God's Child, Our Joy

An adoptive family's journey in faith and life

Screen View : The Blacklist

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What’s the show about?

Elizabeth Keen is a new profiler for the FBI who work exclusively with Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader), a former agent gone bad who is working with the FBI by giving them names from the “Black List”. Those listed on the black list are villains so bad that we don’t even know that they exist, or something to that effect. This show (along with Hannibal) are NBC’s “cable” dramas, by that I mean they show more gore and have complicated anti-heroes. This show isn’t for those looking for something light.

What is the adoption story line?

Actually there are two. The first involves Agent Keen who along with her husband are planning to adopt. The second story line was the main story line of an episode where the villain ran an exclusive adoption agency that may be up to no good. (Of course it wouldn’t be much of an episode if it wasn’t up to no good.)

I thought about writing each one up separately, but they do intertwine so that makes it difficult to not reference the other. Agent Keen has deal with her own adoption plans, and this case will make her reevaluate her own circumstance.

The Details

Let’s start with Agent Keen’s adoption. She is a rather young agent, just graduated from the academy. If you said somewhere between late 20’s and early thirties you’d probably be right. The adoption that they are pursuing is an infant adoption, as referenced by the conversation where the husband mentioned meeting the potential birthmother.

The husband is the puller of the two. Typically when a couple adopts, one of the two is pulling the other one through the process, whether its to get the process started or to accept the situation. It is not clear why the couple is adopting over pursuing the “natural” way. (While that is currently true, I can imagine they probably will explain why at some future point).

The couple is chosen by the birthmother and they have a baby shower where one of their guest is shocked to learned that she was not planning to take any time off of work to bond with the child. Judging by the number of late nights and missed meals with her husband, any bonding time would be sparse.

She gets a case where it appears this high end adoption agency is up to no good. They advertise that they can provide a child that meets your specifications, such as hair color and no birth defects. Suspisions surround how they can do this, and the thought is that they are kidnapping these children from around the world as no one ever meets the birthparents.

Turns out that the children are not the only kidnap-pees. The moms are chosen for their genetics, kidnapped, put into a coma and turned into baby machines. The owner of the agency and the mastermind behind it all was a foster child himself growing up and had been through many different homes. He took all those years of rejection and made sure that a part of him was not rejected by these adoptive parents, by that I mean he was the father of all those babies.

Through her investigation of this case and through many interviews with these parents, Agent Keen realized that she was not ready to be a mother.

Adoption Discussion

Does it matter why someone is going to adopt?

It does and it doesn’t.  Adoption is a major life decision, so it needs to made with the best intentions and reasons.  If you’re adopting to avoid stretchmarks, you probably shouldn’t do it because kids will ruin your body in many different ways.  If you are adopting because it’s the cool thing to do, you should reevaluate if you are doing it for the child or for yourself.

However….whatever the reason, it’s not your business.  Yes, its the business of the agency (private or government) providing the services.  It is not our place to judge the reasons why a person would go through adoption, whether its health related, faith related, or whatever.  If Mrs. Keen decided that she was ready to be a mother and decided that adoption was the best choice for her, that should be enough for us.  Even if we really want to know why.

Adoptive parents CAN select what kind of child they want, but SHOULD they?

When we adopted through our agency, we had to fill out paperwork about what kind of child we would accept.  Boy or girl (or either)?  Mother smoked?  Mother drank? Mother did crack?  Born with a handicap? Wets the bed?  You get the idea.

One thing that many adoptive parents struggle with is making sure that they and those around them treat their adoptive child the same as they would any other child.  If they weren’t adopting, they wouldn’t fill out a form to send to God saying what kind of child they would take.

There are two major differences though.  Through adoption, you can’t control pregnancy.  By that I mean you can’t control mother’s stress, her diet, her medical attention (although you can certainly help in some ways).  The second difference is that someone is choosing you to raise their child.  That is an extra special responsibility.

So, filling out the form helps ease those two differences.  First, if you don’t think that you could raise a child without being constantly mad at birth mother for smoking during the pregnancy you can prevent that.  Second, if a birth mother is looking for a special couple to raise their special needs child, you have to be honest with her and yourself and fill that paperwork out right.

What are some of the issues if a puller pulls their partner too fast?

In this show, Agent Keen was reluctantly going through with the adoption.  She planned on still working right after the child was born rather than staying home to bond with the child.  At one point during the adoption agency story, she realized that if she was going to do this, she needed to be fully invested so she decided to take the time off.  (then change her mind at the end of the episode…probably not the right time for her)

The risk of pulling too fast could mean that someone is not ready for it, which is bad, or reject it completely (which is also bad). In the show, their relationship started to crumble afterwards because…read the spoilers below.

Of course there is a risk of waiting too long.  So there is a difficult balance there.  The puller needs to read their partner and decide whats best.  He did not read her correctly, probably because….spoilers below.





Spoilers coming in 3….






What happened the rest of the season.

So…her husband was an evil agent who married her to get to Reddington.  He didn’t read her well because he didn’t actually love her.  It was never really discussed why he pushed adoption, other than leverage I suppose.  So I guess this show isn’t the best example of adoption, but it did bring up some interesting questions.




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