I started this post a week ago in reaction to Oxygen’s new show “I’m Having Their Baby” and never finished it. I was going to call it Dear Diary. Today, Amanda at The Declassified Adoptee made a brilliant point in her post, Oxygen’s “I’m Having Their Baby:” Oh Look, Another Show I Won’t Watch! that we need to consider talking about it because it matters. Of course her post is clear, concise, well written, and I recommend those who have not already read it to take the time to read it now.
Last time a new version of this type of show aired, I did the post Adoption Should Not Be Entertainment – but like Amanda noted, we need to name it and get others to see the flip side. That post said this, and I also said at the end that “It’s all pretty hypocritical if you ask me. When it is your adoptee – they must be protected, but at the same time, you watch another adoptee exploited.”
What strikes me most though is the invasion of privacy for the adoptee, and if I am being completely honest, humiliating. It is one thing to have pictures of arriving home to your new family, it is whole other kettle of fish to have the video of your surrender and everything leading up to it, shown on TV and forever available to any and all for their viewing. It was hard enough for me as a mature adult to read my surrender court document of my mother giving me up – I cannot imagine watching it on TV and having friends whose parents watched it as well, because you know it will come out. Unbelievable.
When the Time cover last week showed a mother breastfeeding a 3-year-old the outcry was intense – that picture will follow that boy throughout his life. He will be teased and bullied in school. He will be so embarrassed. He will be so angry his mother did that to him by allowing that picture to be taken. What about his privacy and how could he give his consent as a 3-year-old. There was such an outrage that any mother could do that to her child. Yet show a mother giving up her baby and another couple adopting – oh well isn’t that just a beautiful tear-jerker – what the hell? Does no one realize that being adopted makes you a subject for teasing, bullying, snickering, ignorant comments in school? But of course you recognise that, because that is a subject on blogs and message boards, and how horrible it is for the child and how outraged the parent is. How one (the breastfeeding picture) is oh-so wrong, and the other one (watching a mother surrender her right to parent) is oh-so-beautiful, never ceases to amaze me.
Getting back to the points I wanted to make is that this is something that has serious potential to hurt the child in the future. Understanding and accepting being adopted can be difficult when you are a child as your cognitive abilities grow and your understanding of the outside “normal” world expands. One day you realize that not everyone is adopted. That most kids live in the family they were born too in some version. Then of course comes the bullies, and believe me that anything out of the ordinary is fair game for a bully, and they will use it any way they can. Hence my Dear Diary post which is really a continuation of the above post – this is as far as I got in imagining what it would be like as the child - because it upset me just thinking about it.
January 2015 – age 7 - At the store I saw a picture of my birth mom on the cover of a magazine. Mom didn’t want to talk about it.
January 2017 – age 9 – I woke up last night and went to get a drink and found mom watching a show where babies are given away.
January 2019 – age 11 - Christmas holidays are over and guess what happened the first day back in school? Tommy was saying something about his mom watched my adoption on TV. Mom didn’t want to talk about it.
January 2021 – age 13 – Remember me talking about Tommy and my adoption on TV? He sent everyone but me a link to a video about my birth and my birth mom giving me to my mom. They were making fun of me. Why would that be on TV?
July 2021 – age 13 and 1/2 - I found the video and I watched it and it hurts – why did they have to put it on TV? What was wrong with me that my birth mom didn’t want me.
At the same time, I also wonder if those creating or promoting the show did any research into how stress affects both the mother, and child in the womb? They have done research and are doing more research into this, and a mother considering adoption is already under stress. Why are they promoting adding MORE stress on the mother and the impact on the child in the womb – how is this even considered ethical? How do you handle stress? This post provides details on exactly how the stress on the mother is transferred too, and affects the baby in the womb and the long term consequences to the child. Three different articles are linked – read them please.
I will never watch those shows – they are in extremely poor taste and set a very bad example by exploiting not only the mothers but the children as well. I am against pre-birth matching as it is practiced today and detail out exactly why here – I don’t like the methods used today. A snippet from that post below.
I am against prospective adoptive parents being at the hospital watching the mother go through labor, and even more so when they are in the delivery room. It reeks of entitlement and co-opting of something, that is at it’s fundamental core, is a very private and spiritual event between a mother and her child. A child she has nurtured in her womb for 40 weeks. The birth of your child is one of the most intimate moments of your life, and having an audience, especially the audience who is there because they want your baby cheapens and degrades the experience. It must also damage the ability of mother and child to bond because there is always that elephant in the room. I believe it enhances an atmosphere ripe for manipulation of the mother to ensure the outcome is surrender, rather than parent.
That is why I am adamantly opposed to creating a reality tv show that pushes the exploitation envelope even further.
Just say no – boycott the show and tell others why they should too.