We are supposed to feel all gooey-gooey about the fact that these two handsome, appealing men with charming French accents have been allowed to adopt. Problem Number One. We are all for gay acceptance, gay rights, gay marriage, but indisputable is the reality that gay and lesbian adoption will increase the number of people looking to adoption to build families. The unwitting result is more pressure on the adoption industry to find more babies from a dwindling market so that gay and lesbian couples can adopt somebody else's child.
However, that is not what is most noxious about the video, for gay adoption is a reality today. More harmful is the comment of one of the men who says: "It was a risk--Raphaelle can go back to her family--she can go back to her biological family....[But] now she's really cool, she has love, she has confidence...." because she isn't going back to her biological family, thus she can have "love" and "confidence," two things her biological family clearly lack, the speaker implies. Problem Number Two.
SO MUCH BETTER THAN BEING WITH NATURAL FAMILY....
We cannot dissect the trauma of little Raphaelle because she can't tell us what it was like to be with her mother one moment, and then with strangers the next because infants can't speak. By the time they can, they are typically acclimated to a new surrounding with new people raising them. Only when Raphaelle is older will the issue of being wrenched from one's natural family become evident. The hardly subliminal message (while selling cereal) is that Raphaelle is so much better off with these two middle class guys, and in the process, she has been reduced to a possession they do not want to give back.
The commercial tugs at your heart strings--who cannot like these two appealing guys--and as they speak the adorable Raphaelle leans back and forth between them. In the background, sweet piano music tinkles. The only nod to Cheerios is a bowl of cereal in front of the dads and a few seconds of the nearly three-minute video of a third Cheerio slowing drifting toward two other Cheerios. Time magazine writes about it approvingly; so does a Huff Po columnist Cate Matthews; Jezebel's Madeline Davies is more chary, and rightfully sees the ad as pandering to the heart strings to sell a cereal. Cate Matthews on Huff Po finds the commercial "a most beautiful love story," a conclusion that most media writing about the ad agrees with.
IT'S WAY MORE COMPLICATED
However, one father, Frank Ligtvoet, did speak out against it at the Huffington Post. After stating that as a "white gay dad of two African-American kids" he can relate to the feelings of the men in an intimate way, he notes that the commercial completely glosses over the profound dimensions of adoption:
"Adoption is not a normal way to build a family. It is a complicated way, which next to happiness for adoptive parents, brings sorrow and sadness for all involved. To part from your child in whatever situation you may be in is traumatizing. To be parted from your parents, whoever they may be, is traumatizing. To create a family with a child who is traumatized by her or his adoption is a tough call, because trauma can be contagious, and triggers unresolved trauma in the adoptive parents."At least some people--including some adoptive parents--understand.
There is another issue at work in the commercial--the gay dads are white, the girl is not. Several months ago Cheerios ran a breakthrough ad featuring a black-and-white marriage with a white mother, a black father and their daughter clearly worried about her daddy's heart health as she showered him with Cheerios. A video on line quickly got two million hits, but the company disabled viewer comments after ugly racist rants with references to Nazis and racial genocide were posted. The hate-filled comments spread far and wide through other outlets. But that commercial was about a natural family--a mother, a father, and a child. We applauded the courage of the company for going forward with it.
This one reflecting society's bias against one's natural family just makes us cringe.--lorraine
NEXT: Cheerios video promotes gay equality but smacks of racism
Commercial below; tell us what you think.
What's Wrong With Cheerios' Gay-Adoption Commercial
Get Ready to Cry at Another Cheerios Ad About Family
SENDING BLACK BABIES NORTH
Gay Dads' Touching Adoption Story Is a Way to Sell You Cheerios
The Gay Dads In This Cheerios Commercial Have The Most Beautiful Love Story
Overseas Adoptions Rising
Sending Black Babies North
Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption by Jane Jeong Trenka
"In 30 personal essays, research-based studies, poems and accompanying artwork, transracial adoptees 'challenge the privileging of rational, 'expert' knowledge that excludes so many adoptee voices.' Conceived by the editors as corrective action, the collection offers an eye-opening perspective on both the 'the power differences between white people and people of color, the rich and the poor, the more or less empowered in adoption circles" and the sense of loss and limbo that individual adoptees may feel while "living in the borderlands of racial, national, and cultural identities.' This provocative, disturbing collection reveals the sociological links between African-American children placed in foster care and El Salvador's niño desaparecidos (disappeared children), between Christian missions and the adoption industry, between a transracial adoptee born in Vietnam and raised in Australia and one born in Korea and raised in the U.S. 'We must work,' the editors urge, 'to create and sustain a world in which low-income women of color do not have to send away their children so that the family that remains can survive.' Anyone contemplating transracial adoption will find provocative ideas, even as they may quarrel with generalizations that don't fit their own lives."--Publisher's Weekly
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