Who Needs TV Adoption Drama When Late Discovery Adoptees Live It?
When a Late Discovery Adoptee (LDA) charges through the landmine laden discovery-field, the fallout is so much greater than the adoption debris zone that's a mile wide. There's years of secret shrapnel buried that span developmental milestones and -- best case scenario -- would be gentle excavation. Like landmines, keeping a persons beginning (and familial history) hidden away should be banned.
Wikipedia says, "The use of landmines is controversial because of their potential as indiscriminate weapons."
"Keeping a secret and lying about ones beginning is controversial because of their potential as indiscriminate weapons," I say.
When the field seems never ending, most LDA's want to simply get through it. However, many are stuck right in the middle. They would prefer to continue, get it over with, like the guy in 127 Hours who knew what had to happen to his arm. But, because of antiquated laws in many states and deceptive practices by adoption agencies, there are many LDA's who began the journey but cannot reach the end. They are stuck in the middle of the mine field.
I cannot imagine trying to go forward only knowing that my adoptive parents lied to me and nothing else. To never learn about my beginning, my mother or medical history would eat me up. Forget about the fun ancestry.com searches and trees, seeing the same face in pictures or knowing that you have hands like your mother's; you are left with no roots. Trees, teeth, and tomato plants wouldn't survive without roots and it can be painfully hard for a person to live without theirs. (Many LDA's know very little or nothing about their birth family.)
The non-adopted crowd have been known to say, "But you have your own family with such great kids..." Often times that's true, but how regularly does something that has to do with historical family connections and genetic similarities come up? All the time. The non-adopted crowd doesn't hear it because its commonplace, serving no painful reminder to them as it does to us.
So whether its a TV show about adoption, The Lying Game, or a story line that comes up on most prime-time programming (Parenthood, Hawaii Five-O, NCIS LA, Modern Family, Rizzoli & Isles, Army Wives, Glee, and the list goes on), many of us feel as though a nicely healing scab has been ripped off. At the very least, its a reminder of something we do not need to be reminded about.
Most in the adoption constellation (birth parents, adoptees, adoptive parents, adoption professionals) would love nothing more than to ask TV writers to at least do a good job writing their 48 minute segment.
Wouldn't it be something to see a situation play out that is real? Where a woman learns she's an LDA and, while in shock and very sad, decides to head off to discover where she came from. All the while the adoptive family sits back and thinks, "She was raised in this family and that should be enough. Okay, bye now, off you go." Many adoptive families do this very cruel thing, they push us out and then close the door. What we are wanting to know has nothing to do with them.
Or what if a maddening search effort is portrayed and the laws in the state are revealed? Let the mainstream public learn about what a CI can and cannot do for someone searching. What would they think if they watched a story where an adoption agency claims they lost the records? Or a scene where an adoptee finds his mother only to learn that, for the past 38 years, he's been celebrating his birthday on the wrong day.
November is National Adoption Awareness Month. As many prepare to educate, be sure to share your ideas of a real adoption storyline you'd like to see, one that may wake up a few people. (I hope we can hear from some first moms.) If anyone cares to comment story ideas I will put them together and send them to a few studio's. I do have an in at ABC Studios.
Photo Credit: tnarik.