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.