“This Is Us” Has Adoption Themes (And Life Themes) That Will Rock Your World

The hole in my heart that developed when Parenthood went off the air may have healed Tuesday night as I watched "This Is Us"

Jeanette Green September 22, 2016
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*** Spoiler Alert!!! ***

 If you have not seen the first episode…stop reading this and quickly go On Demand and WATCH THIS SHOW!!!

If you were among the thousands tuning into the premiere of This Is Us on Tuesday night, I’m sure you were just as thrilled as I was! I quickly realized I had found my new TV obsession.

Since Parenthood ended, I’ve been yearning for a show that helps me unwind at the end of the day, shut off as I tune in, but also  f e e l  something. I enjoy when I see slices of my life on the tube . . . when the characters are relatable and I walk the journey with them. Yes, I do like the shows where I just laugh throughout the entire 30 minutes, or where I’m curled up in a ball, cozy in my blanket, while I anticipate the next move! But I love a good, somewhat realistic drama where I feel like in some way, those characters could be me, or that one of the characters could be my brother, sister, friend. Parenthood gave me the feels in that way and though they probably ended at the right time, my heart was sad to see it go. And now . . . NOW! I feel like there is something out there reminiscent of my dear Parenthood. After only one episode, This Is Us immediately pulled me in. I’m hooked because there were small parts that made me feel like This Is Us is This Is Me.

As a fallible person, I love the human struggles that we get a glimpse into – the search for meaning in a career and life, raising a family, experiencing loss.

As a woman, I love the relationships—between husband, wife, child, sister, even doctor.

As a mom, I love seeing all the beginnings—motherhood, parenthood, life, love.

And as an adoptive mom, I got chills when I saw the unexpected twist at the end—the journey of adoption.  True, this journey appears to start at placement, their journey will unfold as we discover how they handle this unexpected and chosen miracle.

And as a transracial adoptive mom . . . my heart swelled with joy when I saw the closing image on the screen with three beautiful babies laying in their bassinets and mother and father lovingly looking over. On their birth records, checked off on their papers respectively would have been Caucasian, Caucasian, African American. The journey of transracial adoption is along the same thread as adoption, and yet in so many ways it’s a very different road, one that I’m excited to see depicted on television.

I’m not sure what further twists and turns this show will take, but I watch with great anticipation. Milo Ventimiglia already mentioned that we will be able to watch this family through the decades and I can’t wait. With a hopeful heart that these intertwined stories will be dealt with carefully and sensitively, I will continue to watch.

This Is Us has the opportunity to shed light on real life, heavy social issues that affect the adoption world. From the first episode alone, I see so much potential to see how these characters handle and work through deep experiences and emotions. Adoption. Reunification with birth family. Transracial adoption. Racism and how white adoptive parents deal with racism toward their black children.

Writers always write with a purpose. They write to tell a story, to invoke thought, to make us laugh, to trigger hope, to create a commentary on current social issues, to sway our opinions, to teach, enlighten, and persuade. What will the first season of this new show teach us? What will we learn? What new perspectives will be view? What do the writers of This Is Us want us to see, feel, and think?

That will all unfold over this inaugural season, but they certainly have a grand opportunity with an already captive audience. The beauty is that we as “readers” or viewers can gather details, observe, gain the desire to learn more, agree or flat out disagree with what is laid before us. Ultimately, as we watch along episode after episode . . . I hope that our hearts are opened so we can empathize with others and learn from these fictional characters. Even if we don’t agree with a particular message, I believe that this show has the potential to open the eyes and hearts of America. Forget our minds for a minute because truly, I think right now we all need to slow down, stop thinking, and start hugging. We can have our different views and opinions, and we can each stand by them . . . but we need to love.

So . . . This Is Us . . . you have a lot of weight on your shoulders and potential in that pen. I’m so eager for the next episode. I hope that that these topics are addressed in such a way that doesn’t alienate viewers . . . doesn’t make anyone feel criticized or judged, but rather embraces each of us and invites us to come inside, watch, listen, and learn. Viewers not touched by adoption will get a glimpse into this world we try to navigate.

And ohhhhh, I have such high hopes for Tuesday nights!

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Jeanette Green

Jeanette Green is a mother to three beautiful children--two through the blessing of adoption. She is a firm believer that we never walk alone, the sun continues to shine even when we can’t feel its rays, and you can’t get sick from raw cookie dough. Various life experiences have taught her that life never turns out like we expect. But if we’re patient, we learn that it’s better that way. To learn more about Jeanette and her crew, visit The Green Piece


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