ADOPTION IN LAW AND POPULAR CULTURE
As adoption becomes a more and more popular way to create a family, issues surrounding the status of the adopted child vis a vis its biological and adoptive parents can become heated. What rights does an adopted child have to continuing contact with its biological parents once parental rights are terminated (for whatever reason)? What rights does a biological father have to his child if the mother does not inform him of the existence and/or adoption of the child? What rights does a surrogate mother have to the child she bears if she is biologically related to it? What rights does she have if she is not? What rights do adoptive parents have if the biological parent or parents have a change of heart and custody of the child? What rights to visitation do biological grandparents have? At what age (if any) do the best interests of the child tend to outweigh the recognized rights of any set of parents? What if fraud or misrepresentation accompanies the adoption?
In popular culture, adoption has been portrayed as the only option for a mother unable to keep her child to give it "a better life." Adoptive children are often shown as downtrodden and unloved though innocent, or else bearers or instigators of evil. The film The Bad Seed, presents an adoptive child who bears within her the "seeds" of evil, passed on to her by her biological mother and expressed in her child, who commits multiple murders. This film also expresses certain beliefs about the workings of genetics, accepted when the movie was made, which are not necessarily shared today. A research topic related to this one might involve the public and legal perceptions of the workings of genetics and their influence on legislation and jurisprudence as expressed in real life and in popular culture.
Often adoption is the answer for childless couples who still want a family. In popular culture and in real life, therefore, we see the desire for a child presented as an overwhelming need, particularly on the part of the adoptive mother, and then perverted, either by the adoptive couple which engages in illegal activities to obtain a child, or on the part of unscrupulous "baby brokers" or attorneys, eager for the income that such adoptions provide them. Until recently, films in particular presented greed as the motive for many illegal adoptions. However, the recent film Butterbox Babies shows a couple genuinely interested in placing children in healthy, happy environments, and its fight against the objections of the state (in this case, the province of Ontario) which objects to the couple's methods of choosing appropriate parents.
/ Privacy Statement