January 8th, 2007
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My co-blogger, Heather’s recent post about the media’s ignorance in portraying birthparents got me thinking about my own rant. They not only are ignorant about birthparents but about the whole adoption subject as a whole and will use it at any time to make a story “juicier.” This subject has been on my mind a lot lately as the subject of adoption keeps coming up in the news more and more.

Have you noticed how the media uses adoption to describe people in their stories? At times, adoption is a pertinent part of the story and needs mentioning but other times it is pointless and I think the only reason it is mentioned is to sensationalize the story a tad bit more.

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For example, there was a big local story back in the fall, about two children who were found in a park greatly malnourished and alone while their mother was out shopping. It was one of the big stories around these parts for a bit, bearing mentioning on the local news and headlining on the front page in the local newspaper. The children were taken from her and she was charged with child neglect. Instead of using this story as a platform to educate others about child abuse or child neglect, the local media put the main emphasis of the story on the fact that these children were adopted and that this was their adoptive mother and all the headlines read that. “Adoptive mother starves children,” read the headlines. I’m sure you’ve seen it before and you know what I am talking about, right?

In most stories like this one, I don’t think it matters whether the child is adopted or not. If this woman was going to starve her children and leave them unattended while she went shopping, it seems like she probably would have done that whether they were adopted or biological children. So why draw the negative attention to adoption by focusing on that fact? Sadly, I guess sensationalizing the story sells newspapers and increases ratings.

3 Responses to “Ranting about the Media and Adoption too!”

  1. lahdh4 says:

    You would think that they would like to educate the public but after seeing Dateline and their lack of educating others I don’t see others doing it. By throwing a “title” in the story it will get the readers and viewers.

  2. I agree Coley. Adoption seems to get ratings for the tv channels and sells newspapers. Even in schools, I have heard people say this child gets bad grades or acts bad because they are adopted. I agree Coley, when someone does something and they are part of the adoption triad, people say it is because they were adopted, they are an adoptive parent, or they are a birth parent.

  3. Jupe says:

    I agree with all of you, but what worries me is that the whole ‘blame it on adoption’ thing is also running rampant through many adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents as well. Maybe we are the ones that need to start the education process, even if it is by staying calm long enough to give a reality check to someone making ignorant statements.

    Perhaps at some point, knowing facts and figures off the top of our heads and having weblinks in mind that can help to dispell myths and give them to people that seem to want to put a negative spin on everything adoption, are the first steps to changing perceptions.

    Concerning the woman who abused the two children she adopted (neglect is a form of abuse), I agree that perhaps this person would have been abusive whether she gave birth to her kids or adopted them. The thing is, no one can control who is giving birth, but there are controls on who can adopt. Of course it is impossible to know what someone will be like once they are really a parent, but perhaps getting screening processes more finely tuned (note: that does not mean more difficult, but rather more accurate/precise.)

    And from an adoptee point of view, there isn’t much worse than having someone that had to make a great deal of effort to have you in their lives then turn around and abuse you like a toy they just don’t want to play with anymore…

    As for media and the ratings game, how sad is it that the public needs any ‘icing’ on the horror cake of abuse in the first place in order to pay attention…

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