Glee, are you the real cash whore?

Shelby: I reached out to you. I came back here so you and my daughter could have a relationship. Oh please, I know all about the hot sauce, and the book, and everything else you planted here. Did you think they were just going to come here and find those things, then hand my baby over to you?

Quinn: She’s my baby.

Shelby: You have no idea what it means to be a mother. It’s not about whose body she comes out of. It’s about accepting the fact that you don’t matter anymore, that your feelings, and that your life, and your body, they all come second to making sure that baby is happy and safe.

Quinn: Is that why you gave up your baby for money? At least I did what I thought was best for my baby. You were just a cash whore.

Shelby: I don’t feel comfortable with you being around Beth anymore.

Quinn: Is Puck going to get to see her? Is he the one who told you?

Shelby: We’re done here. I hope you see this as a wake up call. Just because you take out your nose ring and dye your hair blond again, it doesn’t make you any less lost.

Glee Season 3 Episode 6- Mash Off

Parenthood took another week off from the adoption storylines. Which frightens me slightly; they’ll likely combine  lot of adoption drama in back to back episodes, making it more dramatic, and drawing more viewers. We know there is a birthfather coming to town in upcoming episodes, giving us another cliche arc in the storyline. But for now, we focus on Glee, particularly the above conversation.

Courtesy of BlogCritics.org

The interchange noted above, happened on this week’s episode of Glee. It was coming, I suppose. Either way, it made me gasp, it had me nodding my head, and it had me cringing.  I want to correct a couple of things:

1. Shelby is wrong; Quinn may not know what it means to be a mother daily, but she does know what it’s like to be a mother. To me, that’s like telling a woman who lost a baby in child labor, or gave birth to a stillborn, that she just doesn’t grasp what it’s like to be a mother.  Yes, parenting gives you a whole new perspective of parenthood, but motherhood is not one dimensional. Women who never give birth to their own children,  are still mothers. Women who lose their children to death or adoption are still mothers. A mother is a mother, no matter where her baby came from. Shelby understands the work of a mother who parents on her own, but it doesn’t diminish Quinn’s role as a mother.  Quinn is a mother, just a different version of one; but she is not any less a mother then Shelby is.

2. Quinn is also lost, absolutely. Who wouldn’t be? I’m 8 years in, and I’m still lost occasionally.  Now, would be the time to touch on post partum issues that arise for birthmothers, perhaps a discussion about the grieving process (one that is said to be similar to parents who lose a child through kidnapping or abduction), and perhaps, someone can suggest to Quinn that she get some proper therapy. We could talk about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the impact it can have on Birthmothers, even years later. There is no need to vilify Quinn quite yet; she’s acting out, and she’s having a tough time finding her role in this relationship. Even in the easiest of circumstances, it’s a tough dance to learn with all of the different personalities and obvious insecurities that can arise within open adoption. Furthermore, the viewership for Glee is primarily young girls in their early teens to late teens, ones who may find themselves in this role at one point. Why not talk about the impact this has on ones mental health? Why has this avenue (therapy, counselling etc) not been offered by a teacher on the show? A parent? Anyone? There is an active character on the show who is supposed to be a guidance counselor- should she have not had at least a handful of sessions or a referral from her for post adoption guidance?

I still feel strongly that Glee is sending a terrible message about the dynamics of adoption; yes, open adoption can be messy. I don’t think a single participant in open adoption will argue that. But it’s not dramatic, it’s not so complicated (like they are depicting, I mean), most birthmother’s wish to have involvement, and would never dream of manipulatively scheming to take their baby back. Besides showing young girls that adoption may be a temporary solution, like eventually you can go and take your baby back when you are ready, it’s condoning the behavior of acting out to get what you want to by being dramatic. Which essentially leads the audience to believe there is not any other reason behind Quinn’s questionable actions (other then wanting her baby back). They refuse to have a discussion, thus far,  about how Quinn’s feelings (not necessarily her actions)  are normal, and are part and parcel of the process of relinqushing. It’s instilling a fear in prospective adoptive parents that a birthmother or parent could go “crazy” and try to get their baby back.  Something that is simply not true (adoptive parents are protected from here to the moon, legally).

I could hear a collective sigh after the interaction between the two of them in the adoption world.  I’ll say it again, the writers have a golden opportunity to properly depict the reality of open adoption. They could show it get messy, but resolve it. They will resolve this situation, but not in a realistic to life way.  They are selling an unrealistic picture of open adoption like it’s a cheap cash whore; they get their ratings, and don’t care about the damage their message is doing to those who have no hands on experience in adoption.

Last week I was angry, this week I’m just disappointed. Although, I did adore the mash up of the Adele songs; it almost saved the episode…almost.

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