I watched the 2016 film Mother’s Day over the weekend. The movie was a conglomerate of different family situations weaved into one story, much like Love Actually or Valentine’s Day. It told the story of a divorced dad grieving his perfect wife, a biracial and homosexual couple with bigoted parents, and an adult adoptee who tracks down her wildly successful and loving birth mother.
At the end of it, I wondered if these were the edgiest families Hollywood could come up with. Or maybe they capitalized on the hot button family dynamics of our time. And yet, there are 420,000 children in foster care at any given time. Why don’t I see my family reflected in Hollywood feel good movies?
I want my family to be normalized in the media, at the grocery store, in parenting groups. I don’t want to feel strange or alone in the struggles that I face and the terrain I’m trying to navigate with biological children, foster children, my marriage, and biological parents.
I don’t want to be the only one that tries to think of just the right Mother’s Day gift for the biological mom that shows I genuinely respect and appreciate her and doesn’t come across as trivial or insincere. I don’t want to be the only one that is concerned about the foster child who is given materials to make just one Mother’s Day card at school and is torn on which mom to give it to. I don’t want to be the only one who struggles with my title at Mother’s Day, decide I don’t care about titles, and then find my mind wandering back to it.
I can’t be the only one. There have to be others out there that share my experience. Let’s talk about it. We can’t count on the media to get it right, so let’s work on normalizing foster families.