Monday, May 30, 2011

wish granted

Not a big wish, but still - remember a few months ago when I responded to the Open Adoption Roundtable about open adoption and television with a wish that more scripted shows would deal with open adoption? At risk of revealing just how much television I really watch, let me just say that no less than three of my favorite shows ended their seasons by setting up adoption storylines for next fall. They won't all be open adoption storylines. Maybe none of them will. But I've never seen so many scripted adoption storylines pop up at once in my entire tv watching career. So, here they are with my wishes for them.

Parenthood: Parenthood is one of the best shows I've ever seen for dealing with family drama without getting over the top dramatic about things. Basically it's the story of one extended family, the Bravermans, and is centered on the four adult Braverman kids. Two of them are married, one is a single mom who lives with the Braverman parents/grandparents, and one is in a complicated relationship. One of the two married couples has been dealing with secondary infertility all this last season and decided to adopt. The writers for this show have done a great job of portraying a child with Asperger's in one of the other Braverman families, so I have some hope for a realistic portrayal of the adoption process here. This is the best shot we've got for seeing a scripted show really wrestle with open adoption - Julia wants an infant, and it feels like open adoption is the best way to portray that process.

Grey's Anatomy: Yes, I still watch Grey's Anatomy. This is an international adoption storyline that is already bending reality considerably and it's hardly gotten started. Basically a couple of just-married surgeons have been allowed to take placement of a baby girl from Africa who was originally brought to the states for surgery. From her orphanage. (Which happens all the time, right??) They did get interviewed by a social worker, but there has been no mention of the fact that the house they are building is completely unfinished and the house they live in now is occupied by a revolving door of other adults. In real life all those adults would have had to be interviewed, have background checks, etc. Not to mention the child's country having some sort of say - Derek and Meredith haven't had to travel at all. So no reality there. But this is basically a well written soap opera, so I'm looking less for reality and more for an emotional exploration of some of the adoption issues. This baby will be more bonded to Dad than Mom, maybe. And I really hope that she just doesn't continue to have perfectly and appropriately styled African hair with no mention of who is doing the cornrows. (and how in the world does anyone get cornrows on a child that is obviously less than a year old??? Do they drug her?? I don't understand.)

Modern Family: So, the gay couple in this show already somehow managed to adopt a little girl from Vietnam (despite gay couples never being qualified to adopt from that country and all adoptions having been shut down from Vietnam for quite a while now.) In the season finale they decided to adopt again "maybe a boy this time." I'm interested to see how the show does this and if they spend any time at all on the pre-adoptive part of things. But I have no hope for a realistic portrayal. Of anything. Because it's Modern Family. My biggest wish is just that I can laugh and not wince while watching it.

Any of you watching these shows? Thoughts??


  1. Haha! Love your comments about Grey's. I am hoping they deal with PAD with Meredith because she doesn't seem on board and in real life that would mean struggles now.

    Brothers and Sisters is a great one to add to your list of adoption shows. They do it right with waiting and everything.
    Transracial newborn adoption a few seasons ago, the transracial part hasn't come up yet but the boy is getting older now so maybe they'll add that next season. Last season a gay couple adopted an older child from foster care after trying to have a child via a surrogate which has a surprising ending.

    Also Private Practice ended with one of the main characters saying she would be adopting the daughter of a coworker that passed away. Not sure how that one is going to be. The mom is black and the girl is white so it could be interesting, but the show is 90% in the office so I doubt anything about transracial adoption would come up.

  2. I've heard good things about Brothers and Sisters, Debbie I will have to check that out!

    And I forgot about Private Practice, but the actress that plays Naomi is not going to be a series regular next season, as her character is moving to the east coast, so I'm thinking they won't deal with it much. Now with Addison they could go there...but not for a while I don't think.

  3. As soon as I saw this entry, I thought: I bet she is going to bring up Parenthood and Modern Family and you DID!
    I am so happy that Parenthood is not only talking openly about infertility, but also about adoption. I hope, hope, hope both shows focus on open adoption (maybe from the States?).

  4. I only watch Modern Family out of the 3 shows you mention. I don't think Modern Family is even really trying to be realistic about adoption - it's a comedy and they're just trying to have a funny show. Adoption wouldn't even really come to mind when talking about that show. JMHO.


  5. Barb - exactly. I don't expect them to be realistic, my hope is that they manage not to be offensive. :)

  6. I've been very interested in how they have managed infertility/adoption issues in Parenthood and Brothers and Sisters. I have had many a shouting match with the TV over the portrayal of adoption in Grey's though!!!

  7. James and I have been watching a lot of "16 and Pregnant" and "Teen Mom." Although they are not "scripted" shows, one of the couples featured on the show are birth parents who are in an open adoption. "16" deals with the decision to choose adoption and the birth, and then "Teen Mom" follows the couple as they deal with being parents who are not raising their baby.

  8. One more story on The Young and the Restless and of course, it's a crazy private black market adoption for $1Million dollars and of course, it's really the daughter of the crazy homicidal wacko on the run and the beloved son of a prominent Genoa City resident. And of course, when all is revealed, the young son wants the kid placed with the adoptive parents and his mother wants the kid and so everyone is all upset...blah, blah, blah.