It’s Everywhere: Adoption in the Media

ID-10045508I don’t have TV.  Not in that “I’m too good for TV and obviously better than everyone who watches TV” kind of way. In an “I’m poor and paying for TV seems like an extravagance when I can pay about 8-bucks a month to stream movies and shows and watch other things online for free.”  However, not having TV means that I tend to avoid my favorite social networking sites on the days my favorite shows air.  This isn’t a new skill for me as I’m also a West coaster and wrong coasters tend to like live tweeting shows three hours before best coasters can see them.  (I think it’s to make themselves feel better for living on the wrong coast.)

The drawback to this type of lifestyle is that when I finally do see an episode it’s already old news in the twitterverse. Recently I was watching the season finale of “Top Chef ” when, instead of getting to drool over yummy food I’ll never be able to make or even taste, I was hearing and seeing an adoption story.  It wasn’t poorly done or sensationalized, but there it was.  Adoption in my cooking program. One of the finalists was adopted and said that if she wins she hopes to use the money to visit the country in which she was born.  Later in the program there was an interview with each finalists’ family and part of me wonders if they purposefully put the adoption bit toward the start so that viewers wouldn’t be *shocked* to see her family is White while she is Korean.

I was reminded that adoption is everywhere. I don’t know if it’s always been everywhere and I’m just more attuned to it now and notice it more, or if it really is increasing.  It wasn’t triggering for me in this context, but it could have been for others.  In the past I’ve spoken with other who are adoption-involved about an adoption rating system or warning, like exists for other content. Instead of MA for Mature Audiences, how about AC for Adoption Content. SAC for Stereotypical Adoption Content. AJ for Adoption Jackassery.

While I know the ratings/warnings will never come to fruition, I am very glad when I see discussion of these things in our community.  A tweet about a book having adoption themes.  A Facebook conversation about a certain movie and if it might trigger someone’s children.  A blog post about how adoption is portrayed in a certain film. This is just one reason our online community is so vital.  Calling up a best friend and saying, “Hey, do you think last night’s episode will trigger me/my child,” is only so helpful, especially if you don’t have adoption-involved people in your offline life.

Enough of my rambling, I want to see our community in action.  In the comments let me and everyone else know where we can find the warnings we sometimes need.

About the author:

Kat Cooley, MSW is a social worker providing comprehensive all options counseling to those experiencing unplanned pregnancy.  She is also a birth mom over a decade into an open adoption.  She writes here at Open Adoption Bloggers generally on the first and third Monday of the month however was slacking this month as she was slightly distracted by her engagement.  She is always open to new open adoption topics to explore; you can leave them in the comments, at the OAB Facebook page, or tweet her @KMCooleyMSW.

Image courtesy of digitalart /


5 thoughts on “It’s Everywhere: Adoption in the Media

  1. I must say the amount of adoption everywhere has been insane lately, it seems every show, movie or book ties into adoption and more and more the ties aren’t minor but are major characters dealing with adoption in a big way.

    I was astounded when I saw a preview for the new Tina Fey movie (Admission) which she plays a birth mom, I ended up actually buying the book because I wanted to see how the story played out before seeing the movie and I found a book with multiple and assorted adoption storylines, and I’m only halfway through the book and they still haven’t confessed to the main character being a birth mom (the whole reason I picked up the book in the first place.) I’ll be interested to see how much of this transfers to a movie, especially what seems to be a pretty mainstream romantic comedy with a big star. My hope is that this onslaught of adoption in tv and movies is that they show some complexity without falling into overused stereotypes. We’ll see if that’s possible.

    • And now I’ve added another book to my to read list…maybe I’ll wait til you finish first and then decide if I’m ok to read it 🙂

  2. Love the term “Adoption Jackassery” !!

    I think adoption is everywhere lately too – and in a mostly good way. It’s kind of always been out there, but not always portrayed in the best light. Think ‘Different Strokes’ in the 1980s where the two poor black kids are adopted by the rich white family. Or an afterschool special whose name I can’t recall where the kid is told as a preteen that he’s adopted. Yikes.

    I think it needs to be out there more if only to help people get past their fears and stereotypes. Not every adoption story is the same, but then again, not every family is the same either.

    There was discussion online about a part in “The Avengers” where one character does something stupid and his brother makes an excuse to others by saying “it’s OK. He’s adopted.”

    Not cool.

    Some say it’s being too PC, but this can really trigger something in a child who has been adopted and might feel out of place or different. A line like that implies – oh just excuse him, he’s not REALLY part of our family, he’s just adopted. There’s some Adoption Jackassery if ever there was any.

  3. YES exactly it does need to be out there more, but less Jackassery. I remember the Avengers discussion. I hope it gave some people who might have been triggered a heads up and let them decide whether to see it or not without being blindsided in the theater.

    Disclaimer: I cannot claim to have coined the term Adoption Jackassery to my knowledge the credit goes to Barb:

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