What Did I Get Myself Into?

OK so earlier this week I received a message from a production company that had seen me on Twitter and read this teeny tiny blog of mine. They’re working on a documentary on motherhood and open adoption and they asked if I would participate and share my thoughts. At first I was skeptical. There are so many freaks on Twitter that you really never know, right?

So I did my research and found out that they were legitimate and not some spammers hacking my Twitter account. I spoke with a production assistant and was soon after “booked” to be part of their documentary.

Turns out the documentary will be broadcast on a national network around Mother’s Day. The shoot was the very next day in NYC. Panic. What to wear? Is it possible to drop 10 pounds overnight? Thank goodness I just colored my hair.

My 2yo and I arrived at the production studio and I began hair and makeup. To say that I detest how I look on camera is a huge understatement. Facing the camera head on is OK, but anything off to the side or from an angle makes my face look trapezoidal. Lovely. Plus the whole TV-adds-ten-pounds-thing was the only thing I could think of.

I’ve told friends and family about the adoption, but certainly never to an audience this large. The questions began…

“So…you got pregnant at 17….tell us about that.”

“What made you decide to give your baby up for adoption?”

“What exactly IS an open adoption?”

I answered each question from the heart. Nothing rehearsed. Just what I truly thought. I tried to talk directly to the interviewer, but I was always mindful of the cameras…

I tried to dispel some of the myths surrounding adoption. There is still so much negativity and fear around the concept of open adoption and that makes me sad. Especially since, in the late 1980s when I placed my son, there was no information at all about open adoption. It was a relatively new concept that I think parents and birthmothers jumped into somewhat blindly. Always hoping for the best.

And as luck would have it, I got “the best.” The best situation. The best relationship with my son. And the absolute best family for him. So, so lucky.

The director asked me some questions about how I handled things – what was I feeling – how did I deal with things. I didn’t reveal too much because I wanted to keep the focus on my son and his parents. But I did mention the tremendous amount of guilt and shame I felt. And I also mentioned how some shows on TV misrepresent and even glamorize teen pregnancy. Something I find completely horrible. These shows – like “Teen Mom” are train wrecks and are acting irresponsibly. They give the false impression that having a baby is cool and fun. What they miss is the diapers and the crying and the teething and the responsibility. I cringe whenever I see those shows.

Another thing I cringe at are the ridiculous made-for-tv movies that depict birthmothers as crazy psycho drug addicts with nothing better to do than wallow in self-pity and stalk the family that is now raising their child. O. M. G.

I noticed my interviewer chose some stereotypical phrases, so I responded using language I believe is better and more representative of open adoption. For example – she asked, “So how did you feel when you gave your baby up for adoption?”

I hate that phrase.

So I responded that I chose to place my baby in an open adoption…

She used the words real mother and birthmother. I don’t mind birthmother, because it’s true. But real mother? Nope. So I just used the word mother to refer to the woman who raised my son. Because that’s who she is!

The interview went well. They even took some b-roll of me and my two-year old. I have no idea exactly when this will air or even if I will make the final cut. But it sure was nice to tell a little bit of my story and perhaps dispel some of the mystery surrounding open adoption. I’ll keep you posted as I find out 🙂

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courtesy of soulseeds

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