THIS IS US: This isn’t just a silly TV show.

This is going to be a quick one.

When every foster & adoptive mom in the country deems Tuesdays at 9 to be sacred. When we have a whole thread on the ‘Foster Mom Support Group’ Facebook page committed to talking about THIS television show. When my closest friends and I text through the episodes, and the messages aren’t just about the scenes on the screen but our own experiences with what we are going through RIGHT NOW and the comparisons of how we currently feel and how we will feel in a few months when these real life circumstances on this “ordinary television show” become our every day “normal.” This one is different.

This 24 year old has never fully understood all the chatter about “representation in media,” because this 24 year old girl is always somehow represented. But when I see this part of myself–the foster and adoptive parent part of myself that I rarely get to notice anywhere else–alive and on screen, I get it. It’s like an “aha moment,” like a light bulb finally clicks on and I get how powerful and moving and sweet and important it is to see your life mirrored before you. It’s all just so familiar, and it all strikes a chord way down deep.

I laugh just a little too hard when Randall laments that it’s been three whole weeks without a placement (especially when he faults “the blogs” for not fully preparing him. I apologize on behalf of us all, Randall) as I sit here and picking at my cuticles and constantly jotting things down that I could be and should be doing to prepare for our fast approaching home inspection. I cried way, waaaay too hard when ‘young Randall’ explains to his siblings that his craving for his birth parents is like a ringing in his ear and reassures them that it has nothing to do with them. And I run the full train of emotions… sadness/celebration/guilt/hope when he explains to his foster daughter that even though he didn’t know his birth parents, his life with his adoptive family was blessed and happy.

Seeing foster care and adoption on the screen like this is a gift to foster and adoptive families. But it’s not just a gift to those of us who are living it. It’s a gift to everyone else, too.

It’s a gift to the people who haven’t had the opportunity to see foster and adoption lived out in real life before. It’s a gift to the people who have questions about transracial families. It’s a gift to the people who’ve never considered adoption for their families. It’s a gift to the people who know that foster care exists but have never even considered that it had ANYTHING to do with them.

I remember two weeks ago, I cried watching the preview because “oh my gosh, they’re becoming foster parents” and I cried throughout the episode because “oh my gosh, that’s me!” But then I kept crying once the show was over (and again now) because of all the families whose hearts will open to foster care and adoption, and all of the children who will be brought into homes and families. All because of a silly TV show.

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