Bowling for Babies: Bastard Nation’s Response to 20/20’s Be My Baby Ad Campaign
Bastard Nation, the Adoptee Rights Organization, the largest adoptee civil rights organization in North America, is deeply disturbed by the marketing campaign for the April 30 20/20 production of “Be My Baby.” While we reserve judgement on the program itself until it is aired, we believe that the show’ s promotion exploits, degrades and demeans adopted persons of all ages, portraying us as prizes for “desperate couples” in the great adoption duck shoot.
ABC may weasel at this point, putting the blame on some misguided and uninformed marketing department for this public relations disaster. You have, in fact, posted a nicer kinder promo on the 20/20 website in the wake of universal condemnation of the original Bowling for Babies theme. No matter what spin is spun, however, ABC can’t deny that John Stossel and Barbara Walters joked about the program, Stossel calling it “the ultimate reality show” and Walters “humorously” comparing it to The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Nobody told them to joke around. Nobody put those words in their mouths but themselves.
If ABC really wants to do an adoption reality show, here’s a suggestion: The Bastard.
In 46 states the records of law abiding adult adoptees are sealed from us, locking up our identities, names, heritages, histories and original birth certificates-things that the non-adopted take for granted.
Watch The Bastard each week as adopted persons state-by-state crawl through ever- shrinking hoops set up by politicians, fat cat adoption industrialists and petty bureaucrats to keep us from our own personal information:
- birth parent disclosure vetoes
- contact vetoes/a priori restraining orders against adoptees based on nothing we have done, but on our adoptive status alone
- nanny state mandated confidential intermediaries that inhibit free association and relationships of adult adoptees and their birth parents who simply want to contact each other
- useless government-controlled “reunion” registries
- mandatory expensive “mental health” counseling to prove that adopted persons are competent and “sane enough” to handle their own information
- court orders
- high-end search costs
- self-serving social workers
- conservatives and liberals who think that open records = abortion
Watch adoptees grovel before judges, argue before legislators, send countless letters out to newspapers, picket ABC, and boycott 20/20 sponsors and Disney World.
Watch the cosmic finale: Adoptees v Birthparents; Birthparents v Adoptive Parents; Adoptees v Adoptive Parents; and various permutations ingeniously created by industry lobbyists and their media handmaids as bread and circuses to deflect the real issue: identity rights, equal protection and civil rights for adult adoptees.
Back in 1999 after 20/20 aired Connie Chung’s sensationalist anti-adoptee “Mothers in the Shadows” featuring birth mothers in hiding (without disclosure of Chung’s status of adoptive mother), Bastard Nation suggested to Bill McGowan just such a show, though not couched in reality TV terms since the genre didn’t exist then. McGowan, dismissed Bastard Nation’s concerns over Chung’s program as well as our proposal calling it “sensationalist” and “Springer-esque.” I wonder what he thinks now.
Perhaps we shouldn’t complain about 20/20s promo campaign after all. Perhaps some disgruntled adoptee moled himself into ABC and decided to have some fun exposing the over-riding consumerist, competitive approach to child acquisition that rules US adoption today-entitlements shared by politicians that keep adult adoptees as eternal infants and justify the sealing of our own records.
The Executive Committee, Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization
Dr. David Ansardi
Natalie Proctor Servant
Marley Elizabeth Greiner, Executive Chair