Adoption should not be entertainment…

16 May

I have no idea who would even consider watching any of those reality shows (whatever the title) about mothers choosing to terminate their parental rights or parent.  I have no idea why anyone would be supportive of this type show, or promote it to others.

It is manipulative at best and coercive at worst to the mother.

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. 

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.  If you watch the newest show (see link) – ask yourself if you are a hypocrite.

My advice – don’t watch any of these shows – just say NO.

This post announcing the newest special (with hints to be another series) is what has sparked this rant…


Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Adoption, Ethics


Tags: , , , ,

27 responses to “Adoption should not be entertainment…

  1. eagoodlife

    May 16, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Totally agree it is stomach turning.


    • The adopted ones

      May 16, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      Just makes me downright sad…no one has thought how the child will feel when they are an adult.


      • eagoodlife

        May 16, 2012 at 10:19 pm

        No it always seems that way nor do they appear to care.


  2. momsomniac

    May 16, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Wow, the baby barely even exists in that post. That. Is. A. Human. Being.

    This makes me increasingly happy with my decision not to watch anything without rocket ships, aliens, vampires, or writers who are inexplicably allowed to team up with police officers.


    • The adopted ones

      May 16, 2012 at 9:21 pm

      Mom – I think that is what everyone is failing to realize – that is a little human being and the story of their birth and subsequent adoption – that isn’t for public fodder. It just irks me – think of the little one but no one seems to have done that.

      I watch way too much TV and even like some of the reality shows like The Amazing Race…but they are adults…


      • momsomniac

        May 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm

        People ask me all kinds of questions about C’s birth story. I usually say it’s *his* story to tell (or not). Since he’s 3, I’m not making that decision. At most, I will tell them the age of his birthmother (because she was not even close to being a teen and I think sharing it makes a point) and that she is about my height (I’m short). Sometimes I’ll say we don’t know much about his birth father, but that is usually to stop further questions.

        I willingly talk about the births of my bio sons, but I would NOT want to see that on TV. Reality TV reminds me more and more of Stephen King’s “Running Man.” Scary stuff.

        And with adoption, dang, but it hardly seems like anyone wants to see the child as a human being who might not be keen about their private business being public. Why do you think that is? I mean, I realize I may be on an extreme end here – I won’t make *any* kind of permanent decisions for my sons when they are too young to consent (and to stop any derailing fire-storm of responses tp my comments, let’s assume I’m talking about ear-piercing here;). But adoption? Yeh, what is the freakin’ deal?

        As an aside – but along the same thinking – this is why my husband has issues with both open AND closed adoptions. He strongly feels contact with birth parents should be in the child’s hands – not ANY of the parents. Obviously, that means it happens when they’re older, but his feelings about that are one of the reasons we went the route we did. If C’s birth mother left contact info, he is can have it at age 13 (I may not even know if she left that info). When he’s 18, he (and only he) may launch a serach for her. I understand the power of being able to know your birth parents sooner. But the above (should it turn out to be true) is powerful as well. It’s *his* business because it’s *his* business. My husband knew he was adopted but did not and does not have much info beyond the age of birthmom, and theoretically heritage.

        Even though he was born half a world away, we still know more about C’s birth parents than we do about my husband’s. That a whole ‘nother topic though, eh? (Husband was born in 1971)

        Wow, I’m wordy these days. Sorry!


      • Heather

        May 19, 2012 at 10:33 pm

        I’ve thought of the person involved. It makes my stomach turn how people can hurt and exploit others and think it’s okay. It’s not okay.


  3. Dannie

    May 16, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Hmmm yeah I think many TLC shows could be very personal. It is one of my favorite channels, but some of their programming I think gets a bit personal


    • The adopted ones

      May 16, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      I’m not a TLC fan – watch enough other shows I never even look to see what is on. I like to be entertained and thinking…btw Fringe has been renewed.


      • Dannie

        May 16, 2012 at 9:44 pm

        Love that bit of news thank you. Well TLC also has that program ‘I didn’t know I was pregnant’ ‘say yes to the dress’. ( now that I’m getting married I love that show *snicker*) and ‘what not to wear’. They also have reruns of 48 hours which I love. But the shows on hoarding, weight issues, phobias etc. I feel get too personal especially when kids are involved. That was also the show of the now blech family trainwreck known as John & Kate plus 8


  4. Real Daughter

    May 16, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Aaannnnddd…..this show has ties to the Mormon church. Why is it that all roads lead to Utah when it comes to smarmy, sensational and downright gross adoption stories? Oh, yeah…because it is Utah….;)


    • The adopted ones

      May 16, 2012 at 11:07 pm

      Linda – of course it is Utah…I am surprised they don’t change the state motto – you should come up with some oh-not-so nice but witty one-liners for their license plates and do a post on it…:)

      Just sad…


      • Rebecca

        May 17, 2012 at 12:34 am

        It’s also an agency that has been involved in a number of contested adoptions where the father was lied to. Yuck. They couldn’t have picked a worse agency even for this horrible type of show.


  5. shannon2818

    May 17, 2012 at 1:15 am

    I’m with you! Unfortunately, too many people see adoption as “beautiful”


    • The adopted ones

      May 17, 2012 at 12:39 pm

      They willingly ignore all parties pain the process because – hey – everyone loves the good story.


  6. Campbell B.

    May 17, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Reality tv in general is becoming extremely invasive. I cannot fairly comment on this show because I have never been adopted, although I dreamed and prayed for it everyday. I grew up in foster care and I think that adoption can be and often is extremely “beautiful.” It would have been “beautiful” for me. Why aren’t there shows of people adopting foster children? (Not that I’d ever really want it on TV). Just wondering why the public and media thinks infant and international adoption is this amazing event yet they totally ignore/forget about orphans in their own country.

    Not that any of you are obligated to address the topic of foster care at all. Just my own personal experience, opinions, and curiosities. 🙂


    • The adopted ones

      May 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm

      Campbell B,

      I think your view is very important and cannot imagine not having a mom and dad. I think where the disconnect with people is that they have the concept that if we were surrendered at birth then we were likely to be abused and in reality – that is unlikely at least for the vast majority of us from the baby scoop era as most have found just plain old normal at the end of the search.

      It would be wonderful if those choosing to adopt did not focus on getting the baby but rather becoming parents to those who really need parents. Shannon and Dannie above your post chose that route.

      I would not want to see it on TV reality show though – the privacy issues would be the same and perhaps / likely even worse.


  7. shadowtheadoptee

    May 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    I’m still flabbergasted that people will go on national TV. And do some of the things they do on the reality TV. shows. Really, swapping wives, the housewives thing, the cardashions (sp), etc. I have enough drama in my own family, adoptive and biological. I don’t need to be entertained by others. I’ve often thought my families would be a top rated reality show. I’d call it, “And You thought Your Family was fbombed Up”. Excuse my language, but, seriously, a reality show about giving up your child? That one takes the cake.

    Why don’t more people do foster to adopt? Because adoption is rarely about the best interest of the child, IMO, even in foster to adopt. Thank God for parents like Danny and a few others, that did it for the “right” reasons.


    • The adopted ones

      May 17, 2012 at 8:35 pm

      Shadow – the teen “birth” moms show crossed the line in the exact same manner and they advertised for more expectant mothers – way to entice a teen to get pregnant so they can be on TV. Senseless, sad, reality of today…

      This one is even worse in my opinion because they are older and should bloody well know better.

      Here is the Huff Post about the show – utterly disgraceful and the comments are even worse. Privacy for the child – never going to be such a thing.

      Momsoniac is absolutely right – with adoption we aren’t seen as human beings…and to answer Mom – I think sometimes we are only seen us as a commoditity or a means to an end – once adopted we are then human…


  8. cb

    May 18, 2012 at 1:10 am

    From reading that article, it sounds to me like they have chosen girls who fit a certain “stereotype”, i.e. troubled individuals with drug and alcohol problems. I have no doubt that the PAPs will all be presented in the best possible light.

    Btw I suspect that none of the 3 will end up relinquishing their child.


    • Heather

      May 19, 2012 at 10:40 pm

      My daughter watched the show earlier this week. All three women signed the papers at the end of the show and the more deserving aps drove off from the hospital with their prizes.


      • cb

        May 20, 2012 at 1:24 pm

        Thanks for the update, Heather. I have no access to the show.

        I did read a review on a forum by an erstwhile PAP who had watched it and she was appalled by the lack of ethics by the agency. Other commenters seemed to think the agency was an anomaly but judging by the agency websites I’ve seen, I wouldn’t be too sure. I’d say 80% or more “are you pregnant?” pages on US agency websites that I’ve seen are coercive in some way.


  9. sintha

    May 18, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Wow. I haven’t seen this show and I guess I’ll take a pass on it now. It’s all part of the same cavalier attitude about who gets to know an adoptee’s story.

    Widespread complete carelessness with the privacy of adoptees has been one of the most shocking and upsetting dynamics I have seen since I recently began reading blogs and observing adoption treatment in popular media. I admit I can’t yet shut up about it.

    Seeing adoptees’ personal lives, intimate conversations with their adoptive parents, diagnoses and life stories being exposed for public consumption this way on television and blogs for fund-raising, ratings and attention is like an open toothache I need to keep covering with my tongue. It is so very wrong and so very shocking and the people who should be objecting the most, their parents!, are often right smack in the middle of it all.

    The total cultural acceptance for the exposure of our little sisters’ and brothers’ lives and stories for everyone else’s satisfaction and curiosity is so egregious it is hard to find words to express. I know I’m probably light years behind other adoptees on this issue because you’ve all been here and I’ve been off in hibernation doing other things and whatnot, but OMG this chronic exposure makes me want to throw up.


    • eagoodlife

      May 19, 2012 at 4:12 am

      What an excellent comment and please don’t shut up abou it! More people need to express their disgust all the time.


  10. barbaloot

    May 18, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    I don’t watch much TV and certainly no reality TV, but this gets my vote for ‘creepiest show since the invention of television.’ Possibly the most chilling words in the article are ‘living at The Adoption Center.’ Well, yes, clearly these pregnant women have made a completely free choice, no pressure ladies. What the??? LIVING at the Adoption Center? I adopted internationally, so maybe I am naive about American domestic adoption. I have to wonder what is going to happen when children exploited in reality shows become adults. Will they have any legal grounds to sue over the grotesque and dehumanizing invasion of their privacy? How I wish they would at least have some legal comeback, some way to make these creeps pay.

    I tell my son his story, and the family member named as his legal guardian in my will has some general info but no details. Other people know where he was born but nothing else. But dang it is amazing how many people think nothing of asking, which is bad enough but a whole TV show? I need to go lie down in a dark room.


  11. eagoodlife

    May 19, 2012 at 12:37 am

    67 years ago barbaloot my mother lived at the adoption centre for months before my birth and for one month afterwards until my domestic adoption.It was called a mother and baby home then.I certainly hope the adoptees shown without choice in reality shows get to sue once they are adults.



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