From the viewpoint of a clinician who has 36 years of experience, primarily in children's services, Dr. Phil McGraw has done some nice work with Nadya Suleman this week. Inconvenient though it may be, reality is a good thing. That said, is Dr. Phil going in the wrong direction by positioning himself as the family fundraiser?
Dr. Phil proposes recruiting hands-on and financial support for 14 children who are going to need consistent care for most of the next two decades. At a time when so many Americans are losing their jobs and homes, does it make any sense for volunteer time and charitable contributions to be spent this way?
Beyond the financial, from a child welfare viewpoint a patchwork of volunteer services is not a family.McGraw told co-anchor Julie Chen, "Can she handle 14 children? Absolutely, unequivocally not. I do not believe she has the money, the housing, the transportation, the energy, the support team, manpower. I don't think she has the first thing she needs to handle these 14 children."
It would do everyone involved a far larger service to encourage Nadya Suleman to consider open adoption. With the help of a private adoption agency -- a resource that Dr. Phil could certainly tap -- four adoptive homes in the L.A. area could quickly be located who would be thrilled to each take two of the octuplets. These would be two-parent homes that had the psychological and financial resources these children need – likely for the long run. Making the choice voluntarily, Nadya would be able to set terms including visitation with the octuplets. All 14 children would have the chance to grow up maintaining their connection to their mother and to one another. What will happen if she does not make this choice is years of chaos.
Much as she might wish it (and she's in good company), Nadya Suleman isn't Angelina Jolie. She doesn't have a nanny per child and she doesn't have Brad Pitt.
Dr. Phil passes the octo-buck?