Dear Bollywood and Advertisers, don’t disrespect Adoption for entertainment. You can do better.
It happens like clockwork. An advertising company or Bollywood director decides to use Adoption as a trope in their ads or movies. But they depict adoption in such a misguided and callous way that it ends up hurting adoptive families and children. Adoptive parents fight back and some advertising companies pull back the ads, but big name Bollywood directors and actors get away with it.
Here is what I don’t get about this. Why use adoption? Why even bring it up if you can’t put the effort to do proper research about it? Do you really want to be the person who hurts kids who have already been through trauma and pain? Or despite the creative tags of directors, actors, entertainers, advertisers, you are still thoughtless and narrow-minded about adoption?
I have taken the high road many times and tried to ignore the terrible and misguided way adoption is portrayed in Indian movies and ads. I have told myself that I can just teach my daughters to ignore this crap.
But today is not the high road day. So dear entertainers and advertisers, let me tell you about the awful things that you need to stop doing.
1) Stop saying that “apna khoon” (a biological child) is preferable over adopting a child. There are billions of “apna khoons” inhabiting the world. Hasn’t made the world a better place, has it? The ones who truly change the world for the better stand out by their convictions, by their ability to work hard, and by their compassion. None of these are related to DNA.
2) Stop saying that adoption is only about infertility. At the risk of blowing your mind, I would like to tell you that many parents choose to adopt. Yup, no infertility. They want to adopt as their first choice because they have the capacity to love and they want a family for every child.
3) Stop showing that adopted child is always fair. Every child deserves a family, irrespective of their skin colour. Are you saying that only fair kids deserve parents? Seriously?
4) Stop showing that adopted child is always a baby. Indian law allows adoption of children until the age of 18. There are many older children waiting to be adopted. There are many children with special needs waiting to be adopted. If you don’t care about these children, that’s your choice. But at least don’t use your platform and profession to erase these children.
5) Stop making awful adoption jokes. Yeah, I know, when we were kids, everyone made these jokes. But thankfully the world has evolved. Our country has evolved. So how about you do some “evolving” as well and leave the thoughtless, crass, hurtful jokes behind?
6) Stop assuming that parents dread talking about adoption. I have been talking to my kids about adoption since the day they came home. Maybe you don’t know this, but many adoptive parents put a lot of thought into adoption conversations, and support their kids’ desire to learn more about their past. We do all this without worry and dread because our priority is the emotional well being of our kids.
There is so much more to say, but let me close with a practical tip. Next time you decide to use adoption as a topic or trope in whatever you do, please do talk to someone connected to adoption. There are entertainers and advertisers who have used adoption to create very thoughtful works of art, which also meet their goals of selling a movie or a product. If you are worth your salt, you can do the same.
Here are all the articles and videos that I have created about adoption in India.