family size and the Earth - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: How many children do you have or plan to have?
1 21 13.29%
2 44 27.85%
3-4 59 37.34%
5 6 3.80%
as many as you end up having! 28 17.72%
Voters: 158. You may not vote on this poll

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#61 of 99 Old 06-03-2002, 01:12 PM
 
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Deirdre,

I don't think the government should "regulate" the number of children people have, but I think that public policy should attempt to control population growth. That includes things like not continuing to encourage unbridled population growth through tax incentives for an unlimited number of children. It also includes things like major overhauls in the way adoption is regulated.

How did I come to have these views? Observation. Pretty simple. I grew up in a large family, as did my husband, and all my uncles and aunts had large families. If you count the number of offspring of my children's generation compared to my parents generation, it's pretty terrifying.

And yes, of course I've studied China's one child policy. I've been to China. I don't agree with the way the policy has been implemented in some places and at some times. But I have tremendous respect for the fact that the Chinese are trying to deal with their enormous population issues, and not just stick their heads in the sand like certain other countries.
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#62 of 99 Old 06-03-2002, 01:25 PM
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Thanks for explaining.
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#63 of 99 Old 06-03-2002, 02:00 PM
 
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Thanks for explaining EFMom.

I agree that adoption should be easier and more "accepted"..there are soooo many children in need of loving families...I wish it would become more the norm....
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#64 of 99 Old 06-03-2002, 03:29 PM
 
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Loving families who tread lightly, regardless of shape, color or size are the best for the world! Families that take care of each other and are able to take care of each other make better impacts on society. Entities and organizations who seek to dictate the size of a family can better serve the environment in more meaningful ways.

Dh and I have an ongoing dicussion about how many more children we want. I would like to have one more, and maybe adopt one--or just adopt on more child. He's all done for now. (We have one dd.) We're just small family minded people. We look at our personal resources and future resources--financial and emotional, and for *us*, a small family fits. We've discussed zero population issues and the impact on the environment and find that these arguement carry little weight in our descision to have a small family. As a person of color, zero pop. growth arguements don't fly. Selu and others explained it best, and I'm already jumping into this thread late in the game, so I'll leave it at that.
My parents come from big families (9 sibs for my dad, 4 for my mom), dh's folks have one and two. I love big families. I just came back from a family reunion that was just for my paternal first cousins and our broods. There were over 30 people there, and some cousins didn't bring their children or spouses. And we're all fraternally close. I guess I'm reaping the benefits of having a big, close family without actually raising a big family...

As an only--never lonely--child, my solitary feathers got ruffled by this comment (I placed italics to highlight what ruffled me):
Quote:
Originally posted by Piglet68
The only reason I feel having one child is not good is because I strongly believe in the benefit of having siblings, even just one.
I could argue there are just as many benefits to having no siblings. I can't think of how my life was negatively impacted by not having siblings. There's a misconception that only children lead dismal lonely childhoods, are unable to make connections with people, can't share, etc. It ain't true. Having just one child is very good for your family and your child if that's your choice! ("Choice" being the operative word here.)
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#65 of 99 Old 06-03-2002, 03:30 PM
 
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edited to add: Parthenia, thank you. That is so well-spoken!

Now to another inchorent post by yours trully:
I voted 3 - 4. My husband wants 5 so we can have our own Blue Grass band:

Of course, I'm now pregnant with #3 and am 38 (dh will be 48 in July.)

I am much more earth-conscious than I ever have been & guess I see my children as, perhaps, seeds of change (I hope) I have been blessed after several years of infertility testing/treatment with my ex-husband and one baby lost at 12 weeks. (btw, my second husband & I did not have fertility problems)

With regards to infertility treatments, I went through lots of avenues for 4 years. The saddest thing I saw was the day a women who had conceived through GIFT come in with her baby (they wanted to try for #2 right away.) The baby was just old enough to hold her head up & was beautiful. The mom came in, sat down with her legs in front of her & her knees together, she held that baby on her knees facing away from her (holding her around the body.) When her husband came in, he picked up that little miracle and seemed completely besotted. Now, I don't know the whole story, but I was so sad for that baby that appeared to be just an object to the mom. Not a living, breathing miracle. During my time at the clinic, I did meet parents looking for that "trophy" child.

Sorry for the ramble, guess my point is just that I don't believe that I have an inherent right to have as many children as I want, but I have a responsibility to make decisions that are right for me, my family and the world. I hope I do leave this world a better place than when I arrived...even if it's just leaving a Blue Grass band behind to provide a little joy
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#66 of 99 Old 06-03-2002, 03:39 PM
 
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I believe I DO have an inherent right to have as many children as I want, as long as I raise them responsibly. And I take issue with anyone who would tell me differently or who would take food out of their mouths (ie taxes) because they disagreed. period.
And to clarify something I said, just b/c we qualify for the gov't programs doesn't mean we use them.
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#67 of 99 Old 06-03-2002, 03:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by EFmom

I think two people are entitled to produce two biological children, period. I think the government should give you a deduction for the first child, take it away for the second child and tax the hell out of you for subsequent children
Let's imagine this environmental utoptia, shall we? There would be waiting lists at abortion clinics and many of their patients would be heartbroken women aborting a child they would have cherished, but can't afford to keep. I assume that if the government will levy penalties on taxpayers for having more than 2 children, then those on public assistence will either have to show proof of a fail safe form of birth control, such as an IUD, or they will be sterilized. These laws will have little effect on the rich because they can afford the tax penalties and will continue to have as many babies as they please. Meanwhile, the poor will be taxed out of existence, the middle class will dwindle, and the rich will flourish. Sounds like an ideal society.:
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#68 of 99 Old 06-03-2002, 03:57 PM
 
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Sun, I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to offend or hurt.

You said "as long as I raise them responsibility" and that's what I was trying to get to by saying I didn't have a right, but a responsibility to make the decisions that are right for me and my family. My thoughts on everything is that I have to take responsibility for how I exercise my rights. This probably doesn't make sense, sorry.


And from your first post, you say something about many people might have the opinion you can't afford your kids...thank you for posting the fact that finance does not make a family!!! One of the things my husband declared when we started our family is that we're not waiting until we 'can afford it' If we believe a family is right for us, then we have to make it work and remember that our children can't look at the checkbook balance!

I hate that money so often is the measure of our parenting abilities.

love,
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#69 of 99 Old 06-03-2002, 04:02 PM
 
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Well, let's see, I'd say the reply of "Are you crazy?" would be a good indication that some don't think I should have 4 kids. :LOL I don't think everyone that comments on it means anything bad though. I think a lot of people are just surprised to see large families, but I myself don't really consider 4 kids a large family so I am surprised when I get any comments about how many kids I have.

This made me remember a story. I was at work one day and a customer came in with twins and one of the other employees said, "I feel bad for you." The customer replied with "Don't." She was clearly bothered by the statement. Babies are a blessing, not a burden. Why feel bad for someone because they had two blessings at once? Sure, they are more work, but they are also twice the joy. Why don't some see that part?
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#70 of 99 Old 06-03-2002, 04:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Parthenia

I could argue there are just as many benefits to having no siblings. I can't think of how my life was negatively impacted by not having siblings.
I have to plead guilty to feeling like it's better not to be an only child. Sometimes I think I could be happy with just one child if it weren't for this strong belief that my daughter needs at least one sibling. My husband had two younger brothers and said he always wished he was an only child, and he would like to limit our family to just one child. There is some benefit to knowing that you are the most important person in the world to someone, but he felt like his parents had favorites and he wasn't one of them. I think it was because his brother had a serious disease and was treated differently that made the difference. Then the youngest boy was the baby of the family, and the rules weren't equally applied.

I, on the other hand, grew up with 2 younger sisters and even though we had fights, I knew that these were my sisters and that we'd go to the mat for each other, even if there were times we were ready to kill each other. I never once wished to be an only child, and I guess I'm just basing my experience on that.

There are some only children in the neighborhood where I lived before, and both sets of parents had wanted to have another one but couldn't. The one mom told me to have at least one more and not to have an only child because her daughter always was asking for a sister and wanted someone to play with, and there were days she wished her daughter had a sister. Of course, it doesn't really work like that, I know, because having a sister is different from having a friend come to your house--the friend always seems much more fun in my opinion. But at least there would be someone else to entertain her daughter and it wouldn't be solely up to the parents.

The other mom was fine with just having her one son, although she had wanted to have another when she was younger. One of my nieces was an only child and she said she didn't like it, so made sure to have 2. I know there are benefits to being an only child, but on an emotional level I can't quite embrace it and agree to it. I'm actually hoping to get pregnant soon, and my children will be about 4 - 5 years apart. I've decided that if I can't get pregnant, I probably will just give up on the idea and have an only child, so I can't really say that I can't embrace it since I don't know what's going to happen. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. It's good to know that maybe I am just overreacting.
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#71 of 99 Old 06-03-2002, 06:51 PM
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I will probably bear only one child. I will probably foster or adopt others.

Yes large families can tread more lightly than a small family, but will these offspring? And think of all the large families who do not tread lightly.

Whatever we decide the important thing is to think of how you want your child's life and their children's lives to be. And the options are more than lonely and sociopathic in the case of lonely children or living in a decimated blade runner type future due to having large numbers of children.

What have I learned from these types of debates here? That no one is right.

That the answer does lie in our hearts, and it is somewhat more moderate than some of the opinions I have seen expressed here.
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#72 of 99 Old 06-03-2002, 07:25 PM
 
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Every person leaves a footprint, and Americans seem to have the biggest feet. So while it is certainly true that every child will have an impact on the environment, IMHO numbers are not nearly as important as the size of the average footprint. I mean, the damage my children are going to do is absolutely imperceptible relative to the net impact of all Americans put together. Two kids more or less are not going to make any difference, especially since the average family size is shrinking.

It seems to me that the most crucial thing in terms of lowering your impact is to be a trendsetter when it comes to lifestyle. Your choices affect others' choices, and this way you initiate the reduction in size of the average footprint. One visible person driving a hybrid car around town sparks discussion and suggests to other drivers that hybrid cars are an option. Soon you've got 20 hybrid cars rolling around, and hopefully soon they replace SUV's as the status symbol of choice. One vegetarian in a high school could influence 5 other kids to go veggie, who would all go off to different colleges and influence 5 more each, and so on.

An earth-conscious Mothering mom
who sends 6 vegetarian, Keeper using, cloth bag-toting kids out into the world could very likely start a chain reaction whose positive outcome for the environment would be far greater than the damage done by their combined negative impact.

Not that environmental issues are the only, or even most important, consideration in planning family size. Religious, social, and personal issues are more important to me, but I also hope not to be a resource hog.
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#73 of 99 Old 06-03-2002, 09:14 PM
 
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Proud Mama to a large family here. I have 6 beautiful dds (5 living) I am planning on having 2-3 more. I have not come to this decision lightly or from a lack of knowledge about birth control. I am doing this because I am following a deep spiritual conviction. I have put much prayer and thought into this. I get the "Are these ALL your kids?" comments too.: There is enough resources on this wonderful earth for everyone, if everyone learns to share. How come what we can teach to preschoolers the world in large will not learn? You have more than what you need share with those who do not have enough? I lived in El Paso TX for a couple of years and it was heartbreaking and maddening to see the huge mansions on one side of the Rio Grande and the paper shacks on the exact opposite side. The excess that is going on in the mansions could support 10 families on the Mexican side. So should we be worried about controlling the size of families or worried about teaching humans to share and use resources wisely so that there will be enough for everyone? Who know one of my children may find the cure for world hunger or Aids. I know they will be loving and worldly conscientious people. Maybe instead of buying $200 diapers we should be helping those whose basic needs are not met. Children are the jewels of this world. Be they biological or adopted it matters not. Let us worry how to share our resources and not waste or misuse what we have and the earth will support us all.
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#74 of 99 Old 06-04-2002, 04:42 AM
 
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Around here, four children is considered a small family. Ten is considered normal, and seventeen is on the high end, but some even have twenty.
The mentality is: the world has a purpose, and every being in it has a purpose. Every single person has a UNIQUE purpose that cannot be fulfilled by anyone else, so having "another" child is not about another child. It is not like having "another" pair of jeans when I already own jeans and they still fit. (I'm sorry if this is a grotesque example) It is about giving the world a completely new way to fulfill the purpose for which it was created.

In terms of taking care of the world and our environment, that has been our job since Adam. It was one of his first responsibilities, and as parents it is one of our responsibilities to our children- we must teach them to take care of the world that supports us.

Some people don't know how to take care of the world, and they don't teach their children how to take care of the world. That doesn't mean they do not have a unique purpose here and that we should not treasure them. What it means is that we should try to create an atmosphere where they will want to learn more and come to act more responsibly.

Quote:
It seems to me that the most crucial thing in terms of lowering your impact is to be a trendsetter when it comes to lifestyle. Your choices affect others' choices, and this way you initiate the reduction in size of the average footprint. One visible person driving a hybrid car around town sparks discussion and suggests to other drivers that hybrid cars are an option. Soon you've got 20 hybrid cars rolling around, and hopefully soon they replace SUV's as the status symbol of choice. One vegetarian in a high school could influence 5 other kids to go veggie, who would all go off to different colleges and influence 5 more each, and so on.
Exactly so. When someone gets up for an old lady on the bus, it creates a ripple in the world, and the world changes. It becomes a place where it is that much more accepted to stand up for an old lady on the bus, teenagers are that much less likely to get teased by their peers for doing such a kindness, and eventually no-one will even think there is an option to sit when an old lady stands.

We must foster this attitude, and I do not think limiting children will make people more aware of their responsibilities as humans.
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#75 of 99 Old 06-04-2002, 05:00 AM
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Has anyone else noticed the similarity between Jewish thought and Buddhist thought? Nice post dddD.
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#76 of 99 Old 06-04-2002, 09:29 AM
 
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EFMom,
i just have to say that your post really got to me even though in the ultimate goal of zero population growth we are on the same side. I think you took a very complicated issue and oversimplified it. This will hurt people. The only way to reach this goal is through loving dialogs that consider the needs of everyone.

The word entitlement specifically means that it is a priviledge that someone is entitling you to. Unless you meant God, you were implying someone other than a mom making the decision for her.
We already have had several moms point out the problems which arise when we try to address this problem through regulatory methods. (ie: china)


You later say you didn't mean quota's but tax penalties or removal of incentives. OK this sounds great on the outside if it didn't mean abandoning children in poverty and extreme racism and classism. 1 out of 3 children in this country live in poverty (way more in the rest of the world.) Unless you institute new social means to provide for these children, discouraging or penalizing their parents means worsening the conditions for these innocent babes. Also when you make the "incentives" financial you are essentially allowing family size to be determined by financial class more than it already is which is VERY racist.

The countries with the lowest population growth levels are countries with the best social programs that ensure everyone a decent standard of living (such as denmark). Remarkably they also have relatively small ecological footprints compared to other first world countries.

Finally, zero population growth means that the average family size is less than two children per family. Not that some families can't be larger and some families smaller. This is a personal decision that needs to be lovingly made. Dialogs about this issue need to be lovingly had.
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#77 of 99 Old 06-04-2002, 10:28 AM
 
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A little belated but Thanks Selu!!!!!!

Maybe we should start an adoption thread.....I would love to get input, ideas and help from people...

I'm a bit busy today but maybe i will start one soon.....
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#78 of 99 Old 06-04-2002, 10:59 AM
 
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I want to live next door to dddD!

and, well put, greenmama, I couldn't have said it better myself.

You know, I bet if we all treated children better, if we encouraged that in society, if we could convince those in the public eye to espouse this philosophy, the balance would become apparent. We all live in this world together, why should it not be that there is an underlying balance which keeps us here? We are ignorant to it for looking too closely at the world itself, trying to manipulate it, that it is difficult to step back and see there is no right and wrong, no crime without consequences, as it were. no crime, actually. sorry to use such a negative term.
I wish I could give examples, but I don't want to offend anyone. I am working on seeing the whole picture still, and I don't want to unintentionally single anyone out. We all have our challenges, we all learn from our lives, it's why we are here! We make our choices, we are gifted this in taking our present form. Each decision brings us closer to our creator, each lesson learned makes us wiser and more content.
IMNSHO
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#79 of 99 Old 06-04-2002, 11:44 AM
 
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Deirdre I would love to see an adoption thread. Dh and I have talked about adoptiong a child/ren from India and we've looked into it on the web. It seems very expensive and out of our reach. I'd love to see how others deal with this.
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#80 of 99 Old 06-04-2002, 11:59 AM
 
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Beautiful post dddD. My hat is off to you. You stated what is in my heart
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#81 of 99 Old 06-04-2002, 01:33 PM
 
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Deirdre, wado and no problem. Internet communication just ain't what it should be. I would to get an adoption thread going!

Did anyone see Oprah yesterday? Or the Adoption show on the Hallmark channel? Great stuff!!!!


Quote:
Originally posted by 3boys4us
Dh and I have talked about adoptiong a child/ren from India and we've looked into it on the web. It seems very expensive and out of our reach. I'd love to see how others deal with this.
I so hear you, Rene! I was watching the above mentioned Adoption show and a family was talking about how they wanted to adopt the bio sister of their other two children and people in their town, workplace, schools, etc. all began to donate money for the family to adopt! They were given over 25,000 dollars!!! Really heartwarming (ok, I admit I was bawling my eyes out!).

Back to your regularly scheduled thread....
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#82 of 99 Old 06-04-2002, 01:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Selu Gigage
Did anyone see Oprah yesterday? Or the Adoption show on the Hallmark channel? Great stuff!!!!
There's a Hallmark channel??? I saw a promo for the adoption Oprah show, but I didn't watch it. Sounds like it was good. The show didn't happen to mention breastfeeding adopted children, did it? Just curious.
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#83 of 99 Old 06-04-2002, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
The countries with the lowest population growth levels are countries with the best social programs that ensure everyone a decent standard of living (such as denmark)
While I agree with everything you say, I just want to point at that I believe the country with the lowest growth rate is Italy, and the social programs there ain't what they're cracked up to be, hence the low population growth - it is practically impossible for a young couple to get set up in their own home (which is the result of a number of social problems), so they wait, and they wait, and they wait...

OK sorry, just had to say that.
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#84 of 99 Old 06-04-2002, 01:49 PM
 
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Thank you, Greenmama for your compassionate views and explanation of zero population growth.

The irony about countries with good social policies like Denmark's and Sweden's is that these policies were put into place to help boost the birth rate!
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#85 of 99 Old 06-04-2002, 01:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Amywillo
The show didn't happen to mention breastfeeding adopted children, did it? Just curious.
Adoption on the Hallmark Channel did not and I am thinking that they didn't because all of the children were older - 7-15 years old. I get the Hallmark Channel through Time-Warner in Central Ohio. Actually it is a great channel - lots of Dr. Quinn reruns and Northern Exposure!!!!

As for Oprah, she did feature newborns being adopted but there was no mention... but of course she features "Dr." Phil so I am not surprised. :
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#86 of 99 Old 06-04-2002, 02:39 PM
 
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Quote:
The show didn't happen to mention breastfeeding adopted children, did it? Just curious.
The show was focused mostly on the adoption process, not the actual parenting of adopted children. So, no, breastfeeding was not mentioned, but I didn't see it as a malicious omission--just not within the scope of that particular show.
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#87 of 99 Old 06-06-2002, 03:55 AM
 
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dddD, that was wonderful. Thank you. My rebbe z'l used to say that wars start on one side of the world because someone spanked a child on the other.

- Amy
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#88 of 99 Old 06-07-2002, 01:47 AM
 
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I guess I'll dare to post here.....

I want to ditto something Parthenia said:
Quote:
Loving families who tread lightly, regardless of shape, color or size are the best for the world! Families that take care of each other and are able to take care of each other make better impacts on society. Entities and organizations who seek to dictate the size of a family can better serve the environment in more meaningful ways.
Life is more than the physical, it is spiritual. I think that Dddd put my heart in words:
Quote:
the world has a purpose, and every being in it has a purpose. Every single person has a UNIQUE purpose that cannot be fulfilled by anyone else, so having "another" child is not about another child. It is not like having "another" pair of jeans when I already own jeans and they still fit. (I'm sorry if this is a grotesque example) It is about giving the world a completely new way to fulfill the purpose for which it was created.
Our reasons for birthing our children are extreamly spiritual. The thought that Government would dictate family size is no different in my mind than the forced sterilizations that went on in last century or the forced abortions and sterilizations that are taking place in China today. We are not pets for governments and those with wealth to control. We are spiritual beings and our children will make the difference in this world. They will be the ones fighting for human rights, and enviormental protection!

Our son and dil are in the process of adopting a deaf boy. Our dear friends will finally have their adopted daughter in their home in September. Dh and I can not adopt because of his health issues, although we have tried. Adoption is only one answer to helping families in situations where they can not (or will not) take care of their children. Improving conditions in impoverished countries and educating parents so that they are empowered and able to provide for their families should be a priority. We are involved with a group that helps women in small villages to use the skills and resources they have to make a living. They are also digging wells so that clean water is more accessable in remote areas. Whole villages are being turned around and lives are being saved!

I'm sorry, I think I'm off topic now.....I'll get off my soap box and go to bed.
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#89 of 99 Old 06-07-2002, 09:23 AM
 
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We are also members of Zero Population Growth. DH actually worries what will become of the human race when we outgrow and kill this planet. It certainly won't happen in the near future, but it's happening little by little every day, and the human race is going to have to stop living in glutteny or find another planet to move to.

That said, I respect parents who choose to be responsible with their large families. I know a couple of sisters who each have six children. They live next door to each other and homeschool together, and are raising incredibly mature and responsible children.

What burns me up is the ones who just keep reproducing out of ignorance, keep having babies because they are too lazy, doped up, unmotivated, or irresponsible to use birth control. Sorry for that rant, but I worked in SE DC for a while and went into lots of homes with 6 kids, all by different fathers, living with their 20 y.o. single mother who wouldn't even turn down the music or tv so I could work with their children properly. These people are just a total drain on society.
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#90 of 99 Old 06-07-2002, 02:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by barbara
. The thought that Government would dictate family size is no different in my mind than the forced sterilizations that went on in last century
I can't speak for every state, but did y'all know that the last forced sterilization in Virginia took place in 1978? It was just a few weeks ago that the governor issued an official apology.
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