Happy Holidays!

Stephanie and I had a really busy holiday season! We just returned from our trip to Michigan to spend Christmas with my family. We packed up the car, with gifts for my family, as well as our packages for each other, and made the 11 hour drive. The drive was nice and uneventful for holiday traffic at least. We went straight to my parents house to visit for awhile before leaving and checking into our hotel.

Stephanie and I chose a hotel a bit further down the road so that we would be close to friends on Friday. We setup a gathering of friends each year we come home at the same restaurant. We had a great turnout with friends that I have not seen in almost 20 years! We spent a few hours talking to our friends and enjoyed catching up before heading back to the hotel.

We spent the rest of the weekend helping my mom do random things around the house that she needed help with. We watched some TV, moved some items around the house, packed some to take home with us, and solved some computer issues for mom and dad.

On Saturday evening, we packed up our car with our gifts and a bunch of items from my parents house that they wanted us to have for ourselves. The car was completely loaded, with only room for the two of us left! The drive home was a bit more involved than the trip up. We knew traffic would be significantly worse, and it was. We made it to Tennesse with little issue, but once we reached Tennesse, it went downhill. An app on our phone told us that traffic was getting awful ahead, so we made the move to get off the highway before reaching it, so that we wouldn’t be stuck sitting on the highway. We were treated to a slower, but more interesting ride home as we went through small town after small town.

Eventually we made it home, much to our dogs’ excitement as we opened the door to greet them! We unpacked the car and relaxed a little for the rest of the evening. We still have more unpacking to do this week but we are both luckily home with no work to do this week. It was an amazing trip for the holiday and we can’t wait for our next trip.

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Thanksgiving week 2014

So it has been a little crazy around here since Thanksgiving but we had a blast all week long. My sister and her family came into town for the week and we got to spend lots of time together doing some fun activities. I don’t want to write a long post but this is just to share some of the pictures and to see some of the activities we got to do. Here is a brief rundown of what we managed to fit in during the week:

  • Saturday – Went to my cousin’s housewarming party and got to see the changes she has made since she bought it
  • Sunday – Watched Amaluna Cirque du Soleil show which was amazing and even our nephews loved.
  • Monday – Georgia Aquarium with the family and then our nephews having a sleepover with home made pizzas for dinner
  • Tuesday – Andy and I took our nephews to Legoland by ourselves to give the rest of the family time to do other things. We also had dinner at my mom’s house with the whole family.
  • Wednesday – We got to relax a little as the girls went to go shopping and the boys went to play some Lacrosse.
  • Thursday – We hosted Thanksgiving for the first time. It was a little stressful making all the food but we had a blast doing it. After everyone went home we started the Christmas decorations!
  • Friday – Had early Christmas with the family since we won’t see my sister’s family again this year. The women also did some crafting with our nephews to make some homemade ornaments. Then in the evening we went over to my aunts house to have dinner together again.
  • Saturday – We only briefly saw family when we ate some leftovers for lunch.
Stephanie and Matt goofing around during the trip

Stephanie and Matt goofing around during the trip

We all really enjoyed watching the 4D movie at Legoland.

We all really enjoyed watching the 4D movie at Legoland.

Andy and our nephews racing custom cars at the track in Legoland.

Andy and our nephews racing custom cars at the track in Legoland.

Andy being a kid at Legoland!

Andy being a kid at Legoland!

Our nephews loved getting to play Disney infinity at our house when we had a sleepover.

Our nephews loved getting to play Disney infinity at our house when we had a sleepover.

We went to Amaluna as a family and really enjoyed it. The show was amazing!

We went to Amaluna as a family and really enjoyed it. The show was amazing!

We spent Monday at the aquarium. It was awesome to see the dolphin show and all the different animals.

We spent Monday at the aquarium. It was awesome to see the dolphin show and all the different animals.

Stephanie building with her nephews at Legoland

Stephanie building with her nephews at Legoland

The family playing games on Thanksgiving.

The family playing games on Thanksgiving.

Adoption as portrayed in the media.

Good day everyone, Andy here, with a new topic for discussion. The topic is Adoption portrayed in the media. I am a TV junkie, and I watch all sorts of shows, and easily get hooked to them. For years I watched 2 ½ Men very randomly. (Lets face it, it WAS Charlie Sheens’ show). But this discussion is about the NEW version.   More on that later, but first, the best show dealing with adoption….

A show that does an amazing job tackling the adoption process is Mom. Bravo to this show for doing it right. The story of the show is three generations of Mothers under one roof. The show started out with a Mother (Allison Janey) , her daughter (Anna Faris) and Faris’ two kids. But, when her teen daughters’ teen pregnancy was written into the show, it took on an entirely more important role in my viewing process.

I desperately wanted to see how this was going to play out, and if they would be true to the process as Stephanie and I have become experts in the Adoption process, and its ups and downs. They spent perhaps ½ of the first season going through her pregnancy and ended with the adoption. But what made this show so special? They took us almost step-by-step through the process.

Violet (the pregnant teen) knew she could not be a viable parent to her incoming child, she was not in school, was living at home, and had nothing to herself. She did the research on adoption on her own, before even telling her mother and grandmother she wanted to place the child for adoption. I loved this. It showed her exactly as I imagine adoption…a brutally hard decision to make, with a laundry list of unknown questions left unanswered, research, paperwork and lots of second guessing yourself.

As episodes progressed, she was showed getting morning sickness, stress, pressure to keep the child from her mother and grandmother, then defending her decision to adopt her child to someone else. She continued to research. We got to see her emotional range…and her life as she chose and its outcome.

The writing on this show, for this storyline at least, is amazing work. This show did not go from pregnancy, to birth to completely forgetting about it in two episodes. Sometimes shows don’t focus on pregnancies, so kids grow up over 5 episodes. This was not the case. She had doctors’ visits, then a decision, then a meeting, then placement.

Meeting the adoptive parents was realistic, and definitely thought of while being written by the show creators. She chose a family, a man and a woman, met and loved them. She promised them her baby (presumed paperwork) but when it came down to it, Violet couldn’t go through with it, and took her baby home. She did this in front of the couple, and it was hard to watch as a waiting father. But it was real. This is a reality that I never see on TV, or at least I don’t really recall it happening. Later, when the child is home with the three women, stress is high, nothing has changed, and Violet realizes she made a huge mistake.

We are treated as viewers (interested more than most people of course) to the internal and environmental struggles that mothers’ face doing what is best for themselves and their children.

After wrestling with her emotions and what is right and wrong for her, she calls the family she basically bailed on, to let them know she wants to go through with the adoption. The couple comes over, they all talk, and after some talking the child goes home with the couple. The writers even took time to explain why the couple was adopting. Something they could have glazed over without a second question.

The show’s adoption is also an open adoption, the type of adoption we are currently waiting for. Violet has since seen the child once (that I am aware of, I might have missed an episode) and she showed all of the classic signs of a woman who chose adoption for her child. It was raw emotion, nothing was missed. She was all of the things counselors tell you about: scared, upset, mad, hopeful, frustrated. All of it.

The show has gone on in Season 2 with different plots, and is still good, but with the focus is less on adoption now as Violet is trying to make something of herself to justify why she gave her baby up for adoption.

Other shows like How I Met Your Mother addressed adoption (awesome) but did so very, very little. Barney’s brother (played by Wayne Brady) comes out to Barney that he is Gay. He was only an occasional guest on the show, so after his character married his boyfriend, they decided to adopt. Why do I mention this? I mention it because its one of my favorite shows of all time, and it is adoption related, even if it was very little of the entire story.

Another Show, 2 ½ Men, has recently been addressing adoption. Walden (Ashton Kutcher) and Alan (John Cryer) are still living together this season, and Waldon is convinced that he won’t find a woman to love him. Yeah sure. But we wont dwell on that. He comes up with a plan to fake a gay marriage to Alan so that he (they) can adopt a child. This is a much more dangerous portrayal of adoption, and it points out some serious issues in the process. Their entire adoption is based on lies. Sure they went and got legally married, and sure they went through the paperwork to adopt….but it is all just awful.

They are faking a marriage to get a child because they know that an affluent same sex couple would make adoption easy. As a couple adopting, this really bothers me. While I know it is not common, and realistically its probably much harder to pull off (trust me, between all of the paperwork, physicals and insurances). I think they just made the process work for the show, even if it wasn’t politically correct.

However, I missed an episode last week, because this week they were fostering a child. I don’t know how that came about….but well, they were TWO men…now they have their ½. He is a 4 or 5-year-old African American boy. Of course they had to have a boy to make the title make sense again, and the race is not important, it could have been any child. I like that they did chose an African American boy though. I think it is important for multiracial families to exist on tv….because they exist in real life more and more. (the family in MOM was white, as is Violet).

So there it is, some insight on some tv shows that are doing adoption perfectly, some barely addressing it, but doing so none the less, and one doing it absolutely wrong. No wonder 2 ½ Men is ending this season.