We've seen some really bad adoption reunion shows, like with FOX's Who's Your Daddy and we've seen great ones like VH1's DMC: My Adoption Journey. So I was a little leery on how ABC would do with Find My Family. But, I was surprised to see that they did a pretty good job.
At the top of the 30-minute sneak peek episode, host Tim Green states, "The parents who raised me will always be my mom and dad, always.
But growing up a part of me always also wondered about my birth parents. Meeting them, finding my family, changed my life forever." What a great way to lay the groundwork that adoptive parents are not going to be forgotten or replaced, but that adoptees sometimes have pieces missing that they desperately need to be filled. Sometimes it's in the form of a reunion and full relationship. Other times it may be the need for medical information or a simple photograph and family history.
Viewers then meet Scott and Sandy Steinpas who have been married for 27 years and have raised 3 children. They dated in high school, and while teenagers, placed their first daughter in a closed adoption. They felt that they could not raise her properly being so young. They spoke openly about this loss and the grief it has caused them all these years. What a real depiction of emotion and life-long grief for the birth parents.
To see birth dad involved in the emotional work was also a great point of the show, as sometimes birth fathers are forgotten in the mix.
Find My Family discussed very little of the adoption search that they launched to find the Steinpas's oldest child, and we're not told how long the search took.
Then we meet Jennifer Jones who grew up in the same small town, population 38,649, just 8 miles from her birth family.
Another adoptee and host of the show, Lisa Joyner, meets with Jennifer to explain that her birth family is interested in meeting her. Jennifer shares that she too has been interested in meeting her birth family. We learn that her adoptive mother encouraged Jennifer to pray for her birth mother nightly when she was a little girl. Loved this part too as it depicts an adoptive mother not intimidated to start an adoption conversation with her young child and to encourage positive feels for birth family.
Later they are reunited under the Find My Family Family Tree. Many tears are shed and the siblings are also included in the reunion. They share a scrapbook with Jennifer and they all decide to work on building a relationship. They reunite again in their hometown and Jennifer's adoptive parents meet the Steinpas family.
I really liked the closing shot of the celebratory cake both families share with the wording, "God Bless our Families." It simply acknowledges both families - no promises of future involvement but a simple statement of mutual concern for each other. I think that sounds just perfect for the newness of their relationships.
Find My Family Hits
- Adoptees hosting & narrating the show.
- Acknowledgment that the birth parent's grief doesn't end over time.
- Both sets of parents meeting each other.
- The inclusion of other children in the birth family - open communication about adoption.
- Positive feelings from adoptive family toward the adoptees need to search and form positive thoughts towards the birth family.
- The conflict is shown that many adoptees feel toward searching.
Find My Family Misses
- Out-of-date Adoption language - "gave up for adoption."
- A bit cheesy with the "family tree."
- Wouldn't hurt to show a bit more of the search.