Friday, October 7, 2011

Should I Be a Single Mother?

Dear Jocelyn,
I’m curious what you think of a single person adopting a child by themselves. I am in my mid-late thirties and have never been married, but would really love to have children. While I would love to provide a child with a home with two parents, I feel like one loving parent would be better than an orphanage or continuous foster care. I’m open to either local or international adoption. Do you think I would be allowed to adopt as a single person, and would you recommend it for the wellbeing of the child?
-Hopeful Mother

Dear Hopeful,
Whenever I attempt to answer a question like this, I always ask myself, "What is the best thing for the child?" I am wholeheartedly opposed to single women becoming pregnant intentionally and raising children by themselves. I believe that purposefully bringing up a child without a father is a foolish thing to do.   

This being said, I think adopting a child, especially from another country, is a different matter. In this case, the child is already in this world, and is without any parent. Children from certain countries are deprived not only of parents, but love, food, and proper medical care. In this case, I believe that having even just one loving parent is much better than the child's current condition. I think if you decide to adopt, you will be blessing a child and doing him a great deal of good.   If you do decide to adopt, please research the matter extensively before doing so.  To answer your first question, yes, single women are allowed to adopt--I actually know a woman who adopted internationally.  

Adopting and raising a child is hard enough, but as a single woman, you will be doing this without the same support that a married couple will have. Try to find a single woman who has adopted so you can interview her. Contact an adoption agency and set up an interview to ask them questions. Raising a child is incredibly hard work. If you decide to adopt, please realize that it will be the hardest thing you have ever done; however, it will certainly be the most rewarding.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Troublesome Teammate

Dear Jocelyn,  
I am working on a class project in a team of five people. Three of my teammates are great, and the other is … special. In my opinion, the idea of working as a team is that everyone brings ideas to the table and then you decide as a group. She has some decent ideas, but others aren’t feasible for what we are trying to do, and she won’t let any of her ideas go. If we manage to talk her down from an idea one day, she brings it up the next day like the previous conversation didn’t happen. At this point I’m not sure we can trust her to research ideas that aren’t her own, and we’re losing a lot of valuable time (and sanity) repeating all of these conversations. I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but I kind of want to shove her in a corner with a coloring book so she won’t screw anything up and we can actually get our project done. Any thoughts on how to deal with coloring book girl, short of murder or crayons?  
-Really Frustrated

Dear Frustrated,  
Depending on your teammates, working on a team can improve a project by providing collaboration between brains and division of labor, or it can make the members want to hit their heads repeatedly on the wall. It sounds like you are having the latter experience.   

As I see it, you have four options.  All of these should be discussed with your other teammates to make sure that you are in agreement about which one to choose. The first is to gently confront the team member who is slowing you down. Tell her she has some great ideas, but that she needs to drop the issue if the team decides not to use one of her ideas. Tell her that it feels like it is slowing everything down to go over these ideas several times. Depending on your level of comfort  with confrontation (and with this girl), this might or might not be the way to go.   

A second idea is to simply shut her down when she tries to bring these ideas up again. If she begins to present a previously rejected idea, simply say, "Jane, we already talked about that and decided not to use it." Then quickly move on to another idea. If she insists on discussing it, say, "We discussed it yesterday and we don't have time to talk about it again." Repeat as necessary.   A third idea is to find a small sub-project for her to work on by herself. If the project can be divided up into parts, give her a part that is hard to mess up, and ask her to focus on that. That might occupy her attention long enough for the rest of you to get your work done.

A fourth idea is to go to the professor about this. I would reserve this for only severe cases of teammate issues, since the professor will not appreciate being bothered with minor team disputes. However, if the first three ideas do not work, and you find yourself wishing for a weapon whenever she opens her mouth, then consider asking the teacher to talk to her. You should know that this will, most likely, make working together more awkward, and she might be angry at having been called out. So use this only in case of emergency.   Best of luck to your team. And remember - the dollar store has great deals on coloring books if you need them!