The Hollywood Adoption Fairy Tale

Hollywood.  Over the past week several T.V. shows and movies have come to my attention that concern adoption in one aspect or another.  I made myself sit down and watch them all to gain some perspective on what viewers see about adoption.

Hollywood’s portrayal of adoption is much skewed and contributes, I believe, to the overall reasons why many are led to adopt.  This idea of “saving” a child and doing what “God led us to do”.  None of these adoption stories are even close to real life.  Except for the mom in the last scenario who is treated like a criminal.  That is more real than any of us would want to think.

So much of adoption is based on emotion, which I have already addressed should NEVER be a part of the decision to adopt.  These three adoption scenarios glorify adoption, completely play down all negatives if there are any to begin with, and show these adopted children/teens to be well worth the time and money to adopt.  And they show zero negative impact upon the adoptive family or bio children.

First scenario.  A movie where a loving, godly couple with a younger teen son adopts a teenager who is troubled and older than their bio son.  The bio son is against the adoption and the couple overrides his feelings with “we are being led by God to do this and we will do it and you have nothing to say in the matter”.  BLECH!  I’ll bet you’re going to care when your bio son becomes suicidal because of abuse by the adopted son or when he completely turns your home upside down and you don’t even know who you are anymore.  Oh wait!  This is a Hollywood movie.  Not real life.

Before too long they have this teen in their home and then the trouble starts, but it’s nowhere near the magnitude of the troubles I talk about in this book.  In fact, had our adoptions been like this Hollywood version this book would not be written at all.  We would all be living happily ever after with no PTSD, no trauma, no picking up the pieces of our lives that are in shambles.

In this story, after being brought into the home the boy is somewhat argumentative.  He basically goes into his room and slams the door.  Wow!  That’s rough.  No screaming profanities, pure rage or breakage of furniture and dishes or anything else in his sight.  I roll my eyes at the screen.   Where is the “I hate you and you’re not my mom” or “you’re a bitch and I’m calling the police on you and reporting you for abuse for telling me to do the dishes.”

Later the boy climbs out of his bedroom window because he is angry.  He vandalizes some property.  He apologizes and the owner forgives him as long as he cleans up the mess.  He does and does it without ANY complaining.  Not only that, he does such a professional job that he is offered several jobs by community business owners.  He worked later than asked and did more than the job required.  Everyone is raving over how special this teen is.  (If you’re an adoptive parent you’re probably ready to puke right about now.)

WHAT?  You mean the parents didn’t have to threaten the boy to get him to go do his community service?  To remind him that if he doesn’t show up that he will have to do jail time and didn’t get bad mouthing in return?  That he didn’t complain the entire time, waste a lot of time and got barely anything done so that the owner had to call the parents several times and eventually the parents had to drop everything to drive over and practically stand over him to get him to do the job??? And then he complained the entire time the parents were there and he told them that this was all their fault anyway so they should be the one doing the work.  Of course, the parents forced the teen to run off, steal stuff from the store owner and then damage her property.

Later in the movie he is late to an appointment and they are all disappointed.  They were so sure he had turned a corner.  Soon it’s found out that he was helping someone in their time of trouble so all is forgiven.  REALLY?  That is a troubled kid?  Even the bio teen within a day or so of the adopted teen coming into their family is all lovey-dovey and how can I help you transition into our family and I will have your back and not tell our parents that you are doing something wrong and you are my brother and blah, blah, blah.  By the end of the movie everyone is living happily ever after with the adopted teen fully integrated as a family member as if he was born there and now he even has his own little thriving business, is an upstanding member of the local church and dating the pastor’s daughter, who he just happened to help through a traumatic experience.  SCREAM!!!!

I told Tom no wonder people go out and adopt.  They want this fairy tale.  And in fact, this is what we thought it was going to be like.  Boy were we ever wrong.  Hollywood is WRONG!!  THIS is NOT real life adoption and if you believe it is like this and you adopt you’re in for some BIG trouble.

Second scenario.  Highly rated T.V. show.  Famous actress travels to a third world country and adopts a little child.  They are home and all of a sudden the biological father shows up and wants his son back.  Seems the child was taken from the parents by an orphanage who told them that they were going to give the child a free education.  The orphanage then makes money by selling the child through adoption.  The parents find out the child has been adopted and follows the child to America to get him back.  The woman goes to court to keep “her” child.  Everyone feels sorry for the woman.  And I agree that it wasn’t her fault in the beginning.  Her heart was in the right place. This is where reason should have taken place and not emotion.  Before going to this country she had zero intention of adopting.  She hadn’t researched it.  She didn’t even know the right questions to ask.  She did no investigation on this child or even on adopting.  Pure emotion.

However, once she finds out that the child has a set of parents, and siblings, back in their home country, that is where that child belongs.  Period.  This happens in real life more than you think.  Here is a CNN article with real life situations.  Get ready to be really angry.  This story has a happy ending though.  These girls were reunited with their families in their home countries.  Thank goodness for good people who did the right thing.

CNN: Kids for sale: My mom was tricked

Third scenario.  This one made my blood boil.  They found some children who had been taken by traffickers.  One boy about 9 years old was traced back to a couple who adopted him from Asia.  Seems the father traveled a lot on business so mom was left with adopted son plus twin daughters who were little.  Mom ended up re-homing without dad’s knowledge when he was gone on another business trip.  It ended up that the re-homing website was really a front for traffickers.

Now in real life, re-homing does take place, but you can’t just hand your adopted child over to strangers.  There are home studies, attorneys, and the whole gamut of adoption requirements that take place so the show took great liberty here in order to show this wife to be a nut case.  Quite unfair and that’s only the beginning.  Where do they get this stuff?

When the police show up at the home the father is incensed at the wife.  How could you?  He is my son.  He is such a good boy.  The wife, of course, sees the real child.  She looks like one of us; drawn, exhausted, not really alive anymore.  She tells police that the child was constantly lying, stealing, abusive, and that she was afraid for her daughters.  Boy did that hit home.  The police and her husband treat her like a criminal.  No way is that sweet boy like you say.  (Triangulation and manipulation at its finest).  They don’t believe a word she says.  In fact all the times she told her husband prior to this he blew her off.  HUSBANDS believe your wives!!  I wanted to slap this man!

The program goes on to show how loving the boy is to everyone he meets and the mom, who has borne the brunt of his brutality is now under a cloud of suspicion.

In a real life scenario she will get divorced and lose custody of her daughters, who now live with her ex-husband and the boy who is now physically and sexually abusing her girls and there is nothing she can do about it because she is not even allowed visitation.  YUP!  THAT is real world.  Where is Hollywood on that one?

Stupid!  Stupid!  Stupid!  After those three shows I realized that if Hollywood is this messed up it’s no wonder we all do this stupid thing.  We are set up for failure at the beginning.  We expect the fairy tale and it doesn’t exist.

Seriously this is like watching Cinderella and after she gets married not only is her new husband not prince charming at home but he is a drunk and a verbally and physically abusive man.  To everyone outside the marriage he is still prince charming.  Once in the home with Cinderella he is a monster.  She tells a few of her friends and someone at her church.  They tell her one or more of the following:

I can’t believe that, he is such a nice prince.

He just needs more love.

What are you doing to him to cause this behavior?

Just give it more time.

He had a bad childhood.  Just love him through it.

You should go to counseling.

Are you sure?  He seems really amazing to me.  I would love someone like him.

NO!  They don’t say things like this if you have an abusive spouse.  Or at least I hope they don’t. If they do, you need better friends and a new church.  People don’t say these things if you have an abusive spouse.  BUT they have no issue saying it to you about your adopted child/teen.  You can count on it.

Or this is something I truly hate.  With a sad look they will tell you that they never thought you should do this adoption thing anyway.  Or that they had other friends who adopted and had horrible things happen to them but figured if they told you about it you wouldn’t listen so they didn’t tell you.  Or that they figured you already knew what you were getting into.

Honestly, the number of people who told me they knew about bad adoptions but didn’t tell me because they figured I wouldn’t listen anyway – OH MY GOD!  Really!!  Do you have any idea how angry that makes me to hear you tell me that!  Do you KNOW what my family went through?  And you KNEW!  And you didn’t want to tell me WHY?  Because you figured I was some self-righteous proud arrogant fool who wouldn’t listen anyway?  UGH!!!  I want to throw up.

I would rather you have told me and if we went through with it anyway you could have said, “I told you so”.  I could stomach that more.  But you took away my choice.

Anyway, that’s for another chapter in the book.

Back to Hollywood.

Hollywood has it WRONG when it comes to adoption.  Totally wrong!  It’s a fairy tale no different from anything else they put out.  It has zero basis in truth.

Once again I will say make the disclaimer that yes, there are some good adoptions.  If you have one of those or you know someone who does, good for you.  I’m over the moon happy for you and your family.  In the lottery of adoption you won big.  But there are far more losers than winners in the lottery and in adoption world.  I would like to see some reality from Hollywood so that more families at least know the truth of what they just might be getting into instead of believing the fairy tale and potentially destroying their family.

Hollywood lies.  That’s just simply my opinion.




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2 Responses to The Hollywood Adoption Fairy Tale

  1. Susan Smithburg says:

    And why, oh, who, oh, WHY does law enforcement and CPS NOT have a CLUE???!!!! It’s not like these situations (manipulation, lying stealing, “Prince Charming” on the outside, abuse, killing pets, starting fires, I could go on and on and on) are rare!!! Your book (and mine when I actually put pen to paper) are needed to tell some of the REAL stories. And Yes, I, too am over the moon happy for the families where adoption works out. After all, my brother and my husband are adoptees. But too many times it DOESN’T work out & those left to pick up the pieces (mom) bear the brunt of the mess. Oh, and this one hit the bullseye, “Where is the “I hate you and you’re not my mom” or “you’re a bitch and I’m calling the police on you and reporting you for abuse for telling me to do the dishes.” The ramifications of those accusations, especially when law enforcement BELIEVES the child, without investigating deeper, are devastating. Thank you for continuing to highlight these scenarios and their real life examples. Maybe another life or family can be saved.

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