' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Cheerios Commercial: Gay dads adopt and sell cereal

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cheerios Commercial: Gay dads adopt and sell cereal

Cringe making: A new feel-good Cherrios on-line commercial for the Canadian audience as two white gay dads talk about how they met, fell in love and decided to be a family by adopting a little black girl during a three-minute video. No doubt that Raphaelle she is being treated well, and that these two dads love her. 

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.

Not only is this commercial another manifestation of making adopting someone else's child the new normal, it injects a totally tasteless (but real) emotion and pulls the audience along with them: OMG, we were worried that the mother would want the baby back! We want a baby so much and we are so clearly superior to the poor, uneducated mother and her family who might raise her! The mother--the birth mother, the first mother, the mother--and natural family are treated as disposable with no thought to what those people--her people--mean to the cute kid they are raising. 

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. 

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
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

Click on links to order, and thank you for ordering (anything) through FMF. 


  1. Glad I wasn't the only one who cringed at this video. I'm tired of adoption stories [and by extension, adoptees] being used as marketing tools for consumer products. I wrote a little bit about this here: http://goo.gl/nZLvsf

    1. Totally, LLM. Thanks for the link. You nailed it.

    2. I tried to comment on your blog but my comment could not be posted. I tried everything. Sorry!

  2. There is so much that is wrong here I really have to let it sink in. The a-dads are obviously happy.... The child looks bewildered. I can not help but think of the issues that will arise as this child grows into adulthood. Let me sleep on this and I'll be back.

  3. And here's what stinks. If we say we don't like it, we're "homophobic." Which for me, couldn't be further from the truth.

    I'd feel exactly the same were it a straight couple. But I agree Lorraine, this is yet another demographic that wants it's demand for infants supplied.

  4. Is this even a surprise? No, because our society is taught not to understand that there are consequences to every action, intended and unintended. We are taught to be selfish, spoiled, indulged people. SIGH...... I hate adoption.

    1. Ahh! But wait! Single and poor, disadvantaged, uneducated and naive mothers and the fathers who created the baby are NOT educated to be selfish! All pregnant girls and women who are not married are targets of the adoption industry! They are counseled that they must be unselfish, loving, they need to think of the couple who deserves the baby that grows inside her. Often the father is not told he is the father until it is too late. WHY? Because he is not wanted in the picture. The consequences of the action of signing relinquishment papers are not fully explained by any adoption agency. They want the money...

  5. It is easy to be what Lori pointed out, selfish, indulgent, spoiled when watching how happy these 2 dads are. And like Sunny pointed out, labeled "homophobic" if you don't like the ad. It's all about the sell here. But what really sticks is the "cool" factor here. Poor bmom schleps are so uncool. How many f____ng messages can you cram into one f___ng commercial?

  6. General Mills should stick to the business of selling Cheerios. Sell it as a breakfast food, not as a platform upon which to discuss adoption, especially a subject as complex as transracial adoption by a gay couple.

    I have nothing against gays, believe me. But it is clear that these two men have no idea about adoption. It is about them. Gays are able to "do this now", says one of the dads, meaning gays are able to adopt. It is clearly about their right as a couple. Something they decided to do because they can, and look at the pretty picture they created.

    Nobody, as usual, asked the adoptee.

    Of course she is adorable now. But she will grow and mature. She will deal with teasing and bullying, as many adoptees have had to do. She will wonder about her family, her culture and her heritage. She will wonder about her first mother. Are these men ready to deal with all of that? Not many adoptive parents can handle it, and one of these dad's already made a comment about the child's bio-family. It is not about her. It is about the couple.

    There is a lot of this on HGTV which I sometimes watch because I like home decorating. There are many gay couples who call in the designer to create a perfect room for their adopted baby or toddler. The room is every child's dream and we see the happy child jumping up and down with glee. They are playing house. They have no idea what adoption is about. They have an idea that it is their right to adopt, and they do so. But it is always apparent that no one is thinking beyond toddlerhood.

    Trouble is, the public loves this. They do not want to hear that adoption creates issues and has problems. No one wants to hear from an unhappy adoptee, but there are many of us. But, as long as the media treats adoption in this manner, the non-adopted public will continue to think rainbows and unicorns. And those of us who want to see adoption reform actually happen are left in the dust.

  7. LLM: thanks for the link. Your post about this commercial was spot-on!

    1. Julia Emily, thanks for the kind words about my very new blog! I've been following your posts for a while and want to let you know that I'm totally rooting for you! :)

  8. Julia, are the kids the rooms are created for adopted as older kids? Maybe from foster care? Or am I just whistling Dixie, hoping for what isn't?

    Yes, the public doesn't want to hear about problems with adoption. They want it to be stress free and A Good Thing without caveats.

  9. What annoys me about this ad is that it operates on all the faulty assumptions about adoption.

    1. The assumption that this child was unwanted by her bio-family and that if it weren't for the APs she would have a crummy life. And isn't adoption better than that? I have a friend who knows my complete story and while she refers to my story as tragic, she still cannot seem to understand that many (most) first mothers and/or fathers wanted to keep their child. And that it was circumstances beyond their control that forced them to give the child up, not their lack of desire for the child.

    2. The ad also reflects the new politically correct POV, that everyone is expected to share these days, which is that it doesn't matter if a child is raised by parents of their same race, two parents of the same gender, or whomever, because all it takes to make a 'family' is LURVE. It kind of reminds of the misbegotten belief of the BSE that children were blank slates. And I agree with the other commenters that anyone who criticizes this ad will probably be labeled as 'homophobic'. Whereas I would feel the same about the ad if it depicted a white heterosexual couple adopting a black child. Anyone who is familiar with my (frequent) comments knows that I was placed in a family that is an incredibly close match to my bio-families. And for that I am grateful. I cannot imagine how hard it would be, and even think it is unfair to the child, to be raised in cultures, religions, etc. that are not her own. I am angry over the way our culture tries to gloss over this issue and make it like it doesn't matter.

    3. Of course this is a short commercial and can't go into the issues this adoptee may (and most likely will) have as she gets older and understands what was done to her. But I resent the implication that all will be hunky dory forever and what a lucky little girl she is. Hardly!

    4. I also do not like the assumption in western culture that everyone has some sort of RIGHT to a child, whether they can create one biologically themselves or not. I think this premise has really gone to an extreme in this culture and personally I find that frightening. People do not seem to want to accept that there are long waiting lists for prospective adoptive parents because most people do not want to and are not willing to give their children to strangers to raise.

    1. Robin: Jane is going to post in a few minutes about the race issue in the Cheerios commercial. We decided to break it up into two.

    2. Robin: I can TRY to imagine how this little girl will feel, as well as other transracial adoptees. As I have stated, I was placed with a very olive-skinned, dark haired, clearly Italian couple while I was a freckled blond. At that (ignorant) time, when we adoptees were thought to be blank slates, the only thing that seemed to matter was that my first mother wanted placement with a Catholic family. That was it. But it was not easy growing up resembling no one in my immediate or extended family. The comments and remarks flew freely, and not all behind my back. I don't want to imagine what this sweet little girl will endure as she grows up.

    3. Very interesting comment, Julia Emily. You must have stuck out like a sore thumb and that is very hard (and alienating). I was not such a mismatch in my a-family. As a matter of fact, I had the odd experience of having the same hair and eye color combination as both of my adoptive grandmothers (yes, you read that right). I have not found my combo in any of my blood relatives, as my hair color comes from my n-mother's side and my eye color from my n-father's side.

      But I think another issue of importance here is the cultural difference. The adoptee is American while the APs are Canadian and that is where she will live. Now I realize these are both North American western countries, but as someone who has gone to school in Canada and got to know many Canadians, I can tell you that the cultures have many differences. I absolutely love Canada, btw. Eh? lol. But that doesn't mean it is 'better' or inconsequential for an American girl to grow up there as an adopted child.

    4. I absolutely agree with you, Robin. The adoptive parents are French Canadians which likely mean the girl's first language will be French, making any communication with her first parents difficult.

      I have found differences in Canadian culture as well. I have lived in Alaska where I knew many Canadians and I have visited Canada many times, Canada is more Euro-centric and has less diversity than the US. I don't mean this as a criticism of Canada which I have always enjoyed.

      On another topic, since the dads apparently picked up the baby at the hospital, I have to wonder if her mother didn't travel to Canada to give birth. This might have obviated having to deal with immigration authorities. It would also have made it more difficult for her to change her mind.

  10. Lorraine: you whistle beautifully! On a lot of these programs the gay couple had pre-arranged and met with the first mother prior to the birth. We hear a little backstory about how they were present in the delivery room, etc. Some use surrogates, but that is not shown as often as infant adoption. Usually when the child is a toddler it is simply because the couple hasn't gotten around to decorating the child's room until then. It's all very fluffy, and sometimes, decorating ideas notwithstanding, I just give up and turn it off.

    One thing especially bothers me about gay adoption and that is that the parents want their names on the birth certificates. Another fake, but legal, document. That shows me that it is all about the couple and not about the child. This was always the case and I guess it will always be so. Sigh.

    1. Yes, the OBC issue is terrible! The individual created by someone's eggs and someone's womb and someone's sperm may never be able to find out who they are actually related to. Who their ancestors are. It's that damn blank slate.

      I don't usually watch HGTV (did see one with Lara Spencer, since I like that she uses yard sales, thrift shops and flea markets, which fits my budget!) but it sounds like the pro-adoption message has crept into everything. And earlier this week, Steve, a commenter, listed the numerous TV shows that push adoption.

      I did see that there is a movie coming out with Nicholas Cage about a Haitian adoption gone wrong, but it seems to have disappeared. Anybody know anything about it?

  11. Wow. This commercial is puke-alicious. I am a BSE mother three years into reunion with my son; I am also the adoptive mother of a Black/Vietnamese son. Both are in their 40s now. I identify in many ways with the gay community. Gays were forced to keep one of the most important things about themselves a dark secret, and "birth" moms were forced to do the same thing. Keeping a secret like that is corrosive to the soul. The naivete in this commercial is stunning. Two nice guys, for sure. I'm sure I'd like to know them. And the little girl is darling. But I know there is a mother somewhere who yearns for that child every single day and perhaps a father who was cut off from or never told he had a child. When I adopted my son from Vietnam, I was a true believe in adoption. I didn't care about race. I wanted to save a child and somehow make things right with the universe for my relinquishment of my own son. What I have learned in 46 years is that children are not interchangeable or replaceable; being able to biologically identify with your family and ancestry is very important; separation of mother and newborn leaves deep and lasting scars for both; and perhaps the most damaging myth of all is that love is enough. Love is a lot, but it's not enough to overcome everything an adoptee must face. No one has a right to be a parent. I fully support gay marriage; I'm 100% for it. I do not support infant adoption, period. Kids in real trouble, foster kids, abused kids--absolutely. But a nice, sweet, loving couple like these two fellows--a nice, sweet, loving family like mine--won't be able to cope with the challenges that lie ahead. That little girl won't always be cooing and smiling and playing with her Cheerios. I didn't want to listen to the naysayers when I adopted my son either. I wrote a blistering letter to the Globe and Mail in Toronto (I was living in Canada at the time), defending my then-husband's and my commitment to adoption and our son. It's waaaaaaaaaaay more complicated than this deceptive, simplistic commercial implies. Waaaaaaaay more.

    1. Thank you so much for telling your story here.
      People do think adoption is a win-win for both parties, without thinking about the original family who lost a child, the mother whose hormones are telling her to keep the child,and the child who became a rational adolescent (well maybe not so rational yet), then teenager and then adult, who has to deal with the complexities of her/his life that the rest of us do not.

    2. I don't think we can say, from a 3 minute video, whether or not these dads will be able to cope with the challenges that lie ahead. I know adoptive families who are totally lost and others who truly understand trauma and are doing a phenomenal with kids adopted out of the foster care system. If you were to meet any of these families,you'd think they were nice sweet loving families like these guys.


      Adoptive parents need to be well-prepared. And they should never, ever be taking placement of a child unless all other options for keeping the child with biological family have been exhausted.

      I recently read a very disturbing story by an adoptive mother who was present at the birth of the child she was to adopt. She was there with the laboring mom, and the birth mother's mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, and great grandmother.

      All this love and support at the birth and no one could keep the baby? Where they sold a bill of goods by the adoption agency (better life, blah, blah) or did the extended bio family simply not have the resources to care for the baby? I wish the government would support extended family in caring for children that natural mothers cannot. Stranger adoption should be a last resort.

  12. So many problems with this, hard to know where to begin.

    1. The dad on the left describes getting a phone call at work, offering a baby. Makes it seems like kids available for adoption are just falling out of the sky. I am sure they spent months, if not years, completing reams of paperwork, homestudies, pre-adoption classes, dear birthmother letters, and then waiting and waiting and waiting.

    I wish people knew how *hard* it was to adopt, how much *competition* there is, because really, there are not all these poor little orphans who need homes.

    2. The dad on the left describes meeting this little girl on what was likely the day of her birth or just after, given her small size. He says, "We cried, and then we cuddled her, and we were a family."

    If only it were that simple for the adoptee. To be wrenched from the mother she grew within and bonded with for nine months, with whom she shared a body, DNA. Whose voice and movements comforted her for as long as she could remember. For her, some crying white strangers showed up, picked her up, and took her away from everything she'd ever known.

    For the men, they were suddenly and easily a family. For the girl, it's much much more complicated.

  13. Anonymom: I recently read an article about celebrity Sheryl Crow and the adoption of her second son. She said she got a phone call, went to the hospital, and picked up a paper bag with a baby inside. I was sickened when I read this. Babies, especially white infants, are just products. To be carried home in a paper bag.
    LLM: your blog post was amazing! I will try to comment as soon as I can. Thanks for your support.

  14. I am both gay and adopted and when people hear these two words in combination, they often want to know if I'm in the market for a baby, myself. Why? Because children, like the little girl in this commercial, are being used as trophies of a dubious social progress. "Look! We have a baby! We're a legitimate couple and a real family!" It is not Raphaëlle's job to march in anybody's Gay Pride parade and these issues get so easily confused to the uninformed. Please leave children out of the push for marriage equality and/or greater societal acceptance for gays and lesbians. Also, this child's loss and trauma should have absolutely nothing to do with selling f'n cereal(!)

    1. Trophies. Indeed, that's how they see their kids.


  15. Michael Allen Potter wrote:" Also, this child's loss and trauma should have absolutely nothing to do with selling f'n cereal(!)"

    But that's the point. The message of these commercials (I'm thinking of the Kay Jewelers commercial, too) is that there is no loss or trauma for the child. That her being adopted is all sunshine and roses. You see, she hit the jackpot, she was unwanted or a 'mistake', and yet she ended up in a great family with a great life, and that's all that matters.

    Using adopted children to sell any product whether cereal, jewelry or anything else is reprehensible. Too bad I like those Multigrain Cheerios. I'm going to have to rethink that purchase in the future.

    Your whole comment was great, btw.

    1. I live in the city where Cheerios is made. We (people here) are proud that our "City smells like Cheerios" as one T-shirt company puts it. Well, just like in the Kay Commercial, stupid employees who are paid ridiculous amounts of money to come up with catchy-slogans to sell products, folks who sit around these think-tanks think they are ever-so-clever to come up with something so current that the topic of adopting a baby will resonate with the general public, and so, will make the product - jewelry or Cheerios cereal - more appealing. One night before seeing this stupid commercial, I a bowl of Cheerios while relaxing with a friend. Well, seems that will be my last bowl of Cheerios. Just as with Kay Jewelers, I am now boycotting Cheerios. And I will be talking about why to everyone I meet.

    2. I agree. Let's boycott Cheerios, and all General Mills products for that matter. Eat real oatmeal; its a lot better for you. If you don't have time to cook oatmeal, Kellog's Raisin Bran is not bad.

    3. Raisin Bran? Jane, really?
      this is my yukkiest food! I'm sticking with heavy-duty whole grain toast, peanut butter and cranberry jelly, which I make myself. Or bitter orange marmalade. Or sour cherry. Coffee with half and half or green tea iwth nothing. There you have it. And now it's time for a shower and breakfast! :)

      (Okay, I like from scratch (not instant) oatmeal too.)

    4. Well, I admit I have a few shares of stock in Kellog's. I eat regular oatmeal, not instant or that dreadful stuff in little packages. And not steel cut which takes hours to cook and tastes like gravel. Steel cut is a big favorite here (Portland, OR) with the Whole Foods crowd.

    5. OMG--I love steel cut oatmeal, but it takes so long I stopped buying it. Gravel? Girl, you ain't had mine. Maybe I live on the wrong side of the country? But there are a lot of organic Birkenstocks in my area too. :)

  16. "On another topic, since the dads apparently picked up the baby at the hospital, I have to wonder if her mother didn't travel to Canada to give birth. This might have obviated having to deal with immigration authorities. It would also have made it more difficult for her to change her mind."

    Canadian medicare won't cover visitors. More likely she was born in Montreal to a Québécois woman if they rushed straight from work to the hospital.

    Quebec encourages French speaking people to immigrate from the French Caribbean.

    Canada is a diverse country with many communities of visible minorities. Toronto has the largest Caribbean celebration parade anywhere in North America.

  17. I agree with most of what you said, but -- I get why gay men would adopt, but why did you include Lesbians in the same adoptive category? Why do you think lesbians adopt at any higher rate than other women? They can and do have biological children. Some use a sperm donor and some use friends, but none of the "two mommies" I know have adopted. (And actually, there is less of a chance of adoption because unlike hetrosexual couples, if one half of a lesbian couple has fertility issues, the other can carry the baby.)

    1. From the post...
      ....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.

      And lesbians are also in the sentence above this one.

    2. Gay woman still need to have a male donation to make baby...often that donation is anonymous and you have the same issues as adoptees. Wether it be adoption, egg donation, sperm donation..the person resulting is missing a big piece and often those that should care about that don't. so technically it may not be adoption but the issues the person born endures are very similar

  18. Totally off topic here: A few comments included how adoption is creeping into television like crazy and a show the other night made me nuts. I'd like to do a post on this maybe by Monday. Looking for whatever instances you folks have seen recently for there seems to be an uptick of late. Please send me your examples at forumfirstmother@gmail as soon as you can.

    Many thanks.

  19. McCann's Irish Oatmeal is pretty good. Raisin bran? Not for me.

    Wish I could help with the TV post, but I really don't watch anything other than cooking or a little HGTV. But that adoption thing on TV has been going on for decades! Way back to shows like My Three Sons. And yes, I am that old! Looking forward to the post!

  20. Lorraine, if you have an itty-bitty Crock-Pot--the kind used for two-person meals, or for hot party dips like chili con queso--you can start the steel-cut oatmeal while doing the dinner dishes.

    By breakfast time, the oats will be divine. You also will be spared the gagging noises made by the breakfast-oatmeal-averse Biscuitbarrel men. I always got a mean little thrill at how avidly they devoured oatmeal bread containing my leftovers, milk, maple sugar, and all ("What makes this toast SO GOOD?!?"). A witch's cackle from Mean Old Mom!

  21. Oh-Blah-Dee-Oh-Blah-BlahOctober 25, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    Just to clear up a few confusions about Canada and the likely origin of this child.

    Canada has an official policy of multiculturalism, an open and aggressive immigration policy, and is one of the most diverse countries in the world. In its major cities, it surpasses most American cities in terms of diversity—Toronto, especially so. Trending now is immigration from Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa.

    European immigration to this country has been tapering for decades. We are not a “Euro-centric” country and haven't been for some time.

    I'm not sure why you think this child is American but I suspect it's because you don't think there are any Black people in Canada—an American misperception comically thrashed on “Talking to Americans” in the past. This child could be Somalian, Nigerian, Tunisian, from DRC . . . and her mother could be living in any number of Quebec communities. There is even a possibility that this child's first language is French if she is the daughter of immigrants from one of the many Francophone countries in West Africa.

    The bottom line is, you don't know her, you don't know her story, you don't know where her mother comes from or why she was relinquished, and you simply don't know how this child is going to fare with these two dads, or how open they will be in the long run to accepting her first family. They seem like good guys. (They may surprise you.) She may even be living in the same community she would have had she stayed with her mother.

    My honest impression is that pouncing on stuff like this doesn't do the cause of adoption reform any good. First off, it always sounds like trashing families. Second, it feels like y'all have some kind of crystal ball and can predict with assurance what a terrible time any given child will have. But you simply don't know that and you got enough things wrong in your assessment of the cultural context that one seriously has to wonder about how right you are about everything else. This is not to diminish or underestimate all that's wrong with adoption but, like Frank Ligtvoet discovered when he wrote about it in HuffPo --


    the reaction of most people to this kind of pile-on is, “Lighten up.”

    1. I don't like the idea of using adoption as a sales tool for any product regardless of what country the adoption takes place in or the original background of the child.

    2. Whether the child was from Africa, the U. S., the Caribbean, or Canada doesn't matter; the ad has has racist overtones.

      We don't know the girl's story but whatever it is, it's irrelevant. The point is that General Mills thought it would sell more Cheerios by "normalizing" the adoption of a black girl by two men. In doing so, it presented a distorted view of adoption.

      Telling us to "lighten up" and that "pouncing on this stuff doesn't do the cause of adoption reform any good:" is the language of those who wish to protect the status quo while pretending to be reformers.

      In the 1960's the "lighten up" crowd said of Dr. Martin Luther King, "I agree with his goals, it's just his methods I don't like. He's trying to go too fast." In the 70's they said of feminists, "they'd get more done if they were more lady-like."

      Of course, it was the marchers and the protesters who forced change, not those sitting on the sidelines going "tsk, tsk.",

      Since, Oh-Blad-Dee, you know so much about how to go about reforming adoption, why don't you tell FMF readers what you're doing for the cause?

    3. Jane, I don't care for the ad. because I don't think adoption, loaded as it is with complexities, should be used to sell a product or to promote some other cause, no matter how worthy that cause may be. It is exploitive and trivializing.
      But you said "Whether the child was from Africa, the U. S., the Caribbean, or Canada doesn't matter."
      It obviously matters to you, or you would not have written that "it's a tragedy that a black American mother believed the best thing she could do for her child was to send her to two gays guys in Canada." It's annoying that you chose to believe and present that as a fact. Facts matter. Your assumption betrays your own prejudices.

    4. What prejudice is Jane "betraying"? That she doesn't like adoption? We know that.

    5. Anon 10/26 at 11:37 am,

      I assumed that the child was an American because sending black babies north for adoption has been a thriving business. Let me revise my statement: It's a tragedy that a black American, African,Caribbean, or Canadian mother believed the best she could do for her child was send her to a couple of gay white guys.

      I ask you again, what are you doing for adoption reform?

    6. "It's a tragedy that a black American, African,Caribbean, or Canadian mother believed the best she could do for her child was send her to a couple of gay white guys. "

      The tragedy is that, for whatever reason, the child wasn't able to be raised within her natural family. Without the background story, we can't assume that the mother "believed the best she could do for her child was to send her to a couple of gay white guys". Please try not to project your preconceptions when you do not know.
      Adoption has been available to gays and lesbians in Quebec since 2002. Today, one in three adoptions in Montreal are by gay or lesbian couples.
      Michel Carignan, head of Montreal's adoption services from 2002 to 2009 has explained it like this: "Gay couples, themselves being different, were open to having children who are different, of other ethnicities, who are older or with special needs due to psychological or health problems. For these reasons they made faster headway with their applications".

    7. You're saying the mother had no control over where her child was going? I had no idea Canada was so far behind the U. S.

      You still haven't told us what you're doing for adoption reform.

    8. "You're saying the mother had no control over where her child was going?"

      If that's what you want to believe - or imply it's what I am saying - go right ahead. You'd be wrong.
      What I *am* saying is, you don't know - and neither do I. There are a number of possibilities. One, that the child was born in the hospital and left there by her mother. Could even be that she was brought to the hospital after she was born. Then again, perhaps the mother *did* chose to have her child adopted by these "two gay white guys". However we don't really *know* the facts of the matter so best not to assume. The most we can do is guess. Judging by the phone call question, "Are you still interested?", it would appear these men were not particularly expecting to be contacted at this particular time. It seems more likely they were on a waiting list. But that's another guess.

      For people wanting to adopt in Montreal there are two types of adoption: domestic, i.e. within Quebec, and international, covering both other countries and (because social services fall under provincial jurisdiction) the rest of Canada. Both domestic and international files must go through a provincial youth protection office. The Centre de Jeunesse offices handle files in French, and Batshaw Youth and Family Centres deal with files in English. The registries are "regular" and "mixte". The regular registry includes very young children who have been orphaned or left for adoption at birth by their parents. The 'mixte" includes children who have been taken from their parents by youth protection services for various reasons, such as abuse, inability of the parents to care for the children, abandonment, etc. Adoption from the regular registry requires being put on a list and involves a wait of several years, so most people who want to adopt do so through international adoption or the "mixte" registry. All potential adoptive parents have to undergo a psychosocial evaluation.
      A person who has consented to a child's adoption may withdraw their consent within 30 days after the consent was given. This revocation must be in writing and signed by two witnesses. The child must then be returned to the person withdrawing consent.

      As to what I have done to further the cause of adoption reform, it's really none of your business, but I have been able to help bring about a small but significant improvement in my country of birth. I continue to be as involved as I am able.

    9. The point that we both wish to make here is that the video for Cheerios promotes adoption, promotes racially mixed adoptions, and celebrates that the natural mother was not able to return and claim her own child so that the child would grow up along her own people.

      Lisa, or O Blah Dee from Ontario, you might benefit from reading the blogs by Frank Litgvoet at Huff Po. I believe the links are at the end of the post, either this one or the other.


    10. You made your efforts for adoption reform our business when you accused me of harming the cause with my post. Since you know so much, you should let us learn from you.

  22. Kippa? Jessica? Please use your name.

  23. ripped from the pages of...October 31, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    “Let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me,” Mr. Cook wrote in the essay, published by Bloomberg Businessweek.

    Does this sentence strike anyone as totally bonkers? If God favored everyone with being gay, we certainly would not have an over population problem, but there sure would be a shortage of adoptable babies.

    I never thought being hertero (or any sexual orientation) was a "gift from God." It is just is.

  24. “It's a tragedy that a black American, African, Caribbean, or Canadian mother believed the best she could do for her child was send her to a couple of gay white guys.”

    My answer presumes that we can't undo someone's adoption and shouldn't try to speculate on motives or what people thought was the right choice under the circumstances.

    I understand your concern about race. Given everything we know about discrimination, parents of the same race are usually in a better position to explain the dynamics of racism.

    However, that doesn't mean that nobody else can do anything helpful. Abled parents learn to go to bat for their differently abled children. White mothers in interracial relationships who raise their kids solo also face a learning curve. It isn't just about whether you are the natural parents—deficits exist in all sorts of situations and challenge people to step up. As I mentioned earlier, if the child had a francophone background—African or Caribbean—this would likely be an incredibly important factor to her original mother (or parents). The French language, along with French culture, is uniquely protected in Canada. There isn't an American equivalent.

    But I don't understand why you added the word gay. Why should it matter? Unless it does matter to you. Does it matter to FMF?

  25. Regarding how the child came to be adopted -- the commercial suggests that the mother gave up the child rather than the government taking the child since the men were concerned that the child would go back to her family. How she got with the two men, though, is irrelevant as is the pros and cons of trans-racial adoption and how adoption works in Canada.

    General Mills believed that in Canada two white gay men adopting a black baby would sell cereal, thus suggesting that white families are superior to black families, even for a black child. It is inconceivable that General Mills would run a commercial showing two black gay men with an adopted white daughter.

    General Mills is playing up to its presumed audience's love of adoption, support for gay rights, and racial bias. General Mills is also reinforcing the erroneous belief that the first family is a threat or at least irrelevant and that love solves every problem in adoption, or at least if there is a problem, it is not the fathers' fault.

    Therefore we at FMF dislike this ad.

  26. We have said repeatedly that we are for gay rights, but it is undeniable that when a new community of individuals--the gay community, in this case--seek to adopt in large numbers, there is continuing pressure on the industry as a whole to find children for parents, instead of simply looking for parents for children who need families. Especially when you have, as noted above, the president of Apple thanking God for making him gay...so he can adopt?

    "...As I mentioned earlier...."--as we presumed, we can now assume you are the writer of all the previous arguments under one or two different names. Ms Pegis, to clarify her point, is the single mother of a girl adopted from China.

  27. Apparently Ms. Pegis is not Lisa, from a comment we received.



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