Adoption STAR staff reactions to the latest film clip we watched as a part of our TV/Film clip-viewing project. See our Facebook post on 8/1/14 for more information (or to view the clip for yourself). The clip in question is from the TV show Brothers and Sisters.
“I have always found surrogacy a very interesting topic. I remember Mary Beth Whitehead from years ago – bringing the topic to light when she as a surrogate to a couple changed her mind and wished to raise the child. The Baby M case was so popular that the story ended up becoming a television movie. Since then the laws particularly in NYS about surrogacy were drastically changed making it illegal to compensate a woman for being a surrogate. So naturally this story line in Brothers and Sisters was very interesting. Unless you were a viewer of the television series you don’t know the back-story or the ending of the story… you are just viewing the clip and the incredible emotions both fathers are dealing with. The very large reaction by the character known as Kevin most likely was generated by fear, the feeling that he had no control and certainly by anger and hurt. Obviously his reaction only alienated Michelle, the surrogate. We also learn in this short clip that Michelle is not the genetic mother but nonetheless changed her mind about the surrogacy plan. What an interesting discussion on genetics, bonding, and surrogacy versus how it is similar and different from the adoption process. It created a really neat conversation between the staff.” – Michele Fried, Founder and CEO
“When it comes to being a couple that’s embarking on an adoption journey together, open communication about ALL aspects of the process is key. This clip really illustrates just how horribly things can go awry without everyone being fully in the loop regarding all the communication that’s transpiring. I can remember back to when my husband and I were prospective adoptive parents. We made every effort to utilize the conference call function whenever we wanted to share information with the adoption agency or if the adoption agency had news for us. This allowed both my husband and I to simultaneously hear everything that was going on and/or allowed us to collectively share information with our social worker. I’m glad we tackled things this way, and ultimately I think our commitment to conference calling was indicative of our desire to routinely be on the same page with each other. It also helped to ensure that we were fully engaged in each and every piece of communication related to our adoption journey (as both individuals and as a couple). – Michael Hill, Associate Director
“As an avid Brothers and Sisters fan, I remember this episode well. Knowing the context of this scene, it did not elicit a response to judgment, but more one of identifying. I could relate to the intensity of their fear, desperation and even anger. I also think it was interesting how something they were both so passionate about was also the thing that was dividing them. Often this happens with couples. You can agree on a destination, just not always how to get there. Scotty and Kevin were clearly on a different page and were not communicating with one another. Perhaps the situation would not have escalated to the extent in which it did if they had been able to better communicate. When you are struggling with challenging situations, I think it is common to take frustrations out on those who are the closest to you. When, in fact, they are the individuals are whom you often need the most.” – Sue Reardon, Private Track Coach and Adoptive Parent Mentor
“This clip is a real nail biter! Coming from a relationship where we do try and keep everything 50/50 and update each other on major (as well as minor) situations, this was tough to watch. There is no doubt that Scotty and Kevin love each other, so I don’t doubt that Scotty wasn’t trying to be malicious by working to communicate with the gestational mother. However, it is a slippery slope – Scotty’s decisions to do things without Kevin’s consent when it comes to a BIG issue (like adopting a child) certainly had the potential to be very upsetting to Kevin. The scene is obviously very intense by I can feel the pain in Kevin’s eyes when he’s looking at Scott and says, “it’s my baby, too.” This clip does provide a small glimpse into something that could happen if all parties involved in the adoption triad are not fully informed and totally aware of everyone’s desires, intentions, and communications.” – Stephanie Velez, Birth Family Advocate