“They’re putting words to what I feel as an adoptive mom,” I confessed to my mother through tears, as we watched “This Is Us” in her living room.
Besides the fact that my maiden name is identical to one of the main characters (Kate Pearson), and I’m a sucker for great writing and acting, I watch “This Is Us” because, like Jack and Rebecca Pearson (the parents of Kate, Kevin, and Randall), my husband and I adopted a son whose skin color is different than ours.
Week after week, the show addresses the range of emotions that adoptive parents and adopted children experience—the hard parts, the beautiful parts, and everything in between.
“You’re adopted and we don’t talk about that enough, because to me you are every part my son. And maybe I don’t want you to feel like you stand out. But I need you to know something… I want you to stand out. I want all of you, to be as different as you can possibly be, in all the best ways. I love you as much as a human heart can kiddo.” — Jack Pearson
In Season 1, episode 6, Randall’s father, Jack, is trying to decide whether or not to send Randall to a different school that is more academically challenging, but less diverse. Jack seeks advice from Yvette, the mother of one of Randall’s friends, about this pressing decision.
Yvette calls out Jack’s motivation for asking her opinion and says something to this effect, “Oh, I see what you’re doing here. You want my approval.”
And the tears began to flow right there in the living room, as the characters put words to some of my insecurities as an adoptive parent.
I have reached out to friends, and even a few strangers, trying to gain insight and approval when it comes to raising my son. I once jumped into a conversation about hair care with a young woman I just met. I reached out to an acquaintance online, peppering her with questions about skin products. I asked my doctor and dear friends, endless questions, trying to make sure I’m doing it “right.”
We sent pictures to our son’s birth mom after his first haircut to see what she thought. Thankfully, she liked it.