Adoption In Television

Two of our current favorite shows are Supergirl and The Flash.  Both have inadvertent adoption/foster care themes.  Barry Allen’s (a.k.a. The Flash) father is in prison as the show starts and he has been raised by his foster father, Joe.  Since he has raised from age 11, he thinks of him as a son and Joe is another father to Barry.  Meanwhile, Kara’s (a.k.a. Supergirl) parents died on Krypton and she was adopted by The Danvers.  Alex is her sister and, even though, Alex often breaks my rule of identifying Kara as her “adopted” sister, it’s clear that she loves and accepts her completely as a sister.

But, the shows’ terminology makes me nervous.  There’s also a lot of mentions of “real mom” and similar statements.  So, I worry about whether it will trigger any insecurities or doubt in the kids, especially William.  But, I remind myself as I’m watching that I can’t keep them from hearing things and wondering.  I have to focus on making sure that they are as secure as possible so that simple labels won’t touch them.  Also, they are really good shows and I don’t want to stop watching them with them. 😉

The other day, William was talking about Supergirl and referencing her birth aunt who had come to Earth to cause all kinds of trouble.  When he tried to talk about her, he hesitated like he was unsure of whether he could call her Kara’s aunt.  Sadly, I probably made him that way.  He knows that I’m sensitive to references to his birth mother and he’s probably unsure if that will apply to other aspects.  But, the thing is that’s not entirely true.  As much I’d like to pretend that there was no mother before me; there was.  The good news is that she didn’t raise the bar too high so I think it’s safe to say that I was an improvement.  But, the fact is she still exists and I have to be adult enough to deal with that.  Or at least strong enough to pretend to deal with it when my kids are around. 🙂  And, I have told him more than once that it’s ok to bring her up if he needs to and to ask any questions that he has.  But, in the end, William is always going to worry about hurting me.  It is very sweet, but probably not so good for him.

Anyway, I said that he seemed unsure of what to call her and acknowledged that she was, in fact, Kara’s aunt.  I suggested a couple options if he needed to clarify like “birth aunt, biological aunt, or even, Krypton aunt.”  Admittedly, that one doesn’t carry over to reality so much.  But, in our preferred world of superheroes, it worked.

I also mentioned how I noticed that the show characters point out often that Kara is Alex’s adopted sister, instead of just saying sister.

William, “Yeah!  Why do they do that?”

Me – (something like this) – “Mostly, the writers are trying to clarify for the audience who is who.  But, really, Alex doesn’t think of Kara as her adopted sister, she’s just her sister.  The world does love labels, though.”

He agreed that was silly.

(I realize now that this was ironic since I had just given him several labels to use in regards to his aunt, of course, but I’m stuck with it.)

Anyway, I went on.  I was on a roll and doing what I always do.  I was trying to cover as many angles as I could think of at once, haha.

“The show also shows that there are many different kinds of families, doesn’t it?   She’s got her birth family from Krypton, her adoptive family on Earth, and her friend family on Earth.  They have different forms, but they’re all her families.”

He agreed.

Because, I never miss an opportunity, I emphasized again that her adoptive family is legit and important.  And, that they don’t feel differently towards her because she’s adopted.

Then I added, “Do you think Aunt Monica (my sister) would love you differently if you were biologically related to her? Would she love you more?”

He said no.

Upping the anty, I said. “Do you think that I would love you differently if I gave birth to you?”

Unexpectedly, William paused and said “Well, yeah, kind of.”

Ok, that was not what I expected.  I guess I expected him to say no because it was the right answer.  Then I would say something about how much I love them and would hope that he internalized it.

But, “Yeah, kind of?”

With affected casualness, I asked him why.

Then, putting my fears to rest, he said “You might love me differently because you chose me.”

Did he just suggest that I would love him less if he were biological?  Not true, either.  But, I can live with that. 🙂

“We sure did.  We chose you.  All of you.  We were meant to be.”

I know that my boy has a ton of insecurities and a fear of rejection that puts Peter Parker to shame, but, in that moment, part of him got that he was meant to be with us.

He is my son.  My adopted son.  My legal son.  My crazy son.  My too much energy in the morning son.  He is my son.

And I would choose him, any day of the week.


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14 thoughts on “Adoption In Television

  1. Such beautiful posts! You have a lovely way of capturing your every day experiences with your family. I have always enjoyed your blog. I haven't read it in a while so it's nice to come back and \”catch up\” and see how other families are learning and growing and trying to make the most out of each teachable moment.


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