The Oxygen channel (started by Oprah, now owned by NBC Universal) features this latest weep-fest for the weary, and lord knows, I am tired of stupid television shows that appear to glorify or encourage adoption. I say "appear" to because I am not sure that this one does because the mothers-to-be spend a lot of time with the blues: Claudia hates her baby daddy--he has six other kids by four women, and he cavalierly indicates he might fight her for custody, which you know at the time he says it that he is just being a shit for the camera and his ex, who is only weeks away from giving birth.
Mary, the other subject in this episode, had an affair with an old boy friend after she and her husband broke up; now there is a slim possibility (in Mary's mind) that she and her husband might get back together...but she is carrying the baby of the ex-BF, and no way the husband wants anything BUT a divorce.
Enough about plot, let's jump right to the informative parts: Mary chooses a "loving" couple, Jeremy and Nicole who have been trying to "have a baby" since 2006 and "lost a baby" in 2007. When Jeremy and Nicole meet Pregnant Mary it is love at first sight. "You're so beautiful," gushes Nicole as she envelopes Mary in a huge body hug. Mary smiles and smiles. She likes these people. She says a couple of times throughout her segments that her baby needs a mother and a father. "I have been praying for this birth mother out there, and now I can pray for Mary," Nicole enthuses. Praying for "this birth mother out there?"
Hmmm. What I heard was Please God send me a birth mother who wants to give us her baby. Doubtful that she is praying in general for pregnant teens and women to find a way to keep their babies and have good mental health as well as a sunny prognosis for the rest of their lives. Obviously she is not reading blogs with heads like this: "How can adoption be less horrific on first mothers?"
Because if she did, she would have to be praying for all first/birth/real mothers to keep their babies and have the resources to do so. See: Giving Up Your Baby? which lays out all the reasons that women who opt to have a baby should keep their baby.
Despite fears and tears, Mary's not-quite-ex makes it clear the marriage is over. He never says he will take her back if she gives the baby up. Mary stays on still on track with this cute couple, Nicole and Jeremy.
Until she invites them to the sonogram when it is likely they will learn the sex of the baby. Mary's mother is there too. IT'S A BOY! Yeah! While Mary is absorbing the pictures of the sonogram of the baby she is planning to give away, Nicole is practically jumping for joy, and it appears that the sonogram nurse gave a blue rubber bracelet (to indicate the sex, how cute) to Nicole before she thought to give one to the mother-to-be, lying silently there, her belly exposed like a giant beached whale. "We don't have any boy names," says Nicole. "Our toilet seat will never be the same." Blah, blah, blah. Mary's mother, the grandmother of baby-boy-to-be, says nothing. Mary says nothing, she just looks pensive.
"What's this curlicue?" asks Nicole of something on the sonogram screen.
"The umbilical cord." Oh. Nicole is not so excited over that.
What is clear to Mary and to viewers is that as soon as the baby is as real as a fuzzy sonogram, Nicole is only interested--and why not?--in the baby! She wants a baby, not a birth mother and a baby--Nicole's elation totally belies any real concern she has for Mary's feelings. Nicole's prayers are being answered!
|Chilling book about women having babies for others....|
And what do you know, after giving birth and spending two days with her baby, after spending a nearly sleepless night, she tells the social worker she decides not to give him up at all, to anyone. She tells the camera that once she made the decision to keep her baby, she felt "overwhelming joy" and "closure," and though she has a fear of the unknown, she only has to answer to herself and "it feels good."I breathed a sigh of relief.
Lesson: If you are thinking of giving up your baby, invent a situation where you can see how the prospective adopters react to the thought of the baby without you in the picture. For Mary, inviting the PAPs to the sonogram was a good thing, because she could see how quickly their concern for her turned immediately into a focus only on the baby. At the same time, she, at 25, was already feeling very connected to this baby of hers, and was strong enough to cut the imaginary cord with the...PAPs before she felt more indebted to them.
The other story deals with Claudia, 20, who was adopted at six from Haiti, and while she is sad at the prospect of giving up her baby, wants to go to school, something she does not deem possible if she keeps her baby. She says that her poor and overburdened parents in Haiti gave her up "for a better life" and she is going to do that too. And she does. Her adoptive parents are never shown.
Lesson: Being adopted begets more adoption. Don't I know it. For readers new to FMF, my daughter whom I gave up also gave up a daughter for adoption, 20 years almost to the day later. While many parents of young girls encourage adoption--fellow blogger Jane's own relative did--I am supposing that adopted daughters in general way get way less support for keeping a child than do biological daughters. Grandparents of children related to them cannot help but feel more connected to these babies than to children they are not biologically related to. I often wonder about the fall-back plans of adoptive parents, particularly single mothers: if something were to happen to them and make them unable to raise their adopted children, do relatives immediately step in, as they are likely to in normal, non-adoptive situation? I know one single adoptive mother, and I know for a fact that her elderly father could not have taken on the child, and her mother was an alcoholic. The girl is off to college this year. The grandfather was roundly against the adoption initially, but he has turned out to be a good grandfather; the grandmother died years ago. I cannot imagine who would have taken the girl, adopted from China, if something had happened to her mother.
I remember one statistic that said that adoptees were seven times more likely than non-adoptees to give up a child for adoption, and I suppose part of the reason is there in the missing link of DNA to the grandparents, and lack of support for keeping the child. They got a child through adoption, so...and the relatives saying of the pregnant teen: she's just like her [real] mother [i.e. a slut], what are we supposed to do, raise this bastard like our own grandchild? If you think I am being harsh here, you haven't been listening to what people actually say....
Will I watch more of these shows? Not if I can help it. However, their proliferation (Sixteen and Pregnant, Be My Baby) is an indicator of how thoroughly the idea of adoption has become infused in society today. The message today is: Can't get pregnant? Get a child from someone else. Surely there are hundreds, thousands! of girls dying to have you raise their babies. Wrong.
WITH GOD ON OUR SIDE...
I know I am being flip about this, I am sure that the pain of being unable to conceive is heart-breaking, but that gives no one the "right" to another's child. Life is not fair. No one has a baby that "was meant" for someone else. No baby grows in the "wrong tummy." It is wrong to "pray" for a birth mother if you are praying that she makes the decision to give you her baby.* Adoptive parents do not have God on their side. Adoption is sometimes necessary, but it is, as one adoptee wrote in a memoir, Second Choice.
While Jane and I gave up our babies in secrecy and shame, today it is quite different, but the message the young women get is the same rationale we heard decades ago: a baby deserves two parents; give up your baby so he can have what you cannot give him: two parents, or at least, more money. It is just as reprehensible a message today as it was yesterday. Unless there are extreme extenuating circumstances, A BABY DESERVES HIS MOTHER'S LOVE. His real mother's love.
Okay, shoot me for not using PC adoption lingo. Incidentally, Bethany Christian Services is once again the agency featured, as it is in Sixteen and Pregnant. The fact that adoption is papered over with religious overtones make me gag. Odd how many babies lose their mothers because of God's will, isn't it? Doesn't She know what's she's doing? --lorraine
In some weird folly of the gods, ever time I try to download a graphic from the show--a line suggestive of a pregnant belly, with the words, I'm Having Your Baby inside, the screen freezes and I have to shut down the computer. I give up. FYI: Marley has written a fab post about these noxious shows at Daily Bastardette: I'm Having Their Baby: Bowling for Babies Redux.
*In terms of praying, I went to a link that one of our readers suggested, and found an adoptive mother writing this:
"I find myself thinking "I am the only one on the planet who's kid's birth mom isn't pg again within 2 years of having her 1st pg." OMG I am so selfish!!! I know that she is routinely taking reliable birth control, and even if they did get pg again, birth dad said that baby would be "for them."
I would LOVE a full bio sibling to my AS. He is so beautiful and crazy and fun and I just love him so darn much!!! I find myself dreaming of a little girl that look like him Or a rowdy little brother. His young birth parents are still together and very happy together. There are some environmentally induced special needs his birth parents have that make it unlikely they could ever parent on their own, even though they are great people.
I would just love a full bio sib for my son
Thanks for listening."
What to say? Words fail me. The nightmare of tomorrow is here now. The Handmaid's Tale (Everyman's Library) (left) by celebrated Canadian writer Margaret Atwood is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and a tour de force. It is unexpected, horrifying, sometimes funny and altogether convincing. Who will control women's bodies in the future? What is the meaning of free will? Also made into a movie (right) of the same name, starring Natasha Richardson.
At age three days Robert Andersen, M.D., and author of Second Choice: Growing Up Adopted (below) was sold through the black market for $250.00. "A sensitive, moving, intelligent, and much needed contribution to adoption literature." -- Betty Jean Lifton, author of Lost and Found, the Adoption Experience. Another adoptee wrote at Amazon: " many golden nuggets of truth I found and returned to again and again were tremendously useful to me."
Order by clicking on links or the picture of the jacket. Thankx. I found both books good reads--for different reasons, of course. The movie is an honest rendering of the book, perhaps even more prescient about the future--as we know it today.
From FMF: Giving Up Your Baby?
and previous post:
An adoptive mother asks "How can adoption be less horrific on first mothers?"
and PAPs, don't miss: The Trauma of being adopted