Most people have no idea how adoption works. Before we started this process I know I sure didn’t. Yes, folks are aware of the concept, and may even know someone who has been touched by the process. But there are so many outdated misconceptions floating around that unless you’ve taken the time to learn what modern adoption actually is you probably don’t have a clear understanding of what it’s all about. As I’ve said before, pop culture doesn’t help. TV and movies sensationalize a very different adoption journey from the reality that most of us experience, and an inability to find my experience represented at some points has left me feeling marginalized and alone. I’ve read books and found online communities to make my experiences feel more “normal”, and the pop culture representations of adoption have been left as comic relief.
A few months ago I re-discovered the drama “Brothers & Sisters” when I found the show streaming on ABC’s website. I remembered the cute family, the quirky characters, and the fast paces humerus dialog. However I had forgotten the plot line that takes one siblings life on a similar path to my own. The middle of season 2 finds Kitty Walker and her husband struggling with infertility, and by the end of the season they decide to pursue adoption. As I’ve watched their journey unfold I have been so pleased to find a depiction that portrays modern adoption in a somewhat realistic way. Sure, the show takes some artistic freedoms for the sake of a good laugh. (I don’t know that any real life social workers attend family dinners as part of the home study process.) But they also let the matching process drag on, with multiple “how have you not been chosen yet?” comments from uneducated bystanders. They depict a birth mom, who is not a stereotypical teenager or drug addict, changing her mind. And they show life continuing around the waiting couple, even when it feels like their lives are stuck on pause. (For a glimpse into the ridiculous humor that one feels writing a “Dear Birth Mother” letter watch the cold open to “Book Burning” in season 3.)
Most importantly, shows like this help to validated my current predicament as a normal experience. It seems strange how watching fictional characters can have such a direct impact on the way I view reality. I find comfort in their fabricated tale, and somehow my real life doesn’t seem so foreign.