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Thoughts on Wizards/Waverly 'birth parents' episode?

I am curious if anyone (and their kids) saw yesterday's Wizards of Waverly Place episode. Alex has a friend who just learned (as a teen) that he was adopted (okay, already a problem there). She helps him find and meet his birth parents. Hugh and his birth parents discover they look alike and have things in common, and the meeting goes 'perfectly' with no awkwarness or conflicting emotions. The birth parents simply explain that they "gave him up for adoption" because the birth father couldn't keep a job.

Personally, I think the episode is irresponsible because it hugely simplifies issues that are in fact very complicated and often painful for adopted children.

Some children watching are not even yet aware of birth family searches and reunions, and many others already have unrealistic fantasies about such reunions.

What do you think about the episode?

Christine Mitchell
Adoption Writer


Asked by ForeverMom05 at 1:20 PM on Sep. 10, 2009 in Adoption

Level 3 (15 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • What I have come to learn is that when it comes to television (including movies) that portray adoption scenario's are mostly going to be way off base. No one wants to see the depth of emotions we actually go through.. it's at times too much to bare.. for anyone.


    Answer by rainfalls at 10:21 PM on Sep. 10, 2009

  • that he was adopted (okay, already a problem there).
    Why is that a problem?!
    And i thought it was a GREAT eppy! Wonderful!!

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:23 PM on Sep. 10, 2009

  • I think she meant that the fact he didn't find out till he was a teen was a problem..not adoption.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:45 PM on Sep. 10, 2009

  • Your summary didn't sound horrible. Sometimes episodes are just episodes. Its like do you take offense because some television show portrays your profession in a way that is not accurate? It happens. I understand that we want adoption to be looked at from a realistic and responsible view point. A television show that is based on a family of teen witches and the crazy situations they get into is not the place where I am going to get all bent out of shape over. We do need to educate and promote adoption issue awareness but blasting a substandard show may not be the best use of my energy. I like the idea of highlighting and complimenting programs that do get it right. But "right" is a matter of perspective. Asking Disney (or whoever) produces those shows to reexamine how they portray adoption is not unreasonable. Even better supporting with our money and rave reviews will get others to follow suit.


    Answer by frogdawg at 1:55 PM on Sep. 10, 2009

  • I agree with Frogdawg, in that a 30-minute sitcom isn't the time or place to RESOLVE adoption issues, but that it could be a "conversation-starter" for those who may be adopted or know someone who is. Most of TV isn't reality, nor is it to be taken as truth. It's nice that, on the show, everyone ended up getting along as that is the way it should be and can be in some situations. I don't watch that show either (If they address adoption on Wow Wow Wubbzy, I'll let you know, LOL!) but from your description, I would imagine that some birth parents could be offended as well, given that it wasn't an OA, and perhaps it was intended to be. It makes it sound either like closed adoption is/was the "norm" or that the birth parents placed the child simply because of irresponsibility and/or finances. Something to make you say, hmmmmmmm.

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 3:02 PM on Sep. 10, 2009

  • your summary was NOT correct!! Alex asked him why they waited so long to tell him that he was adopted and he said "I always knew I was adopted" The whole point was that he was upset about not being a giant so if you are going to re-cap a show, tell it right.

    And um.... Wizards of Waverly Place is a SHOW, it is not TRUE. They once had a dog that breathed fire and they once had their sandwich shop turn in to a milkshake shop. Its a SHOW and parents should teach their children that not everything they see on TV is true!

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:22 PM on Sep. 10, 2009

  • What is wrong with a happy bfamily/adopted child reunion? can you honestly say that NEVER happens? It's probably happened at least once in the history of time. And besides like everyone said already, its tv & things are protrayed in ways on tv all the time that dont always go along with reality. Have you ever watched a daytime soap? Kids on there all the time get switched at birth, stolen, adopted, returned, etc etc & its highly unrealistic yet people dont complain.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:23 PM on Sep. 10, 2009

  • I'll be honest it was no different than episodes way back in the 80's, 90's and so forth that have depicted the first meeting of a child’s birth parents after hunting them down to be pleasant and peaceful. This is not exactly the first show to do this in fact it probably isn't the hundredth, lol.

    I can see where it would be disturbing if say the parents raised their children to believe that what they saw on television was true. Luckily I don’t have such ignorant kids so they know that loving get-togethers like that don't happen in that way, and there have been a lot of times it prompts a great conversation between me and my children where we talk about how it'd probably really would go had it been a real situation.

    Answer by Knightquester at 5:43 PM on Sep. 10, 2009

  • Didn't see the show, so I cannot judge. However, I think it is rare for t.v. shows to portray adoption in an accurate manner. Most depictions of adoption on television stick to the "adoption is wonderful" fantasy and ignore any of the other realities of adoption.

    I would prefer that depictions of reunions be presented in a hopeful and enthusiastic manner, but not ingoring the incredibly difficult nature of these relationships. Reunions are complicated and can have a wide variety of outcomes and adoptees need to know that. However, I also think it is important to stress that reunions have great potential for healing and resolution. As a reunited birth mom, I believe in the potential power of reunions. I am a sometimes adoption writer as well, and wrote an e-book for about search and reunion.


    Answer by Southernroots at 6:32 PM on Sep. 10, 2009