Katherine Heigl is adopting a child because she’s “done with the whole idea of having my own children.”
“I wanted to tell everybody so you don’t think I stole a Korean baby,” she said, laughing.
She’s getting a lot of sympathy in the press for adopting a child with medical issues. Okay, I get that, nice humanitarian effort and all. BUT, baby selling is not a laughing matter. It is devastating to adoptees and birth families alike. And there is too much of a “rescuer” mentality here for my liking, as if she is trying to garner sympathy for being so big-hearted as to adopt a special-needs child. Is she going to give up her career to be available 24/7 to this child? Could she have accomplished the same thing by adopting, say, a 15 year old African-American boy, someone who is not as malleable as an infant?
I understand Heigl’s character on Gray’s Anatomy was a birth mom. I can’t speak to that because my TV watching consists almost exclusively of science fiction (why bother with mainstream stuff when I’m busy plowing through the entirety of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys? Mmm.. Kevin Sorbo…) But I can tell you about Heigl’s show from a few years back, Roswell, in which she played a half human/half alien hybrid whom–ahem!–had no access to her origins. In other words, the epitome of the sealed-records adoptee.
Let me quote some of Heigl’s dialogue from the season 2 episode, “Surprise”. In this scene Heigl’s character Isabel has returned to her place of origin, the pod chamber where she and the other three human/alien hybrids awoke. She’s just been through a really traumatic experience on her birthday, no less, and she begins a monologue to her birth mother.
Happy birthday, Isabel. I’m 18 today, Mother. October 25th, at least that’s the day we’ve always celebrated as my birthday, but you’re the only one who really knows the real day. I guess that’s why I came to the only place I’ve ever seen you. I loved that day, but you disappeared and the picture of you is already fading and it’s all I had. I was so happy because you were beautiful and warm and I even though I looked like you. But it wasn’t you, not really. I don’t know what you look like. Maybe I’ll never know. It isn’t fair, I need you! Where are you? God, it’s my birthday, we should be together! How could you leave us? How could you tell us that important information about destinies and saving the world and then just disappear… answer me!
I can’t watch that scene without crying because it pretty much sums up exactly what I’d like to ask my own mother every year on my own birthday.
I wonder if Heigl has equated this with her own adoption efforts. For her new daughter’s sake, I hope she has. To watch Roswell is to gain a greater understanding of how much it sucks sometimes to be adopted, how much it especially sucks not knowing where you are from, who your people are, and what your history is… and what lengths others are willing to go through to keep you from knowing.