I don't watch anything adoption related. It gets my blood pressure up and I don't need to deal with that. I get mad for first parents and for adopted people both.
The way to get rid of this crap? Write letters to the advertisers on the shows. That is the only way that it will happen. We'd have to organize in a huge way, but you have to hit people in their pocketbook. They don't care how they make the rest of us look as long as they make a buck. Money drives the world folks and as long as it is sensational people will watch and advertisers know that.
As for showing the world that first parents aren't trashy, alcoholic, drug users, I am open about Kiddo. I don't hide him, I don't hide who I am to him. That is the only way people learn.
Jillie I am sorry the program upset you. I agree that 'some people' will only focus on the Kandice story...but honestly I felt most of the show was about Taylor and I thought hers was a very real and heart-wrenching story.
Maybe because I am an adoptive parent and have a really awesome birthmother that I don't give a lot of thought to the girl who was drinking, smoking, stealing. It was very good for me to see Taylor's experience. I had the benefit of knowing our birthmother for about 6 weeks prior to Baby Girl being born and I am glad I got to know her. But I never saw any of that side, the struggle...I think she always put on a good face for me!
When I interact with our Bmom from now on I am just going to think about Taylor and how difficult this was for her. I actually think me watching this show will actually make our relationship better...because now that I have actually 'seen' someone go through it...it's more real to me.
(don't get me wrong TLC is a piece of work and their shows can be HORRIBLE and exploitive...but I have to say that "I" personally took something good away from this show)
I've written to the show's creators. I actually know someone who is now reconsidering adopting based on the show :(
I haven't seen the show (and don't plan to) but just wanted to stop by to give hugs to Jillie. I'm so sorry you won't get to see your son on his birthday.
(((Jillie)))
I understand completely when you say you're a private person and don't like to share your issues around being a birthmom IRL (not to mention air your dirty laundry on an exploitive national network). But I do wish there was a way to get people in the wider world to realize how skewed a view they get on this issue.
I didn't set out to watch it (I didn't even know it was coming on,) but I happened to see it while flicking through channels and I found myself too horrified to look away.
I felt bad for those poor young women - who were not birthmoms, since they hadn't given birth or relinquished yet.
I was completely shocked by how unethical the situation was from start to finish.
Some things that especially struck me:
* All the young women seemed to be under the impression that they had to match with a family before the birth, and that they had to sign relinquishment papers at the earliest possible opportunity. The consents also seemed to be irrevocable. While I think that many states allow TPR ridiculously soon after birth (Utah being one of them,) an even remotely ethical agency operating in those states should be making sure the moms understand that they have the option to sign in that timeframe, not that they are required to do so.
* Relinquishment was treated like more or less a done deal. None of the counselors were shown helping the moms make parenting plans, and while occasional lip service was given to the possibility of them changing their minds, I didn't see any practical assistance being given for what would actually happen in the event they chose to parent. I really hope this was just editing, but I'm not optimistic.
* They mothers got nice accommodations and their expenses paid because they were considering relinquishment. That seems extremely coercive to me because no such assistance would be provided to mothers who wanted to parent, so it's all basically in exchange for giving up the baby.
* Related to the above, a number of the young women were apparently using alcohol, abusing drugs, and smoking while in the home run by the agency. The agency did nothing to curb this behavior, and did not even seem particularly concerned by it. Even the doctor they took the girls to see said that he didn't do much to warn the moms about the damage they were doing to their unborn babies. Now, while I still maintain that it was unethical to even have such a living situation predicated on the mother placing, if the agency was going to take responsibility for these young women, they should have done so with an eye toward providing a healthy environment for mom and baby. Yes, with more restrictive rules some of the expectant moms probably would have walked; it was pretty clear that the agency wasn't going to do anything to jeopardize their supply line by actually trying to look after the health of the babies. Shameful.
* No sign of a mental health counselor (as opposed to just an adoption counselor) in the picture, even though one was clearly needed.
* In spite of the fact that she clearly had substance abuse issues and serious mental health problems, there didn't appear to be any attempt to make sure Kandice was competent to relinquish, or to address any of her other significant problems besides the crisis pregnancy.
* Taylor's reasons for relinquishing were pretty much entirely financial, and were serious enough that she would almost certainly have qualified for public assistance. No one mentioned this to her, or suggested a parenting plan, or helped her find ways to provide for the child she was already struggling to raise.
* Taylor's concerns about being presented with no profiles of families of color for her biracial child were dismissed, and it seemed like she was being treated as irrational and high maintenance. The thing is, her concerns were valid. Minority children growing up in predominantly white areas do have additional challenges. Not to say it always turns out badly, but if the mother was worried about that, it should have been taken seriously.
* All the mothers seemed to feel pressured to choose families before the birth, to the extent that at least one of them significantly compromised on all her major criteria because she seemed to think she had run out of time before her induction.
* When Kandice said she didn't want her son to be told he was adopted, the prospective parents did not give her a firm no or explain that, while she clearly was trying to act in her son's best interests as she saw them, that would be really damaging to the child. It appeared that they were agreeing to what she asked. Again, I really hope this was editing, but there should have been an immediate rejection of this request and an explanation why.
Overall... wow. It was awful. I felt dirty after watching it. :( Anyone who thinks adoption coercion is a thing of the past really needs to watch this show and put themselves in these young women's shoes.
GATI
I actually know someone who is now reconsidering adopting based on the show :(
In spite of all I just said, I really hope your friend won't dismiss the entire institution of adoption based on the show.
What was being portrayed was highly unethical, but adoption doesn't have to be that way.
I would encourage your friend to research ethical adoption - and perhaps even look into an avenue other than domestic infant adoption if they have concerns with that process - but it would be a real shame if she or he gave up on the whole concept. There are kids out there who need loving permanent homes.
We're talking about it, but I think the impression is given that agencies all operate like this one and that most e moms are running around drinking and smoking-- which couldn't be further from the truth!
And as if Utah didn't have a bad enough reputation. It is possible to have a highly ethical adoption in Utah that goes well for all members of the triad!
Shows like this make it very hard on all people involved in adoption. We don't talk about the bmom/bdad of our daughter to ANYONE. You know why???? Because she is like the stereotype that media likes to portray. We KNOW that the majority of bparents are NOT like those protrayed on television. We do not want to say or do anything to promote this image as being the norm.
I do talk about it on this site sometimes, but many times I sugarcoat her actions even on this site because I KNOW that her behavior is over the top and not normal. I also KNOW that most of the behavior is due to her age and maturity level.
This show is horrible and needs to be revamped. They need to show a balance of situations and types of people. I would WATCH if they showed REAL BMOMS not only the HOLLYWOOD version.
Blue_Suede_Shoes
I didn't set out to watch it (I didn't even know it was coming on,) but I happened to see it while flicking through channels and I found myself too horrified to look away.
I felt bad for those poor young women - who were not birthmoms, since they hadn't given birth or relinquished yet.
I was completely shocked by how unethical the situation was from start to finish.
Some things that especially struck me:
* All the young women seemed to be under the impression that they had to match with a family before the birth, and that they had to sign relinquishment papers at the earliest possible opportunity. The consents also seemed to be irrevocable. While I think that many states allow TPR ridiculously soon after birth (Utah being one of them,) an even remotely ethical agency operating in those states should be making sure the moms understand that they have the option to sign in that timeframe, not that they are required to do so.
* Relinquishment was treated like more or less a done deal. None of the counselors were shown helping the moms make parenting plans, and while occasional lip service was given to the possibility of them changing their minds, I didn't see any practical assistance being given for what would actually happen in the event they chose to parent. I really hope this was just editing, but I'm not optimistic.
* They mothers got nice accommodations and their expenses paid because they were considering relinquishment. That seems extremely coercive to me because no such assistance would be provided to mothers who wanted to parent, so it's all basically in exchange for giving up the baby.
* Related to the above, a number of the young women were apparently using alcohol, abusing drugs, and smoking while in the home run by the agency. The agency did nothing to curb this behavior, and did not even seem particularly concerned by it. Even the doctor they took the girls to see said that he didn't do much to warn the moms about the damage they were doing to their unborn babies. Now, while I still maintain that it was unethical to even have such a living situation predicated on the mother placing, if the agency was going to take responsibility for these young women, they should have done so with an eye toward providing a healthy environment for mom and baby. Yes, with more restrictive rules some of the expectant moms probably would have walked; it was pretty clear that the agency wasn't going to do anything to jeopardize their supply line by actually trying to look after the health of the babies. Shameful.
* No sign of a mental health counselor (as opposed to just an adoption counselor) in the picture, even though one was clearly needed.
* In spite of the fact that she clearly had substance abuse issues and serious mental health problems, there didn't appear to be any attempt to make sure Kandice was competent to relinquish, or to address any of her other significant problems besides the crisis pregnancy.
* Taylor's reasons for relinquishing were pretty much entirely financial, and were serious enough that she would almost certainly have qualified for public assistance. No one mentioned this to her, or suggested a parenting plan, or helped her find ways to provide for the child she was already struggling to raise.
* Taylor's concerns about being presented with no profiles of families of color for her biracial child were dismissed, and it seemed like she was being treated as irrational and high maintenance. The thing is, her concerns were valid. Minority children growing up in predominantly white areas do have additional challenges. Not to say it always turns out badly, but if the mother was worried about that, it should have been taken seriously.
* All the mothers seemed to feel pressured to choose families before the birth, to the extent that at least one of them significantly compromised on all her major criteria because she seemed to think she had run out of time before her induction.
* When Kandice said she didn't want her son to be told he was adopted, the prospective parents did not give her a firm no or explain that, while she clearly was trying to act in her son's best interests as she saw them, that would be really damaging to the child. It appeared that they were agreeing to what she asked. Again, I really hope this was editing, but there should have been an immediate rejection of this request and an explanation why.
Overall... wow. It was awful. I felt dirty after watching it. :( Anyone who thinks adoption coercion is a thing of the past really needs to watch this show and put themselves in these young women's shoes.
I will never, have never watched this kind of show because it exploits the adoptee - which seems to never enter into anyones thought process on these types of shows. This IS the adoptees story paraded on TV. The story that should be THEIR story to tell or not. The story that will be known to others in the vincinity because the adopting parents are known. The story that will follow the child to school, teenage years (and will be used cruelly by some), and beyond - imagine watching yourself being given away (yes, I know people don't like that terminology, but that is what happens no matter how much you pretty it up or whatever the reasons are).
And watching this and knowing that some agencies are really bad, the counselling is inadequate at best, how can anyone truly say adoption is so different today than my era? We had good and bad agencies. Coercion existed then and it does now. Adoptees are still discriminated by law despite openness - they still are legally denied their original birth certificate.
Tell me what is better - because I don't see it. Next time you are tempted to tell us it is so different, exactly what will you say?
Kind regards,
Dickons
Happened to watch the show the other night. I felt so icky afterwards. The 'counseling"session was such a farce.
Blue Suede I totally agree with you, I watched the show & just felt there was something wrong with this picture and you nailed it right on the head.
Dickons
I will never, have never watched this kind of show because it exploits the adoptee - which seems to never enter into anyones thought process on these types of shows. This IS the adoptees story paraded on TV. The story that should be THEIR story to tell or not. The story that will be known to others in the vincinity because the adopting parents are known. The story that will follow the child to school, teenage years (and will be used cruelly by some), and beyond - imagine watching yourself being given away (yes, I know people don't like that terminology, but that is what happens no matter how much you pretty it up or whatever the reasons are).
Unfortunately, this applies to almost all reality shows involving children. Most reality shows are aiming for drama, which often means portraying people at the most traumatic and vulnerable times of their lives.
I definitely agree with you that the show itself was exploitation of the adoptees as well as the mothers.
I think a lot of reality television exploits children, though, because they can't give informed consent to their stories being made public.
Tell me what is better - because I don't see it. Next time you are tempted to tell us it is so different, exactly what will you say?
I think you may have misread my post, if this is in response to me - because I actually said the same thing. ;)
If this is just a statement to "general you" rather than to me specifically, then I agree with you.
Blue Suede Shoes - it was a general you - not you because you did say the same thing...
Agree with any reality show with children - my heart though goes out to the adoptee...just because...you know solidarity thingy...
D
Dickons
Agree with any reality show with children - my heart though goes out to the adoptee...just because...you know solidarity thingy...
Yeah, makes total sense. :(
I was feeling a bit bad for watching it for that reason... except that the subject of the show came up at work, and I said I thought it was unethical. My coworkers asked why I thought that - they'd had vague uneasy feelings but couldn't quite pin down what had bothered them - and because I had seen the show, I could actually explain what specifically had been wrong. They ended up agreeing, and it make them consider adoption ethics... in most cases probably for the first time, because most of them aren't directly involved with any adoptions.
I'm not recommending anyone watch the show. I'm just saying there are trade-offs. Sometimes when we know exactly what's being put out there in pop culture, we can provide a useful critique of it.
I refuse to watch this show. Just the name which all ready sets the tone for the misconception that is all ready out there about birth/first moms. Just reading the little bit that I have ugh :(