Adoption – you just can’t avoid it…

14 Oct


Far too many TV shows have an adoption theme, you can’t escape them as they come out of nowhere, and intrude into your space of “I’m just a regular person living my life like everyone else”.  Sunday night was no exception, we were watching Madame Secretary…(after the jump is a spoiler if you taped it to watch later)

The show starts off with a girl at the airport who decides to apply for asylum instead of boarding the plane home to China.  Farther along, we find out her mother lost her little sister to the one child policy.  I looked at hubby and said, they are going to find her sister was adopted into a family in the US.  Of course the story had already hit the news, and her little sister and mother were watching, saw the resemblance and that they were both from the same place in China, so they travel to meet her, dna matches…now I’m not going to totally ruin the show, I think they actually handled the adoption part well, not sure how realistic it is that they would be able to get past all the hoops to even be heard, let alone reconnect, etc..

Monday night, I sat down to watch TV and hubby was watching one of his taped TV shows called something like Mrs. Brown’s Boys, a strange comedy from the UK where all the kids are adults.  I start watching it and Mrs. Brown gets a call from a solicitor that she leaves the room for.  The sister heard who had called, so being nosy calls them up to find out what they do, and is told they specialize in adoption tracing.  The rest of the show is focused on the boys (and the sister) trying to figure out which one of them is adopted…none of them are by the way, the call was about something else.  If this show had been a US production the outcry would be extreme, because it didn’t handle adoption the way everyone wants it portrayed, the adoption groups would be buzzing about how offended they were, and no, they didn’t use ‘positive adoption language’.  It didn’t offend me, but I was thinking while watching how people on this side would be offended, I can almost see petitions being started.  I do have to say English comedy is unique to anywhere else.

This morning, I flipped to CNN New Day to see the news, and instead, the anchor had a segment on his “Roots” journey.  He starts with the typical ancestry documents and believes he knows his family history, yet discovers his great-grandmother used different last names, so off he goes to Italy to see if he can find out why she used different names.  Of course, it turns out she was left as an infant on the door step of an orphanage and was adopted into a family and took their last name, still don’t really know why she used different last names, but apparently it made sense to him because she was adopted (I may have missed something obvious as I was on my first coffee).  Apparently no one knew she had been adopted into the family…and some didn’t believe it…

So, between Sunday night and Tuesday morning there are three instances of unexpected adoption stories intruding.  Feel free to add in the comments any shows you watch where adoption pops up out of nowhere…or becomes a central theme for this season.


Posted by on October 14, 2014 in Adoption


Tags: ,

19 responses to “Adoption – you just can’t avoid it…

  1. Paige Adams Strickland

    October 14, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Grey’s Anatomy now has a mystery “birth-half-sister” to Meredith Grey on the scene.


    • TAO

      October 15, 2014 at 3:49 am

      I haven’t watched that show in years – I think I quit when there was different adoption thing happening (memory sucks)…has to be an adoption thing if they are using “birth”…


  2. clair8y

    October 15, 2014 at 2:31 am

    Nova’s recent three part series Camera in the Huddle part two. Penguin chicks are either kidnapped or adopted. Rock Hopper parents who lose chicks to predators attempt to kidnap chicks from other parents. Emperor chicks who get separated from their parents are chased by penguins who did not have chicks. I find it interesting that the writers differentiated between Kidnapping a chick with parents and Adopting a chick separated from it’s parents.


    • TAO

      October 15, 2014 at 3:50 am

      Clair that is interesting but very true…like that…


  3. Yan

    October 15, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    A few years ago when I noticed this was in nearly every show I watched, I started a list. I stopped, because it was too much work to go get the laptop every single time adoption came up. Because it’s every show, at least once, somewhere. Even Star Trek! Some days, there is no escape from it, which is hard, because that’s usually why I am watching TV — to escape.


    • TAO

      October 15, 2014 at 1:46 pm

      I’ve noticed it for a few years too and talked about it before. I also watch TV to escape and be entertained. Thanks for commenting…I’m hoping people come back and comment when they see a show with adoption in it throughout this season.


  4. cb

    October 16, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Even reading books, one can’t escape from it – I bought a couple of cheap books the other day and both of them had adoption subplots.

    One problem with adoption on TV, in books etc is that often its main reason for being in the story is either 1) to add a new character (popular in soaps) or 2) to add a twist to a situation (popular in crime shows) and in those cases, there is often no depth to the storyline and/or they know nothing about adoption at all. I do like crime novels and TV shows but unfortunately there are times when the adoptee is portrayed as being a blackmailer (blackmailing his/her horrified birthpaent, aghast that their inconvenient birth product has come backinto their lives) or psychopathic murderer (due to them being the biological son/daughter of a serial killer).

    As I said above, I like crime shows. One plot I really disliked was on Law and Order SVU a long time ago, when a girl whose parents are in a witness protection program are murdered. At first, it is thought that her parents were murdered by those involved in the case. However, it is discovered that the gril had contacted her bparents who seem all loving at first but it turns out that unbeknownst to the girl, the bparents had murdered her aparents so she could inherit their money and they were then going to murder her after they got her to leave her money to them – I then think the bfather was then going to murder the bmother.

    Another plot I saw recently was on a UK program, Inspector Banks Mysteries, where Inspector Banks brother and the brother’s girlfriend were murdered – it’s a long story but the the brother and his boss were involved in an escort business using Eastern European woman and the grilfriend worked for a clinic which looked after the escorts – the girlfriend had told the brother that one of the women was going to sell her baby to the brother’s boss. However, the brother knew that his boss already had a young daughter who was so ill that she needed a heart transplant and he realised that the prostitutes baby was going to be killed for its heart – the brother and the girlfriend were going to the let the prostitute know but the boss didn’t want anything to get in the way of the plan so he killed the brother/girlfriend. Now that is just a typical convovluted plot but in a way, it was a conversation at the end that upset me most. Obviously everyone was appalled that the boss was going to do what he did and his justifications for doing so, however, even though Inspector Banks was appalled by the situation, he wasn’t sure that he wouldn’t do the same thing for his own children. He was just being honest but his comment did send the message that some babies are “worth more” than others.

    One program with a very minor yet strangely touching adoption subplot was an episode of CSI called CSI Empty Eyes where 5 showgirls are found murdered and the 6th dies in Sara Sidles arms. While she was dying, she muttered some words and Sara wasn’t sure what they meant but during the program, she figures out what the girl was saying and these help with uncovering the murderer. During her autopsy, it is discovered that she had had a child and it turns out the child had been adopted. Anyway, the touching part is that when Sara finds out the child’s name, she realises that the very last words that the girl had said when dying was “Bye (child’s name)”. I just thought that was sweet.

    Talking about CSI – CSI:NY had a few adoption relationships that I thought weren’t bad. Mac’s assistant supervisor Jo had an adopted daughter (an older child adopted after her divorce) and even though the CSI:NY got cancelled, one did feel that there was a complexity to their relationship. Also, it turns out that Mac’s wife had had a child adopted when she was young and the son ends up being in touch with Mac (I’ve forgotten how that came about) and I thought Mac handed the situation well.

    As one can see from above – I watch way too much TV lol.


    • TAO

      October 16, 2014 at 10:03 pm

      Some of the subplots are at the extreme edge of ridiculous – Law and Order seems to really go overboard to paint the parents by birth as bad sometimes…ratings…


  5. Dannie

    October 17, 2014 at 4:15 am

    All Law & Order spinoff’s (original, svu, criminal intent). Have had the worst horror plots of adoption related plots in tv history IMO. From evil birth parents to evil adoptive parents to killer RAD kids.


    • TAO

      October 17, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      I just roll my eyes when Law and Order has it as a subplot…to over used on that show when they need a handy reason…


  6. Beth

    October 17, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    It’s everywhere I turn around! I do think it would be easier to list the shows that don’t have some sort of link to adoption. Like with the Disney movies.

    Years ago my husband suggested frequently that I just quit thinking about it all so much. I tried to explain how difficult this is when something related to it, separation, search, secrets, etc., comes up somewhere all the time. How can my mind not churn with all it offers to consider?

    I feel like I try to, have a need to, place each thing, each idea, element, in the big puzzle. I have to put it in it’s proper place or it just rattles around up there driving me nuts. I must settle it.

    Maybe my puzzle is too big, but to me “adoption” includes so much, it is all connected, there are so many little connecting pieces that complete the picture for me. Each tiny piece is full of so much.

    There is no avoiding it, and I have tried my best. Even if you try to hide in the wilderness alone, or deep in the cave, or under the sea, or above the clouds – nature is full of it. I’ve come to the conclusion that possibly the only place I will not find it is under the dirt, in the ash. But, ya never know. I would not be surprised much if it is there too. I hope not, for the sake of my friends that chose to look there.

    Now we just laugh or look at each other, grin, roll our eyes and shake our heads every time we see it by surprise on TV, and it is frequent. It becomes funny when you realize how frequent it is – AND IT IS NOT MY IMAGINATION! Or that thing (there is a term for it, too lazy to look it up, like when I bought my first pack of diapers and noticed how many diaper commercials there were, or was raped and noticed all the horrid rape scenes Everywhere)

    On any given night you can hear this in my living room “OMG you gotta be kidding me! You can’t get away from this crap!”. And it is not coming out of my mouth, I have already said that enough for my lifetime, no need to say it again in my own home. I am usually just grinning knowing my point has been proven, time and time again.

    Not that we can’t handle seeing it like that, or that it is offensive to me, I find most of it humorous, absurd or disturbingly thought provoking – but we’ve decided there needs to be some kind of warning LOL

    L- Language
    S- Sex
    V -Violence
    A – Adoption/ Separation/ Infertility/ Language/Violence/Sex Pregnancy Birth/ Unplanned/ Orphaned/ Lost/ Found/ Secrets/ Search/ DNA/ Ancestry/ +

    I was out of town for a few days, my husband typically records any show that mentions adoption stuff in the info. I like watching some of it. He does too tho he wouldn’t admit it. It has helped him understand some things better (mostly my frustration) seeing all the different angles (especially with me in the background explaining the twisted parts) The surprise factor is what throws me sometimes.
    Cause sometimes I do not want to see it, or anything near it or next to it, anywhere.

    My DVR has a long list today
    And I would bet BIG money that something of “it” will be found in some of the shows/movies that do not mention “it” in the info, guaranteed.

    Hell on Wheels, finding it there by surprise has thrown me the most lately. Especially when Eva sacrificed and sent her baby off on the train with a seemingly nice man to take home to his wife and proper home. That one really shook me. I was not expecting that one at all. I have become very fond of the character Eva in this show.

    The same thing happens with ‘rape” you’ll find it everywhere too if you notice. Although for me it is not as big of a puzzle as ‘adoption’. rape is several of the pieces in my “adoption puzzle”.

    maybe I look at it different, maybe if I wasn’t adopted all this stuff would be called my “life puzzle” A 100 piece puzzle about sex, love, pregnancy, birth and some of the things that can go all right and all wrong for people.
    I think I have more of a detailed view, my puzzle seems to be more complicated. many additions to my life puzzle, now it’s like a 5000 piece puzzle to work with.
    I hope someone knows what I mean LOL


    • TAO

      October 17, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      I agree with the warning symbol of “A”. I too watch show that have adoption in them that is known ahead of time – somehow that is completely different than being blindsided when adoption appears in something that should be adoption-free and hence this post – none of those shows should have had adoption in them…they came out of nowhere.

      I just looked up Hell on Wheels and adoption should not be there and would come out of nowhere. For anyone else who had never heard of it:

      For a while hubby would change the channel if adoption came up because he didn’t want me to go off on a tangent…now he doesn’t because it’s no use, once triggered there isn’t any going back. I think he kind of understands better what bothers me. Could be just the longevity and exposure or because he’s been with me while I was finding out who I was…


    • cb

      October 18, 2014 at 1:59 pm

      I love it when you post on here, Beth, you always make me smile and think at the same time 🙂

      Btw when I saw the words “Hell on Wheels”, I thought you were swearing LOL – I then realised that you were talking about a TV show.


  7. cb

    October 18, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Season 2 has just begun of a comedy here in Australia called “Upper Middle Bogan” which is about a woman who discovers that she is adopted and that her birth family are “bogans”:

    Although it is ostensibly a comedy about class, it has had quite a few lines that I as an adoptee can really relate to. For example, at the end of the latest episode (Bess is constantly worried her hubby is going to abandon her), she says the following line: “every night, I dream that I am standing in quicksand and when I wake up that feeling doesn’t go away, that nothing is solid, and everything is going to disappear”.


    • TAO

      October 19, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      I had to look up what “Bogan” meant which appears to have similar connotations to the term “White Trash” – both being pejorative terms.

      It sounds like a series I’d enjoy…something that is about adoption but not a show with a subplot that came out of nowhere…


  8. jacinta parkes

    October 21, 2014 at 11:03 am

    i have avoided upper middle bogan, i know it would make sleep even more elusive – i dread the thought that my reunited but seemingly increasingly distant daughter and her husband watch and find it hilarious… because i can’t laugh, i can’t even cry (her amother told me not to, whilst “fondly embracing” me at our only meeting, which was soooo public). i couldn’t tell my parents (now dead), my brothers (who wondered why i left at 16)or even my next 3 daughters until that first, surrendered daughter was 36 years old. i can’t cry, i can’t talk about IT, I can’t even find a regular support group (1 hour long meeting in 2 months and that in a mixed group of old bmohers and old adopted daughters…who ask me WHY? HOW could a mother do this to a baby?). to me adoption has never been a comedic subject z- just a pain that never goes away. it has been tremendous to find out she is alive, well educated (as are the 3 i could keep), loved and has children of her own…but it appears there will be no end to the pain (hers, her half-sister’s, mine) and no way to even attempt to repair the damage adoption has caused to our realiies and maybe those of the next generation. so no, i don’t watch commercial tv shows, i find reading a-blogs more than enough drama.


  9. mgmcrae3

    October 23, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Hi, I have just started up my own blog “InsideAnAdopteesBrain.” I wanted to say that I really enjoy your postings. They are so well written, I hope mine can be as good as yours are some day.

    I do have a question though. Do you write just on what you feel and what comes to you, or is there more to it than that?


    • TAO

      October 23, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Good question! Sometimes it is feelings and what I’m thinking of, sometimes it is what conversations are happening elsewhere (twitter, FB, blogs, forums, or articles in the news that trigger feelings. I often write to sort the feelings out in my head whether I’m venting, angry or happy – one of the best things is hearing many other voices in the comments – everyone has a different take (small or large) that really helps expand my view.

      Good luck with your new blog, it takes time and guts to put yourself out their – but keep writing. I will add it to my blog roll… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mgmcrae3

        October 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm

        Thank you for getting back to me, and thank you for the encouragement! 🙂



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