Saturday, January 7, 2017

Because This Is Us

Back in September, when all the new television shows were playing their promos, Troy and I kept seeing commercials for This is Us. Somehow, I thought it was only about one woman's weight loss journey. It was intriguing, to be sure, and I knew it had potential but I try to be really intentional about which shows I add to my lineup. We really only watch a few and it takes a lot of great acting and an intriguing story line to make the cut.

Throughout the fall, I kept seeing Facebook posts that said, "Adoptive parents must watch!" and articles with titles like The Show That Gets Adoption Right. And so, over Christmas break, after telling Troy several times that we really needed to watch it, we binged the first 10 episodes. I mean, it started with a casual, "Hey, let's watch the pilot and see what we think," and ended with us wondering how we'll ever make it until Tuesday when the show comes back after its winter break.

The soundtrack.

The storytelling.

The relationships.

I feel so completely invested in the characters.

This show has so many story lines that people can relate to for one reason or another but, of course, for Troy and me, it's the transracial adoption plot that keeps us coming back.

I'm sure there are people watching who relate to Kate and her journey with her weight. I'm sure others identify with Jack setting aside his dreams to provide for his family. Some might relate to Toby or Kevin or Beth or William.

If you have ever wondered what it might be like to be me, watch this show.

Because Mandy Moore as Rebecca Pearson is pretty much my spirit animal.

That is NOT to say that I agree with some of the choices she made to keep certain secrets. Intellectually, with the benefit of 30 years between her adoption of Randall and mine of Matthew, I know and believe that our kids are better off with knowledge and relationships--when either of those things are at all possible. They are better off knowing and they are certainly better off when we allow them to talk about adoption like it isn't a giant elephant in the room.

But what I love about this show is that it isn't afraid to expose our secrets. I try so hard to make sure that Matthew and Will know I'm not threatened by the fact that I'm only one of their moms. And I'm not. Because this world is big enough, Matt's world is big enough, Will's world is big enough, for both of us. But, I'd be lying if I said I didn't love them so very much that I wish I could be enough, the way that I'm enough for Garrett.

I don't know if the story line will continue in such a way that I will always feel this camaraderie with Mandy's portrayal of Rebecca, but as for the first ten episodes, well, like I said, spirit animal.

It's personal. It's thought provoking. The credits roll and we talk about what to do and what not to do. Or what Jack or Rebecca should or shouldn't have said. Or done. It makes me infinitely thankful for these three decades of growth and awareness that separate me from Rebecca. It makes me thankful for the portrayal of their relationship now--that we might see one writer's spin on an adult transracial adoptee and his mother. I love that we see the things done right mixed with the mistakes made.

I am cheering for Rebecca every moment. She is me. We don't make the same choices. No one experience is ever the same as another. Sometimes we're right and sometimes we're wrong. She opens herself up to us, showing her flaws, bruises, and struggles. She navigates loving these three children with their unique needs. She tries to do right by them. She fails and she succeeds.

She doesn't apologize for the fierceness of her love.

My children have two moms.

I am one of them. And I love them fierce.


  1. Yes.
    My oldest daughter's birth mom and I had a fascinating conversation about the trans-racial adoption storyline from This Is Us just last week. Such an interesting way to see into other perspectives.

    1. That's amazing. I think it's a great show to see all the perspectives!