Comments on: The blame game History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Tue, 23 Sep 2014 20:42:44 +0000 hourly 1 By: Helicoptering: what does it matter to faculty? : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Mon, 19 Jul 2010 13:46:05 +0000 [...] and taking easy shots at what goes on in other families?  (After all, I’m the blogger who has urged us all to refrain from judging parents too harshly because of the bucketload of cultur… we put on parenting, and on mothering in [...]

By: Z Tue, 20 Apr 2010 04:29:48 +0000 Therapists, which I call Reeducators, think I have terrible parents, but I remind them that my parents sent someone to a selective college away from home at 17, who graduated at 21 with no police record, no drug/alcohol problems and no children.

I adopted a teenager in open adoption. I do not talk about that on my blog because people have lives. Neither I nor his actual mother could afford to send him to college and he worked for DirecTV. I would see him on campus in his DirecTV overalls and think, my God, we intellectuals have taken an academically oriented child and raised someone our grandmothers would have excoriated us for knowing: a Working Man.

I thought then: he is a Working Man and he is still in classes. He is not in jail and he is running websites in his field of interest. We have done poorly, but then again not so poorly.

He ran away from us before graduation to become a Flight Attendant, because this would enable him to fly internationally and live in New York.

I argued with him about intellectual issues and he refused to speak to me for at least two years (or more, I cannot remember now).

Now he is back to take that last class and graduate. He is applying only to the best graduate schools. He is 30 years old.

He chose me to adopt him because he wanted an academically oriented family. He has not had the privileges I had. You have to take people as they come. It may mean they do not speak to you for two years or more.

I understand the point of view of the Russian government and also that of that adoptive mother.

By: Mamie Tue, 20 Apr 2010 01:38:01 +0000 All I could think of as I followed the coverage of this episode was when Nebraska passed a “safe haven” law that was not limited to newborns. Parents drove across the continent to abandon unmanageable (not adopted) children, including teenagers, at hospitals in the state. What was the response? Nebraska quickly passed a law limiting “safe haven” to infants. No one addressed the fact that families all over the U.S. were so desperate, and so bereft of assistance, that driving two thousand miles to abandon a child legally seemed a reasonable choice.

The sense that she was in it alone and could expect no assistance that led the woman in Tennessee to send her son to Russia seems a piece of the very same story.

Children may be a public good, but in America we treat them as a private lifestyle choice. If you are lucky, and your children (born or adopted) are healthy and sane, you win. If not, you lose bigtime. And your childless relatives and colleagues also lose, because they are the ones who get called on to pick up the slack when there is no social safety net. (We had this discussion here some months ago, didn’t we?)

By: cass_m Mon, 19 Apr 2010 21:45:46 +0000 I must admit that I had a knee jerk negative reaction to sending the child on a flight with a note and avoided further news on the subject because it’s heartbreaking all around.

We are childfree although we did start with the adoption process. Every step of the way we were warned that adopted children may have problems connecting with us regardless of much support we offer. In the end, our situation changed and we did not end up adopting. In retrospect it was a good thing to happen. Being a mother was never a life desire for me (unlike being an scientist) but I didn’t have the courage of my convictions until I hit 40.

Looking in from the outside – parenting is hard, good parenting is harder.

By: Indyanna Mon, 19 Apr 2010 18:42:27 +0000 @wini: Yeah, a man navigating with a kid will likely either be seen as a saint or a predator. With women it’s so naturalized as to be all but invisible.

I haven’t followed this case as closely as I probably should but what a nightmare to have a personal trauma turn not only into a public episode but a veritable international incident with diplomatic implications.

I once house-sat in Britain for an American friend couple who flew back to the US for a trial run at adopting twins, well beyond toddlerhood. It didn’t work out and they came back traumatized enough, but hardly as badly as if the samaritan impulse had created an irrevocable situation.

By: truffula Mon, 19 Apr 2010 18:39:47 +0000 Errol Flynn maneuver

We run a pretty loose ship, our household. I like to imagine that it’s character-building (for all of us).

By: Comrade PhysioProf Mon, 19 Apr 2010 18:11:08 +0000 This is apropos:

By: Susan Mon, 19 Apr 2010 18:11:03 +0000 I have known at least two families who gave up custody of (biological) children because the services the children needed could only be obtained long term if the child were the ward of the state. These were educated, caring parents. But to get what their child needed, that’s what they had to do. It made them crazy.

I’m not a parent, but I had a summer job as a “mother’s helper” when a teen, and I realized by the end of the summer that parenting was no picnic… I thought the kids were great, but oh, they could drive me nuts. I have nothing but admiration for parents.

By: Historiann Mon, 19 Apr 2010 17:59:06 +0000 Heh. That’s quite an image, truffula, of a 6-year old doing an Errol Flynn maneuver in your living room!

(And then you beat hir within an inch of hir life, right? Like the old woman who lived in the shoe. . . who “whipped them quite soundly and sent them to bed?”)

By: truffula Mon, 19 Apr 2010 17:50:57 +0000 The notion of not laying trips on your children helps me think before I act (or speak) when I’m upset. For example, last night while I was typing that comment, a six year old sailed off the sofa taking a curtain and its hardware with him. What I thought was “why are you doing this to me?” but what I said was “okay, time for bed!” You are of course correct, Historiann, I can only control what is within my awareness. To me, that’s the point of the advice.