On Using Godwin’s Fake “Law” To Silence Ethical Debate

Godwin’s Law ought to be enshrined next to Newton’s Laws or Kepler’s Laws for all posterity. For the uninitiated, Godwin’s Law states, “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” The concept was devised by Mike Godwin in 1990 and officially codified into law in a Wired article in 1994. Since then, the evidence for this law has only gotten stronger.

Because of the unquestioned veracity of Godwin’s Law, it is perhaps inevitable that a journalist will, eventually, be compared to a Nazi.

via RealClearScience

Let us start with what ought to be obvious: Godwin’s “law” is not a law. It is an Internet joke that was funny the first few times you heard it, then started getting kind of annoying.

If someone is comparing you to a Nazi for frivolous reasons, don’t “call Godwin’s Law”, the way a five year old “calls” the front seat as he and his sister race for the car. Confront them! Trivializing the Holocaust is a serious thing, and you should make that case forcefully.

But this is not an obviously frivolous comparison. It might or might not be correct or “right” or “valid” or “legitimate”, but the author absolutely intends to make the case that the new “good” eugenics is not different in kind from the old “bad” attempts to control that which is currently viewed as beyond mankind’s control.

It’s a serious argument. It raises valid questions. Are we prioritizing the “purity” or “health” of the race is prioritized over the rights of individuals? Are we overreaching, using, exploiting, seeking to take more than we’re actually able to handle? Do we know what we’re doing? Are some of us going to benefit at the expense of others?

Are we compromising ethics in the same way that Nazi scientists did – and for similar reasons?

That argument deserves better than playground taunts about Godwin cooties.

A man voices opposition to reckless human experimentation on ethical grounds, and the science guy spews forth a stream of emotive invective laced with ad hominem attacks. Raise a question about the proper use of an applied science, and you don’t have a legitimate avenue of discussion. You are anti-science. But are you?

from Celebrate Life Magazine

Really, what this is about is whether a parent has the right to a “perfect” child – or whether society has reason to demand that action be taken against the birth of imperfect children before birth – even if that means stealing something of value from the child in order to “give” something of value to the parents, or to the larger society – or to the scientists who have the most to gain (while of course they aren’t the ones taking any of the risks).

The stakeholders differ – parents, not “The State”, are viewed as the ones who can and should decide when it’s justifiable to experiment on one’s own descendents. But this distinction is not significant from a logical point of view. It is only significant – very significant – from an emotional point of view, because we idealize parents and we don’t like to think about even the possibility of a conflict of interest between what a parent wants and what a child might want or need or have reason to value.

And the language is changed; we use language that suggests the child is the beneficiary. This is how our culture handles the taboo regarding the conflict of interest between parent and child that isn’t supposed to exist.

The only way to honestly balance the rights of all stakeholders is to do just that: balance the rights of all stakeholders. After taking out the exaggerated promises of success, and the equally exaggerated tendency to minimize (or outright deny) risk, what would a child in such a situation want?

I was an IVF baby. Given this intimate connection with technology and test tubes, you might think I’d be a cheerleader for all developments in the field. But a new technique under consideration has broad and troubling implications, not only for hopeful parents-to-be and their potential future children, but for all of humanity.

This new technique, called mitochondrial replacement or “three-parent IVF,” would make genetic changes to IVF embryos and thus to every cell of the children born as a result of it. And these changes would be passed down to future generations. Human inheritable genetic modification of this kind is currently prohibited in over 40 countries and by several international agreements due to numerous problems and concerns. But proposals that would break this long-respected international consensus are now under consideration in the United Kingdom and the United States.

The goal of the new technique is, in one sense, the same as with all IVF procedures: to allow parents to have an (at least partially) genetically related child. But mitochondrial replacement requires genes from three people, and a biologically radical process to combine them. It is being proposed for a small number of women who suffer from a particular kind of severe mitochondrial disease (many kinds are actually caused by nuclear DNA, which this procedure would do nothing to help.) The idea is that replacing the unhealthy mitochondria in an affected woman’s egg with the healthy mitochondria of a donor’s egg could produce a disease-free child (that could have Dad’s eyes and Mom’s bone structure).

It’s an enticing story, and some insist that the technique should be made available as quickly as possible. Unfortunately for the families whose hopes have been raised, the feel-good story of a “life-saving treatment” covers up critical safety and efficacy problems, and hugely important social and ethical considerations.

On the safety front, there are a number of concerns for the women involved….

…There are also profoundly worrying safety and efficacy concerns for any resulting children, which a growing number of scientists are speaking up about.

This ethical dilemma would only be compounded by the fact that an effective, less invasive option already exists.

via Huffington Post (emphasis mine)

It cannot be argued that it is self-evident that any child would want to be experimented on in such a way.

And there is the conflict. Do we value some concept of scientific knowledge and/or genetic purity as a good in its own right, engineering perfect humans as an inherent good, or do we value the rights of people – all of whom are currently born imperfect, as measured against the current and future ideals of those who would “improve” us all?

Here is the quotation that caused all the trouble:

The empirical sciences don’t speak to principles of right and wrong. Those must be supplied by the human practitioners of science, or short of that, people of conscience with the moral clarity and will to hold them accountable. The conflict between Smith and Berezow, then, was not a case of anti-science versus science, but of science informed by conscience and directed for human good versus science barreling on, ignorant of good and evil. That kind of science was to novelist Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; to Lewis, The Abolition of Man; and to Jews in Nazi Germany, the death camps of Buchenwald and Auschwitz.


“Caesar, Coercion, and the Christian Conscience: A Dangerous Confusion”

Those pushing for the legalization of same-sex marriage are relentless in their insistence that these bills would violate the civil rights of same-sex couples. They brilliantly employed arguments from the civil rights in their push for same-sex marriage, and they now employ similar arguments in their opposition to bills that would protect the consciences of those opposed to same-sex marriage. They claim that the rights of gays and lesbians and others in the LGBT community are equivalent to the rights rightly demanded by African Americans in the civil rights movement. Thus far, they have been stunningly successful in persuading courts to accept their argument.

That sets up the inevitable collision of law and values and Christian conviction.

via AlbertMohler.com

The problem, of course, is that it’s a lie. The idea that gay marriage = interracial marriage*, I mean. It’s a knowing, deliberate, sleight-of-hand “let’s pretend gay is a color and make that our logo” sort of lie. It’s a lie meant to confuse passive with active, “to be” with “to do”, racial rights with disability rights with religious rights – because of course the entire argument for same-sex marriage is based on gays skimming the best of all three (racial, religious, and disability rights) while rejecting the constraints of each type of legal right.

And it’s so in-your-face illogical. Putting aside the obvious – that there was never a compelling reason why the government should value separation of the racial gene pools – I think it’s very insulting to blacks that gay rights advocates choose to piggyback on their arguments

But blacks were able to prove that there is no significant or relevant difference between black and white skin. Gays can’t prove either that men are the same as women, or that same-sex couples are the same as hetero couples. How could they? They already have equality**; what they really want is not equality of opportunity but equality of outcome** – that is, they want accommodations, which is why I think their argument should rightfully be classed not as a racial argument but as a disability claim***.

The problem, of course, is that disability claims necessarily involve clashing rights – which is probably why gay marriage advocates are so intent on minimizing and justifying the horrible things they’re doing to the children they’re using (children are the real civil rights victims here), and of course demonizing and “Othering” anyone who objects to the lies.

does this baby make me look straightBased upon their biblical convictions, they do not believe that a same-sex wedding can be legitimate in any Christian perspective and that their active participation can only be read as a forced endorsement of what they believe to be fundamentally wrong and sinful. They remember the words of the Apostle Paul when he indicted both those who commit sin and those “who give approval to those who practice them.” [Romans 1:32]


* If it were true, why wouldn’t pedophile marriage = interracial marriage? Yes, that’s a slippery slope – but isn’t that precisely the point?

**Nobody is checking for ‘gay genes’ before issuing marriage licenses. They are not being discriminated against based on a passive trait. They are demanding rather that they be allowed to cherry-pick rules, for the purpose of accommodating their disability – yes, disability: it is only their sexual defect that justifies their claim that it can somehow be ethical to use a member of the opposite sex for breeding purposes, then “transfer” custody of the child to a third party. Ordinarily, the only time custody can be transferred is when doing so is in the child’s best interest – but, let’s be honest: we don’t pressure little kids into the “two mommies” fantasy mythos because it’s in any way good for the kids. But, of course, we all know everyone is lying when we pretend that marriage “is not procreative” – because, of course, if gays really believed that marriage “is not procreative”, then there would be no reason for any child to ever be bullied into confusing real with fake, parent with stepparent, male with female.

***Which also explains why they insist their lives are miserable – so much so that gay  teenagers need to be sheltered from ever hearing certain words so powerful that it will drive them to suicide – even as they simultaneously hold themselves to be “proud”. Of course it cannot be both; they cannot both be as powerful as they claim and yet as fragile and needy as they demand we recognize them as. But it’s clear that, while they want the accommodations that go with disability law, they do not want the constraints that normally accompany such accommodations. Imagine if every bodily defect granted the victim a right to write one’s own list of “necessary” accommodations, and we see why “gay rights” so often seems drunk on its own power.

A Step Forward in Mass-Manufactured Human Beings

Cutting-edge research around the world will soon launch a new era in human procreation – a world in which embryos can be ‘brought to term’ in artificial wombs, replacing traditional pregnancies.

via IEET

And rendering women superfluous. What was that about men being obsolete?

Babymaking will move further from being a human activity to being a mere manufacturing process – the Industrial Revolution meets “biological colonialism“.

The question of manufacturing human beings via industrial processes is addressed in the IEET article:

However, ethicists voice concerns that this technology could endanger the very meaning of life. Mother-child relationships, the nature of female bodies, and being ‘born’, not ‘made’ all play a role in defining how most people around the world view this magical state of existence called life. Artificial wombs will enable both men and women to reproduce entirely alone, removing intercourse from the reproductive equation.

But proponents believe people will reason, “Why risk gestating the baby in a biological womb, when this new science can produce a child with our exact genetic makeup, perfect personality, and zero flaws.

We are already seeing ethical questions coming from the use of surrogates – for instance, people who would not be able to find and marry an appropriate mate are using artificial reproduction technologies to bypass that problem, putting children into the hands of people such as the infamous case of the Israeli pedophile who contracted with an Indian surrogate mother (and the Israeli government has no power to remove the child, but must wait until there is evidence of harm).

We are already at the point where people are literally suing doctors who allow imperfect babies to be born. As we define what it means to have “perfect” personality and “zero” flaws, we will confront the question of whether there is in fact any difference at all between having “ideals” vs. merely “following fashion”.

When all the Down’s, autistic, and “sick” kids are removed from the gene pool, will that be enough? No – already there are those who define being too short, tall, skinny, fat, etc. as “flawed”.

Do we really want an entire planet full of people who look like Britt Ekland (circa 1978)? And when we have that, are we going to experience monocropping failures?

Harsh Words

It’s important to note that Woody Allen was never prosecuted in this case and has consistently denied wrongdoing; he deserves the presumption of innocence. So why publish an account of an old case on my blog?  Partly because the Golden Globe lifetime achievement award to Allen ignited a debate about the propriety of the award. Partly because the root issue here isn’t celebrity but sex abuse.

via NYTimes.com.

It’s obvious why the NYTimes is writing about this now.

Because they are hoping to circumvent the part about a fair trial.

Some people believe that, trial or no, Woody Allen should be presumed guilty – enough so to preclude him for winning career awards. He should be shunned from society.

The case could be made that this is true: Woody Allen’s relationship with the girl who eventually became his wife could be the basis of such a claim.

But sex abuse charges from people who refuse to take it to court are not.

If you want this thing public – and you want him shamed – then you’ve got to do it via due process; you can’t use your as-yet-unproven status as victim to circumvent his right to testify on his own behalf & face his accusers.

It isn’t that I like or approve of Woody Allen. I think he’s despicable.

And it isn’t that I approve of what he did, or even doubt his guilt. I’m sure he’s guilty of doing something slimy, and I heartily disapprove of doing slimy things to children.

But if you have the chance to put a criminal behind bars, and you don’t want to do it – you don’t want to face questioning; you don’t want your details to be made public; you don’t want the accused to have a chance to defend himself – then you don’t have the right to banish this person just on your say-so.

That right goes hand-in-hand with the right to endure cross-examination.

Even if you’re a crime victim.

Also: someone needs to tell Dylan Farrow’s mom that it’s unhealthy to obsess over the past, and it’s even more unhealthy to use one’s kids as weapons against one’s ex-husband. If the Farrow family wants justice, there’s only one right way to go about it, and it doesn’t involve using a son and a daughter in ways that are guaranteed to wreck everyone’s life – not just his but all of yours.

Revenge is the temptation of evil. It is different from justice. That’s exactly why due process was invented in the first place. If you want revenge, leave me out of it & take your public spectacle somewhere else.

“Does Faith = Hate?”

Will religious conservatives be seen as no better than racist bullies in the emerging settlement? Despite what you haven’t heard—the news media’s silence on religious liberty threats from same-sex marriage is deafening—this is not slippery-slope alarmism. The threat is real.

via The American Conservative.

What is the nature of kinship? Is it biological ties, or is it something you can “choose”?

People cite adoption,  but nobody “chooses” adoption. Adoption is based on the idea of finding the best possible home for a child who, for whatever reason, has no home. There’s no choice. There’s just what’s right or best – a value judgment.

But forcing everyone to embrace gay unions as equal to marriage does not mean, as gays insist, that marriage “is not procreative”. They have no intention of marrying their lover while raising their child with the child’s real other parent. They intend to take the child away from its real other parent and give it to their lover, because marriage is procreative. Example: in the courts Miller v. Jenkins, the courts upheld that Janet Jenkins being married to Isabella Miller’s mother means that Janet “is” Isabella’s other parent, because one of the benefits of marriage is the right to be presumed the parent of your spouse’s child. (Of course, traditionally that came with an obligation to refrain from adultery….)

People insist that the debate must be phrased in terms of equality for gays – specifically, in terms focusing on equality of outcome; gays deserve whatever it takes to make them as happily married as any other couple. That distinction is deliberately downplayed, but it is crucial, because it is biology that discriminates against them in this, not man. Giving them whatever it takes necessarily means taking away from others. We’re not talking about taking away artificial laws that are designed to be mean to a group of people for no reason; we’re talking about adding new stuff designed to compensate for biology’s cruelty. Fertility coverage for gays is already law in California, and multiple states are now teaching schoolchildren that ‘children can have two mommies’. That is not equality of opportunity. That is what disability rights law calls accommodations. Unlike most disability claims, however, there is no discussion permitted on what accommodations are actually reasonable, necessary, or required; there is no discussion of how much those accommodations will inconvenience those whose rights are in conflict. Gays are simply entitled to a blank check. If they need it, they’re entitled to it.

We will take from religious people the right to hold that kinship is sacred, that the ties between a mother and a father and a child are ties established by God, that family comes with sacred obligations. Those beliefs will be a crime, and the schools will teach our children that our holding those beliefs makes us a bigoted hater toward anyone who does not wish to honor the sanctity of those ties, or the obligations that come with them. These changes are already happening in some places.

But we’re also taking something away from the child – not just the right to have both mother and father, but the right to have custody decided according to the child’s best interest. Instead, child’s best interest can be sacrificed as we prioritize the rights of parents to purchase and consume parenthood as an experience.

“Build-A-Baby” Designer Baby System Patent

[C]onsumer genomics company 23andMe has developed a system for helping prospective parents choose the traits of their offspring, from disease risk to hair color. Put another way, it’s a designer baby-making system.

The company says it does not intend to use the technology this way…

The patent describes a technology that would take a customer’s preferences for a child’s traits, compute the likely genomic outcomes of combinations between a customer’s sperm or egg and other people’s sex cells, and describe which potential reproductive matches would most likely produce the desired baby.

Among the traits listed in the application as examples of possible choice are: height, weight, hair color, risks of colorectal cancer and congenital heart defects, expected life span, expected lifetime health care costs, and athleticism. The company, which has about 400,000 customers, offers genomic analysis of more than 240 traits altogether, from Alzheimer’s disease risk to breast shape and memory. Additional traits from this longer list could presumably be used the same way.

via Personal Genomics Firm 23andMe Patents Designer Baby System, Denies Plans to Use It – Wired Science.

If children are commodities, then it’s inevitable.

But are we really going to decide that children commodities?

I’ll ‘fess up…I don’t get what the big deal is. Granted, Build-a-Baby technology creeps me out when it comes to gender, because the societal implications are worrisome. But it makes more sense when applied to appearance and disease risk.

via PandoDaily.

“Richard Dawkins defends ‘mild pedophilia,’ says it does not cause ‘lasting harm’ “

In a recent interview with the Times magazine, Richard Dawkins attempted to defend what he called “mild pedophilia,” which, he says, he personally experienced as a young child and does not believe causes “lasting harm.”

Dawkins went on to say that one of his former school masters “pulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts,” and that to condemn this “mild touching up” as sexual abuse today would somehow be unfair.

“I am very conscious that you can’t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours. Just as we don’t look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today,” he said.

Plus, he added, though his other classmates also experienced abuse at the hands of this teacher, “I don’t think he did any of us lasting harm.”

Child welfare experts responded to Dawkins’ remarks with outrage — and concern over their effect on survivors of abuse.

via Salon

So wait – this is how many articles suddenly coming out (or is that “coming out”?) about how pedophilia really isn’t so bad?

I guess pedophilia is the new gay?

“These people felt they could snuff out the desire, or shame me into denying it existed,” he said. “But it’s as intrinsic as the next person’s heterosexuality.”

In the laboratory, researchers are coming to the same conclusion.

Like many forms of sexual deviance, pedophilia once was thought to stem from psychological influences early in life. Now, many experts view it as a sexual orientation as immutable as heterosexuality or homosexuality. It is a deep-rooted predisposition — limited almost entirely to men — that becomes clear during puberty and does not change.

The best estimates are that between 1% and 5% of men are pedophiles, meaning that they have a dominant attraction to prepubescent children.

Not all pedophiles molest children. Nor are all child molesters pedophiles. Studies show that about half of all molesters are not sexually attracted to their victims. They often have personality disorders or violent streaks, and their victims are typically family members.

By contrast, pedophiles tend to think of children as romantic partners and look beyond immediate relatives….

…Scientists at the Toronto center have uncovered a series of associations that suggest pedophilia has biological roots….

…There have been some grass-roots efforts to bring pedophilia out of the shadows.

via LA Times

If it’s an “orientation”, that means it’s a crime to “discriminate”, right?

And if “discriminate” means/includes everything gays are saying it does, that means they have the right to behave any way they want, and you owe it to them to be approving – and if you don’t, you’re an evil hater, right?

(Isn’t that what critics said would happen, as soon as gay marriage was accepted? Or am I not supposed to think about all those slippery slopes that don’t exist?)

Or are we close enough to the “enough is enough” point that we get to rethink some of the less logical associations, assumptions, and/or conclusions yet? (And if not, how much further do we really need to go?)

“Americans use the Internet to abandon children adopted from overseas”

This is just incredible: apparently there is an ongoing problem with overseas or international adoptions ending in child abandonment and worse. And officials haven’t responded in anything like an appropriate fashion – except for one guy who has apparently been ignored.

Many of these kids [internationally adopted from overseas] were handed off strangers who physically, mentally, and sexually abused them.

The story uncovers an American black market for adopted children, Internet forums where ads are placed for kids as if they were old television sets….

…In a nationwide alert to state child welfare authorities, an administrator for the ICPC warned that adoptive parents were sending children to live with people they met on the Internet. The practice, the official wrote, is “placing children in grave danger.”

via Reuters

I have long known there are problems that we aren’t allowed to speak of (at least in polite company) with regards to foreign adoption. But this is far worse than anything I’d imagined.

One of the first times, Eason had gone by the screen name Big Momma. The custody transfer took place in a hotel parking lot just off the highway, and the man who went with her to get the 10-year-old boy would later be sentenced to federal prison. His crime: trading child pornography

There is the very real possibility of legal adoption being used here in the USA by those who abuse children sexually and/or create child pornography.

Not to mention the part about abandoning kids – which is awful even if they were going somewhere safe.

Quita still can’t reconcile it. “How would you give me up when you brought me to be yours?” she asks.

Children are reduced to pet-like status.

The similarities to pet adoptions are eerie. Even more eerie is the similarity to the days of the Depression and other historical hard times, when parents who felt they could no longer afford to take care of their children would simply abandon them or offer them up to Orphan Trains heading West for greater opportunity. Even after the foster care system was put into place in the 20th century, families who wound up without resources to care for their children often found themselves at loose ends and placed their children in informal childcare—the most notorious case of which is arguably the abuse and murder of teenager Sylvia Likens at the hands of her unofficial foster family….

Time reported in 2010 that the estimated number of failed adoptions from Eastern Europe and Russia was around 4,000 since 1990. But this fails to take into account illicit adoptions and other means of child transfer. After several notorious public incidents of failed Russian adoptions—one woman put her 7-year-old adopted son on a plane back to Moscow—many countries tightened restrictions on U.S. adoptions. Russia banned them altogether….

…In the U.K., the rate of disrupted adoptions is almost 20%, while in the U.S. it can range from 3 percent to a staggering 53 percent, with the likelihood of an adopted child ending back up in care increasing with the age of the child.

via The Daily Dot

And it’s world news. Imagine how the people in other nations (whose children are among the targets here) feel, knowing that we’re importing their children and then abandoning them:

In a five-year-period 5,029 posts have been posted on Yahoo message board, in other words, one child per week was advertised. The ages varied from 6 to 14, with the majority adopted from foreign countries like Russia, China, Ethiopia, and Ukraine.

America’s underground market for adopted children is a vast, well-organized, easily accessed Internet network, where parents who have become disillusioned about the adopted child try to find new homes for them.

Yahoo and Facebook are a vast marketplace where unwanted children are put on sale without government supervision, the children on these services are very often treated like possessions and not human beings, a burden parents wish to get rid of with as few problems as possible. The whole procedure is very similar to the one owners apply when looking for new homes for their pets and dubbed the same way, “private re-homing”. The eight bulletin boards discovered by Reuters are extremely similar in content the degree of atrocity.

The Reuters investigation has revealed that re-homed children had very often been victims of all kinds of abuse. A girl adopted from China confessed that her adoptive parents made her dig her own grave, while another girl from Russia, said a boy in her adoptive family urinated in her after they had sex. At the time she was only 13 years old and had been moved three times in only 6 months.

Michael Seto, an expert on the sexual abuse of children at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group in Canada, said the children from foreign countries, who are very likely to never have seen their biological parents, and have no knowledge of English are the most frequent victims of the abuse. “You’re talking about a population that appears to be especially vulnerable to exploitation,” – Seto concluded.

via The Voice of Russia

Just awful.

Giving away a child in America can be surprisingly easy. Legal adoptions must be handled through the courts, and prospective parents must be vetted. But there are ways around such oversight. Children can be sent to new families quickly through a basic “power of attorney” document – a notarized statement declaring the child to be in the care of another adult.

via Reuters

This indicates that multiple problems urgently require solutions.

We need to establish that this is criminal behavior. Unfortunately, this is so far not happening. For some reason, giving a child away is not being classed as “child endangerment” or even “neglect”

There is one potential safeguard: an agreement among the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands called the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, or ICPC. The agreement requires that if a child is to be transferred outside of the family to a new home in a different state, parents notify authorities in both states. That way, prospective parents can be vetted.

The compact has been adopted by every state and is codified in various statutes that give it the force of law. Even so, these laws are seldom enforced, in part because the compact remains largely unknown to law enforcement authorities.

Foreign adoption procedures need to be analyzed and every point where the child is at risk needs to be addressed:

  • Parents who are not ready for what they’re getting in for need to be prevented from adopting
  • Parents who are responsible for an overseas child need to have support services available.
    • the cost of this should be at least partially factored into fees paid at the time of adoption

Whether or not such children are adopted domestically or from overseas – or not adopted at all – we need some sort of safety mechanism for parents and guardians who can’t handle the situation they are in.

Parents who offer their children on the Internet say they have limited options. Residential treatment centers can be expensive, and some parents say social services won’t help them; if they do contact authorities, they fear being investigated for abuse or neglect.

The problems – and the isolation parents feel – can prove overwhelming. On the bulletin boards, parents talk of children becoming abusive and violent, terrorizing them and other kids in the household.

My own experience with other peoples’ troubled kids confirms this experience: there is a void for parents who can’t handle their kids. Social Services is equipped to investigate and criminalize families, not assist them. The sorts of services that are actually required are not available (except for those with lots of money, to pay for private treatment). What people actually can get access to is a limited “talk therapy” approach that almost always does more harm than good (and that is a serious understatement), since it starts from assumptions that are wildly inappropriate for kids with serious behavioral issues.

Meanwhile, “burnout” completely destroys the ability to deal with kids in the way kids need to be dealt with. Overworked teachers, social workers, and psychological or psychiatric professionals are all at risk – and so are overwhelmed parents. High-stress situations combined with caretaker burnout must be recognized as a crisis – not “could become” a crisis but IS a crisis.

Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest or motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.Burnout reduces your productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give….

…If constant stress has you feeling disillusioned, helpless, and completely worn out, you may be suffering from burnout. When you’re burned out, problems seem insurmountable, everything looks bleak, and it’s difficult to muster up the energy to care—let alone do something about your situation. The unhappiness and detachment burnout causes can threaten your job, your relationships, and your health.

from helpguide.org

Overseas adoption should include some sort of long-term wellness check. This is important not only for the well-being of the children, but also for the well-being of international relationships between America and the rest of the world.

No authority tracks what happens after a child is brought to America, so no one knows how often international adoptions fail. The U.S. government estimates that domestic adoptions fail at a rate ranging from “about 10 to 25 percent.” If international adoptions fail with about the same frequency, then more than 24,000 foreign adoptees are no longer with the parents who brought them to the United States. Some experts say the percentage could be higher given the lack of support for those parents.

We also need to be clear about who is responsible for what.

Just five weeks after Katya arrived home, an event took place that some adoption professionals would say sealed the family’s fate: Rebecca gave birth. After years of failed fertility treatments and miscarriages, she had miraculously brought a pregnancy to term while Katya’s adoption proceeded.

“She felt she would never be as loved” as the baby, says Rebecca. “We figured the newborn was going to be the most time-consuming child,” says Jeff. In fact, it was the opposite. Jeff and Rebecca spent nearly every night in bed debating how to help Katya, who confessed that she had never wanted to be adopted in the first place. “How do you parent a child who doesn’t want to be parented?” Jeff asks. In addition to consulting with professional therapists, Jeff spent hours each day counseling Katya about right and wrong and how to function in a family — all to no avail. “It was crisis management all the time.”

The torment and turmoil continued for three years. Once, Katya held a knife to her throat. The police were called; she was hospitalized. “We felt like we were prisoners in our home,” says Jeff. “We were paralyzed.”

Katya was no happier. She demanded a new family.

The child starts saying she never wanted to be adopted anyway and she wants a new family right around the time…hmm: right around the time it becomes clear that she is in the way! Well!

Look – say “I couldn’t handle it; I was overwhelmed and burnt out and I did something unethical” – that I can sympathize with. But don’t tell me the kid didn’t really want your love anyway. Kids don’t work that way. There ain’t no such thing as a kid that doesn’t want love. When a kid says “I didn’t want to be here anyway”, that means “My pride is wounded because I am unloved and I am going to pretend I don’t care because you are evil and I don’t want you to see me bleed any more than you already have.”

Whatever is wrong with any of these kids – however messed up they may genuinely be – it’s not their fault that the people who wanted to adopt them wanted them to be something they weren’t, and couldn’t accept them being what they are.