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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Are Adoptive Moms "Non-Moms"?

I can't leave this one alone! I've updated and added a screeen shot of the original contest website at the bottom.

Apparently NBC's Today Show and Teleflora think so.

In their co-sponsored contest to find "America's Favorite Mom" one of their categories is "Non-Mom Moms". According to the contest website this category includes:

Grandparent, stepmom, or mom to adopted children, each one raising and loving a child. A priceless gift for everybody

I understand that the intention is to highlight moms who've stepped out and parented children that are not their biological children...but for the adoptive Mom, her bio and adopted children are ALL her OWN. The adoptive mom is no different than a "regular" mom and should not be put into a seperate category. Or are these kids "Non-Kids" in "Non-Families"?

Want to voice your opinion? Here ya go:
Marie Osmond contact -
Teleflora press contact -
Today show contact:

Updated: *** WOW*** - they must have heard that cry loud and clear. They have since changed the wording to say "The Adopting Mom". Still not sure that adoptive moms should be seperated from "regular" moms, but that is better than "Non Moms".

What was all the fuss about? The contest website has been changed to soften the category name a bit and to change some really offensive lingo ("own child" vs. adopted children and "meth babies"), which is great. But I'm still quite hot under the collar about it all. You have to see the original website to fully understand the outcry. I found a screenshot:

Click on the image to enlarge. Notice the lingo about children "owing their lives" and "own children" and "meth babies".

I'm thankful they've responded so quickly to the situation, but is it enough? Do we let bygones be bygones? I hope someone with a large public voice will take the opportunity to use this gaffe for public education about adoption language. Angelina? Madonna? Nichole? Laura?


Jamie said...

Just... wow. Open foot, insert mouth much, NBC?

Why DO they feel the need to group adoptive moms in a separate category?

Or maybe it is MY thinking that is all mixed up. Maybe they should subdivide us even further: "Moms who gave birth vaginally" and "Moms who had a c-section" or "Moms with one kid" and "Moms of many." Yes, the masses want clarification. Because "Mom" is just not specific enough.

Kerry said...

I had the same thought, Jamie. Moms who have adopted one or some of their children are just - Moms. No need to specify *how* their kids were brought into the family.

I still can't get over that the moms in the contest who have kids they adopted didn't balk at the category title...or the descriptions of their families. " child of her own and 6 other adopted kids..." I'm pretty sure she thinks of those 6 kids as her "own", too. If not whose are they? :) And then the whole "meth babies" comment - I mean really, isn't anyone concernd about what the children will think when they read that?!?!

Ok, ok, I could go on and on. NBC - make a category for those women who have stood in for "mom" - the grandmoms raising their grandchildren, aunties, stepmoms, etc, but DO NOT include moms who have adopted in that. They aren't standing in for "mom" - THEY ARE MOM. Maybe that should be the category name, NBC - "Stand In Moms".

I'm putting the horse in the barn, now.

katy (aka funny girl) said...

As an adoptive mom I had to chime in with a couple of other commonly used phrases (usually referring to the birthmother) that are totally bewildering:

Natural mom (because I'm unnatural?)

Real mom (because waking up at 2am when she's vomiting isn't real?)

Don't get me wrong; her birthmother is a hero as far as I'm concerned, but she's her birthmother. I'm her mom. Not her non-mom. :-)

Kerry said...

Katy - AMEN, sister! I have three bio kids and am adopting one, but I hope I won't suddenly turn into a"fake", or "unnatural", or "non" Mom when we do adopt. ;)

And I get that some of this is just people being clumsy - I'm guilty of stumbling over words, too, but NBC should have done a bit of research. I bet they do when they are dealing with other sensitive issues.

Thanks for stopping in to comment!

Q said...

Just discovered you via the Daybookers, am a mother to children who the Lord gave me via various means, just read this and WOW this is annoying! "Meth baby"? So does that make my 3rd child "blue baby"? Does that make my fourth and fifth "freak show boys"? (They really were maniacs when we met, but they are not forever categorized by that!) Why can't they just be children, separate and apart from what their arrival conditions are?

And the whole "children owe her their lives" thing? I don't think so! We can't be doing this to expect little indentured servants or with expectations of gratitude and delusions of grandeur. The children didn't choose this, the adults did. And it's up to the adults to bless the children. If there is reciprocity in the blessing, that's a bonus. But these children owe us nothing.

Thanks for letting me steam off. You were right, this was a low blow by a very uneducated group of people.