"This is Us" Isn't Just a TV Show
This isn't just a silly TV show.
When every foster & adoptive mom in the country deems Tuesday At Nine sacred. When my brother, who spent our entire teenagehood mocking every fiction-induced tear I shed, texts me “Niagara Falls” during the commercial break. When my best friends and I live text through the episode, and the messages aren’t just about the scenes on the screen but our own children asleep in their beds. This one is different.
This 30-something, middle class white girl has never fully understood all the chatter about “representation in media,” because this 30-something, middle class white girl is always represented. But when I see this part of myself--the foster and adoptive parent part of myself--alive and on screen, I get it. I get how powerful and moving and sweet and important it is to see your life mirrored before you. It’s all just so familiar, and it all strikes a chord.
I laugh just a little too hard when Randall laments that it’s been three whole weeks without a placement (And when he faults “the blogs” for not fully preparing him. I apologize on behalf of us all, Randall.). I cry way too hard when adolescent Randall explains to his siblings that his craving for his birth parents is like a ringing in his ear and reassures them that it has nothing to do with them. And I run the gamut of sadness/celebration/guilt/hope when he explains to his foster daughter that even though he didn’t know his birth parents, his life with his adoptive family was blessed and happy.
Seeing foster care and adoption on the screen like this is a gift to foster and adoptive families. But it’s not just a gift to those of us who are living it. It’s a gift to everyone else, too.
It’s a gift to the people who haven’t seen adoption and foster care lived out, in real life, before. It’s a gift to the people who have questions about transracial families. It’s a gift to the people who’ve never considered adoption for their families. It’s a gift to the people who know that foster care exists but have never even considered it could have anything to do with them.
Last night, I cried watching the preview because “oh my gosh, they’re becoming foster parents” and I cried throughout the episode because “oh my gosh, that’s me!” But then I kept crying once the show was over (and again now) because of all the families whose hearts will open to foster care and adoption, and all of the children who will be brought into homes and families. All because of a silly TV show.