Fall TV Is All About Adoption

This fall, it seems like most of primetime has gone baby crazy.  


Two TV shows have prominently featured main characters giving birth in the past two weeks and there's also been a mini-boomlet in adoption storylines, including two stories involving same-sex couples.  


Ironically, the stories involving the same-sex couples’ adoptions seem to be the ones that appear relatively trouble-free, thus far anyway.  


NBC’s Parenthood, which just saw a heterosexual married main character, Kristina Braverman, give birth to her third child, also shined a spotlight on another married couple’s attempts to adopt a child after the wife couldn’t get pregnant. This couple, lawyer Julia Braverman-Graham and her stay-at-home husband Joel Graham who looks after their grade school aged daughter Sydney, struggled all last season with infertility issues before finally reaching the decision to go the adoption route.


When Parenthood’s third season began last month, Julia and Joel had already been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for adoption agencies to tell them that a pregnant woman had selected them to adopt her child. But the phone never rang, prompting successful careerist Julia to start second-guessing herself and questioning whether the adoption video she and Joel created was somehow sub-par compared to other would-be adoptive families. 


Enter Zoe, the young, single, broke pregnant woman who pushes the coffee cart around Julia’s law office. Upon learning that Zoe intended to give her baby up for adoption, Julia actually asked her if she and Joel could do the honors, after joking with her husband about “buying” the “coffee cart girl’s baby.” Zoe eventually agreed, especially after she spent some quality time with Julia, Joel and their daughter Sydney. However, if Parenthood spoilers are any indication, adopting Zoe’s baby is not going to be a piece of cake as the baby daddy is expected to show up and complicate matters.


This Parenthood storyline has annoyed BlogHER writer Jenna Hatfield, a birth mother who is “involved in a fully open adoption,” according to her blog, and she hasn’t exactly been a fan of how this whole thing is playing out. 


After Julia initially started toying with the idea of adopting Zoe’s baby, Hatfield predicted that the writers might go have Julia and Joel support Zoe and “invest time and money” into the process only to have Zoe not give them the baby or opt to fight them in court for custody. 


After a recent episode where Julia’s father questioned whether Zoe was just after money, or whether Zoe was even definitively pregnant, Hatfield suggested that the Parenthood writers consider showing what this is like for Zoe and “at least offer a scene or two to how mothers considering placement deal with their own familial craziness - without getting into a storyline that pits (potential) birth mother against (reluctant) birth father.” Time will tell if Hatfield gets her wish.