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Adoption Can Be a Beautiful Thing, and This Cheerios Ad Proves It

A video that features two gay dads with their daughter waxing poetic about love and Cheerios has been making the social media rounds recently. It’s hard to say who is more adorable: the handsome couple with the charming French Canadian accents and gray dappled hair, or their young girl with the sheepish expression.

Leaving that mystery for another to solve, I'm taken by the ease in which the men speak of their love and devotion to their baby girl. “We fell in love. We were a family.” They talk about falling in love with one another and wanting to extend that love through parenting. They speak openly about the societal criticism their daughter will face being raised by two dads; the doubt people will try and place in her. “We’re good parents,” one of the men says, as the screen breaks to the Cheerios message — “We all love to connect.”

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It’s lovely.

In my news feeds it's shared by a diverse crowd of folks including gay friends, gay-supportive friends and some in my network of adoptive parents. The reception amongst my friends and popular media outlets are almost universally positive. One man, a friend of a friend, remarks that it made him, a confirmed cynic, tear up.

But not so fast, folks.

Because some people will always object to anything, a few of the outlets I follow as an adoptive mom are posting the video with nasty and negative commentary. Why, you ask? Because the men were gay? NO. Because the little girl was of a different race than her fathers? NO. The naysayers are from a small but vocal group of Internet folks who oppose adoption. Not gay adoption or mixed-race adoption, just adoption adoption.

Sigh.

The comments are horrible, referring to the men as “entitled,” “baby hungry” and other negative terms I have gotten used to being on the receiving end of myself, as someone who occasionally writes about adoption. “Baby thief” and “rich bitch” are two of my personal favorites.

What is harder to understand is the universal suspicion of and intolerance toward adoption as a whole. I look at the men featured in in the Cheerios ad and I see two loving fathers, doting on their daughter.

I had no idea that adoption was controversial until the first time I wrote about our family’s wish to adopt. I understand, of course, that adoption was not always as regulated or reputable as it is today. I also don’t deny that there are still grave abuses within the adoption community. I get that with the growth of open adoption, some couples will promise the moon and not deliver once the papers are signed on the dotted line.

I understand all of that.

What is harder to understand is the universal suspicion of and intolerance toward adoption as a whole. I look at the men featured in in the Cheerios ad and I see two loving fathers, doting on their daughter. I see a couple who possess awareness that their family will be scrutinized to a degree most are not. I see a family made through love, not biology.

In certain circles, those words would get me thrown out of the room.

When I look at that Cheerios ad, like most who see it, I'm moved. But it doesn’t make me cheer for gay adoption or mixed-race adoption. That video makes me cheer for adoption period. The need will always exist for loving families to care for babies born to circumstances that lack safety, stability or the structure young humans require. Some women or couples will always exist that for a thousand different reasons do not find themselves able to parent.

And yes, for every baby and child that can benefit from a loving and stable home life, I also understand that with changing social values (women putting off pregnancy and gay couples marrying) more and more families are made through adoption, opening the system up to potential abuse and corruption.

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Despite those challenges, there are no absolutes. Not every adoptive couple has stolen a baby. Not every adoptive family is rich and corrupt. Not every loving and capable adult looking to adopt is the enemy.

Some really do, just like these gentlemen, want to share their luck and love with a kid who could use some of both. I know that because I am that. Adoption is a beautiful thing, as my baby reminds me of every day.

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