How Do We Find Parents At Birth, Part II

I’ve been meaning to get back to this thread I started so confidently with “part I.” Without a “part II” it seems sort of silly. This post will make more sense if you go back and read that other one first.

Just the same I’m doing a brief recap.  Maybe it’s like a running start.  Maybe I’ll say something slightly different.   I’ll try to summarize some principles and then go forward.

I generally support the legal recognition of functional/de facto parents.  What I mean is that I think the law should recognize the people who actually function as the social/psychological parents of a child as the child’s legal parents.   My primary reason for endorsing this approach is that it is, in a general way, good for children.   I believe that children need stability in those primary relationships.  (I think I could back this up with a lot of studies, by the way. )   So the law should protect them.

Now there is another thing about the functional/de facto approach.  Maybe it’s another benefit or maybe it’s another reason I support it:  It allows for legal recognition of a broad range of family forms.  I think this is a good thing–in that I generally support diversity–and a necessary thing–in that that range of families is already out there with real children relying on them.

The functional approach is most useful as a backward looking tool.   You find a child in a particular setting and you look back to see who has been operating as the child’s social/psychological parents.  (I don’t mean you look far back.  Maybe it was just this morning.)   But children have a beginning–when they are born.  And that’s a challenging time for a de facto test.

For reasons I will not review here I count the woman who is pregnant/gave birth as a de facto parent.  That gives children one legal parent at work.   But I see why this is problematic.  The question is how to get a second.

Now in the past I have expressed my doubts about an intentional parent test.   The idea with that test is that a person who intends to be a parent is recognized as a parent.   It’s a test that has primary utility in instances of assisted reproduction.   So, for instance, where a person or a couple contract with a woman to be a surrogate they are typically called “IPs” or “intended parents.”

I am not really happy about this test as it is sometimes stated.   Intention is typically expressed at a particular moment in time.   You sign a form or an agreement and that expresses an intention and then it’s all done.  (This is pretty much borrowed from how contracts works.)

But we all know that intentions–however well meant–are often hollow.  How many of us have promised ourselves we’ll get more exercise or go on a diet or cut down on time spent on e-mail?  All those good intentions.   Do they count if you don’t follow through?

And this is what worries me.  Imagine a situation in which at the critical moment A agrees to be a parent but then A does absolutely nothing to live out that intention.  I’m not inclined to give the paper intention much weight.   Alternatively, imagine someone who never signs on the dotted line, but does all the work of being a parent.   I’m inclined to count the real world actions over the absence of paper intention.

So I’m thinking of carrying this over to my parent-at-birth problem.  Suppose your second parent is a person who can show a sustained (as in more than at a fleeting moment) intention plus some actions consistent with intention.   Obviously pre-birth you’re looking at actions aimed at preparing to care for the child rather than actual caring acts.   But how about if we make that person–the one with the sustained intent and consistent action–a presumed legal parent?  (Because I suspect I haven’t thought of anything, I’d consider allowing the birth mother to rebut that presumption by some sort of showing. This part is very sketchy, I know. )

It doesn’t seem to me that this is the most exciting proposal I’ve ever devised but it does seem to me to be workable.  In the vast majority of the cases I can think of it gives you (at least) two parents and (to my mind) the right two.   Married couple with planned pregnancy?  Both parents (whether ART or no).  Unmarried couple with planned pregnancy?  Both parents (whether ART or no).   Single woman planning to raise child alone probably gets to be sole parent.   Friends going in on the project together both get to be parents (if one is giving birth.)

There are two other scenarios to note as well.  First, a surrogate is a legal parent.   I’ve written about this at length and it’s the way I’d prefer to go–not because I’m hostile to surrogacy but because I think it leads to a better practice of surrogacy.   Second, a gamete donor isn’t a legal parent.   They don’t have any intention and, I assume, take no steps that would create the impression that they do.

I’m well aware that this last is not acceptable to many people.  This is a point at which I know readers disagree with me.   I’m not offering the argument here–just trying to lay out the description.

And that’s where I will stop today.

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162 responses to “How Do We Find Parents At Birth, Part II

  1. I have doubts about the consistency of this as a whole framework. The operating principle, as I understand it, is to craft a theory of legal parentage based on the model of functional/de facto parents. But (and you acknowledge this somewhat) this is a very awkward fit as applied to a child at birth. There is no existing parent/child relationship, and there is certainly nothing in the way of the kind of psycho-social bond a child typically has with a person he or she sees as a parent. You present the problem here as getting from one to two, but from a functional perspective, it seems to me that we’re really starting from zero; we’re not asking who has functioned as a parent for this child (the answer to which is “no one yet”), but rather who should have the opportunity to do so.

    And from that perspective, I don’t especially like the rule here. I am fine with gestation as a basis for parentage. (I think it raises tricky issues in the context of surrogacy but I don’t know if that’s the right angle for this discussion.) But to the extent the “actions consistent with intent” depend on the relationship the second adult has with the gestational parent, the gestational parent will usually have control over who else can be counted as a parent, and I don’t see why this particular route to parentage should have such authority. The caveat here is that it may be possible to have an “actions consistent with intent” standard that would at least partially address this issue.

    You object to the intent standard by downplaying the significance of mere intent at one point in time, as opposed to actual concrete action. (Much the same could be said of the genetic standard.) But I don’t think I see the force of this objection in this context. An uninterested legal parent might play no substantial role in the child’s life. Who has legal parentage typically matters when a person is interested in playing a parental role in a child’s life. To the extent the worry concerns a previously uninvolved legal parent suddenly surfacing and disrupting a child’s life, this can be resolved with time limitations, it doesn’t require or justify denying legal parentage at birth.

    Last but not least: the practicalities of this standard trouble me. A and B want to have a child. They live in a state where parentage is determined according to this rule. Reasonably, for the sake of the child’s stability and security, they want to guarantee that both of them will be clear legal parents at birth to the resulting child. How do they do this? Conceiving through sexual intercourse won’t work (assuming they’re a different-sex couple and this is an available option); a written document specifying intended parentage won’t work; marriage won’t work. I suppose you could have a “voluntary admission of actions consistent with intent to parent” form, but unlike paternity, this is a murky standard, there will be gray areas for lawyers, and many others for ordinary people.

    • It’s hardly perfect so I’ll just start by agreeing there. But I think the fit between functional parenthood and gestation is a bit better than you make it seem. IN particular, I think there is some sort of bond between the woman who gives birth and the newborn child. I don’t want to make too much of that but I also don’t want to discard it out of hand.

      About the power of the pregnant woman to control the destiny of the other potential parent: I know that this worries many people and, though I am not as troubled by it as you are, I think I probably ought to do something to address it. I’ll be writing shortly about a line of CA cases which speaks in terms of that other person doing what they can–so that the pregnant woman cannot cut them off. They do not need a relationship with her, per se. But they do need to be taking action that manifests their intention to become a parent to the child she will bear. That might mean taking some legal steps, it might mean telling people or an employer, it might mean lots of things. More to come here, so I guess I ask patience until I can spin it out in more detail.

      I’m not entirely clear about your point in the 3rd paragraph. I think what worries me is that a person can use status as a legal parent as a way to control/harass other legal parents. Thus, don’t want to hand out that status to people who don’t really have any interest in the child and the actual role. There are no guarantees–I know that–but this makes it a bit harder for the person with no actual interest in the child to claim legal status. I imagine we agree that this is the exceptional circumstance–that most of the time the person who has expressed specific intent to parent does follow through. But that person will be covered.

      Finally your practically point–a very important one I just haven’t addressed. I’ll think about it a say something after I’ve done that. What you’ve pointed it out is that this is a form of natural parenthood–parenthood established without any formal legal proceedings. Of course, I want it to work that way, but it does mean there are other problems, as you suggest.

      • Your second paragraph makes me feel somewhat better about this framework.

        Given your reply, I’m somewhat curious about how exactly “intent” works here. Say a man and a woman have a brief, casual sexual relationship. The woman ends up pregnant without any intent or planning on anyone’s part. What’s required for the man to be a parent of the resulting child? Does post-conception mutual intent (say, they make a joint parentage agreement of some kind) suffice, when coupled with the sorts of actions you refer to? What about unilateral intent, coupled with those actions—could a genetic father become a parent as long as, after the fact of conception, he intended to parent the resulting child and carried out actions consistent with that intent? Or is the idea that unplanned pregnancy results in only one parent at birth? (You don’t mention unplanned pregnancy in your paragraph about cases.)

      • ” I think what worries me is that a person can use status as a legal parent as a way to control/harass other legal parents. Thus, don’t want to hand out that status to people who don’t really have any interest in the child and the actual role.”

        Even if the second legal parent was a former lesbian partner of the other legal (and usually the genetic) parent? Then your assumption is that the genetic mother is wrongly cutting the former partner out of the child’s life, whereas if the other legal parent is a man, your assumption is that he is controlling and harassing the genetic mother and has no interest in raising the child (Bode Miller).

        It’s certainly true that men who are faced with paternity suits often fight them by demanding custody even though they do not want to raise the child at all. The idea is to bluff that the mother doesn’t want the man to have equal custody and will drop the support demands, often by marrying some other man (a white knight beta schmuck). In some cases the father’s bluff is called and he has to pick up the baby and change diapers every other week. These situations are bad and that’s why we should be trying to minimize out of wedlock sex.

        • I think I can be consistent here, though of course you can disagree. I worry about handing out that second “parent” designation no matter who it is handed out to–lesbian partner or former boyfriend. That’s why I want a refined test that has some complexity built into it. I wouldn’t leap to the assumption about the former lesbian mother–we’ve been looking at cases with facts. Ditto the Bode Miller case–that wasn’t about him being male, it was about how he behaved.

          • Yes, but no matter how Bode Miller behaves, he is still and always will be the child’s father, which should give him some claim of control over the child and the other parent of his child. He’s not just a former partner like the lesbian second parent is. Yet you think the lesbian second parent should have more claim of control just because she did the diaper changing and peek a boo stuff, even though in ten years, if she were to leave the picture, the child would surely forget all about her.

            • Being a parent isn’t picking a choosing when you want to parent it’s a lifelong commitment. You can’t ignore the infant years because you don’t want to change diapers, you need to be there always. You don’t get a pass just because you conceived the child.

              • Bode Miller sued for custody in the very beginning of the child’s life. Is it Bode Miller’s conduct you don’t like Julie? I thought it was the judge’s.

                • I’m not talking about a specific case. I’m responding to this line.

                  “Yet you think the lesbian second parent should have more claim of control just because she did the diaper changing and peek a boo stuff, even though in ten years, “

                • I think he is pretty much a jerk because of the name issue and letting his wife publicly act like the baby was hers. That is just my opinion, though…

              • There is no requirement for a legal parent to change diapers or be around at all, is there? Can the parent who is doing all the work petition to remove the other legal parent as a legal parent just because they are not around?

                • “There is no requirement for a legal parent to change diapers or be around at all, is there?”

                  So I guess in your mind parents can show up when they please and do the fun stuff while someone else babysits their kid and does the work they don’t want to do?

                  • Did you see the question marks in my comment? I asked two questions.

                  • The parent who choose not to be around and parent is irrelevant to me. They aren’t a parent.

                  • they may not be relevant to you. but they could be relevant to their child. relevant in a painful way.

                  • That is a very nasty and bitter view of what people go through when their children are either relinquished for adoption or are taken by CPS. Show up and do the fun stuff? While someone else babysits their kid? When its CPS taking their kids these are often people that love their children very very much and come from families that love them very very much but the parents might be very addicted to drugs or they might have mental and emotional problems that prevent them from properly caring for their children. They want to generally they just cannot keep it together. Some people just don’t have the skills or the support system to really succeed with their children on a daily basis and maybe a few times a year is all they can manage to pull it together for maybe a birthday or Christmas. If they had the mental and physical wherewithal and willpower to do what they need to do for their kids they would cause most in theory really want to and some turn it around but if they don’t its not generally smugness. Abuse is learned and passed from generation to generation and sometimes people cannot be trusted to keep their cool every day and visits for fun is all they can cope with. Seeing their children is their job still they owe it to their children to do whatever they are capable of. Don’t look at the fun visits in an open adoption as the relinquishing parents being rewarded for their laziness when the adoptive parents do all the work. The kid is not a reward that people get for hard work. The kid is a person that deserves whatever time or joy their relinquishing parents can manage to give them and its very sad they can’t do that every day but that is why the adoptive parents are there because the relinquishing parents can’t hack the daily grind. It’s very sad when the relinquishing parents get it together and get a few years to grow up and they may well be ready to take care of their child at that point but the permanent nature of adoption won’t allow them to be eased back into the roll of rearing parent because they still owe that to their child but nobody would have helped at the time unless they got to keep the kid a whole 18 years. Don’t be so bitter about it, its complex

                  • Marilynn,

                    I’m not talking about people who place their child for adoption. I’m not talking about gamete donors who knowingly pass the potential responsibility of parenting onto someone else. I am talking about people who actually abandon their kids. Not fake abandonment that you love to throw out there. I’m talking about men who know they got a woman pregnant and leave her and the child high and dry, then one day realize what they did and then want to parent. I’m talking about the immature kids you see on Teen Mom (not all of them) who neglect parenting their kids then years later decide they want to parent.

                    Step up from day one. There is a big difference between those who try like the single mom who works two jobs versus the mom who would rather party than parent her kid. The latter I have zero tolerance for because they take for granted their ability to have kids that a lot of people lack.

                • Good point!

          • Question if you “handing out” that “second parent” designation, then you essentially have yourself the situation where the first needs to consent to the second and that is adoption if its permanent or step parenthood if the first parent wants to retain authority over the second in case their romance ever ends.

            I mean if it is not automatic because of who you are then it is performace based and duly authorized and then that is a different gig. That is not straight up parenthood its adoption or step parenthood. Why is it that when courts accept the idea that someone became a parent through holding a kid out, why don’t they simply marshal through their adoption? Like a step parent adoption in the case of a single woman who’d never named the father on her child’s birth record because she sincerely had no idea who he was. If she gets married her husband will be the step father. If she just lives with her boyfriend that is when the defacto thing could come into play. She dies and he wants custody – why would they not just let him prove he was an adoptive parent by having held out the kid why not adoptive. Just for clarity sake you know?

  2. This is exactly why you should consider the genetic father as a legal parent. Because the majority of genetic fathers actually do have an interest in being involved with their offspring. What’s more, this is a prosocial tendency that we want to support, not discourage.
    I also take issue with the idea of plain old friends being named as co legal parents. Married (or marriage-like unions) people typically share a household and life over a long term period. Friends do not.
    If your goal is to support family diversity, than i am afraid a uniform criteria for parenthood won’t serve you well; you’re going to have to accept multiple avenues and delineate in what circumstances each should apply. perhaps a more complex project than you intended?

    • ps and i think we both agree that those circumstances shouldn’t be determined by whether sex occured or not….

    • When you say a genetic father being involved with the children conceived from their sperm, what are you referring to by them being involved? Are you referring to actually raising the child, having visitation, financially supporting them, etc.?

      • a legal father includes all: the obligation to support and the right to petition for custody or visitation.
        i am not inclined to support halfway measures, along the lines of a donor-uncle, as we discussed on the other post. some people like julie are.

        • Are you saying you don’t approve of non anonymous donation where the donor is known but doesn’t play an active role in the child’s life? Do you only support anonymous donation or don’t support any donation?

          I’m not saying whether you are right or wrong just trying to understand your opinion on this subject.

          • i’m not really enthusiastic about the whole donation idea but in the case of an anonymous donor, i don’t see any benefit in having an anonymous man named parent.

            • So for you even in the cases of couples using a known donor you would recognize the donor as a parent even in the case of heterosexual couples?

              • to me, this would not be all that different from adultery. being that i don’t like the idea of the state invading people’s privacy I would go with the marital presumption. however if all members of the three are cool and upfront about things, than the donor should be recognized as the father.

                • i suppose if the donor really had no plans whatsoever to have anything to do with the kid, and he would in any case be planning to relinquish his status so that the husband could adopt, it really wouldn’t make sense for them to jump through all these hoops rather than let the marital presumption stand.
                  but in that case, why bother with a known sperm donor in the first place, why not just buy from the sperm bank?

    • I think we can agree that the majority of genetic fathers will be fine under my test as they would be under a genetic father=legal father scheme. The question is what about the (small) minority that remains? If there is a genetic father who has no interest in being a legal parent–if he takes no steps to prepare for that role–why entrust him with all the rights and obligations? A genetic standard does that and my test would not. Indeed, that’s a part of the point of my test.

      We can think in terms of what kind of behavior this rewards/encourages, which I think you are suggesting? I want to encourage those who want to be parents to step up and take action. Again, I think that’s a good thing.

      Finally, you may be right that if my goal is to support family diversity I need a variety of tests–that a uniform test won’t do. But I’m not willing to concede that yet. The problem with multiple tests for different situations is that there will always be situations that fall between two you planned for–are where the facts aren’t clear. So the law now draws a line between conception via ART and conception via sex and uses different tests. But there are cases where people are both having sex and using ART and then seems the choice of test turns on how the particular sperm reach the egg. That seems ridiculous to me. But as I say, you might be right and I might be over-optimistic.

      • Regarding genetic fathers, you seem to be making the assumption that if they are not in the picture, its because they don’t want to? what about those who are frozen out by the mother? would you suggest that the mother has the right to freeze them out? or would you suggest that there are actions they need to show in order to prove intent, that would allow him to be recognize overriding the mothers intentions? we discussed the difficulty in defining those actions when discussing the proposed Utah legislation on unmarried fathers.
        and regarding the putative fathers registry.

        over there, again,i also sense a double standard when it comes to bio fathers. you’ve stated you don’t want the lack of an adoption procedure to be held against non bio parents, or the lack of a doctor in the recently discussed Kansas case, because it discriminates against those who don’t know the law or don’t have the means. The same can be applied to putative fathers paperwork.

        and regarding encouraging people to do the right thing, that means we’ve got to first give them an opportunity to do the right thing.

        • oops! i didin’t notice your reply to jhw. i’m waiting for those california cases….

        • What’s the right thing to only consider genetic connections as a basis of who is a parent?

          • the right thing is for people to care for their offspring. placing obstacles in the face of folks who want to do just that, is discouraging the right thing.

            telling folks who don’t want to do the right thing that all is well and dandy, and they are hereforth absolved of all responsibilities- that is encouraging the wrong thing and thereby discouraging the right thing. however this of course must be weighed against the childs best interest.

            • So those who have offspring are the only qualified people to care for these children and those who don’t have off spring were just never meant to be parents?

              • no clearly some folks are unable to care for there offspring.
                And i don’t know what people who don’t have offspring should do. Whether caring for someone else’s offspring is the right choice for them or not.
                thats as for the parents (or would be parents). as for the offspring, as far as i know, there is not yet a lot of information on children of sperm donors who have access to his identity at age 18.

          • for who is a parent first of course because they are responsible for the life they created. If there is good reason to terminate their parental responsibilities like they are abusive then hopefully relatives will raise their child and then when all else fails of course society needs to find people to raise them that are well suited to their particular needs.

  3. Julie you believe all children have one parent at birth; a mother who was pregnant and gave birth. You believe that pregnancy meets your functional parenthood criteria because pregnancy is a big effort and a special relationship is formed between her and the baby she delivers. But you stop short of relying on her intention to be a parent because she could be planning on giving the baby up for adoption or could have been forced to finish the pregnancy against her will – simply the act of being pregnant and giving birth is enough to make her a parent in your book, regardless of intention to be a parent to the person she gives birth to.

    It’s interesting, Ki and I just had banter back and forth about whether or not childbirth was a function of parenthood and it is not a function of parenthood because people are not parents/adoptive parents/foster parents/defacto parents/sisters/brothers/aunts uncles/teachers or neighbors of a person who was never born. Childbirth is a bodily function. Childbirth is a function of labor, of pregnancy, not of parenthood.

    The precise reason you favor the functional approach is that someone presumably is choosing to spend their free time raising a child and developing a personal relationship with that child. If you are 9 months pregnant you don’t have a choice but to give birth. Giving birth is not optional when your pregnant. If your 9 months or 10 months pregnant and your alive you are going to give birth whether you like it or not. You said yourself on Feminist Law Professors that even without intention to raise the child you believe the pregnant woman is specially situated so that she is a parent when the child is born. You have failed your own functional parenthood test. Your basing her motherhood on a bodily function that serves her own body to expel waste – its a contraction, a spasm intended to remove a baby from her body. Like pooping its not something she is doing for the good of the fetus, she’s doing it because her body can no longer bear the weight of the child on her uterus.

    Your basing functional legal parenthood on a bodily function that she has very little control over without access to contraception or medical abortions. You’ve admitted that even a forced pregnancy and delivery would make her a legal parent at birth based on this bodily function. Julie that bodily function is a bodily function to the same extent human reproduction is a bodily function. The fertilization of an egg is the cells of our bodies on auto pilot – they don’t care what the brain wants or does not want its just a bodily function. You can get yourself into a state of pregnancy by free will surely. You can get a woman pregnant by free will surely as well but it can happen against people’s better judgement or under duress just as easily.

    Performance of parental duties once a child is born are something people can and sadly do neglect and walk away from. So I agree that it is critical to find people who are willing to do the work and to protect their relationship with that child – I agree. But your being hypocrytical when you try and say that every child would have just one parent, the woman who gave birth, not because of genetics because men are equal that way, but because of pregnancy and child birth. You are pro choice so you can’t say there is a child to be the parent of prior to birth. You have copped to that and don’t want to try and call them people prior to birth and than God for that. And also you have said you don’t want to base her parenthood on intention because you believe the very act of pregnancy and child birth is so unique that even if she were forced she’d still be a parent in your book. So you place no importance on the bodily function of reproduction but you place importance on the bodily function of pregnancy and child birth which are equally involuntary and child birth is utterly involuntary its a spasm a reflex. It is not care giving. She has no choice.

    So then what makes her special to the interests of the child? I don’t believe she has an interest in the child as property. She is medically relevant to the child but only to mild extent if she is not related to him/her. Having her name written down is vital to the child for instance if she had health problems while pregnant that impact him/her. I’ll grant her that. But she may not be relevant medically for the purposes of hereditary disease and she won’t help to define who he is in relation to other people on the planet if she is not his biological parent – he/she be able to know who to avoid mating with unless he/she knows the name of their biological mother and father so the child has a vital interest in having those individuals identified on the record. Society has the public health interest in having them identified. But who should raise the child?

    Would you assert that nobody has a “right” to raise the just born child? That the government should decide who gets to be the parents of each just born child? Why is the woman who gave birth the best choice of a parent for the child? How does that serve the child’s interests in getting the very best parents possible?

    I submit to you that it is not the pregnancy that makes the child “hers”. I submit that each person has an interest in being cared for by the individuals that caused their dependency – their involuntary creators because they owe it to their offspring to provide for them and owe it to them to ensure ethical transfers of parental responsibility to others if they are not going to be raising them.

    • A woman who carries out a pregnancy even in the case of an egg donor is just as responsible for a child being as the person whose egg formed the embryo. W/out that person to carry out the pregnancy you just have an embryo that would die w/out the vessel to grow in until it’s ready to survive in the world.

      • The question that Marilyn proposes is an interesting one. Is it possible to maintain a pro choice position regarding a woman’s reproductive choice (ie fetus is not a child) and yet that gestating and giving birth to the child qualifies one for parenthood? My gut answer is yes, but I’m not sure how to formulate it just yet. I will keep trying.

        • I don’t think anything in particular qualifies a person for parenthood. Just because someone was born with the ability to conceive a child and/or carry a pregnancy to term means that they are qualified to become a parent. The many poor parents in this world is proof of that.

          • I agree with you here Greg

            • well anyway you have helped me answer my own question. It’s relationship. It seems to me that having been pregnant and given birth do someone is, in itself a relationship. You have a relationship with the person who just a few moments ago was part of your body.

              • The relationship she had gestating a developing fetus is not a parental relationship with the child. Nor is it a biological relationship with the person she delivers. The biological relationship with the person she delivers is the same with the father as it is with her. The infant does not have the capacity to remember gestation their brain is not fully developed. When the person is ready to interact and have relationships then they are born.

                • at the moment of birth it is a parental relationship, specifically a maternal relationship. her body is still bioligocically primed to provide care for that child and that child is still dependent on her. the effect of the relationship diminishes with time.
                  as for interacting, some babies couldn’t care less who their caregivers are until their about 3 months old. not all relationships are based on interaction.

                  • So are you arguing we should ban surrogacy or not?

                  • They had wet nurses other women are biologically primed to care for the newborn as well. The maternal relationship is dna testable of course. If she’s really actually the mother then she has a maternal relationship. If she’s not she has no relationship with the born child unless she commences raising the child and then it is a social relationship only. The fact that she can feed the baby does not make her a mother any more than any old lactating female can breast feed a child and anyone with a bottle of similac can do it too. Feeding a child does not make a woman the child’s mother.

                  • didn’t say anything about topic. seems like your response to everything is “BAN”.

                  • My point is, what’s your point? If it’s worth noting that at the moment of birth, the birth mother is the parent, then it follows you should be opposed to surrogacy. Maybe I should have directed the point at Julie or a different one of your comments. I just get sick of seeing comments that make a pit but don’t really make a point, just spin the wheels.

                    Yes, I am opposed to surrogacy and all intentional pregnancies. I do think we should ban pretty much everything. The only ethical way for a child to be created is through loving sexual intercourse by a married couple, where the intent is to show love and commitment and give all of themselves to each other, not to create a child. That said, there are some things that should be banned more first, not everything needs to be banned all at the same time. Surrogacy is up near the top, after gamete donation and before IVF.

                  • “pit” should say “point” I got one of those silicon keyboard covers and type too fast for it.

                  • Wow, this might be the most closed minded view on this topic that I’ve ever seen.

                • I think so much of the language here is slippery. So for example, what is “a parental relationship?” I cannot say whether something is or is not a parental relationship until I know what that means. And surely while a woman is pregnant she has a biological relationship with the fetus she carries? And it is a unique biological relationship. And while I’ll agree that one doesn’t remember being in utero (though some people might think differently) this doesn’t mean to me that there is no relationship there. I wouldn’t equate the two.

                  All of which is to say that there is just a lot we disagree on. Not really surprising, I guess?

              • Ki you want to say that the woman that gives birth is the woman that has the maternal relationship? What if she does not have a maternal relationship with the child, another woman does? Maternal and paternal relationships are testable – the child has a relationship with his mother and father that is maternal and paternal. Their relatives are the child’s maternal and paternal relatives.
                The woman that gave birth has no relationship to the born child at all if not biological
                Only if she raises the kid will an unrelated woman have a social relationship with the child but it is not maternal or biological unless the child is her offspring.

                • say a woman gives birth via another woman’s egg, the woman with the egg has the same relationship to the child as the father.

                • I think you are using “maternal” and “paternal” in particular ways here. “Maternal” means genetic mother as you are using it right? But that’s not how Ki was using it and it’s not how everyone uses it. Again, I think we need to be very careful with language so that what we mean is clearly conveyed.

              • I agree. And I think it’s an important relationship even if it doesn’t continue beyond that point. It’s still worthy of notice.

            • You do? I find that hard to believe watt your strong stance on genetic parenthood.

              • Sheesh, you too? Julie always sets up the same straw man, that anyone who says that genetics matter is saying that the genetic parent should always be the custodial and/or legal parent. No, we have never said that. We do say that the genetic progenitors should be the mother and father recorded on the birth certificate, and that the progenitors should have an expectation and responsibility to support and care for their offspring.

                • “We do say that the genetic progenitors should be the mother and father recorded on the birth certificate, and that the progenitors should have an expectation and responsibility to support and care for their offspring.”

                  Why? Because the invisible man and the fairy tale book says so?

                  If someone isn’t able to or confident that they can parent a child their responsibility is to make sure they find someone who can.

                  • Sure, though I think the should try first, before just running away from taking care of their children. They will probably find they can do it and will grow to the task. But if they are neglectful and unfit, they shouldn’t deny it to themselves and should seek assistance from social services, who may find the child a new temporary home while the parent straightens up. If that takes a while or looks like it won’t ever happen, then the child should be placed for adoption to a new set of parents.

                  • Again this goes back to the concept of people picking and choosing when they parent their kids. If they don’t accept the task from day 1 they have no business parenting the child.

          • ok i didn’t mean qualify in that sense.
            since in my view, parenthood is a relationship and not a job, i would never use qualified, meaning skilled competent and abled in this context.
            just skip over the word. makes her a parent.

            • But some people aren’t qualified to handle the responsibilities that come with that relationship.

              • That’s where people that are qualified to raise children and want children to raise come in. Those people shouldn’t be hiring clinics to make them brand new babies.

                • Who the heck are you someone who for whatever reason decided not to have children to judge someone on something you are ignorant (unaware) on? According to your logic those who can’t have children who want them should go dumpster diving for children no one else wants. Basically you are codifying those children who deserve much better.

                  • I’m doing what? They deserve a lot better and get a lot worse when all the families that could care for them deem them “dumpster” children and decide to go commission brand new babies to raise.

                  • But not all of those families have the make up to care for those children. If you knew anything about Foster Care you’d know not everyone is made to adopt from Foster Care. Heck just take a look at all of the rehoming cases. This is where you are lost if you believe that eliminating 3PR will lead to more Foster Care adoptions. Those children require special care that those who went through infertility are not made to parent.

                  • Whoa! no child in the world is dumpster trash and if thats how you think than its probably just as well you don’t have any- by any means. Do the world a favor and don’t adopt eiter. Do you really think you can prevent your own child- or a donor sperm conceived child- from being born with, or developing, a severe disability?

                  • K,

                    So you are saying that it’s a good thing I am not able to have children?

                    My point was John is advocating for those who can’t have children (unlike yourself and Marilynn) but want it have children should just take a child that no one else wants. That’s very unfair to the child. It takes a special person/couple to adopt from Foster Care. It’s not a matter of wanting a child it’s a matter of being the type of person or couple that can handle it.

                    As far as being able to prevent a disability in a child, well if my wife and I were able to conceive a child there is a 50/50 chance they would have inherited my ADD. We would have dealt with it just as my parents did. If we decide to adopt and are lucky enough to become parents and the child were to have some type of disability we would work with it. However, I don’t think I could handle adopting through the Foster Care system. And it’s not fair to any child in the Foster Care system to not be placed with the right parents rather than just any parents.

                    That’s the type of couple we are. When we adopted our greyhound she was a very shy dog who had raced for four years, she was previously returned because according to the family she always looked sad and was always hungry. The first few months we had her were rough as she had separation anxiety issues, was not confident and overall was shy. We could have easily returned her as the previous family did but we didn’t. We stuck with her and we are rewarded that now a year and a half later she is a typical goofy greyhound who is friendly with people and other greyhounds. Not that people are the same as dogs but it shows the type of people we are.

                  • Seriously offended by your dumpster diving for children no one else wants statement. Horrified.

                  • It goes both ways. It’s being advocated that the defective people who couldn’t have children take the children no one else wants. It’s just as unfair to the kids getting stuck with parents who are at the bottom of the food chain.

                    I think the kids in Foster Care need parents who have the make up to handle their needs. Giving the any two people leads to the rehoming issues we’ve seen. Very unfair to the children.

                • For a long time I wondered why Greg was so darn down on adopting from the foster system saying that nobody wanted them (presumably) when obviously donor offspring are in the exact same boat because one of their bio parents did not want them (presumably). It”s like he totally overlooked the fact that donor offspring are given up by one of their bio parents. And I thought to myself why is it that donor offspring are so much more appealing to him since rejection by a bio parent is rejection.

                  Then I understood. Donor offspring are rejected by good quality bio parents with good genes. They are tall and good looking, well educated and clean of disease and drugs. So the fact that their offspring are unwanted is just fine because they want those shiny clean custom ordered abandoned offspring. He just does not like the ones that are abandoned by dirty work-a-day trailer trash dumpster people all sick with mental illness and impoverished. So its really not the issue of nobody else wanting the kid is it Greg? No its the quality of orphan. What are the needy infertile of the world to do when they want a nice white shiny baby abandoned by their eastern seaboard pre-med father? I’m sorry you only want to adopt babies who are rejected by nice wholesome parents. Ki is right don’t adopt either. Your wife has enough to deal with taking care of your immaturity. Dumpster diving for babies. Greg honestly

                  • I understand my comment was offensive and I apologize to the children in Foster Care or have been in Foster Care for that.

                    As far as you and Ki telling me we shouldn’t adopt, I could careless what two people who forget where they came from and take for granted they could have easily ended up like my wife and I. That’s big difference in you both compared to me is that you forget where you came from to become parents. Another difference between just you and I Marilynn is that my wife never left me or cheated on me because I wasn’t taking care of her needs.

                  • Sure I bet there are other differences between us as well like I had a Shepard and you have a Grayhound. I’m allergic to peanuts and you’re probably not. You’re taller than me. What is your point about your wife not cheating on you or leaving you? Days not over yet don’t be too cocky. Congrats on your stable marriage though you are to be commended. I admire that very much.

      • but she’s interchangeable, she could be anyone. At somepoint we’ll be able to grow a baby in the bathroom sink.

        • You mean the woman who is pregnant is interchangeable because it could have been someone else? It could have been a different sperm donor, too. But it wasn’t. It was this woman (whoever she is). It was that donor. The mere fact that it could have been someone else isn’t the point.

          When we grow babies in bathroom sinks I’ll worry about that. We cannot do that. And though someone else could have done it, the point is that she did do it. And so she has the existing relationship. The newborn responds to her voice.

          The fact that someone else could have done what a person did doesn’t negate the fact that a particular person actually did do it.

          • Different sperm donor different born individual. Not the same person. You would be you no matter who gestated you. Your mother did not have to gestate you for you to be born as the individual you are looking as you do. Your parents had to reproduce and have offspring. Then your environment and caregivers provided you with the information to develop to your fullest potential hopefully.

            • I’m not sure whether I’d be the same person if I was born to a different woman, but I also think this question (while interesting) is besides the point. Perhaps a different past could have lead to the same present. But I do have a specific and particular past. And that’s what matters to me.

              So a particular woman gives birth to a particular child. Maybe–hypothetically–another woman could have done the same thing. But she didn’t do that, the first woman did. And whatever relationship is created between the pregnant woman and the child was created between the first woman and not the second. So the fact that the second woman might have created the same relationship is far less important to me that the fact that she did not create that relationship.

              There are many times when you can look back and say “someone else could have done that” but this is often less important than the fact that someone in particular DID it. I fear I am not being clear here, but we’re talking about history and what actually did happen, not what might have happened.

              I do

          • Are you suggesting that we let the baby pick who they go home with based on whether they turn their head to someone’s voice?

            • I’m not sure if you are asking me this, but I’ll offer an answer. I am not suggesting this as a definitive model. But I am suggesting that if you had your choice of two people, one of whom had an existing relationship with the child and one of whom did not, I might pick the one who had the relationship. the head turning thing is just a way you might see the relationship manifested.

              • So you really say we should give zero consideration to the fact that someday, the child will learn that she is genetically related to a different person from the people she has a relationship with? She is going to learn she has siblings and cousins and grandparents and nephews and nieces, and you really think that should be ignored?

                • Why are you so opposed to non biological parents? What is so awful about them?

                  • he isn’t oppose to non biological parents. in fact he things that children should be carted away from their biological parents who are not married to each other .his thing is marriage, not genetics.

                  • One more time, I’m opposed to treating children as a means to an end, in this case to an adult’s desire to raise children and be a legal parent. I’m opposed to manufacturing human beings. I’m opposed to disrespecting and diminishing the responsibility and expectation of people to care for their offspring and the other parent of their offspring. I’m opposed to diminishing and disrespecting family bonds and intimacy and responsibility, though at the same time I don’t think that should overshadow our responsibility for those not related to us. I’m not opposed to non-biological parents raising children and commend them for rising to the occasion and providing safe environments and secure homes for people whose biological parents aren’t able to raise them.

                  • I left out that I’m opposed to diminishing and disrespecting natural reproductive rights most of all, which I believe are threatened by donor conception and same-sex marriage and genetic testing, and I think we should have a law that affirms that everyone has a right to marry and procreate naturally with their own genes and their spouse’s own genes, and we shouldn’t restrict marriage based on genetic tests as long as it’s one man and one woman, not siblings or any of the other state’s prohibited relationships, not children, not married already, etc. Equating non-biological parenthood to biological parenthood threatens natural reproduction rights and equality itself. Being allowed to have offspring with one’s chosen spouse is a fundamental right that is required for human dignity.

                  • So in your mind non biological parents are inferior to biological parents?

                  • Not if the biological parents can’t or won’t care for their kids, then non biological parents are far far superior to the biological parents. Heroes even.

                  • No parent whatever the type is inferior or superior.

                  • That’s a good point, Greg. As Ki points out, I am so confident that non-biological parents are perfectly fine worthy parents that I think that after we outlaw 3PR, if anyone still goes ahead and has children using black market gametes, intentionally conceiving children with someone they are not married to, that the resulting children should be removed from those people who commissioned their creation (who should all go to jail) and raised instead by a family that respects human rights and the rule of law. It’s what we do all the time when biological parents commit crimes. Except in this case, they shouldn’t be reunited with those children when they get out, they should permanently lose them.

                  • Again you are adding more children to an already overloaded Foster Care system.

                  • No, those kids would not be raised by foster parents, because they’d be infants going immediately for adoption. There would be a married couple like yours, wanting to raise kids and unable to have them and now not able to manufacture them, so they’d happily adopt them as soon as they were available.

                  • Yes, it would be Foster Care these babies would go into. If what you are talking about is government enforced, yes they would go into an overloaded Foster Care system prior to be adopted. They wouldn’t be raised by Foster Parents they would be raised by parents who adopted them. However, they’d still have to go through the Foster Care system.

                • Greg many infant adoptions have spent at least a brief period of time in foster care and not necessarily because the parents had their child taken from them, people also surrender willingly. Honestly it is a path which ethically has fewer opportunities for exploitation because of the checks and balances. It is not perfect or great by any means but you can see how there is so much stuff that is close to child selling in private adoptions like paying expenses for a pregnant woman with the idea in mind that she is going to give them the baby when born.

                  • Marilynn,

                    Any way you cut it no matter what path of becoming a parent through non natural conception has it’s ethical issues. Be it fertility treatments, adopting or 3PR none of it is easy nor is it 100% ethical. People like yourself and others who either didn’t want children like John or were able to hack children have zero credibility in judging the decisions that those who were unable to have children and took alternative routes to parenthood.

                  • Well it can be ethical. But people have to tread carefully to make sure they are not influencing people to have offspring that they won’t raise, specifically for the purpose of providing children for people that want to raise them. That is what we need to get away from.

                  • None of it is 100% ethical. It’s a risk anyone takes when making the decision to have a child that doesn’t involve natural conception.

                  • I’m one of those infants whose mother called the state after I was born and surrendered her rights – vs going through an agency. I’m ever so glad my mother did not get hooked in by an agency. I think it is a better process than many of the agencies out there whose employees only are employed – if a certain number of adoptions happen each year.

              • i believe pregnancy is an immanent relationship (which fades with time), and not a social relationship. Julie if you are focusing on a mutual social relationship between a newborn and its mom, its doesn’t really matter all that much. developmentally you can see that newborns don’t object being left with strange caregivers until about 3 months. otherwise how do we let nurses in the hospital care for the babies?

        • I think we should ban artificial wombs, they are inhuman and there is no right to create a child that overrides the cost and risk and disgust of manufacturing babies.

          • Who is to say what is the right way to conceive and carry a pregnancy?

            • Society makes the laws that govern society. A government by the people, for the people, and of the people. (That’s best, but the general answer to your question is “the government” whatever form that is.)

              • So government should dictate personal family lives so that they are in accordance with John Howard’s beliefs?

                • Not all at once, it would be a shock to the system. We should move gradually, so that the laws are in accord with the prevailing social beliefs. If we suddenly prohibited IVF and sperm donation and surrogacy, it would be unfair to people who are assuming it will be legal for them right now, and put a lot of doctors and clinic workers out of work. First we should prohibit creating people by any means other than joining a man and a woman’s natural gametes, immediately, because no one is doing that yet anyhow. Then we should begin to prohibit intentional unmarried conception (meaning gamete ‘donation’) and surrogacy and late term abortions.

                  • And next we will put those unable to have children in interment camps where they will live out the rest of their days.

                  • There is no requirement to have children Greg. You can marry and have the right and approval and all the support we give to marriages, and not have to have children because there is no requirement or obligation. There also isn’t an obligation or requirement to marry anyone. There is lots of freedom within the ethical boundaries, but things like adultery and creating people willy nilly without marrying to an eligible consenting partner is not a right and bad for society and human rights.

                  • The outcasting of infertile childless couples and people like yourself with closed minded strict views are also bad for society.

                  • We certainly shouldn’t outcast infertile people or people like myself with strict views about society. I feel that you are contributing to both, trying to outcast childless people by shoving options at them they ought to use to have children, leaving them no excuse not to have children, and trying to outcast and shame anyone that wants to abolish child sales for adults.

                  • How every infertile couple proceeds is none of my business and I would never judge their decision even if it’s something we weren’t confortable with. For instance I wouldn’t be comfortable with embryo donation, surrogacy, International Adoption or adopting from Foster Care. But others are comfortable with those options. I don’t judge them for that. Everyone who goes through infertility has a different story and outcome. What works for one couple doesn’t work for another.

                    So I do not advocate anyone being forced to pursue anything they aren’t comfortable with. I don’t advocate like you and Marilynn do that they should become legalized babysitters or be outcasted by living a childless life. And I also don’t advocate outsiders such as yourself and those who had different outcomes like Marilynn judging them. You made a decision to live the life you have led, others didn’t have that choice their circumstance dictated how they’d live. It’s something that you aren’t empathetic towards which is probably due to a lack of understanding.

                  • Greg John is rational on these points – I only disagree on the marriage aspect of it oddly I think you’d agree with him on that point.

                    Greg talk about how exactly society outcasts you. Legally I mean. The whole paying taxes argument fell apart because everyone at some point was childless and paying taxes not necessarily knowing if they’d ever have children and not personally benefiting from having to work when people with kids don’t that sort of thing. What other ways are people without kids legally outcast?

                  • No Marilynn my argument didn’t fall a part because I am referring to people that ended up life long childless people and you are referring to people that were childless at one point but then took advantage of publicly funded schools.

                  • No Greg your bitching abuy the big burden you are carrying right now long before your life is over not knowing if at some point you’ll be caring for a dependent individual just like everyone else.

                  • Again the chances of me becoming a parent are less than me living a childless life. Those who never have children subsidize those who do have children. That’s a fact that you can’t argue.

  4. No one addressed something I asked about in the first thread: the Attleboro “Body” cult in the news here in Massachusetts back 2004 when a child was starved to death because the cult leader said it was the will of God. In that case, the state took all the cult’s other children away, including one that was still gestating in the mothers womb. She spent months or weeks locked up in the hospital and the baby was taken away immediately at birth and placed with a fit family.

    My point: count from zero parents at birth. Legal parenthood is bestowed by the state and is not a right of anyone, even the woman who gives birth, even if she is also the genetic mother. At birth, the state or people acting on behalf of the state, assign legal parenthood to who ever they think are the right people. Sometimes there is some reason not to name the birth mother or the man who claims to be the father, usually though, there isn’t, so that’s who they name. it can be changed by a court if someone contests it. No rule should dictate the decision, which are not always correct or best.

    • you really long for a totalitarian world don’t you

      • Huh? You don;t think Massachusetts did the right and only thing?

      • And I think it is you who longs for some fantasy world where there is no government or government is not the authority. I think government is needed to protect rights, and there are things that are rights, like marriage and procreation, identity and citizenship and property. But not everything is a right that people should be allowed to do. That’s not totalitarian, that’s civilization.

        • It sounds like you are advocating for a theocracy based on Christianity ignoring our founding fathers belief in the separation of church and state.

          • Certainly not. Government predates Christianity and all religions. Religions respect government and law. I do think laws and government should respect the values and morality and traditions of the people, be a government of and by and for the people, but there are many different religions and it shouldn’t be based on any one religion’s laws. I reject sharia and can’t stand it when Catholics like Rebecca Taylor talk about “the church’s position” as though it was more important to preach than govern.

      • I think he’s saying its already like that.

      • Reality is scary?

        • lots of times.

        • I just reunited a woman who was born inside Chino Prison. They let the inmates keep their babies a couple days or minutes I really don’t know. Her mother orchestrated a daring escape from the prison with her as a newborn and she got out and they caught her and put her back in prison. She escaped several more times only to be caught and returned.

          Lukily the woman I helped was never adopted. She was raised by her father’s mother and foster families. She aged out of the foster care system and so her kinship rights were all fully intact and it was way easier to locate her family than if she’d been adopted. She never met her mother. She remembers she tried to come visit her when she was 7 but her paternal grandmother& family told her to go away and never come back. She hates them for that to this day her own paternal family she hates them for making her Mother go away.

          Her mom had a boy before her and 5 kids after 2 were raised in adoptive families found out late in life and now live on the same block as their mom. All the kids even the one I was helping live right near her now and they are a big happy family. So there really is no moral to this story only that I know babies get taken from criminals at birth. And it really does not make a lot of difference to the kids in the long run, its their mom.

          • How is aging out of Foster Care with no family to support a young adult being lucky? See for you it’s strictly selfish of what makes it easier to make yourself look good rather than what’s best for the person.

            • What a fascinating way to put it Greg. I had not thought of it that way. I’d only thought of it from the stand point of getting people what they want faster and more efficiently and of course the fact that their rights are fully intact and they themselves are able to put their families back together when their siblings who were adopted out are hamstrung and hog tied. But if you want to look at it as making me look good you can – its just that I look good in all kinds of situations, in fact the harder and more difficult the mystery is to solve the better I suppose I look at solving puzzles. But I don’t want to solve puzzles, I want there to stop being puzzles. You just can’t accept that anyone would do anything just to be nice. Try it yourself you might get something out of it cause sweet lasts longer than bitter.

              • Marilynn,

                I’m a very nice caring person to those who are in my life and in general. But if you are someone who insults and offends me on a consistent basis, I’m the exact opposite.

                What you are forgetting is not every adoptee can put their birth families back together. Many because of circumstance don’t want it (like they were abused) and others get rejected by their birth parents.

                So while you are doing a good thing, you need to understand that aging out of the Foster Care system means a child has no family to support them after age 18.

                • Nobody has a family to support them after they turn 18. That is unless they feel like it. There is no reason a guardian who wanted to could not continue supporting the child they were caring for by say paying their tuition or something. But at that point the guardian is as obligated as the bio or adoptive parent which is to say not at all. The kid’s an adult and on their own. Plenty of people have life long relationships with their foster families.

                  • Foster care is the state funded child care relationship I believe you are referring to so often when you say legalized babysitter. I prefer a model where the state does not pay them anything and they re willing to foot the bill themselves but without taking away the person’s identity kinship and without claiming the title of parents since they already have parents they just are not around. People would do it if it were the only option on getting another person’s child to raise. They would do it for nothing in return no special “parent” entitlement.

                  • Yes, people have families that support them after they turn 18 such as helping fund college, emotionally supporting them as they navigate adulthood and people it spend holidays with.

                    You are wrong about people having familial relationships with their Foster Families the rest of their lives. If they did we wouldn’t hear much about the number of kids who age out of Foster Care.

                  • No people wouldn’t do that if they desired to become parents. If they had a desire to babysit some kids they’d volunteer for a big brother type organization. More rewarding and less of a headache to do.

                    And for someone who has kids you are ignorant (unaware) of those who desired to become parents who weren’t able to would do.

                  • aging out of foster care means they were not adopted, it does not mean they can’t build life long relationships with foster families that are decent if they hit it off. My downstairs neighbor who I found her father’s family for her (she’s the one whose father was a rapist like a stranger rapist off the street that went to prison and was killed), she wanted to find her foster sister because her mom had fostered a girl and they missed her very much so I found her and then when I was done with that, found that girls parents too. And then I found my neighbor’s mom’s sister for her. Anyway they cared very much for their foster sister/daughter.

                  • Greg if it were their only option like it should be then they’d do it.

                  • Aging out of the Foster Care system means the person has no family. For someone like yourself who takes for granted that they have a family, it may not seem like a big deal but it is. A lot of these people end up leading troubled lives because of it.

                    Again if legalized babysitting was the only option for infertile couples to have a child in their life, they would not pursue it. Because again they wouldn’t be raising children. A legalized babysitters role is to provide care and management of care for the child. That’s nor raising or parenting a child. So, these adults would likely just live childless lives outcasted from society.

                  • Aging out of the foster care system does not mean that a person has no family unless they are all dead, then they’d have no living family but they’d still have a family. They are not blank slates.

                  • Let me clarify they do not have an active family in their lives to support them. They may have families but they aren’t supportive the way families are.

                  • Nicely clarified Greg. DOD’s got 2 new posts up

                  • I will post links to some studies and websites later, but the outcomes for young adults aging out of foster care are very poor. There is a reason for those teens on the waiting child lists being desperate to be adopted. Having your uninvolved bio family out there isn’t much comfort when you are homeless, jobless, unable to further education – these kids generally have very grim futures, the last thing they need is policies that further reduce their chances of adoption.

                  • I have always planned to take foster children “one day when i shape up” but didn’t get around to it because my lifestyle was not child appropriate
                    (late night partying, on-and-off employment, living with pot smokers). I still plan to, when my kid is grown, if i’m in condition to do so.

                  • taking away state funding is the worst idea ever. even a person who would have liked to be a foster parent like myself, would turn away if they have to foot the bill themselves.

                  • Ki,

                    Planning to take in Foster Children and actually doing it are two different things. If you are going to talk the talk you need to walk the walk as the saying goes. It doesn’t mean much if you are saying you plan to do something if you don’t actually do it. I don’t think you should judge others who decide not to do something that you haven’t done yourself.

                  • G you really take everything personally, don’t you???? did i say anywhere you or anyone else should take foster children and are wrong if they don’t? i did object to the contempt you appear to hold for them.
                    not everything revolves around you and not every thing every one says is a personal criticism of you.

                  • I’ll clarify and back off here – I think that adoption is sadly always going to be necessary because tragedies happen and parents are not always able to raise their own children. Families are not always able to pitch in an help and the world will always have loving people who really want to help raise those kids to adulthood. Not all of those people who want to raise those kids, should. This is something that Greg pointed out and screening is one of the protections afforded by a court approved adoption. One of the other good things about court approved adoption is that they are supposed to at least try to locate their biological parents to obtain their written consent to the adoption of a particular living child. The thing that is wrong with adoption is that you don’t get to retain your identity as the child of your bio parents and kin to your own kin. They could adopt you into the family that raises you while still maintaining your kinship in your original family. They don’t have to sell you lock stock and barrel to be someone else’s child just in order to be taken care of until your 18. I think adoption would be much better if being adopted meant you became a member of another family in addition to your own family no different than if you were to marry into a family and if your name was changed it would only be to hyphenate it. The goal should be to find families for neglected or abandoned kids without it costing the adopted person anything, they should not have to give anything up considering they’ve already lost so much.

                    If the state would care for them as wards of the state without altering their names or compromising their legal kinship in their own families despite their parents loosing their parental authority over them, then certainly the same could be done within the adoptive family framework. Ravaging their identities and their rights is like a little bonus the state throws in to sweeten the pot for people looking to adopt so they can feel like the kid they are getting will be their child belonging to them and only them. They falsify their identifying records to reflect that so that they can’t just go back to being themselves when they turn 18. If they could go back to being themselves when they turned 18 it would really highlight the game of house they are made to play.

                    Anyway adoption is a good thing with some bad elements that are fixable.

                  • Ki,

                    I didn’t take what you said about you wanting to adopt from Foster Care yet not doing it as a personal attack on me. Though I did take you telling me I shouldn’t become a parent as a personal attack. As if you a parent yourself whose circumstance was different have the right to judge what we do.

                    I just have issues with those who say that they will adopt from Foster Care but never do. With the amount of children in Foster Care, if you care that much stops making excuses and step up to the plate.

                    No, I don’t have any contemp for them. Just because it’s something I wouldn’t do does not mean I have contemp for them.

                  • What if it was all just foster care and then at 18 the kid could decide whether or not they wanted to be adopted into that additional family? Not that the state would ever go for that but it might be a more respectful alternative to the set up they have now

                  • what right do i have to judge? as a human being, thats what right i have to judge. At least you apologized for that comment, hope you are changing your mindset too.

                  • Very easy to judge when your circumstance was very different. When you walk in my shoes then you can come back and judge me.

                    If you are referring to me changing my mindset and just accept my fate of being childless forever or adopting a child you don’t have the courage to do so, you’re sorely mistaken.

            • Solve their problem without erasing their identities altering their records or diminishing their rights. It’s totally possible. People would help raise them to adulthood without taking anything from them. It’s possible and ethically its what should happen.

              • Yeah it’s called legalized babysitting or Guardianship. Those people provide for a child until they hit 18. But they provide the lifelong families that some children need. Adoption provides that. Though adoption is in need of reform.

                • I said solve their problem without compromising their rights, identities or kinship and your response was to get pissed off that it just sounds like babysitting to you. Well if babysitting were the the only way to help raise a person to adulthood without compromising their rights, their kinship or their identities then so be it. What would be the justification for doing anything else if it was at the expense of a persons kinship, identity, and human rights?

                  • Sure you don’t care because your circumstances were completely different. Again, you forget where you came from.

                  • Also, legalized babysitting or Guardianship isn’t raising a child. I’ve told you this before their role is not to raise the child. So in reality there is no alternative to raising children if you eliminated adoption and 3PR as you would like to for those unable to have children who wanted to become parents and raise a child.

                  • A legal guardian generally has child rearing duties. How do you determine if someone is raising a person or not?

                  • Raising a child is not what their role is. They are just a provider. Not that providing isn’t an important role in certain circumstances. But raising a child is a lot more than just being a provider.

    • I have a problem with that because I don’t think states should lock up pregnant women to protect a fetus, unless this woman was so mentally unwell that she was a danger to the public. Also, legally, parental rights and custody are two different things. Removing custody of a newborn at birth does not permanently terminate parental rights. If the state does not think it will be possible to help the parent regain custody, it goes to court and the the judge has to decide whether to terminate parental rights. Until then, the parent is a legal parent who does not have custody.

      • The reason they did that was because, when the state started investigating the cult, other members had hid their children, sending them off to relatives or took them on the run with them, and they were afraid this woman would do that too, so they locked her up. I believe in this case, the judge terminated parental rights before birth. That is my point, why I bring it up. True, the mother getting parental rights is the default, and a judge has to terminate her legal parenthood, but that’s just to save paperwork because 99.9% of the time, the mom would be declared legal parent, so it is done by default. But it isn’t entirely ironclad, the fact is, in all cases, it is tenuous and people have to be fit parents.

        • I will have to look the specific case up but I was under the impression an involuntary TPR was not legally possible until after birth.

        • If you were referring to the Rebecca Corneau case, parental rights to the baby were not terminated until sometime after the child was three months old.

          • Yeah that’s the case. Hmm, maybe they have to wait until there is a baby to begin the process to terminate the parental rights, so I guess I am wrong that the rights were terminated before birth and they started from zero. They started at one (or two) and the state immediately began the process of terminating them. But a judge certainly did make her give birth in custody so that they could ensure medical care and take temporary custody while they then went through the process of terminating the mother’s parental rights, which they knew in advance they were going to do, but it took a few months to do. But I guess that makes me wrong, even though for practical purposes they were terminated before birth. I feel like Fonzie.

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