What is it about being a dedicated career woman and the prospect of adoption that it has suddenly popped up as a major storyline in three primetime programs?
House, 30 Rock and Brothers & Sisters are currently featuring adoption stories: An unmarried hospital administrator, a single head writer of a TV show and a married former communications director for a presidential candidate/senator are waiting for birth mothers to choose their arms as the safe harbor for their newborns. Thus far in the season, two out of the three fictional characters have been rejected by birth mothers who’d initially picked them to raise their unborn babies, and the third was told by an adoption agency coordinator that her intense work schedule was a factor in rejecting her as a prospective adoptive mother. What gives?
On House, the frequent foil for the cantankerous Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie), Dr. Lisa Cuddy (played by Lisa Edelstein) has, for several seasons of the award-winning Fox drama endured a long, sad slog through fertility treatments, tried to find a sperm donor, then tried and failed to get pregnant. In this fifth season, Cuddy was thisclose to adopting a baby.
In a recent episode, a young woman named Becca, who got pregnant by mistake, selected Cuddy to adopt her unborn child. Cuddy had impressed her with her smarts, Becca said, with her career and self-assuredness. But Becca changed her mind about the adoption shortly after the baby, which Cuddy named Joy, was born. Despite having told Cuddy in the delivery room, “She’s yours now,” Becca later recanted: “When I saw you hold her and the look on your face, it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. And that’s when I realized I can’t.” Saying she didn’t “want to be a loser,” Becca said she would raise the baby on her own. It was heartbreaking to watch Cuddy prepping the nursery and painting it a cheerful yellow in one scene, then see her return home with empty arms, the new crib filled with not a baby but a big heap of unopened baby gear.
In ABC’s Brothers & Sisters, Calista Flockhart’s character Kitty Walker has likewise endured fertility treatments and suffered a traumatic miscarriage, all while her new husband, a senator with two children from a previous marriage, made a failed bid for the presidency. Now the couple is in the midst of trying to adopt a baby.