Scanning through my news this morning I caught this article in the NYTimes about circumcision. Turns out, public health officials in the US (people at the CDC) are considering making a recommendation that baby boys and even high risk adults get circumcised to reduce their risk of contracting AIDS.  I’m likely just using this as a bit of self-justification for having Toren circumcised, but I thought it might be of interest to others considering this issue.

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4 Replies to “circumcision justification”

  1. Well, that’s a tough call. I would never make an outright recommendation for someone else’s child, so let me just give you the questions I would consider if I had Montana as my child.

    1) First, of course, is the pain. Most of us are circumcised when we are young, so we don’t remember the pain, but it’s going to be painful. How does he do with pain?
    2) Do you want him to associate the pain with his adoption? If it were me, I’d probably wait quite a while (at least 6 months to a year) before I did it so he understood that the circumcision had nothing to do with the adoption.
    3) Is he at high risk for engaging in risky sexual behavior? Unfortunately, in his case I’m going to have to say that he is at slightly higher risk. Granted, he may prove to be the exception to the rule, but adopted children, particularly those adopted not as infants, are statistically more likely to have attachment issues and engage in deviant behavior. So, the answer on this question may be yes. (Oh, and that is true despite best parenting practices, so don’t fault yourself for this).
    4) What does Montana want?
    5) What’s your motivation? Is it just so he’ll look like Mark? Granted, my pediatrician used that argument with me and it factored into the decision, but considering Montana’s age, I don’t know that I would put as much weight into it.
    6) Societal acceptance. Circumcision is widespread in Utah. Considering that is likely where he will first shower with other boys (in gym class) and even have his first sexual experiences (after marriage, of course), it may make things easier for him if he is circumcised. But, then again, circumcision is not 100% anywhere in the US and has been declining as a total percentage because of the influx of uncircumcised immigrants. So, this may not be as important.

    Ultimately, the decision should be yours (as the parents) and Montana’s (as the patient). I’d simply weigh the above factors.

    Oh, and as far as I know, there is no religious impetus to do so unless you are Jewish. There is no official position on circumcision in the LDS Church. So, religion shouldn’t factor into this decision. It should be based on best evidence and preference.

  2. Not a comment on circumcision and NO input from me on whether Montana should be circ’ed, as I know nothing about this particular child. Just some adoption talk and getting picky about language 🙂 Particularly the “he may be an exception to the rule” comment. And exception to the rule would seem to imply that the majority of children who join their family through adoption would have attachment issues and engage in deviant behavior. Research has actually documented that the majority of these children are well within the normal range of psychological adjustment. Data does show that adopted children are more likely (about 2x in one study) than their non-adopted peers to be referred for mental health services and to display a variety of diagnosable psychiatric conditions. This is more prevalent among children adopted at older ages and adopted domestically. The reasons for this increased risk are not entirely clear, although at least part of the explanation seems to be that adoptive parents are more likely to recognize and seek help for these problems, perhaps in part because of their familiarity with the field of social work through the adoption process and because they are aware of the increased risk.

    Also, my word verification is “chest o’clock.” Which I’m sure Debi can define for you. For me, “check o’clock” was approximately every 3-4 fours for a year!

  3. Sharon, thank you for the clarification. I was going off of stuff I read at one time or another in the distant past and remember only vaguely. It sounds like I wasn’t too far off the mark, but it’s good to get accurate, up-to-date information.

    “chest o’clock”, huh? I’m off to ask Debi if she’ll illustrate… 😉

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