child. I think its real important that society keep an eye on the circumstances behind having custody of a child that is someone else’s offspring because I think selling human beings is a bad idea. I think the people most in the wrong for objectifying children are their own biological parents because the obligation to care for them should not be viewed by them as property ownership. I think that people can take wonderful care of children they obtained in nefarious ways like buying them from nuns in Spain for instance. I care about advancing the dignity of people who have been denied the right to be recognized for who and what they really are that is not eugenics its human decency.

                  Maybe you spend an equal amount of your time helping people who ask for your help by doing something that is easy enough for you but monumentally complicated for them. But you don’t talk about that. You talk about how other people don’t need to have the same rights as everyone else because you have no need for those rights yourself. Don’t pick on me girl because whether you like me or not whether you agree with me or not I would still drop what I was doing to help you find one of your lost family members because nobody deserves more information about you and your family than you do and on general fkg principal I would help you for free.

                  I don’t have a personal agenda I spend my time in earnest trying to make the things I take for granted in my everyday life accessible to people just like you because it makes me feel good to give them what they are not suppose to be allowed to have.

                  Now I just want them to be allowed to have it. That is all. What is it that you want out of all your writing? What is your goal? What is your vision for making the world a better place what is it you are trying to change? Who do you hope to help with the message you put out there?

                  • organizedlibrarian

                    I am not Chandler. I do not live in the US (never have) and you do not know me! It is ironic that you have tried to dictate both my ‘true identity’ and now a name!

                  • You live in Canada you’ve always lived in Canada. We have gone over that in detail before. I’m not trying to define your identity. I am totally against defining people’s identities for them.

                  • ha! not redefining your identity I got your name wrong sorry Campbell. its just been a few years.

                  • organizedlibrarian

                    I do live in Canada, but have not always. My name is not Campbell either. If you find yourself fighting with Canadian adoptees quite a bit (which sounds like the case,) it might be because it is mostly government regulated here. Some, but not all, of your complaints do not apply here. I am fairly certain that we have not spoken before. I only make the point clear because it is not fair to Chandler or Campbell that my comments are taken for theirs.

                  • Gosh Campbell is the only adopted person that has ever gone off on me in public or in private. Only one that ever said anything mean to me in this area of my life. Plenty of people have been mean on a variety of other topics though. I am pretty much golden at this though its like the only thing in the whole world I don’t mess up or get people mad at me for its the one thing I have ever done well.

                • A person’s identity is tied to who they are in relationship to the rest of the people ever born or that ever will be born. Each person’s existence is intricately tied to the existence of the people they originated from not just for their own health but for the health of all the people they are related to and for the health of the community at large. That is why the country records all those birth statistics and does all that medical research on heritable disease and what not. The least we can do is record people’s identities accurately and give them and their immediate relatives full unobstructed access to that information at all times without question so that the entire family has the information they need to make informed decisions about their medical treatment and about who they choose to date marry reproduce with. You can be adopted without having all that information concealed from you. You can be adopted without having records of your identity changed completely like maybe just a name change for starters the way a person does when they get married and their social security number does not change – same person, different name. An adopted person’s whole identity is just erased on paper. They get a medically worthless birth record that the government does not consider real but they expect adopted people to accept as real. Those ammended records are not the ones used to count the number of children born each year – they were counted based on the info on their real birth record, not the fake one. The medical information was collected off their real birth record, not the fake one. But nothing on the fake one indicates that it is not valid for vital statistical purposes, its a sham. There is no other way to see it with your eyes open anyway.

                • OL- I was conceived via an anonymous sperm donor. I have an older sister that is adopted (from Korea), and a younger brother who is my half-sibling, the full genetic child of my mother and her second husband, my step dad. Growing up in such a family really highlighted profoundly the impact genetic relatedness can have on quality of care. I saw how the same people treated different kids based solely on the genetic relatedness. Have you heard of The Cinderella Effect? The (very well documented) phenomenon that demonstrates child abuse is exponentially higher when a child’s guardian is NOT biologically related. Sadly.. there are shitty biological parents out there, but for the most part and in general, biological parents only really abuse their kids when there is drugs or mental illness involved. For those of us whose biological parents abused or abandoned us and there was no drugs or mental illness, it can be incredibly painful. We might hate our biological parents, want to distance ourselves from them.. The only hope we have is to convince ourselves that genes don’t matter because the last thing we want to do is end up like our bio-parents. Toxic Shame.

                  For me, I think donor-conception is disgusting and I hate my father for selling me to strangers and I hate my mother for treating my father like an anonymous nobody- a prostitute, unworthy of even knowing his name. They used each other. There was no respect in my conception. In some ways I am terrified if I ever find him because I doubt I’ll like him, and who wants to put so much effort into finding someone they don’t think they’ll like? It sounds crazy.

                  Yet I do really want to find him, because he’s somebody I’ve dreamed about my whole life. And I deserve to know who members of my own family are and its no one else’s right to deny me that.

                  What the F is the X in Malcolm X’s name or anyway? Great thinkers before us have succeeded at arguing that no one has the right to separate people from members of their own family.

                  I appreciate that you don’t want to meet and have a relationship with your biological parents.

                  But please, back off for the rest of us who care deeply for it.

                  • Gosh I’m glad you stopped by.

                  • The Cinderella effect has no relevance to donor conception, nor did it even attempt to study donor conception. Its findings when specifically studied were not found applicable to adoptive parents.

                    Moreover, the idea that biological parents commit abuse only if they are chemically influenced or mental illness is not based on reality. Sounds more like wishful thinking.

                    Even if these statistics were true, we would expect you then to oppose all single/divorced parents from every re-marrying. That is at least as logical as opposing donor conception.

                    Furthermore, since over 90 percent of sexual abusers are men, you should actively support donor conception by lesbians on the basis of child safety, as they are both women.

                    If you are not doing so, it is clear that “the cinderella effect” is not really what concerns you.

                    You need to argue against donor conception based on its own demerits, not use massive generalized statistics as a crutch.

                  • Kisa-
                    you’re going to have to show me something that says it doesn’t apply to adoptive parents. I say the only reason it may not apply to adoptive parents is because adoptive parents are screened thoroughly and are often religious (because most adoption agencies are religious and place children in religious homes). From what I’ve read of The Orphan Train movement, it is novel that people today take in genetically unrelated persons and raise them “as their own”. In the past, these children were treated as indentured servants. But after The Civil War there was a huge mass of orphans that had to be “dealt with” and so a program was put in place to put these kids into nuclear families. What ensued were stories of abuse and mistreatment, as the children were treated more as slaves than anything else- so an Adoption System Overhaul took place, similar to the improvements and cultural changes surrounding The Disabled. Then also WW2 happened, and our previously extremely Eugenicist belief-system all of a sudden became taboo, and adoption went from being very unpopular to much more popular because genes went from being everything to ‘nurture is everything’.

                    that’s just a long way of saying, you’re wrong. Adoption DOES have a history of abuse, but its only because its been so strictly guarded and best-practices cultivated that it now can actually serve children’s best interest.

                    As far as lesbian parenting I agree that a child raised in a lesbian home has a significant safety advantage. The lack of testosterone would ensure it. Also though, a child raised in a lesbian home will be much more likely to be raised in poverty. Such the lack of testosterone would ensure.

                    give kids their own mom and dads please.

                  • right; adoption studies conducted nowadays refer to adoption as practiced nowadays, not in civil war times. so?

                  • So a best practices scenario regarding adoption does not discount or nullify The Cinderella Effect, as you suggested. The Cinderella Effect is still very real and DOES apply to step-families, remarriages, etc… and especially applies to donor-conception.

                  • Donor conception is disgusting and there is no right to do it, and it should be prohibited throughout the world because it violates the rights of children. We don’t have to allow it just because we allow re-marriage and divorce and tolerate the existence of men, Ki Sarita is making a fraudulent argument because she can’t actually defend allowing donor conception on its own merits.

            • Ki
              Human beings are masters of controlling the environment to better serve our purposes. For instance plants grow wild to serve themselves no different than animals and people grow wild to serve themselves. Things that grow wild serve no master, they exist purely for the continuation of their own species and for their own personal fulfillment. Humans gather seeds of plants they like and sew them at a particular time, water them, fertilize them provide them with optimum environments to garner the biggest blossoms and the juicyest fruits all in one convenient location on their own property. Those are their plants and they will harvest the fruit for themselves. Those plants would not have existed had they not planted the seeds, tended to them – those are the fruits of their labor those plants grow for them. It is entirely different than being a hunter gatherer where the plant grows for itself.
              These people are not parents they are farmers, gardeners, ranchers not parents. If you catch two wild animals and call them your property the young of those two will not be born free, They’ll be born in captivity. Brand them with a hot iron with your initials. They’re your property. Not free.

  9. OK Julie
    1. Yes, I have noticed your position shifting ever so slightly in the direction of culpability for our reproductive actions, that people ought to be held responsible for supporting the children they reproduce to create.

    2. So how would you ensure that bio parents were not treating their offspring as personal property – the subject of agreements not to act as the legal parent of their own offspring – abandoning all responsibilities to care for the person they create so people who would not otherwise have a child to raise could have theirs either as a gift or in exchange for money or goods or services. This is what currently happens in surrogacy and gemete donation as is evidenced by the waivers and agreements they sign. This is a blatent abuse of human rights. How would you change the system to solve that and still get what you want. How would you keep these people who want to be parents of other people’s offspring from influencing people to create and abandon their offspring? We don’t want offspring being produced on spec like merchandise like they are now its vulgar.

    • As long as there is someone else to step up to the plate and take over these responsibilities, no one’s human rights are being violated. The right that is violated is the right to know their origins.

      • no that is not true but I’ll take that up later.

      • If the seeds you’re sew are not your own, your a farmer or a rancher, not a parent. What is the relationship between the rancher and his cattle that he breeds, cares for, brands with his initials. They are his but that does not make him their parent it makes him their owner.
        The only way human rights would truly be protected when someone else does the job of raising the child for the parent is if their original identity and rights as a child of their genetic parent and membership in their genetic family were left intact. Any change in their identity or rights any alteration of their medical records or other official documents means they are forced to live out their lives as someone they are not in service to the people who are raising them. They should be willing to do it without all that, otherwise the child has to DO something for them, work for them playing the roll of their child, in order to be cared for. It’s like saying, “I’ll take care of this abandoned child but I want to be called mommy, I don’t want them to call the birth object mommy so if you’ll change all the records so it does not look like they have other family, I’ll do it, otherwise deal is off. I’m doing the work and I am the one earning the child and the right to be called Mom”. That is not fair to the child, they are not something to be earned, they don’t just become someone else’s child because papers are filed, they are who they are and making them pretend otherwise is a violation of human rights.
        An adoption decree separate from a birth record, naming people as the child’s adoptive parents after an investigation to determine that there was no contract between the adoptive parents and the relinquishing parents, and no other goods or services were exchanged with anyone in order to become adoptive parents – that would be the way to protect the child’s human rights.

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