There’s another show. It’s airing on Logo on October 30, and they’re entitling it “The Baby Wait.” This isn’t about the wait one experiences when pregnant with a baby and it’s not about the wait many hopeful adoptive parents encounter from the time they first become “paper pregnant” to when they adopt a child. The show is based in Connecticut, where apparently after a mother signs relinquishment documents she has thirty days to change her mind. The article says about the show,
The story chronicles the 30 days when a biological mother in Connecticut is legally allowed to change her mind about an adoption.
However from what the article I read about the show says, this show isn’t about the “birth mother.” It’s about the “agony” the adoptive parents go through during their wait for the termination to become final. If you’ve read any of my blog posts about shows similar to this before, for example when I wrote about “Birth Moms,” aired on TLC, and Oxygen Network’s “I’m Having Their Baby,” you know that I think shows like this should not be aired. You also know that I think shows about “birth moms” are highly coercive, and this show is no different in that regard.
The thirty-day wait commences when the mother signs the termination of parental rights, but during that time period she has the opportunity to change her mind about the adoption. Her regrets may be so strong that she decides she will do anything to be able to raise her child, or something may change after the baby’s birth and the termination of parental rights that will give her resources to raise her child. Whatever the reason, I believe the waiting period is there so that the mother has fewer opportunities for regret if she allows the waiting period to expire without revocation of her consent.
I have mixed feelings about such a long wait after signing TPR. I do think it’s wonderful to give the mom as much time as it takes to make the decision she’s going to make. But forcing a long wait time can be just as emotionally coercive as telling someone that they’ll have no opportunity to change their mind. I’m not saying being a parent is a horrible thing at all. But just as I strongly believe as wonderful as adoption can be that it’s not a choice for everyone, I also believe that parenting can be wonderful but is not an appropriate choice for everyone. I read a book called “Delivered: My Harrowing Journey as a Birthmother” by Michelle Thorne. The book chronicles Michelle’s thoughts and feelings from the time she finds out she’s pregnant to the time when she surrenders her son, Dylan, to adoption. The year was 2000 and she surrendered in the state of Tennessee. Back then the wait was seven days until relinquishment was final. Now, according to a document I found on The Adoption Center’s website, the wait has been increased to ten days. Michelle said in her book that the seven days she had to wait was agony. She says of her wait,
I wanted my baby, and I was thankful that I no longer had that choice. If I had waited any longer, I wouldn’t have made it.
Michelle knew that relinquishing her son was a good choice for her and for her son, but having the ability to change her mind nearly changed her resolve.
So why do I have such a problem with the show if the focus is on the adoptive parents and not on the “birth mom?” I have a problem with the show because just as with “Birth Moms” and “I’m Having Their Baby,” the show’s focus on adoptive parents continues the assumption that adoption is all about them. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Adoption is not and never should be about the parents hoping to adopt. Adoption should be child-centered and not parent-centered.
Adoption being child-centered does include that child’s parents. It means giving the parent(s) resources to parent should they decide that’s in the best interest of their child. It means providing support post-relinquishment for the permanency of the relationship between the new adoptive parent(s) and the new birth parent(s) if the decision is to choose adoption. It means providing thorough education that’s hopefully as unbiased as possible for all the choices a mother can make when she faces an unplanned pregnancy.
When the link for this show was shared on Adoption Trauma’s facebook page, I commented and said that I felt again like I was banging my head repeatedly against a brick wall just for fun. But one of the other gals that commented on the post reminded me that it’s also another opportunity for education. This is why I keep writing about the fact that I believe shows like these should be taken off the air. I don’t really need the additional writing topics, and I certainly don’t need practice repeating myself. I’d actually much prefer to not acknowledge the shows at all. But just as the other gal said, it’s an opportunity for education. I will take it.
Listen up, people!