Friday, March 24, 2006

Statistics and Choices

Since the whole debate last week with the anti-adoption and/or open records people I have been motivated to do a lot of research and analysis. The original adoption story is here, and there was more discussion here, here, and here.

Over the last week I have read dozens of anti-adoption and adoption reform articles on blogs written by women who regret their decision to varying degrees.

I am sick of the whole phrase "Anti-adoption". I cannot believe that any sane person would want to end adoption. How many children who would be born into poverty and would be unwelcomed, does it take to convince you it is an asinine idea?

I suspect most of these women who despise adoption are miserable because they suspect their adopted kids are happier than they are, and it is painfully apparent after a few years that they don't need them. I know nothing about post-partem depression, but I suspect it is part of the problem.

Almost all said they were pressured into adoption. The women who said family pressured them into it are screaming for adoption reform. This seems curious to me; it sounds like they need family advice reform, if they are unhappy with the advice or pressure they got. I still have to come back to basic personal responsibility, and recognizing the consequences of your actions; you signed the papers, lady.

Some were very young; in fact, one was fourteen. Now, it may be presumptuous of me to say it, but a fourteen year old has absolutely no business raising a kid.

Teenagers usually make lousy parents. 10% of teenage girls get pregnant every year. That's a million a year. Of those, a third end the pregnancy. Some 14% miscarry. Half have the child, and three fourths of those are illegitimate. 80% of these are below the poverty level and end up on welfare. The teen birthrate in America is the highest in the world; how about that sexual revolution? Sex ed has not helped much.

All those new kids have a lot in common;

  • They have more health problems.
  • More likely to be premature and have low birth weight - by 50% - doubling the chance of learning disabilities.

    A complete family is going to have a much better chance of dealing with these problems.

    Assuming they are kept by the biological mother;

  • The children are far more likely to be abused, abandoned and neglected
  • They are 2 to 3 times more likely to run away from home.

    The girls who keep the kid are not without their problems;

  • 7 of 10 drop out of high school.
  • They earn about half of the poverty level.

    The dads have problems too:

  • They finish eleventh grade. The national average gets 13 years of education.
  • About $5k less a year in wages.

    'Open' adoption is favored by a lot of these women, to the exclusion of 'closed adoption'. I have thought quite a bit about this, not being sure if it is better or not. Women who have had open adoptions seem to be complaining that they are not able to see the child as much as promised.

    One study done in the early 90's found that of biological mothers who gave up their child, 18 in open adoption and 41 in confidential adoptions, they found that biological mothers in open adoptions were far more troubled than those in traditional closed adoptions. There were problems of social maladjustment, sleep disorders, physical symptoms, despair and attempted suicide.

    It seems to me that having an extra parent around is going to confuse the relationships for the child. It is indisputable that basic family structure is the best possible environment for a kid - and an extra mom coming around is just more complication. There are lots of anecdotal type stories about how the biological mother gradually turned into a stalker, so to speak, when allowed to be part of the family. They gradually attempted more and more control over the child, many up to the point of restraining order.

    Closed adoption has problems, too, of course. Some adopted children wonder why their biological mother gave them up. The common belief is that the biological mother had problems of one sort or another, or was simply too young to be a successful parent, or was unable to locate the father. The children sometimes have feelings of abandonment, and are depressed apparently over the lack of contact. Most of these seem to be due to problems with the adoptive family.

    The most amazing thing is that all of these anti-adoption people are vehemently pro-choice. Several exercised their choice. Sorry, but I am unable to follow the "logic" that the subjects are unrelated. I do not understand how you can have an abortion, then later give another kid up for adoption, and then feel remorse - for the adoption.

    One woman writes about a depressed friend she met while in therapy, apparently both are "bi-polar". The friend is depressed because she had an abortion.

    "...She herself was an adoptee, with her own hurt surrounding her biological mother's failure to care for her--and yet SHE felt that, somehow, I was a good person for carrying my baby to term, and for staying in contact... while she felt guilty for simply terminating a pregnancy."

    "Simply terminating a pregnancy." That line amazes me. Ignore the argument about whether or not it should be legal, or whose rights we are talking about - it isn't really arguable that a life has been ended. I would hope that there would be a little guilt. How the hell can it be "Simply?"

    An acquaintance of mind makes the argument that abortion may be a good thing; a woman that would have an abortion perhaps should not become a mother.

    Abortion has a few statistics, too, but you don't hear them. Like increasing the risk of breast cancer. Have an abortion before 18, and your risk goes up 150%. If you have breast cancer in your family, and you abort a kid after you are thirty, your risk goes up 270%. Your "Suicidal Ideation", or just thinking about offing yourself, goes up 60%. Teenagers are ten times more likely to attempt suicide if they have had an abortion.

    I come away after reading dozens of these blogs (anti-adoption, adoption reform, open records, and/or pro-choice) with the distinct impression that they believe it is far better to have an abortion than give up a child for adoption.

    There seems to be a word they are fond of - "Firstmom". Sorry, but there is more to being a mom than biology. In my mind, the term mother is to be earned.

    Another one is mad because when she said something about 'her child', who she had given up for adoption, someone else pointed out to her, "It isn't your child anymore." Well, it isn't, in the sense that 'your' child is one that you raise.

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