If a mother gives her baby up for adoption in real life, it would be very tough to obtain custody for the child after the fact. But on television, if a pretty blonde character is attempting to reverse her pregnancy choices, it almost seems simple.
However, making something seem simple is what has "Glee" fans in uproar. Due to the complicated nature of birth parents changing their mind about adoption, more than 2,600 people are demanding that Fox TV air accurate public service announcements about the reality of adoption as the hit series’ current storyline has been deemed damaging and misleading to viewers.
After watching the Sept. 27 "Glee" episode in which Quinn (Dianna Agron) vows to get her baby girl back after placing her up for adoption, adoptive parent Amber Austin became annoyed at the unrealistic storyline and kick-started an online petition about the possible harmful myths the network may unintentionally be spreading.
USA Today reported that Austin is most bothered by the show’s subliminal suggestion that birth mothers can simply take back a child.
Austin’s petition is posted on Change.org, a website that promotes social action. The petition reads: "For adopted children, the show raises the fear that they may be taken away from their adopted families."
Austin’s petition also considers "Glee’s" young audience. It states: "For young women facing unplanned pregnancies, many of whom are in Glee’s target demographic, the show gives the inaccurate impression that adoption is a temporary solution, not a permanent one."
According to a 2006 study conducted by the non-profit Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, state laws for adoptions vary but usually do not allow a birth mother to change her mind after the adoption papers have been signed. However, 90 percent of adoption agencies offer open adoptions that allow for interaction with birth parents on a regular basis.
News stories on the topic compared "Glee’s" handing of topic of teen adoption to "Juno," a popular movie about the same topic. The general consensus was that "Glee" handled the issue in a sensitive light that highlighted a birth mother’s internal struggle and the difficulty decision to give a baby up for adoption whereas some adoption experts expressed the view that Juno depicted putting a baby up for adoption as a fairly stress-free choice.
Evan B. Donaldson Adoptive Institute's Executive Director Adam Pertman told USA Today, "The problem with story lines like this is they’re not grounded in reality. They skew people’s idea of adoption."