Advertising kids.

Advertising kids.

A year ago we were preparing our three foster kids to be filmed for “A Place to Call Home,” an award-winning weekly tv segment featuring children who are legally free for adoption.

After being told Jen, Victor and Nick would be featured, my husband Jonathan and I were grateful. We’d heard from all the case workers and foster care experts that this was a great way to find the best adoptive family for them.

Then, we considered how to tell them. What to tell them.

Big advocates of honesty, we would typically go for simple and straightforward. “They are going to film you and show everyone how cute and desirable you are so that someone will want to adopt you.” No.

Knowing we can’t simply say what is, makes me question whether the whole thing is a good idea. As a professional advertiser, I couldn’t be more pro-building awareness about foster care. That’s why this website exists. But when it’s about showcasing specific kids, I struggle.

Somehow picking wardrobe, coordinating shots, and trying to get the right sound bytes feels wrong when you’re trying to sell someone on loving a child you already love.

Should we have to sell? Of course not. But foster care isn’t about shoulds. Idealism falls away here. But there is still a line. There has to still be a line.

I can’t help but wonder if one of Jen’s friends saw her on the program and asked her about it. Or if she’ll see another child on tv someday and remember that she was featured once. What will she think about her story being broadcasted in hopes of finding her a permanent family?

And yet the program has a great success rate, including finding an adoptive home for a sibling group of nine children. Does that good outweigh the rest?

Like much of foster care, I’m left without answers.

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  1. Pam

    I am not yet a foster mom; wondering if I’ll ever make the goal, but I have also wondered about this “advertising kids.” It scares me just a little bit and yet, how will these little tykes, growing children, and young people ever find a family? I’m so thankful that you brought this subject up, because I struggle with it. I get it. I do. But it does just seem like one more cog in the system wheel that doesn’t run smoothly. The Orphan Train revisited, restructured, but nonetheless…

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