Monday, November 16, 2009

Profiting from Adoption Loss

So we've had The Locator on television for awhile now. And it looks like ABC will premier Find My Family next week. Both are shows that seek to reunite families that have lost contact. In many cases (though I gather, from what I've heard of The Locator, not always) these are families that have been broken up by adoption. So now we get the feel good reunion stories.

I feel torn. I am glad that these families are being reunited. I'm glad that good reunion stories are out there in public, as it may gain supporters for adoptee rights.

But it just doesn't feel right. Search and reunion are so personal. These are real people (I assume) and real lives. The pain and suffering experienced by a child who loses his or her family is not, should not be, the source of prime-time entertainment. It shouldn't be a source of entertainment at all. A child loses his or her family. And then we compound that loss by broadcasting the reunion on national television.

Am I wrong to doubt that this is a good thing? Do the benefits outweigh the problems? Should we hope that this helps the cause and gets people thinking positively about reunion, and celebrate the reunions that are facilitated by this work? Is it okay to serve this up to the masses and not raise questions about it?

I just don't know. I don't know. I'm tired of people using adoptees for profit. I want us to be people, not commodities. Is that so much to ask? If the government would simply give us our birth certificates, these reunion shows would be unnecessary.



Anonymous said...

I feel the same way. Sounds great that "the masses" (our extended families?) see the sweet reunion stories, BUT, it does so very little to educate them to the long lasting underlying effects of separation. It sometimes feels that it make our desire (dare I say need?) for validation all that more difficult. Blah, blah, blah...I don't have to spell it out, you know what I mean.

I'm not inspired by it all. And I wonder as a mother to a young-ish son separated by adoption if he sees the swill and thinks that that is how he is EXPECTED to feel/react.

As always, thanks for the November posts.


Angelle said...

I think it is good thing that ABC is airing this program. It is on network TV which means it will be seen by a broader audience.

I looked at the trailer of the first show. What this does is put a "face" on reunion as a normal progression after adoption. At the very least this should make the populace aware of that adoptees are denied their rights. I bet most people do not know this, and have rosey views on adoption.

For me, I hope that my son's amom, therapist, pastor and extended adoptive family see this show and realize that he is not just some ungrateful son who wants to have some interloper (me) intrude in their lives.

So at the end of the day I think this will be beneficial.

Ronnica said...

When you first mentioned the idea of this kind of show, it made me cringe. At first it might sound cute, but these are real people's lives. I agree, it's a private thing and shouldn't be used for others' entertainment.

maybe said...

I'm torn on these types of shows - they help get the message out that reunion is normal and healthy, especially for those who are fearful or in the closet regarding their desire to reunite.

But they oversimplify adoption and reunion in general make it seem like everything will be rosy going foward. We all know that the hard work only BEGINS at reunion.