Baby Drop Box

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"Baby Drop Box"

Great idea
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57%
Horrible idea
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Total votes : 7

Unread postby tuffy135 » Sun May 20, 2007 3:37 am

What ever happened to a basket on the doorstep of an orphanage? Heck, a basket on almost any doorstep is better than a dumpster. Run by, set down the basket, and "ding-dong ditch."
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Unread postby English_Druid » Mon May 21, 2007 3:52 pm

Kristina wrote:How much love and care do you think these children (minus those who who you mentioned could just be feeling really depressed ansd hopeless) would get if their parents were so ready to dump them?


Probably more than they'd receive in an institution. Besides, these people are not precluded from abandoning their child from what I said; those who can provide no love and care for their child will abandon them with or without the box. The box simply makes it easier for that group feeling hopeless and depressed. I question whether that man would have left his toddler at the hospital had the box not been placed there on that very day. I find it hard to believe that a parent can decide to abandon a child at that age. I believe he wouldn’t have had the box not been there!
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Re: Baby Drop Box

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Wed Feb 04, 2015 1:25 pm

Split off from the general religion thread. Really, this is the closest we have to an adoption and step-parenting thread?!

James wrote:If anything this is a misunderstanding of my meaning—and even in retrospect I thought it would be clear enough. Of course I understand that a child must be created to exist. My point is that procreation is not essential to that child's (an entity which now exists) continued existence, and returning to the response you seem (?) to have disregarded, procreation on the basis of a subset of our population is not necessary for our species' continued survival. We're doing a perfectly fine job of populating this earth, and as we know (I assume), 'homosexuality' isn't spreading to threaten the population.


If I had made anything like that sort of argument earlier, you might have had a point. As it was, I think you're just talking past me. I never even so much as remotely implied that our survival as a species was threatened by the existence of homosexuality, only that on an individual level homosexuality does not serve the purposes of reproduction by natural means. If they do have a child, that child will not be their natural child. It will either be adopted, or the product of a procreative union outside the homosexual relationship, or a technologically-created chimaera implanted in a surrogate parent or in vitro.

James wrote:Plenty of absolutely fantastic children are raised after ties to their birth parents are lost. I feel as though you're mischaracterizing the 'Cinderella effect', something more akin to a single parent bringing a child into a new relationship and not alike a couple choosing together to adopt a new child.


I don't think I was being unclear before, but if I was, I apologise.

The data show that adopters make the best parents if we are talking about a cross-section of measurable parenting outcomes. I thought when I said 'Obviously, adopters love their children very much and take much better care of them, by most measurable standards, even than biological parents do', I was being very clear about this.

But step-parents are a very different story. There are markedly higher rates of abuse amongst, as you say, second husbands or second wives of divorcees with their own natural children. That's what I was pointing to with the 'Cinderella effect'.

James wrote:What are those 'very real reasons to believe children do need to be in contact with their natural parents'? And to justify the use of 'need' here—which is demonstrably false...

The South Korea story is interesting, but through the numbers involved and a range of circumstances specific to the South Korean adoption program and reasons cited for South Korean parents adopting children away, it seems an argument specific to a subset of adoption rather than to the subject at whole (to say nothing for the fact that adoption is not the only means through which a couple can couple can have a child).


Children are naturally curious, and have an innate existential need to know where they come from. The question will inevitably arise, and parents need to give a satisfactory answer or they will go looking for it. Particularly in cases like these when these children are so visibly different from the entirety of the culture surrounding them (and very often have that fact very cruelly rubbed in their faces by their peers), and they want to understand why. In the case of these South Korean returning adoptees, that meant 'going home' and trying to use their progressive political awareness to improve the conditions for children inside Korea.

I'm not Korean, though, and I'm not an adoptee. But I'm still incredibly interested in genealogy, and I know for a fact that I'm not alone in that interest. (You've lived in Utah. You should know this - LDS are the biggest curators of genealogical websites, including Ancestry.com, and these websites do an incredibly brisk business.) This is a natural curiosity; I've been interested in the histories of England and Germany and Eastern Europe ever since I was five years old. It was an incredible shock to me to learn when I was eighteen that my biological grandmother was actually a Jewish immigrant, and had died from ovarian cancer when my Dad was very little - but if anything that increased my curiosity rather than diminished it.
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Re: Baby Drop Box

Unread postby James » Wed Feb 04, 2015 6:06 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:If I had made anything like that sort of argument earlier, you might have had a point. As it was, I think you're just talking past me. I never even so much as remotely implied that our survival as a species was threatened by the existence of homosexuality, only that on an individual level homosexuality does not serve the purposes of reproduction by natural means. If they do have a child, that child will not be their natural child. It will either be adopted, or the product of a procreative union outside the homosexual relationship, or a technologically-created chimaera implanted in a surrogate parent or in vitro.

Heh, chimera? Bias showing?

I'll drop this one because I don't want to go back, once again, to review our previous conversation, and I'll take then that 'you might have had a point' agrees more or less with my most recent response.

WeiWenDi wrote:I don't think I was being unclear before, but if I was, I apologise.

The data show that adopters make the best parents if we are talking about a cross-section of measurable parenting outcomes. I thought when I said 'Obviously, adopters love their children very much and take much better care of them, by most measurable standards, even than biological parents do', I was being very clear about this.

But step-parents are a very different story. There are markedly higher rates of abuse amongst, as you say, second husbands or second wives of divorcees with their own natural children. That's what I was pointing to with the 'Cinderella effect'.

You wrote, "Agreed, but I suspect that my understanding of 'the extent to which a parent is dedicated to their children' is a bit more expansive than what you seem to mean here." And I asked, "How so?" We weren't, as far as I know, talking at all about step parents. Our conversation has largely revolved around adoption and non-traditional groups of parents, such as same-sex couples, adoptive parents, and single parents.

I agree with everything you've written here about step parents. Not that a step parent can't be a fantastic parent. They're just more likely to be one relative to a biological parent, adoptive parents, etc.

WeiWenDi wrote:Children are naturally curious, and have an innate existential need to know where they come from. The question will inevitably arise, and parents need to give a satisfactory answer or they will go looking for it. Particularly in cases like these when these children are so visibly different from the entirety of the culture surrounding them (and very often have that fact very cruelly rubbed in their faces by their peers), and they want to understand why. In the case of these South Korean returning adoptees, that meant 'going home' and trying to use their progressive political awareness to improve the conditions for children inside Korea.

You open here with a specific scientific claim. Do you have evidence to support it?

That said, I can agree in the least that it is not uncommon for an adoptive child to be curious—sometimes very curious—who their parents were or where they came from. Our perspective of such a thing, outside evidence, will certainly be skewed by the manner in which information is reported (such as through the media). But fundamentally I do agree that it is a consideration adoptive parents will need to keep in mind and prepare for. Any claim to suggest that this reality—this curiosity—necessarily detracts from adoptive parenting should be backed up with evidence, however. It is possible for a child to be curious about their biological parents, culture, race, or to seek them out, while still having been raised fantastically in a loving family while retaining that love for their adoptive parents.

The South Korea article should not be used to extrapolate generalizations. It is an interesting subject, it is relevant to adoptions through a period of time under specific government practices and cultures, but specifics of that case should not be used to represent the whole.

WeiWenDi wrote:I'm not Korean, though, and I'm not an adoptee. But I'm still incredibly interested in genealogy, and I know for a fact that I'm not alone in that interest. (You've lived in Utah. You should know this - LDS are the biggest curators of genealogical websites, including Ancestry.com, and these websites do an incredibly brisk business.) This is a natural curiosity; I've been interested in the histories of England and Germany and Eastern Europe ever since I was five years old. It was an incredible shock to me to learn when I was eighteen that my biological grandmother was actually a Jewish immigrant, and had died from ovarian cancer when my Dad was very little - but if anything that increased my curiosity rather than diminished it.

I agree wholeheartedly. And actually, my grandfather—I've never admired another person more—dedicated his retirement to genealogy. And if you're tying this curiosity into the example above, I agree. It actually informs my perspective above where I see it as an expectation adoptive parents should expect.

Overall, I think we're largely in agreement on that matter, at least anecdotally.
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Re: Baby Drop Box

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:25 am

James wrote:You wrote, "Agreed, but I suspect that my understanding of 'the extent to which a parent is dedicated to their children' is a bit more expansive than what you seem to mean here." And I asked, "How so?" We weren't, as far as I know, talking at all about step parents. Our conversation has largely revolved around adoption and non-traditional groups of parents, such as same-sex couples, adoptive parents, and single parents.


The discussion on the Cinderella effect and step-parents (and cohabiters, and mom's-new-boyfriends or dad's-new-girlfriends) is relevant, given that many single parents do not, in fact, stay single. With regard to same-sex couples, that's actually another interesting question. Does the gay 'parent' who is not the biological parent of his partner's offspring display the same kind of Cinderella effect tendencies as a straight step-parent? Or is said gay 'parent' more akin to an adopter? That's an honest question, and I could see study hypotheses going either way on that. I'll take a look for the relevant studies a little bit later.

James wrote:I agree with everything you've written here about step parents. Not that a step parent can't be a fantastic parent. They're just more likely to be one relative to a biological parent, adoptive parents, etc.


Statistically? Yes. But like I said, the raw data themselves aren't a guide to policy; they have to be coupled with the correct practical and normative concerns, and I can see a wide array of potential abuses of any law or policy meant to discourage step-parenting. I don't support anything of the sort!

James wrote:You open here with a specific scientific claim. Do you have evidence to support it?


I'm actually still looking for a full text of the Marquardt et al study mentioned here. It would be interesting to see the study design and results. Here is another link to the study, but the site isn't allowing me to see the whole thing. Maybe you'll have better luck?

(The blurb I saw, though, suggested that children conceived through sperm donation and surrogacy, who didn't have any knowledge of their biological origins, were more likely to have negative emotions about their identity than adopted children were.)

James wrote:Any claim to suggest that this reality—this curiosity—necessarily detracts from adoptive parenting should be backed up with evidence, however. It is possible for a child to be curious about their biological parents, culture, race, or to seek them out, while still having been raised fantastically in a loving family while retaining that love for their adoptive parents.


That's true, of course. Admitting the one doesn't mean denying the other, and I don't think either of us are doing that.

James wrote:The South Korea article should not be used to extrapolate generalizations. It is an interesting subject, it is relevant to adoptions through a period of time under specific government practices and cultures, but specifics of that case should not be used to represent the whole.


Regarding the specific aspect of adoption we're talking about, you're right about that.

More generally, though, the policy advice we should be taking from the South Korean case should not be country-specific or historically-contingent as you're making it, because similar and worse practices are still happening in different countries. The South Korean model should be taken as a cautionary tale, not against adoption but against bad adoption practices, particularly for impoverished countries in which American families are adopting more children. It's sad and infuriating that child-napping for remunerated adoption is still happening here in China, and these kinds of practices could not continue without the active involvement, if not silent complicity, of the adoption agencies where the lucky-enough children end up. There needs to be some sort of vetting process on this end to encourage transparency and ethical practices on the other end.

But that's another debate entirely. With regard to adoption generally, it's not an irrelevant concern but perhaps a tangential one.

James wrote:I agree wholeheartedly. And actually, my grandfather—I've never admired another person more—dedicated his retirement to genealogy. And if you're tying this curiosity into the example above, I agree. It actually informs my perspective above where I see it as an expectation adoptive parents should expect.

Overall, I think we're largely in agreement on that matter, at least anecdotally.


Glad about that. :D

Yeah, the only reason I didn't link the Marquardt study before, though, was because I hadn't found a good link to it before that wasn't from a general news source, and I still haven't read the whole thing.
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Re: Baby Drop Box

Unread postby James » Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:51 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:The discussion on the Cinderella effect and step-parents (and cohabiters, and mom's-new-boyfriends or dad's-new-girlfriends) is relevant, given that many single parents do not, in fact, stay single. With regard to same-sex couples, that's actually another interesting question. Does the gay 'parent' who is not the biological parent of his partner's offspring display the same kind of Cinderella effect tendencies as a straight step-parent? Or is said gay 'parent' more akin to an adopter? That's an honest question, and I could see study hypotheses going either way on that. I'll take a look for the relevant studies a little bit later.

That would be an honest question for scientific study, but is a dishonest question for this subject. The circumstances behind the Cinderella Effect are very different from those behind adoption (until the context changes such that the Cinderella Effect applies—the adoptive parents separate and one goes on to remarry with their adopted child). And there are what I believe to be accessible reasons to avoid misapplying the study on such a basic level (e.g. a step-parent is far less likely to want the child, more likely to be interested in the mother/father; that a child is far more likely to be skeptical of or hostile toward a step parent as opposed to the people who raised that child; that raising a step child is hard, with common mistakes such as trying to be that child's new mother/father in concept). These circumstances do not apply to traditional adoption where a child is adopted at a young age. And older adoption, such as foster care, is another matter entirely with challenges that typically dwarf concerns such as what sex the parents might be.

WeiWenDi wrote:
James wrote:I agree with everything you've written here about step parents. Not that a step parent can't be a fantastic parent. They're just more likely to be one relative to a biological parent, adoptive parents, etc.

Statistically? Yes. But like I said, the raw data themselves aren't a guide to policy; they have to be coupled with the correct practical and normative concerns, and I can see a wide array of potential abuses of any law or policy meant to discourage step-parenting. I don't support anything of the sort!

Am I correct in reading this as our agreement? It seems a bit like you're drawing into correlation (though you haven't stated as much) and the only example I could think of would to be drawing a parallel against same-sex couples adopting, but I don't recall you having ever stated that case—just that you believe they would not be so capable as parents.

WeiWenDi wrote:
James wrote:You open here with a specific scientific claim. Do you have evidence to support it?

I'm actually still looking for a full text of the Marquardt et al study mentioned here. It would be interesting to see the study design and results. Here is another link to the study, but the site isn't allowing me to see the whole thing. Maybe you'll have better luck?

(The blurb I saw, though, suggested that children conceived through sperm donation and surrogacy, who didn't have any knowledge of their biological origins, were more likely to have negative emotions about their identity than adopted children were.)

I believe I have located the study.

My Daddy's Name is Donor: A New Study of Young Adults Conceived Through Sperm Donation

And here is an interview on NPR which includes discussion with the author, the perspective of one child who reflects the bad end of her findings, and another individual, her own experiences, and those associated with a community.

The findings are interesting and, to me, a little surprising. Enough that I wanted to look into it more. The study only discloses that it is a production from the Commission on Parenthood's Future, which does not look terribly neutral in the subject while searching, and Marquardt's education is a Master of Divinity and an M.A. in international relations from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. in history from Wake Forest University. She (and perhaps Clark) are employed by the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values, an agenda-driven think tank, president of which is David Blankenhorn who does not exactly have a neutral history on these subjects. And I'm finding some relevant findings which were dropped from study conclusion (archived response from Elizabeth to one such criticism, since deleted from the internet).

Which is all a shame, really, because that doesn't mean other findings of the study weren't accurate or that the study didn't have the opportunity to contribute very important information to a subject that deserves the research. And it is also clear that individuals become, for whatever reason, quite concerned with their origins. But what are the factors? Social or cultural norms and expectations? Some as-of-yet undetermined existential or genetic bond? How does something like social or cultural expectations play into the differences observed between adoption and sperm donation?

One thing discussed quite a bit, both in the study, talk, and other details I've found—is how some children conceived of through sperm donation struggle with the knowledge of their origins. For example, the way it is viewed by society (ranging from friends wondering what it was like to find that out all the way up to far more negative characterization, like your 'chimera' example), or being uncomfortable with the idea that money was exchanged in their conception.

Those things must have an impact.

If I were to conceive of a child through these means I'd research this subject very heavily. It seems like something which a parent/parents shouldn't 'wing it' in approaching through a child's life.

There's also a lot of opportunity here for the allowance of correlation to imply causation.

I sure would love to be knowledgeable enough about this subject to better parse this information.

WeiWenDi wrote:That's true, of course. Admitting the one doesn't mean denying the other, and I don't think either of us are doing that.

Agreed.

WeiWenDi wrote:Regarding the specific aspect of adoption we're talking about, you're right about that.

More generally, though, the policy advice we should be taking from the South Korean case should not be country-specific or historically-contingent as you're making it, because similar and worse practices are still happening in different countries. The South Korean model should be taken as a cautionary tale, not against adoption but against bad adoption practices, particularly for impoverished countries in which American families are adopting more children. It's sad and infuriating that child-napping for remunerated adoption is still happening here in China, and these kinds of practices could not continue without the active involvement, if not silent complicity, of the adoption agencies where the lucky-enough children end up. There needs to be some sort of vetting process on this end to encourage transparency and ethical practices on the other end.

But that's another debate entirely. With regard to adoption generally, it's not an irrelevant concern but perhaps a tangential one.

I agree. Especially in that national adoption policy should be informed by shortcomings in cases such as this.

WeiWenDi wrote:Glad about that. :D

Yeah, the only reason I didn't link the Marquardt study before, though, was because I hadn't found a good link to it before that wasn't from a general news source, and I still haven't read the whole thing.

Glad you mentioned it, that I know about it now, and that we've got the study to review.
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Re: Baby Drop Box

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:19 pm

James wrote:That would be an honest question for scientific study, but is a dishonest question for this subject. The circumstances behind the Cinderella Effect are very different from those behind adoption (until the context changes such that the Cinderella Effect applies—the adoptive parents separate and one goes on to remarry with their adopted child). And there are what I believe to be accessible reasons to avoid misapplying the study on such a basic level (e.g. a step-parent is far less likely to want the child, more likely to be interested in the mother/father; that a child is far more likely to be skeptical of or hostile toward a step parent as opposed to the people who raised that child; that raising a step child is hard, with common mistakes such as trying to be that child's new mother/father in concept). These circumstances do not apply to traditional adoption where a child is adopted at a young age. And older adoption, such as foster care, is another matter entirely with challenges that typically dwarf concerns such as what sex the parents might be.


I agree with your reasoning above, but there are several possible independent variables that can account for it, including a couple you may have overlooked.

One of the possible causal variables of the Cinderella effect is indeed circumstance. Another of them is choice. Adopters and foster parents choose the children they adopt; a step-parent only chooses step-children to the extent that he chose their biological parent as his spouse. Another of them is the differential relationship between the child and each parent, and that's why I don't think my previous question was dishonest. In the typical adoptive relationship, both parents have an equally distant relationship from their adopted child to start with. But in a step-parent's relationship, the step-child is already closer to the biological parent than to the step-parent, which can lead to competition between the step-child and the step-parent for the affections of the biological parent. The extent to which this last consideration applies to same-sex parenting is unclear to me.

James wrote:Am I correct in reading this as our agreement?


You are indeed.

And a caution against reading more into my original statement than was actually there.

James wrote:The findings are interesting and, to me, a little surprising. Enough that I wanted to look into it more. The study only discloses that it is a production from the Commission on Parenthood's Future, which does not look terribly neutral in the subject while searching, and Marquardt's education is a Master of Divinity and an M.A. in international relations from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. in history from Wake Forest University. She (and perhaps Clark) are employed by the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values, an agenda-driven think tank, president of which is David Blankenhorn who does not exactly have a neutral history on these subjects. And I'm finding some relevant findings which were dropped from study conclusion (archived response from Elizabeth to one such criticism, since deleted from the internet).

Which is all a shame, really, because that doesn't mean other findings of the study weren't accurate or that the study didn't have the opportunity to contribute very important information to a subject that deserves the research. And it is also clear that individuals become, for whatever reason, quite concerned with their origins. But what are the factors? Social or cultural norms and expectations? Some as-of-yet undetermined existential or genetic bond? How does something like social or cultural expectations play into the differences observed between adoption and sperm donation?


That's very interesting. This is all news to me, though, since I only managed to get the first couple of pages off of DocIn.

IR Master's students generally have to have a proven competence in basic statistics, quantitative methods and study design, and it may be biased of me to say so (since I have a similar degree in development economics) but I don't feel like her credentials are wanting on a study of this nature. I'd be interested to look more at the study's methods, though.

James wrote:I agree. Especially in that national adoption policy should be informed by shortcomings in cases such as this.


Quite. I admit, though, it's not exactly relevant to our discussion here.
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Re: Baby Drop Box

Unread postby James » Fri Feb 13, 2015 7:55 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:I agree with your reasoning above, but there are several possible independent variables that can account for it, including a couple you may have overlooked.

One of the possible causal variables of the Cinderella effect is indeed circumstance. Another of them is choice. Adopters and foster parents choose the children they adopt; a step-parent only chooses step-children to the extent that he chose their biological parent as his spouse. Another of them is the differential relationship between the child and each parent, and that's why I don't think my previous question was dishonest. In the typical adoptive relationship, both parents have an equally distant relationship from their adopted child to start with. But in a step-parent's relationship, the step-child is already closer to the biological parent than to the step-parent, which can lead to competition between the step-child and the step-parent for the affections of the biological parent. The extent to which this last consideration applies to same-sex parenting is unclear to me.

My main concern with applying the Cinderella effect, and its backing science/studies, to the circumstance of adoption is that there is a wide range of variability between the two subjects and that that variability is sufficient to dismiss drawing conclusions from the overlap. Thus, it becomes a good case for study (To what extent to the overlapping factors apply? To what extent do the outcomes relate?) but not a good tool to use in describing the topic it wasn't designed to describe.

As a thought experiment, however, sure.

That said, I think the concerns you outlined are all fair. And I also think that the challenges of adoption (or other forms of gaining a child which circumvent biological limitations, such as a surrogate mother or sperm donation) apply just as surely to a same-sex couple as they do a heterosexual couple. And each presents their own challenges not present in a biological child. For example, there certainly is a social stigma attached to a child born through a sperm bank and some of the previous discussion, I believe, honestly addressed a very real range of outcome. At heart of this, I believe, is the desire a child might take on to be aware of his or her origins (regardless of our disagreement in how that may be the case). For the child born of a sperm donation/bank learning of their origin can have a significant impact on their lives to the extent which society/culture emphasizes the difference (if not for other reasons). An adopted child may well want to know who their parents were or more about their heritage (whether not, whether because they feel disconnected form their parents, whether simply out of curiosity while acknowledging that they already have their parents and are loved).

I couldn't begin to guess at cause in general terms. It seems an area good for study such as the one you mentioned and I linked to earlier. From a layman's perspective it's a tricky subject—teenagers who have issues with their parents or other aspects of life are not particularly uncommon things.

Adoption presents a range of challenges based on the nature of the adoption, returning to this subject since it is at heart to our discussion. If you adopt a baby from birth you're far more likely to alleviate many concerns that would be present in adopting an older child who has developed memories and experiences with other parents (biological or not). This problem is only amplified in foster children where they're entering a home, typically, because they were forced out of another home by the government. But even in the best cases of adoption there are other factors which come into play. A glaring example would be a caucasian couple adopting an African American child. That child must necessarily come to terms with the fact, at a relatively young age, that their parents are not their biological parents.

It's all part of a complex whole. It remains my estimation, though, that the fundamentals of parenting remain the primary concern—that the child is loved, respected, safe, given education, not oppressed—in any parenting relationship. Although extreme examples, such as an aged foster child, may well present far greater concerns.

Unrelated, but I've learned a few on-subject things recently. In the United States it is common for African American children to be cheaper to adopt than other mixed races or whole races (or in the case of a non-profit, subsidized). At heart a product of the majority of adoptive parents not wanting to adopt an African American child. And also of interest, in the United States the adoption system has evolved to become more welcoming of 'open' adoption arrangements, where the biological mother can specify an interest in remaining involved in the adoptive relationship to some extent (whether simply being accessible in case of emergency or receiving photographs all the way up to occasionally being a physical part of the child's life). And the government/system has become more open to the idea because it can help a great deal with some of those questions above.

WeiWenDi wrote:That's very interesting. This is all news to me, though, since I only managed to get the first couple of pages off of DocIn.

IR Master's students generally have to have a proven competence in basic statistics, quantitative methods and study design, and it may be biased of me to say so (since I have a similar degree in development economics) but I don't feel like her credentials are wanting on a study of this nature. I'd be interested to look more at the study's methods, though.

Actually, I don't see any reason why she and her partners couldn't create a well-designed study with good results. What concerns me in this case is bias. She's got a religious background (in itself not a problem at all) and is producing a study for a think-tank which wants to press a specific religious agenda (coinciding with her findings). That does not mean she has necessarily produced bad work. But studies paid for and presented by an entity or entities with a specific goal frequently produce the most biased studies (even if only in breaking down on correlation/causation), and that she left out key contradictory findings (such as the large quantity of people in her study who went on to participate in the very systems she's finding against, or correlation in numbers presented as remarkable with a similar norm) concerns me. It would take a professional to really tease out all the details, though. As a relative layman I've just learned to be skeptical of those circumstances because they're common to biased and misleading research.

As an example, a study might produce interesting and surprising findings, but a person would be well advised to consider for a time who funded the study and how it might have influenced the results. But it's hard for the layman to interpret bias until they find independent consensus or reproduction, or until a professional demonstrates where the study went on to mislead to the benefit of those funding it.

It's still interesting, though, and I'm on the lookout for more reading on the subject.
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James
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Re: Baby Drop Box

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:22 am

James wrote:Adoption presents a range of challenges based on the nature of the adoption, returning to this subject since it is at heart to our discussion. If you adopt a baby from birth you're far more likely to alleviate many concerns that would be present in adopting an older child who has developed memories and experiences with other parents (biological or not). This problem is only amplified in foster children where they're entering a home, typically, because they were forced out of another home by the government. But even in the best cases of adoption there are other factors which come into play. A glaring example would be a caucasian couple adopting an African American child. That child must necessarily come to terms with the fact, at a relatively young age, that their parents are not their biological parents.

It's all part of a complex whole. It remains my estimation, though, that the fundamentals of parenting remain the primary concern—that the child is loved, respected, safe, given education, not oppressed—in any parenting relationship. Although extreme examples, such as an aged foster child, may well present far greater concerns.

Unrelated, but I've learned a few on-subject things recently. In the United States it is common for African American children to be cheaper to adopt than other mixed races or whole races (or in the case of a non-profit, subsidized). At heart a product of the majority of adoptive parents not wanting to adopt an African American child. And also of interest, in the United States the adoption system has evolved to become more welcoming of 'open' adoption arrangements, where the biological mother can specify an interest in remaining involved in the adoptive relationship to some extent (whether simply being accessible in case of emergency or receiving photographs all the way up to occasionally being a physical part of the child's life). And the government/system has become more open to the idea because it can help a great deal with some of those questions above.


Okay, first off - thank you for presenting these insights, James. The results do make me quite sad, actually, particularly about the price and preference differences for adoption of children of different races, but from a purely intellectual standpoint they are highly fascinating. Where were you reading about these, may I ask? (It's fine if you can't post links right now, though - probably I'll just go and do a Google search on my own.)

I'm still really iffy on (read: largely opposed to) widespread sperm donation and surrogacy for bioethical and personal dignity reasons; that said, I'll definitely try to read more about the topic with an open mind.

James wrote:Actually, I don't see any reason why she and her partners couldn't create a well-designed study with good results. What concerns me in this case is bias. She's got a religious background (in itself not a problem at all) and is producing a study for a think-tank which wants to press a specific religious agenda (coinciding with her findings). That does not mean she has necessarily produced bad work. But studies paid for and presented by an entity or entities with a specific goal frequently produce the most biased studies (even if only in breaking down on correlation/causation), and that she left out key contradictory findings (such as the large quantity of people in her study who went on to participate in the very systems she's finding against, or correlation in numbers presented as remarkable with a similar norm) concerns me. It would take a professional to really tease out all the details, though. As a relative layman I've just learned to be skeptical of those circumstances because they're common to biased and misleading research.

As an example, a study might produce interesting and surprising findings, but a person would be well advised to consider for a time who funded the study and how it might have influenced the results. But it's hard for the layman to interpret bias until they find independent consensus or reproduction, or until a professional demonstrates where the study went on to mislead to the benefit of those funding it.


:lol:

How dare you, sir, impugn the honour and decency of hard-working dairy farmers! On my dairy-cattle-raising grandfather's honour, I challenge you to pistols at dawn, or be branded a coward!

... Oh, wait. Dairy Farmers of Canada?

Never mind. Those competitors of my grandfather are obviously sneaky schemers. I retract the challenge. :P

Anyway, yes, it's good to have a healthy scepticism of the source.
Some more blood, Chekov. The needle won't hurt, Chekov. Take off your shirt, Chekov. Roll over, Chekov. Breathe deeply, Chekov. Blood sample, Chekov! Marrow sample, Chekov! Skin sample, Chekov! If I live long enough... I'm going to run out of samples.
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WeiWenDi
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Re: Baby Drop Box

Unread postby James » Tue Feb 17, 2015 5:28 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:Okay, first off - thank you for presenting these insights, James. The results do make me quite sad, actually, particularly about the price and preference differences for adoption of children of different races, but from a purely intellectual standpoint they are highly fascinating. Where were you reading about these, may I ask? (It's fine if you can't post links right now, though - probably I'll just go and do a Google search on my own.)

I'm still really iffy on (read: largely opposed to) widespread sperm donation and surrogacy for bioethical and personal dignity reasons; that said, I'll definitely try to read more about the topic with an open mind.

As to the former, well, to be honest it is because my wife and I are looking into adoption and we're learning these subjects directly from the horse's mouth, so to speak. And of interest, these policies, in the two occasions I've looked into it, are not clearly outlined by adoption agencies on their websites. So in terms of readable sources the best I can do is link to something after a Google search as effectively as you could. For example, one non-profit adoption agency we're looking to has pricing models starting at 24K for an African American child going up to 36K for a Caucasian child. Also relevant is the fact that Utah is a particularly popular epicenter for United States adoption due to relatively lax adoption law (I can only assume the LDS church has played a role here—until recently they were heavily involved in facilitating and supporting adoption).

The price variance is a direct response to the reality that fewer adoptive parents are willing to adopt an African American child, so they skew prices (for profit) or subsidize (nonprofit) the child fewer adoptive parents want to take in. So I can understand where they're coming from, though it remains a sad thing to have learned.

Edit: Same deal on 'open' adoption. I've not read it, but rather, it a product of what national adoption agencies have been explaining to me (in terms of outlining how programs work, the choices open to the birth mother, why the approach has been changing, and how it works for would-be adoptive parents).

WeiWenDi wrote::lol:

How dare you, sir, impugn the honour and decency of hard-working dairy farmers! On my dairy-cattle-raising grandfather's honour, I challenge you to pistols at dawn, or be branded a coward!

... Oh, wait. Dairy Farmers of Canada?

Never mind. Those competitors of my grandfather are obviously sneaky schemers. I retract the challenge. :P

Anyway, yes, it's good to have a healthy scepticism of the source.

:lol:

Whew! Glad I slipped out of that one on a technicality.

One more thought on building a good study. It seems like we have pretty good guidelines on how to build an effective study to approach a range of different circumstances, and that anyone with sufficient motivation and the proper foundation of education in the subject should be able to design effective and honest studies. Maybe that's naïve, but some of the basic tenets of a professional and effective study seem to be broken with surprising frequency—enough so that a professional plucks them like fruit from a tree in many cases.

I expect the primary causes of failure or falling short in this area are associated more with funding and/or bias. In many cases, it is simply very financially and logistically challenging to build a study as comprehensive as it deserves to be, and governments have largely been unhelpful by cutting funding for science through recent history. And bias, well, you may find yourself climbing an uphill battle if sugar and junk food players are funding your research.
Kongming’s Archives – Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel, History and Games
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James
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