A-Z (jainanicole) wrote in ed_ucate,

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In today's Lean Plate Club:

China Defends New Adoption Rules
The regulations, which take effect May 1, make it more difficult for overweight, single and "economically precarious foreigners" to adopt, while giving priority to stable, well-off foreign couples between 30 and 50, the official Xinhua News Agency said. ... According to U.S. adoption agencies who were briefed on the rules in December, the new rules also bar parents who are wheelchair dependent, take medication for psychiatric conditions including depression and anxiety or have a "severe facial deformity."

According to another site:

China has recently altered their rules for adoption. Among the changes: Morbidly obese adults--that is those with a body mass index of 40 and higher--are no longer eligible to adopt.

What do you think? Thoughts? Complaints, concerns, or do you think they're right on the mark? Discuss.

My reaction to this runs the whole spectrum. When I heard about the obesity restrictions, I was appalled, but on closer examination, it makes some sense. It feels like discrimination, but think of it this way...when we were trying to adopt, the officials were very antsy about us because of my mom's history of diabetes, and this was BEFORE the heart attack. Mom always said "God didn't let us adopt, because he knew that it would just be too hard for a little girl to have a sick parent and to go through all that stuff with her" (errr, umm, forgetting your OWN biological daughter, mom?). A slightly Catholic-tinted view, but true in a 'practical' sense. In adoption (one would hope!) the officials, in general, want to make sure that children are placed in a home where they will be cared for, both now and continually, which does mean not placing a child with a parent or parents who are ill or in a highly risky medical situation. So, I sort of understand this restriction.

On a practical note, also: a lot of my adult friends are either overweight themselves, or married/partners with someone who is overweight/obese. They tell me about having a hard time looking after the kids, giving them the attention they deserve, about sleep apnea, regulated diets, and not being able to play with the children for long spells, even though they so desperately want to. I've seen that in my own father, too (well, off the ice. :D Can you see why we're only friends ON the ice?). So, in an ideal world, it might be best for a parent to be fit and in shape.

That's a regulation you simply can't enforce, though. Are they going to institute a weight test before you adopt? Is that discriminatory? And, a whole other can of worms: what about BIOLOGICAL parents? If we can't regulate "you must not be obese before you impregnate a woman/are impregnated" than what right do we have to regulate this in people who WANT child, who could provide them with a good home and love? Shouldn't this all be about providing love for a potentially "unwanted" (I say that in the sense of being put up for adoption, please do not take offense...perhaps my meaning is better conveyed with "unable to be kept") child?

But part of providing continual love is having a parent who is continually...alive. Should we also protect to make sure a parent isn't going to drop dead with a newly adopted child? Is outlawing adoption by obese people the way to do this? What about people like my mother, who are STICKS, but could still drop dead tomorrow? I don't know the answer.

I understand that adoption is about placing the child in the 'ideal' scenario, in a place where they are actively wanted. But then you get into debates about who defines 'ideal'... I happen to think that a gay couple can raise a child very well, much better than many straight couples I know. In my view, it depends on the people, not any factor like sexuality or age or hair color. Someone in an L Word community yesterday (I swear, this has a point), mentioned how hard it would be for the character Kit to have a child, because the child would have a 50-year-old parent, and would be teased all the time. (Is this true? My parents are incredibly young, so I don't know, but it just seems to me that childhood bullies are going to pick on, I don't know, acne, or stupidity, or braininess, things that are directly relevant, not..."oh, yeah, hey, and your MOM'S FIFTY!!!")

But I digress. My point...if unimportant factors like that don't matter, then is the same true for obese parents? Or is that suddenly an "important factor" because of the health risks. And what about health risks to the child? I don't want to stereotype at all, so please don't take this the wrong way, but I know that, at least for me, my diet is not what is could/should be and a large portion of that is due to having an overweight parent, and the food choices I've been raised with, and the coping skills I've been taught. Should we assume that any parent will unconciously pass their own choices, healthy or unhealthy, on to their child? Is that what this law protects against?

Anyway. Moving on.

The article then talks about the other restrictions - wheelchair-bound parents (again, issues with mobility and being able to play, but if we're talking love...I think that's ridiculous.) I do, I think it's just ridiculous. Maybe having one parent who is not wheelchair-bound? But again, how do you regulate that? And how unfair! "I'm sorry, you really want a child, but, um, you were in a terrible accident so to punish you we're going to not allow you to adopt! Toodles!" I feel like a lot of that's unethical.

And then...people with psychiatric conditions. Well, I'm personally hurt by this one. I have a long history of psychological illness, but I know for certain I'd be a damn fine parent, and it is a dream of mine to one day do so. And I know plenty of "mentally healthy people" who should never have been allowed to be parents, even though they have a clean bill of health. Please. What right does a government have to say that you're an unfit parent because you've sought help or taken pills? Are we going to go back a decade to the overwhelming stigma towards the mentally ill, when people wouldn't admit to any sort of therapy, help, medication, or even feeling down, and when they lost their jobs and homes for it? That is disgusting, degrading, and just downright sad. I expect better.

And ANXIETY? Many, many people have that, people who are otherwise fit, sane, and healthy. (See here for a recent example.) Anthropologically speaking, many argue that it's a product of a world where too much is going on, there's too much to do, and not enough time to do it. Factor in pressures coming from everywhere and everything - parents, friends, peers, work, school, the government, finances, the media, and it's almost irrational and unhealthy NOT to manifest some sort of anxiety. And yet that can determine whether or not you're fit to parent? No way.

And "facial deformities"? WTF? How does that have any bearing WHATSOEVER on whether or not you can be a good parent. ...That makes me just downright angry. Let's stop discriminating against things we perceive to be threatening and start fixing those that actually ARE.

Anyway, my two cents, now you know how I feel, but I think this could be a very good discussion, so I'd like to open the floor to you guys. So, shoot. I'd be interested in hearing your opinions! Thanks for reading. ♥

(Some people may see this cross-posted in a couple of places. Apologies!)

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