Tell that to the 14 year old who has just found herself pregnant and knows that she'll get kicked out of her house before she's allowed to bring a baby into it. Because she's seeing this on TV and because she badly wants to, she's believing that adoption is as simple as calling a picture-perfect couple after you've given birth. They show up and get the baby, your life goes back to normal, and everyone lives happily ever after. Furthermore, you can just demand that baby back a year later when you feel like you're ready to be a parent. Tell that 14 year old girl it's just a TV show.
YES. I KNOW. "Kids shouldn't be watching Gl.ee anyway."
Well, that's a big DUH. It's funny how many of these jerkfaces (and by that I mean the people sending me hate mail and leaving nasty comments on the bazillion stories that now appear online about this) think I started this pet.ition because I let my kid watch the show. Because apparently, it's impossible to appreciate someone else's experiences on something and act accordingly. Yes, I've received messages from adoptive parents whose children, some of whom were adopted out of foster care in childhood rather than infancy, and Qu.inn's little tirade scared them. Life with their birthfamily wasn't a positive thing and the last thing they want is to return to it. For kids adopted as infants, it's not that they believe their birthfamilies are bad people or that they'd have a bad life with them. It's that they have lives and parents and families and the idea of leaving the familiarity of that is terrifying. Imagine being a child, your parents having always been your parents regardless of blood, and then someone comes and says they're going to take you away. Gee, no, it couldn't be that this idea scares adoptees.
YES. I KNOW. "We don't even know where the story line will go yet."
True. Could be that starting with the next episode, the show could take a dramatic, random (confusing) turn toward more appropriate adoption language, Qu.inn could be in counseling, and they might all have a wonderfully healthy open adoption. Ehh, I think not. Instead, the promo for the next episode shows her holding a bottle of hot sauce and vowing devilishly, "I'm going to PROVE she's an unfit mother." No, certainly this story line isn't going to get worse before it gets better. Silly me.
YES. I KNOW. "You're oversensitive."
Well, of course I am. Wouldn't you be? There are kids involved here. We're not talking about fighting over an expensive bottle of wine. This is a child. A living, breathing human being with feelings and hopes and fears and insecurities. I bet I wouldn't be labeled as oversensitive if I were taking on this same plight about children being taken from their biological homes without warning to live with someone else. That would be a travesty, wouldn't it? Especially in cases where there's no abuse or neglect. But because the child in question happens to be adopted, that makes me oversensitive. For every person who knows better than to believe that this trainwreck of a story line is accurate, there are hundreds who already believe these misconceptions and/or are watching the show and, consciously or unconsciously, those ideas are being reinforced. Of course I'm oversensitive. When is the last time someone asked YOU in the grocery store where you "got" your child? Yeah, exactly. The more people understand how adoption really works, and especially how open adoption works and how common it is, the better off MY SON will be when his peers learn later that he's adopted. See where I'm going here?
YES. I KNOW. "It's our job to raise our kids, not a TV producer's."
Another big DUH. Now, tell that to all the responsible, loving, diligent, attentive, affectionate, fabulous parents (adoptive or otherwise) whose kids still pick things up from TV. Like what, you ask? Oh, I don't know. Fashion. Taste in music. Speech habits. Driving skills (God help us). How to treat girlfriends/boyfriends/animals/children. That smoking is cool. That drinking is harmless. Need I go on? No, I'm not saying it's TV's responsibility to raise my kid. I am saying, though, that it would sure be helpful if they were a little realistic when they can be, to help back me up as his parent.
YES. I KNOW. "TV shows aren't obligated to always be accurate."
Of course they aren't. I wholeheartedly agree. However, this show constantly tackles REAL problems that REAL kids have. Homophobia, racism, sexism, bullying. All of these very REAL issues have been taken on by the show and from what I have seen, they have done a pretty darn good job touting tolerance, acceptance and just plain "be nice" behavior. So in a way, they have set the bar for themselves. Yet, when it comes to adoption, they're falling terribly short of their own standard. Like it or not, some kids (and, I'm sure, some adults) trust this show because of how they've handled these other issues. Unless they already know better, why would they think to question the portrayal of adoption? This show has a unique - and very valuable - opportunity to really educate people about the true nature of adoption. But this isn't what's happening.
YES. I KNOW. Stop making assumptions about me, my life, my son, my family, our adoption, and everything else. Stop assuming I'm some far right, far left, far off the deep end, weirdo person with nothing better to do than start pet.itions.
Do it now, before I start another pet.ition against stupidity. Because THAT one is bound to get universal support.
Except from you.