Monday, November 30, 2009

Have You Seen "Find My Family"?

If you haven't seen it yet, the next show airs TONIGHT (Monday, Nov. 30) at 9/8c on ABC. 

Find My Family.

The adoption community is waiting to see how the show's producers will treat the complex issues surrounding adoption and reunion. Hopefully the show won't merely sensationalize what are often highly emotional reunion events. Hopefully it won't over-commercialize these personal experiences.

The show's host, Tim Green, is a reunited adoptee, so his personal involvement in adoption might abate some of these fears, but we'll have to see. A preview of the show aired last week, and Tom Shales of the Washington Post found it to be a touching tear-jerker in his review. If you caught the show last week, what did you think?

Excerpt from a NY Times review:

The six-episode series has a lot in common with “The Locator” on the WE channel. In each case the show acts as private investigator, tracking down missing loved ones. “Find My Family” differs on two counts: It appears to focus almost exclusively on adoptees, and it plays down the detective work to make more time for the catharsis.

In real life the issues surrounding the reunification of adoptees and birth parents are difficult and often contentious. Not so on “Find My Family.” The primary host, Tim Green, sums up the show’s ethos in the premiere when he tells a couple searching for the daughter they gave up years before, “I think every adopted person’s dream is to be found.” Mr. Green and his co-host, Lisa Joyner, are adoptees — “like a lot of people working on this show,” he says — and at a successful mother-and-child reunion his tears flow along with the family’s.
The possibility that someone might not want to meet a parent or child whom she’s never known is acknowledged, but in the segments made available for review, it’s just a plot device, something to generate a little suspense before the inevitable group hug. “Find My Family” will become more interesting — and more genuinely moving — if it ever allows itself to depict the consequences of rejection. (Of course rejection would mean turning down not only the chance to meet a crucial person in your life but also the chance to appear on television.)
The general air of hokum can’t completely hide the complexity of the show’s situations however....

Blogger China AdoptionTalk says: "I think this show is going to open up more conversations at work, and could very well open up some conversations within our extended family."

I highly recommend reading Dusky's FirtMother Forum for an indepth look at Gladney from "The Locator" who found duplicated non-IDs and lost of false info!


Angelle said...

I think the show does a great service even though 30 minutes is a short time.

Where does all of the "legally binding - never to search" BS come from? If someone needed a bone marrow transplant for example they should never look for a match and be doomed to a death sentence?

Can someone please straighten this guy out?

AdoptAuthor said...

Haven't seen it. Will try to catch it tonight.

But legally binding and no right to search is the law! Hopefully a show like this will show how discriminating and dangerous those laws are.

maryanne said...

I think the only legally binding thing on a surrender paper is giving up parental rights. Surrenders are all different, some say something about never "interfering" with the child's life, others do not. In any event, it is not a contract in the sense that there are any legal repercussions for searching. Searching and reuniting are NOT against the law. There is no "contract" or anything "legally binding" that forbids searching. That reviewer had it wrong.

The law forbids adoptees and surrendering parents from getting the original birth certificate and other records in some cases, but we all know how many people have searched and reunited without access to those records.

Sealed records are an insult to adoptee rights and human dignity, but they do not make searching or reuniting illegal.

Legal issues, which this show has not yet addressed, are different from reunion issues.

The quote about "every adoptee's dream is to be found" is as wrong as "every mother dreads being found." We all know searches have all kinds of outcome, good and bad. Reality TV simplifies and dumbs down what is indeed a complex and abiguous issue as far as post-reunion relationships are concerned. That is why the emotional reunion stuff needs to be separate from rights issues.

AdoptAuthor said...

Thanks for clarifying. You are absolutely right about the relinquishment and the variety of conditions they state. And as I said: "there is no RIGHT TO search" and the law "seals' the original birth certificate and all other adoption records, creating no legal access other than the alleged court order which is refused 99.9% of the time - even in dire medical need..

One of my pre-show concerns is that shows of this nature often make it appear that "anyone can find anyone." That is true to a degree. In some cases the non id info and lots of time and effort are also successful. But there are many adopted persons who will never be able to locate those they seek because records have been so totally falsified or destroyed. Others have been successful only after violating laws that protect 'sealed records' and or paying large sums of money. It makes criminals of law -abiding citizens who need to commit civil disobedience or chicanery to obtain information they should simply have access to at will.

One can only hope that the issue of RIGHTS is addressed...but it's less likely to attract ratings.

Angelle said...

"But legally binding and no right to search is the law."

Is this really the law? I have no idea. BTW my son and I have his OBC. I was a minor who could not have "legally" entered into a "contract" when I lost him. They took my baby away from me.

I HATE adoption, I hate my that my son
sometimes seems like a stranger to me, I hate (qualified) his mom for being cruel to him when it comes to me, but WE are so lucky we are together now, and we are sooo alike. So there society!

AdoptAuthor said...


I'm glad you are reunited. Your parents may have signed for you, or you may have been ruled an emancipated minor and signed a relinquishment without being aware what you were signing.

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