Monday, April 26, 2010

Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids

The title above sounds like a book or article our beloved Marely G could have written! But it's a forthcoming publication by economist Bryan Caplan who is tantalizing sales with tidbits on his blog.

In an article by the same title on the website of the Library of Economics and Liberty, Caplan says:

"When you are 30, you might feel like two children is plenty. But once you are 60, you are more likely to prefer ten sons and daughters to keep you company and keep the grandkids coming."

Contrary to what you might expect, Caplan has not chosen to remain childless and point fingers at others who chose to procreate or adopt. Instead he has kids and, while recognizing childbearing as selfish, reveals his desire to clone himself, saying:
I want to experience the sublime bond I’m sure we’d share. I’m confident that he’d be delighted, too, because I would love to be raised by me. I’m not pushing others to clone themselves. I’m not asking anyone else to pay for my dream. I just want government to leave me and the cloning business alone. Is that too much to ask?
Seems Caplan is deflecting his own selfish desires on others.

But the quote that has drawn outrage in the blogosphere is:

"On adoption: I think that adoption is a noble, generous act, and admire those who do it. But I personally don't want to adopt."

Jason Kuznicki's "Bryan Caplan: An Adopted Child is Second-Best" sums it up well from one perspective:
Overwhelmingly, parents adopt for exactly the same reasons that lead others to have kids in the biological way. ...

Adopting is a pain — it means tons of paperwork, hours of interviews, repeated hearings before various officials, thousands of dollars in fees, criminal background checks, home safety inspections, financial reviews, invasive medical tests, and possibly years of waiting. (All for good reasons, I’d add.)

Compare all that to an evening of sexual intercourse, and it’s obvious why adoption is a second choice — as a method. But that doesn’t mean that adopted kids are a second choice. If anything, it may mean that adoptive parents are more committed to parenting than many “natural” parents. It’s not like we end up here on accident. Which quite a few bio-parents do, of course. And many infertile couples — those among them least committed to parenting — don’t ever adopt.

Perhaps all this is what brought Bryan to think of adoption as noble. But saying that adopting a child is “generous” is both an insult and an undeserved, patronizing compliment.

Let's dissect that for a minute. While arguing against being called noble or generous,
Kuznicki sure seems to want round of applause a bow and great deal of pity for the trials and tribulation adopters must experience compared to a night of fun in bed, assuming he is eliminating the months or years some couples try to conceive prior to trying to adoption when sex on a schedule becomes less than pleasurable.

We are to bemoan the "pain" of adoption for the one who in the end is the victor and captures the gold ring, the golden egg laid by the scorned and discarded goose?

How narrow-minded and condescending to not even mention the pain of loss and grief suffered by mothers and their babies to provide this product to fill others' selfish desires.

And let's hold on before we jump to conclusions and broad brush statements like "adoptive parents are more committed to parenting than many 'natural' parents." We expect them to be, given the "pain" they've gone through for this non accidental delivery. One hopes they are...but Hansen and Tedaldi and all of those who have beaten, starved, caged, burned, abandoned and murdered their adopted kids tells us it is not always the case.

Undeserved and patronizing compliment indeed! To say that adoption is a noble act of generosity is to put a heavy weight on every adoptee to feel indebted and grateful and not one pundit arguing against Capalns' comment brought that aspect into the discussion...because they ARE SELFISH and think only of themselves in terms of adoption as blogs such as Kuznicki's clearly illustrate.

If adoption were anything less than a selfish act on the part of those who adopt, they could never take a child from his or her mother or father knowing full well the pain of losing a child - or even the hope of one. How do the Madonna's of the world allow their desire or pain to be the cause of another's pain so carelessly without a smidgeon of selfishness?

If adoption were anything less than a selfish act on the part of those who adopt there would not be 129.000 kids in foster care in the U.S. who could be adopted for minimal filing fees while "desperate" adopters pay $40k a clip to obtain younger babies and those from far off lands and different races in order to eliminate the possibility of a birthmom daring to "interfere" into their family and perhaps seeking to see 'their' child...or the child wanting reunite and leave them, relegating them to long-term babysitters!

Wonder how that fits into Byran Capalns' economic picture of parenthood via adoption?

I can't speak for Bryan or any other, but there was never any thought in my mind to bear a child to secure care for myself in my old age. I have long-term health care insurance for that. But, yes, having the children I was fortunate enough to be able to raise was a selfish delight! They brought me pleasure and delight and experiences I never could have otherwise experienced. My life would be less complete and full without them...or at least very different and probably filled with other "accomplishments" and memories.

Is Caplan speaking of having children as selfish, or having "more" kids? Is he speaking of people like the Duggers, whose most recent (hopefully but doubtfully their last) birth clearly points to a selfishness to risk the life of both mother and child - by a father who has admitted he is afraid of a needle!!
S-E-L-F-I-S-H. The fact that they believe it is God's will makes it no less so than those who murder because of a belief that it was God's will.

There is noble altruistic adoption. There are those who adopt for truly humanitarian reasons. Often people who have or could have their "own" children who adopt special needs kids. But those who adopted because of a failure to conceive or carry their "own" are as different a species as are marsupials and reptiles....or animals who eat their young.

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