We all know that the media often sensationalizes adoption – either portraying adoption as only bubbles and sunshine without addressing loss, grief, trauma and attachment concerns or conversely, negatively focusing on those cases of extreme behaviors on the part of either adopted children and youth or adoptive parents.

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Discussions about adoption in the media, as in the Today Show clip above [topic begins at 2:15] where three panelists, the “Today’s Professionals” as NBC calls them, often do a poor job of disseminating information about adoption. In a few short minutes, these three panelists promote a practice that is considerably out of touch with how adoptions are routinely practiced today. They also promote a practice that is much more about adoptive parent needs, not the child’s needs.
Kathleen Silber, Associate Executive Director of the Independent Adoption Center (IAC) discusses the disservice this segment does in the current practice paradigm of advocating for open adoptions rather than closed adoptions. Kathleen shares her critique in a SF Gate article as well as on the IAC Open Adoption blog.
Kathleen states:

Well honestly, it feels like a step back into the dark ages, where closed adoption was still the norm. A lot has changed in adoption over the years. It’s generally accepted knowledge now that an open adoption arrangement is not only healthier for the adoptees, but for the families as well. What’s shocking about the commentary on the Today Show is actually how archaic those views are – it’s hard to believe people are still advocating something that’s known to not be good practice.

All three panelists – one an adoptive parent and two who are “considering” adopting in the future – promote an insecurity about “real parents” and fears of birth parents having too much influence in an adopted child’s life. Yet, Nancy Snyderman, who is an adoptive parent, admits that her adopted daughter sought out her birth parents as an adult. It would have been more balanced if there had been a voice advocating for the benefits of open adoption on this panel as well. It’s unfortunate that millions of people watching the Today Show will be misinformed about adoption and for those that may be considering adopting, will see closed adoption as normal and expected. Worse, they may insist on closed adoption because they have come to expect closed adoption as being better for them.
Perhaps these three professionals would benefit from the Permanency and Adoption Competency Certificate program?