The Pie Baker

Fresh from the Oven

Looking for a Family?

Strap on your boots, friends because this one is about to get pretty bumpy! I wish to share my musings on the newest ABC “reality” television show to really piss me off. If you have missed the alphabet channel’s latest installment of entertainment exploitation porn, then consider yourself one of the fortunate ones. I admit I was mildly curious when I saw the ads appear during my guilty pleasure Dancing with the Stars viewings, so I gave the sneak preview a little look-see. Color me horrified.

The premise of this treacle is to reunite biological children and parents who were separated because of adoption. Before I go any further, I need to clarify that I am a part of the adoption triad: as an infant, I was placed for adoption because my biological mother was just 16 years of age. And in the 60’s it was quite the blight on a family to have an unwed pregnant daughter. There are myriad reasons why women choose to place their unborn children for adoption and far be it from me to judge anyone for making the choice. I even considered it briefly when I learned I was pregnant with the Pie. So to me, the issue is not the irrelevant WHY a child is placed for adoption, but WHAT did the biological mother do with her life after giving birth? But I digress…

The show begins with a man whose teeth are far too big for his mouth explaining what the show is all about and showing off a remarkably cheesy “family tree” under which reunions will take place. He introduces the viewing audience to the victim…er, participant who has expressed a particular interest in locating a biological relative. Sappy music underlies the narration as we view photos of innocent youths who have no clue that someday they will pimp their personal business on national television. There is a thinly veiled suggestion in the show that every adopted child should feel compelled to find his or her biological parents, and that aforementioned parents should yearn to fill the void the adoption created in their lives.

We hear both sides of the story, music swells and each party tearfully runs toward the other beneath the tree. The emotional manipulation continues as they both sob “I love you” (to a total stranger, I might add…) and then everyone lives happily ever after. Right?

Umm…not so much. While I can certainly understand having questions, I never wanted to meet my biological mother. I was curious about what she became after school and what opportunities she had, but I never desired to show up on her doorstep one day and potentially ruin both our lives. Unfortunately, I eventually learned that she went on to have 4 more children and gave 3 of them up for adoption. Each child except the last one had different childhoods because the girl couldn’t seem to keep her legs together. The boy born after me is only 11 months younger. The youngest girl is 9 years younger than me. It seems to me that the egg-donor has some issues.

My parents supported the idea of searching for her if it was what I wanted, but I didn’t. When members of my biological gene pool came looking for me, it was not happily ever after; it was awkward and suffocating to face people who wanted desperately to be my family when I already had a right fine family, thank you very much. The only thing I ever wanted to tell the woman who gave birth to me was “Thank you.” And I did so clutching the hand of the woman who raised me – my mom. People speak of closure or completion when they meet their biological relatives, but to me, I experienced confusion and unease. I never felt comfortable in the years that followed our “reunion” and have since ceased contact with all of them. I know I have half-sisters and half-brothers out there, but I don’t feel like I am missing anything. If they do, then that’s their problem.

So for people who want to “find their families”, I suggest some wisdom from The Wizard of Oz: don’t look any further than your own back yard. I know where my family is and I always will. They’re in my heart where they belong.

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December 8, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

2 Comments »

  1. Fabulous post, Jackie! I don’t know if you have seen from my Facebook page that we adopted our youngest (age 5) from India when she was 13 months old. We talk to her frequently about her birthmother, calling her by her first name. Last night she said that she loves “Mary” and wants to get her a present some time. Very sweet, but she was relinquished the day she was born and the chance of ever finding “Mary” is slim to none.

    Anyway, it’s good to see an adult adoptee who isn’t full of regret and angst! It seems that’s all you hear about any more.

    Comment by Julie Athey | December 8, 2009 | Reply

  2. I saw the commercial for that and I thought it sounded awful. Now I know and I’m glad you told me. I think that it is the unusual circumstance that the birth mother went on to become a great mom and have a wonderful life with the man of her dreams etc. Also, do they show what kind of relationship develops later? Nope, just the reunion. This issue has been on my mind lately, so I hope you don’t mind if I vent a little.
    I think your situation is a lot more common. Sounds a lot like a woman that I represented in some evictions. She became very attached to me (probably because I kept her from being homeless numerous times). She yearned to know about the kid she gave up for adoption and called me not to long ago to ecstatically announce that he had contacted her and wanted to meet her. He did not find a mother. Instead he found a drug addict who couldn’t work and had wrecked her body to the point where she had to be on dialysis 6-8 hours every day and could not qualify for a transplant b/c she couldn’t stay clean long enough. She had 2 other kids after him and did not give them up, but the state took them anyway.
    The whole thing was devastating for both of them. He was disgusted by what he found and chose not to have anymore contact with her. She was ashamed of what she had become but was too far down the road to really see any other way to live, and the encounter with him sure didn’t help. She did call him and ask to borrow money until he changed his number. I would bet that is more the norm (maybe not to that extreme) and the exception is the one where the parties move forward into a great relationship.

    Comment by Juli | December 8, 2009 | Reply


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