TLC's new TV series Long Lost Family premiered this week (Sundays 10/9C), and we can't stop thinking about it. The documentary series features family members trying to reunite with birthparents, biological families, or children placed for adoption. In the premiere, we watched two different stories unfold...
Throughout the highly-emotional and personal show, we were pleasantly surprised by the sensitivity and respect displayed to all parties involved - birth parents, adoptees, even adoptive parents. We attribute this to the hosts, Chris Jacobs and Lisa Joyner, who were adopted and have even solved the mysteries of their own adoptions.
We would recommend that the hosts use positive adoption language and spend more time educating the audience on the rights and privacy of those involved. We also thought there were some great take aways worth sharing.
We all want to know where we come from.
It's in the core of our being to want to know our story. For adoptees with little to no information about their biological parents, that desire runs even deeper. This was communicated time and time again throughout the show. For instance, one of the adoptees said: "There's this part of me that I don't know... I feel like [my birth mother and I] share this really intimate connection that's strong, and it's there all the time, every day of your life."
Sadly, not all adoptions are ethical. People have been coerced or forced into adoption, and we do not support those practices.
One of the birth mothers shared how the decision for her son to be adopted 31 years ago was made by her mom because she her mom didn't want any kind of scandal in the family. As she described, "It was always 'you've got to be quiet about it. Don't say anything to anybody.'" So she went away to a home for unwed mothers and bore that shame and burden for much of her life. When asked what she would want to say to her son, she responded:
"He wasn't just given up just because he wasn't wanted, he was wanted very much..."
Like a lot of institutions and systems in this world, adoption is not perfect and has its flaws. Therefore it's crucial for anyone considering placing a child for adoption to ask a lot of questions, understand your rights, the process, and what to expect.
Not all adoptions result in (happy) reunions.
I promise we're not giving anything away by saying that. It's just a realistic reminder that not all reunions are created equal. People have different reasons or motivations to make the decisions they make. For those interested in finding their birth parents, here are some great tips that Host Lisa Joyner shares.
You'll do anything out of love.
One birthmom said this on the show, and it struck a chord with us.