Saturday, October 28, 2006

Murphy Brown

On NBC news tonight there was a story about working career women who decide to adopt children and become single mothers later in life (after they pass the age of 40). Hm. "No father needed." One single mom was spending a 1/3 of her paycheck on day care for her two children (both adopted from an Asian country), but of course she said "it was worth it." The other woman who was profiled was a single-mom to be, who was packing for a trip to Vietnam to pick up her new baby. She proclaimed that "I will make a good mother" and that she had a lot of love to give, which up to this point had been given to her friends and family, and now it was time for her to have a child. Apparently her willing the good of the child doesn't extend to securing a father for that child. Perhaps these women don't think parenting requires anything more than babysitting.

Where's Dr. Laura when you need her to set people straight.

The Lady Downstairs said Sex and the City initiated the trend among certain white couples/women to adopt Asian babies. I don't know if that is true, but I don't need more reasons to hate that show.

I couldn't find the story online, but here are some related stories on MSNBC: 1, 2

By Terrence Moore:
Wimps and Barbarians
Heather's Compromise

9 comments:

The Lady Downstairs said...

I did not say that. I said it was featured on "Sex in the City". People have been adopting babies from Asian countries since at least the Vietnam war, so I certainly do not think it is a recent trend.

Because of China's hideous one-child policy, there are a lot of "unwanted" babies, especially girl babies, because boy babies have more value. I've heard of ordinary Chinese people getting very anxious at the thought of Chinese boys being adopted by Westerners.

A single woman might adopt a baby to save it from an unfortunate fate (like a Communist orphanage), knowing that even though this baby won't have a daddy, at least it will be brought up in happier circumstances than otherwise. This, too, is not new. Women have been doing this for as long as they had enough money to support a "ward."

This is not a helpful place for the culture wars to go. If a single woman wants to save an impoverished child, given away by--or irrevocably stolen by an unjust state--from her parents, from prostitution or penury, she should be praised, not censured.

If I could afford to adopt a baby, I probably would.

papabear said...

Hrm, if it wasn't you maybe it was Fujian Gal.

A single woman might adopt a baby to save it from an unfortunate fate (like a Communist orphanage), knowing that even though this baby won't have a daddy, at least it will be brought up in happier circumstances than otherwise. This, too, is not new. Women have been doing this for as long as they had enough money to support a "ward."

This is not a helpful place for the culture wars to go. If a single woman wants to save an impoverished child, given away by--or irrevocably stolen by an unjust state--from her parents, from prostitution or penury, she should be praised, not censured.


So as long as the consequences are better everything is ok? I think not--moral goodness is not simply measured by the amount of good one can do, regardless of the choices one makes. Hence, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." Just because a woman is not abusing her child does not mean that she is guiltless in depriving the child of a father, or that not having a father in that child's life will not have a profound impact on that child's development.

As I alluded to in the post title, ever since people laughed at Dan Quayle for his comment about Murphy Brown, the culture wars are way beyond condemning divorce, single motherhood and other phenomena related to the breakdown
of the family and the loss of Western mores.

Lady Downstairs said...

Yes, but these girls are unlikely to have either mothers or fathers unless they are adopted. Single women are not adopting the babies to deprive them of daddies but often to save them from very temporary "sugar daddies". I think double effect may apply here.

It is sad that these generous, maternal women are not married, but not all generous, maternal women are sought out for marriage. Don't blame them; blame the men who get their ideas about women from Playboy and HBO.

Since "adoption not abortion" is a pro-life plank, I cannot understand your criticism of women who adopt babies, something charitable women have been doing for aeons. For centuries, babies were left outside of convents for nuns or monks to raise.

Fathers are important, but they are not absolutely necessary to a child's well-being. I don't want to ridicule a father's role. I think it is sad when a child does not have the love of a good father. I am grateful I have a good father. But I think it is ridiculous to blame women for rescuing babies from poverty, neglect, and possible future sexual slavery or forced military service.

papabear said...

Single women are not adopting the babies to deprive them of daddies but often to save them from very temporary "sugar daddies". I think double effect may apply here.
Not at all. They choose not to get married, and to adopt without having formed a family unit. "Good consequences" do not not take away from the fact that their lifestyle choices are poor ones.

It is sad that these generous, maternal women are not married, but not all generous, maternal women are sought out for marriage. Don't blame them; blame the men who get their ideas about women from Playboy and HBO.
God will judge them for the choices they made--that's not my problem. What is blameworthy is acting as if one doesn't need a father for the child. It doesn't matter if it's a single mother who embraces being a single mother as a choice as good as any other choice, or the lesbian couple that thinks they are the same as a married [hetero] couple.

Since "adoption not abortion" is a pro-life plank, I cannot understand your criticism of women who adopt babies, something charitable women have been doing for aeons. For centuries, babies were left outside of convents for nuns or monks to raise.
As for those who have a responsibility thrust upon them--obviously that is completely different from the woman who chooses a certain lifestyle. If God wants me to do something, who am I to refuse Him. On the other hand, who am I to assume that my lifestyle choices are approved by God, just because I can point to some good that comes out of it?

Giving up a child for adoption is presented as an alternative to abortion--that does not mean everyone can or should adopt, or that everyone is qualified to do so, or that every choice is justified in the name of adoption; obviously if there is no one else to adopt or care for the child then the mother must take up her responsibility.

Fathers are important, but they are not absolutely necessary to a child's well-being.

Wow, that's just plain wrong. Fathers are as necessary as mothers for the chlid's well-being, even if one qualifies that by saying that they are necessary in different ways since they have different roles to play. Even if the biological father is absent, a father-figure is necessary for the child's natural development.

Lady Downstairs said...

How would you define "well-being"? Many grown children of widowed/divorced/abandoned/single mothers would disagree with you. And what do you advise widows and married women who have been abandoned to do? Give up their children to a nice middle-class couple? Should single women who choose to give birth rather than abort have their children taken away? And what about fathers who are abusers and criminals? Is a very bad biological father better than no biological father at all?

I don't see motherhood as a lifestyle choice. According to Dignitatis Mulieris, all women are called to be mothers of one kind or another. Motherhood is a calling, not a lifestyle choice. So is fatherhood, and throughout history, men have adopted children related to them or not as "wards". Other men, like grandfathers and uncles, have given the children of their widowed/abandoned daughters and sisters positive male affection and been good role models.

This is not about whether men are redundant or not. It is about taking care of orphan children. Intentionally creating fatherless children (through sperm banks, etc.) is a different issue from mothering the children who, for one reason or another, no longer have fathers and mothers.

Incidentally, telling certain women that they have "chosen" not to get married is cruel. There are millions of women who will never be sought in marriage for one reason or another. Other women will not find men whom they can stand to be around. Other women are abandoned by their husbands and might not be able to marry again for legal and/or religious reasons. Marriage without sincere love is a horrible form of slavery, especially nowadays when wives are expected to act like personal prostitutes.

LD said...

Having read those two articles, I point out that since if so many men are "wimps or barbarians" it is no wonder that women aren't marrying. The men don't want to marry them, and smart women don't want to marry men like that anyway.

papabear said...

How would you define "well-being"? Many grown children of widowed/divorced/abandoned/single mothers would disagree with you.
And there are plenty of negative examples to show what happens when a father or father figure is absent from the child's development. It should be relatively uncontroversial that both mother and father are needed for the natural development and upbringing of a child, and this is therefore the ideal. What may happen because of unfortunate circumstance, accidents, and such is besides the point.

And what do you advise widows and married women who have been abandoned to do? Give up their children to a nice middle-class couple? Should single women who choose to give birth rather than abort have their children taken away?
This does not follow from what I've written. What is being criticized is the Murphy Brown lifestyle choice. And there are no public policy implications--as I said, if there is no one to adopt, then it's the mother's responsibility to bear the child, and if she has a child out of wedlock she shoulders the blame for what happens to the child.

And what about fathers who are abusers and criminals? Is a very bad biological father better than no biological father at all?
That's why I qualified with "father figure."

I don't see motherhood as a lifestyle choice. According to Dignitatis Mulieris, all women are called to be mothers of one kind or another. Motherhood is a calling, not a lifestyle choice.
And how is the state of being a mother achieved? Precisely through the individual's choices, and even choices of a certain lifestyle over another, say the traditional family model with 2 parents. The state of being a mother does not justify bad choices made in order to attain that state.

So is fatherhood, and throughout history, men have adopted children related to them or not as "wards". Other men, like grandfathers and uncles, have given the children of their widowed/abandoned daughters and sisters positive male affection and been good role models.
Covered in the last reply--responding to an unexpected turn in life out of a sense of duty is not the same thing as investing one's life in a career and deciding at the age of 45 that one needs to complete that life with a child and going overseas to procure one.

This is not about whether men are redundant or not. It is about taking care of orphan children. Intentionally creating fatherless children (through sperm banks, etc.) is a different issue from mothering the children who, for one reason or another, no longer have fathers and mothers.
As it should be clear by now, I don't accept this argument, which is rather consequentialist in nature.

Incidentally, telling certain women that they have "chosen" not to get married is cruel. There are millions of women who will never be sought in marriage for one reason or another. Other women will not find men whom they can stand to be around. Other women are abandoned by their husbands and might not be able to marry again for legal and/or religious reasons. Marriage without sincere love is a horrible form of slavery, especially nowadays when wives are expected to act like personal prostitutes.
It may be the case that certain women who wish to be married do not have the opportunity to get married through no fault of their own. But that does not mean that every single woman did not make bad choices. That's all I am implying. God knows the real numbers.

Regardless, even if every single woman who isn't married did everything right with "no result," does that mean that their desire to raise a child should be fulfilled, regardless of how? No. It should be clear that adopting a baby only to put it in child care so one can work is problematic. A woman who is independently wealthy and can afford to stay at home may have a stronger case for being able to adopt, but she is not the Murphy Brown model.

Besides, by nature's intent--if there is no sex selection being exercised, there are more women than men in a given population.

papabear said...

Having read those two articles, I point out that since if so many men are "wimps or barbarians" it is no wonder that women aren't marrying.

They may not be marrying, but many are willing to shack up instead of "doing the right thing" and looking elsewhere. How many women frustrate themselves by having unreasonable expectations about their spouse?

Lady Downstairs said...

I once mentioned on another blog that my idea of a marriageable man was an intelligent, kindly man who went to church and had a job with enough salary to keep his family in modest comfort when his wife quit her job to stay at home with their babies. And some guy wrote that my standards were outrageously high.

I am still not convinced that it is wrong for a single man or woman to adopt a child who would otherwise grow up without the love of any kind of parent, or die in infancy, or end up in prostitution or as a child soldier.