Before I begin this post, I suppose I have no choice but to admit publicly that I read People magazine. There, I said it. English teacher. Lover of words. I thoroughly, completely, and I guess now unabashedly devour every issue of People magazine. (I also adore Will Ferrell movies, but that’s a story for another day.)
But though I will admit to reading it (and there I am probably using the word “reading” a bit loosely), I promptly forget about it as soon as I’m finished.
Well, that is until recently.
On the cover of the September 20th issue is a young couple who, I guess, have a reality show. Since almost everyone does these days, they didn’t strike me as particularly interesting–that is until I took a closer look at the cover. This is a teenage couple that made an adoption plan for their daughter. The cover would lead you to believe that they were having all manner of second thoughts; and, quite frankly, as an adoptive parent, I found the cover rather alarmist. I fearfully scanned the table of contents, located the article, and read it, all the while thinking that this was going to be yet another dramatic adoption-related story that will alternately give this amazing way to form a family, yet again, a bad name and scare off potential adoptive parents.
The article, of course, had nothing to do with the cover. Quite the contrary, the young couple praised the parents they selected; and the article was anything but dramatic.
So, I took to my computer and penned this little note to the magazine in between dinner and bath time tonight:
As an adoptive parent of three children, I feel the need to comment on the cover of your September 20th issue. The serious, even somber expressions of Tyler and Catelynn coupled with the words “WE MISS OUR BABY” emblazoned across their photograph probably led many readers, especially those who have not seen their show, to believe that they had had a change of heart regarding the brave and selfless adoption plan they made for Carly. The perpetuation of this fear, marketed in such a dramatic fashion, does a decided disservice to those considering adoption. Prospective adoptive parents need to be supported and encouraged–not made to feel that the “adoption drama” you reference on the cover is likely to be their reality. Tyler and Catelynn have suffered a loss, and that needs to be honored, but so, too, does their very positive attitude about the wonderful family they chose to parent Carly.
I realize that this is simply a popular magazine that ultimately has the staying power of the subjects of the majority of their stories; however, as Oscar, Edgar, and August’s mother, I am often compelled to say what needs to be said when sensitivity if not common sense is overlooked. The magazine may opt not to publish the letter–or they may. It will ultimately be up to them. But for me, I wanted to publish it here as I remind my children that an adoption journey is a miraculous one–and that anyone or anything that denigrates it or seeks to spin it in such a way so as to sell more magazines and advertising space deserves to be called out on it. How vociferously they call out the world on its transgressions as they relate to adoption will be up to my children to decide. But by my doing so I hope to remove the drama and instill pride in this honorable and beautiful way to form a family.