Friday, May 18, 2012

TLC's Birth Moms .... hmmmm

Thursday night TLC aired a program called Birth Moms. I had read a few things about it, but to be honest I have been so busy that I forgot it was on. That was until I ventured onto Facebook to update the Little League page and saw multiple posts from friends about this show.

The comment that I read intrigued me because it was nothing that I would not expect from something of this nature. But some of them were very upset and I figured that I might be able to catch it on an encore presentation, and lucky for me it was on.

It was very hard to watch. Three girls, all from different backgrounds, all with children prior to the current pregnancy were living in a group home/apartment complex waiting to have their babies and complete their adoption process. Well, of course there is going to be drama, that is what people want. And of course the programing will be put into the reality category because that is what it is, real life. It was this combination as well as the drinking, smoking, cursing and shoplifting of one of the mothers. She was the one that had everyone in a bunch and rightfully so. She was a pretty degrading example of what a birth mother is. Comments from others had already tipped me off to what I was going to see, but the longer it went on ... the more I could see everyone's point.

However, I stuck with it and I have to say that there were things that I liked very much about the show. It was not until the last 25 minutes or so that TLC saved themselves with the broadcast. It was pretty amazing to see that they were with the girls through the birth and then after when their hearts began to break down. I was pleased to see that TLC did not shy away from how very difficult and gut wrenching relinquishing rights can be. I mean I was still, breathing ever so lightly so that I could hear everything those girls were saying. To see their faces, to know exactly what they were thinking in those moments just before and just after they put their signature to the paper .... I was very, very pleased to see this process so raw, so honestly. Why? Because EVERY WOMAN that is considering adoption should know how difficult it is, and they should know that it will hit them like a ton of bricks when it is there, black and white in their face ... they will not be with their child. Not ever. Not like a mom would be, night and day, colds and health, sadness and joy ... it is all gone with a stroke of a pen.

That part of the journey is rarely seen, and more so it is rarely talked about. The tall tale sign in those moments was the look of shock on the social workers face. I could see that she was ill prepared for what she would witness and both could not get out of the room quick enough. I am not say that I am happy for these girls sorrow and pain. Obviously that is not what I am pleased with. I want all women and men to know what it is that they will be doing when considering adoption, what it will mean for the rest of their lives. So good on TLC for filming that and keeping it in the show.

Another good point to Birth Moms in that last 10 minutes was the moments they chose to show with the adoptive parents. One couple, infertile with two failed adoptions were there for every step of labor and the joy in their becoming a family was wonderful to see. The other couple had three children of their own and wanted to adopt. Taylor, their birth mother and the one that I connected with the most, had only met them the night before and was really struggling with her decision. She waited a little longer than the mandatory time, but she did in fact sign the papers so her son could go home with the couple she chose. Then, the biggest surprise for me came when they were with the parents. The father, holding the baby and quietly crying tears began to speak about how he would make sure that every day of his life he would sing the praises of his birth mother. He would make sure that his son knew the sacrifice his birth mother endured and will endure so that her son could have a life with his family, be raised with love and understanding that she was a good person. He stressed that his family would embrace Taylor the way they were embracing her son, that they would always see her as family. To see that side, that pure affection for a woman who touched their lives with a new life, a new child ... it was wonderful. 

Those last 20 minutes made the show worthwhile, so if you did not watch beyond the Mexican Restaurant then go find it and finish it out. You might be surprised by what you see, even Candice becomes human after going off the deep end just two weeks prior. 

I think if it is going to be a series, TLC should seek out women in ALL stages of this birth mother journey. There are some brilliant voices both for, and against, that so many can benefit from. I would hate to see this be the 16 & Pregnant of TLC. They have an opportunity to shed some real light, light that would only benefit those out there. Let's hope that if it comes to that, we can all help each other be heard to share more stories that are adoption.


ROBYN Chittister said...

Hi Kelsey,
I think this is the only time that I've ever disagreed with you. :) I wrote my own post about why I wouldn't be watching Birthmoms:

You do make an interesting point, though, about people needing to know how difficult and heartwrenching relinquishing is. I have a feeling there's a way to do that without exploiting expectant parents.