Our favorite adoption-themed television show returned this week — and it’s hitting that topic even harder this season.
**(Spoilers ahead for those who haven’t watched yet!)**
At the end of last season, “This is Us” introduced us to Randall’s desire to adopt a baby as he surprised his wife Beth with his decision. In this week’s episode, he and Beth visit an adoption agency to start the process, but things don’t proceed as smoothly as Randall may have expected. Because he’s so excited about the adoption process, Randall has forgotten to ask his wife’s opinion on the matter — and it turns out she’s not as on-board with the idea as he thought she was.
After an honest discussion, the two come to a new agreement. They’ll continue to move forward with adoption, but in a slightly different way: foster care adoption.
In an episode with other big reveals and emotional moments , it can be easy to overlook the importance of Randall and Beth’s journey to this adoption decision. We’ve listed a few of the important lessons the season premiere has taught us about the journey to deciding upon adoption:
1. It’s important that both partners are on the same page before moving forward.
It was a surprise last season when Randall announced his desire to adopt — but not just to the audience. For Beth, his announcement also came as a shock, and it appears that not much discussion has occurred since then.
Her unwillingness to involve herself in the adoption decision as a contrast to Randall’s excitement highlights how necessary it is that both partners are in agreement before starting the adoption process. An adoption can only be successful if both members of a couple are equally excited and committed to the adoption process. Otherwise, as we saw in the scene at the private adoption agency, things can hit a standstill really quickly.
As the adoption specialists at our agency will tell you, both partners need to make sure adoption is the right choice for them before they can move forward with any part of the adoption process. If a couple is having trouble deciding if adoption is really right for both of them, they can always speak to our adoption specialists for more information and adoption counseling by calling 1-800-ADOPTION.
2. Partners should always honestly communicate throughout the adoption process.
Before partners can be on the same page about adoption, however, they should be honest with each other about their feelings and desires. Clearly, Randall and Beth were not — which is how they got to the private adoption agency without Randall realizing they weren’t on the same page.
Adoption is a difficult process and, without establishing healthy communication from the beginning, the emotions involved can overwhelm a couple and cause a rut in their relationship, like we saw in Randall and Beth’s. A flashback showed that their situation was not unlike Randall’s parents; his father Jack ended up pushing his mother Rebecca to adopt before she was truly ready.
And, while Rebecca eventually warmed to the idea of adoption and her new son, it’s just another lesson that adoptive parents should always be honest with each other from the beginning to have the most positive experience possible. This honest communication is immensely important throughout any adoption process, and we’ll likely see that in Beth and Randall’s foster care process.
3. You should make sure your reasons for choosing adoption are valid ones.
There is no one “right” reason to choose adoption; it’s based on each couple’s individual situation. However, it’s made clear that the reason Randall wanted to adopt a child was to pay tribute to both of his fathers — and, as Beth quipped, to replicate his own adoption experience. Beth soon made Randall understand that is not the best reason for choosing to adopt a baby and instead suggests foster care as a way to make a similar difference and honor his fathers’ memories.
Similarly, it’s important that all prospective adoptive parents think about why they’re really considering the adoption process — and whether those reasons validate their adoption choice. Adoption is not the right choice for everyone, and it’s important that parents only start the process when they’re truly excited about it and are ready to add a new child to their family. Like Beth and Randall, prospective parents may sometimes need to reconsider their family-building options to choose the one that’s right for them.
As Randall and Beth continue down this foster care path, it’s reasonable to expect we’ll learn even more about this kind of family-building option as a contrast to the infant-adoption-centric plot of last season. Until then, we’ll be impatiently waiting with our tissue boxes ready.
Still need to catch up on this TV hit? You can watch “This is Us” online on Hulu.