Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Baby Wait Rant

In the past few months I’ve heard of a couple of adoption-related TV series that are getting ready to premier.  Totally excited, I’ve added reminders to my Outlook calendar to set these shows to record.  Every so often I check their websites to make sure I’m not missing anything.
Today I visited the site for The Baby Wait (on Logo, which is a channel I don’t think we get), and saw the tagline for the show: “What if you knew your newest addition could suddenly be subtracted?” under a picture of a young girl with tears pouring down her cheeks.  Ohhh… I am so unimpressed!
I did watch one episode of The Baby Wait a while back and felt ehh… so-so about it.  Yes, I was intrigued about the show for obvious reasons.  I learned a few things I didn’t know yet, being so early in our adoption process, and I thought it could be an awesome opportunity to change some of the outdated stereotypes that exist in the general population about adoption.  I was excited to see how different adoptions worked out, since every situation is unique. 
On the other hand, I saw a lot of scenes of the birthmother (a teenager) and her parents arguing about the adoption and a lot of hysterical crying – the birth grandparents would not allow the birthmother to live in their home if she chose to parent, so feeling like she had no other choice she placed her child for adoption.  Every so often the adoptive parents would make an appearance, cradling the baby and paranoid that the birthmother would “take the baby back” before the legal timeframe to relinquish custody (each state has different laws and different timeframes for this).
Looking at the tagline I mentioned above (and some of the photos from the show’s Website) makes me feel like the show’s creators are trying to spin the message that adoptive parents swoop in and take babies from (teenage) birthmothers without warning (sometimes with help from birth grandparents), leaving a path of destruction and pain, without a second thought (other than being paranoid about having their baby taken away).  They’re framing adoption as a tragedy.  Great, another negative stereotype.
Now, I’m not saying that the show shouldn’t express how emotional and painful adoption can be.  I’m not saying to not show the struggle involved.  I’m not saying not to show the birth family’s perspective.  Please, DO show all of those things!  Just make sure to show that the adoptive family is also struggling with emotions, and often times (from what I’ve heard at our adoption support group and read on some of my favorite blogs) care deeply for their birthmother.  Show situations involving birth and adoptive families of all ages and backgrounds (they DO exist, no matter what the media tries to make you believe).  Show the work put in on both sides of adoption, and show how the adoption triad grows and transforms over time once the intense emotions involved with birth and placement subside.  Basically, there is enough negativity involved with adoption so quit fueling the fire – just make it fair.  This goes for all adoption media – not just The Baby Wait.
Not long ago, I found a Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down list on  The list included positives like Parents Magazine including an article entitled “Adoption Diaries,” Real Simple Magazine and their article “Uncommon Celebrations,” and many more.  Those receiving thumbs down were ABC’s Modern Family (a show we watch) for a recent episode in which an older sibling torments a younger sibling by claiming that he was adopted and that his “real mom” was coming to get him, and Babies-R-Us for forcing an "expected date" (often unknown for adoptive families) field be completed when making a registry, even though they do ask "Are you adopting?” 
All in all, I think I found another finalist for the Thumbs Down category in The Baby Wait.

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