Thursday, March 10, 2011

Open Adoption Roundtable #24

Heather over at Production not Reproduction posts roundtable prompts periodically to spark posts about open adoption topics. I decided to give it a go this month and see if I might be able to resuscitate this here goes:

How have you seen open adoption portrayed on television? What did you think? What, if anything, would you like to see?

I have seen open adoption portrayed on the MTV show 16 and pregnant as well as on the WeTV show Adoption Diaries. We don't watch a ton of TV in our house, but we just recently started watching Modern Family and there is a gay couple on that show that adopted a baby from vietnam. I wouldn't say it does a huge service to adoption, it definitely plays in to stereotypes, although I think it's promising that there is a depiction of a gay couple as parents on a main stream TV show. Adoption Diaries actually highlights the adoption agency my husband and I used to adopt our son. When we were going through the process, especially during the "waiting period" I watched every show they had to offer. I think it was a pretty realistic portrayal of the open adoption process - although of course very much abbreviated. The Adoption Diaries showed how meeting a birth mother can be nerve wracking and magical at the same time. As well as how the process can be a roller coaster filled with lots of highs and lows. I know we had a very strong connection with our sons birth parents right from the start. But it was also the craziest and most surreal experience I've ever had - and that's saying something! The thing is when you're embarking down the road of open adoption you really never know what you're going to get. I remember when we were waiting and we would often wonder what "our" birth mother would be like. You could get matched up with someone you love and respect or it could be a scenario that is much less happy and ideal. And that actually goes both ways. I'm sure birthmothers/fathers wonder what "their" adoptive parents will be like. It's a huge leap of faith for everyone. Sitting in the support group meetings at our agency we have heard some pretty amazing and harrowing tales. It always sticks with me that here are these little babies who have all this craziness swirling around them - decisions being made on their behalf that will change the course of their lives, but they don't know a thing. They are just soaking up the love and attention and doing what every baby, poop, sleep and grow, while all along their lives could take a completely different turn. It's wild to think about.

In terms of what I'd like to see, I think it would be great to see more stories on tv about open adoption. I think it's impossible to truly convey the entire process unless you've been through it. But it would be great to have more mainstream positive examples of how the process works and what's involved. Since choosing adoption for our family, I have met many people who are still surprisingly naive. The idea that we would have an ongoing relationship with our sons birth family is completely foreign to most people and they get that "are you completely crazy?" look in their eyes most of the time we explain. Bottom line adoption isn't for everyone and I get that, but it would be nice if there were more examples out there of how open adoption can work. It would be great if when we mentioned that our son is adopted we didn't get that awkward silence/look, or even worse completely ignorant and sometimes inappropriate questions. That will most likely never happen, but a mom can dream :)