Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Should this bother me?

I'm trying to decide if I am over-reacting to a sentence I just read on Yahoo!News. It was part of an entertainment news story about Nicole Kidman. The offending portion of the news article reads as follows:

"Kidman and Cruise divorced in 2001 after 10 years of marriage. They have two adopted children, Isabella, 14, and Connor, 12; Cruise has a 1-year-old daughter, Suri, with actress-wife Katie Holmes."

Is it inappropriate for me to have just sworn at my computer over what seems like an innocent sentence in a meaningless, fluff news article about an Australian movie star?

Anyone want to guess what has me in a tizzy?

It's the "[t]hey have two adopted children" that crawled up my craw and bit me on the butt.

Is it at ALL relevant to ANYTHING that Isabella and Connor were adopted? IS IT? And doesn't it make it seem like Suri is somehow MORE important because she is described as Cruise's "daughter" without preamble?

Am I nuts?

What if, for example, after I finish my Great American Novel and it becomes instantly as huge as Harry Potter (um, okay, people, this is MY daydream, okay?? I can be unreasonable in MY daydream) - and a news article appeared about yours truly, and it said, "Lawmommy is a fabulous comic author with an hysterical narrative voice. She lives in medium-sized Midwestern City where she practices in Depressing Areas of the Law, while living with her Very Good Looking Husband and son and her adopted daughter."

If it is said that, I would be PISSED.

And not just because Husband and Son should rather be described as "Incredibly Handsome" instead of "Very Good Looking" - but because if I am going to apply adjectives to describe my family, "adopted" is not one that I would choose. ("Beautiful", "quirky", "energetic", or possibly even "slightly deranged" depending upon my mood, but, I don't walk around going, "this is my son and my adopted daughter." I don't. That would seem, well, creepy.)

But, am I blowing this all out of proportion? (I have been known to over-react, on occasion.)

Is the news media marginalizing Connor and Isabella by categorizing them as "adopted" - are they purposefully describing Suri in a better, more significant light?

Or, are they simply reporting the truth, and the truth is that Connor and Isabella were adopted by Kidman and Cruise? And is that kernel of truth, that nugget of information, apropos of anything??

LM

11 Comments:

Blogger maxhelcal said...

Yup! Right beside you sister! It bothers me a lot too. It happens all the time though and even some adoptive parents are guilty of it. I prefer to say we adopted our children or they WERE adopted as a verb and not an adjective. I vented on my blog about this a few months back.

I doubt they meant anything by it. It's kinda like people calling your child "oriental" instead of Asian. LOL They just don't know any better and hopefully when they know better, they will do better.

~Michelle

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 1:48:00 PM  
Blogger mommy magallanes said...

I saw and got angry over that same thing yesterday! Unfortunately it's a reality that the rest of the world holds biological children on a higher pedistal - as if they are the "real" child. Reporters do that all the time with Angelina. "has a daughter, Shiloh . . .and also adopted. . ." It is infuriating.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 1:48:00 PM  
Blogger jjm said...

I'm all for journalistic truth, but those two are still their children, regardless of how they came to join the family. Would they say, "he has a daughter and a step-daughter"? Perhaps they would. Bleh. You are right to be incensed.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 2:25:00 PM  
Blogger Mia's Mommy said...

Yeah, it peaves me too! It's no one's business how their children came to be, even if mom and dad are celebs. It's not right for the children's sake either. Like they are any less the children of Tom and Nicole because they were adopted. They may as well print the circumstances under which 'bio' children are conceived! It's ridiculous! It's like mommy magallanes said with Angelina. The reporters may as well say, there is Angelina with her adopted children and the child she got knocked up with by Brad Pitt during an afair. You don't hear that one though.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 2:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Christina said...

You're not the first to complain. In fact, Adoptive Families has an article/stylesheet for journalists about this very thing. In part, it says:
"As with race or gender, the fact that a person was adopted should be mentioned only if it's essential to the story. If it's used, its relevance should be made clear. A daughter who joined the family through adoption is--and should be described as--simply a daughter."
You'd think journalists would know better, really, in this age of PC language and all. But I think you are right and that Suri is sort of the "annointed one" and that had to be at least part of the reason for them to word it that way.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 5:31:00 PM  
Blogger Nicole - Raising Animals said...

I agree with you. It's pretty urk'some. But my only thought, having written for an online medium before, is that they may have added the word "adopted" to get more search engine hits for their website. If someone searches for the word "adopted", this article will come up...that means more money for Yahoo!News from their sponsors. Adoption is a hot search term. Just a devil's advocate point of view. :-)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 7:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Tracy said...

I agree with you also, but I think most adoptive parents hate to see that "adoptive" infront of the children's names. What gets me even more than Cruise/Kidman is Angelina Jolie, EVERYONE and their dog knows she has adopted children from several countries, why in the world do they need to post it each and every time??

And what they will probably say if you do write the great American novel is your "adopted daughter from Vietnam", for some reason they just can't leave those countries out of it.


Tracy
http://ameliarae.typepad.com/amelia_jack/

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 7:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Nicki said...

totally inappropriate, imo. Totally irrelevent. What are they implying?!! What is the point? Maybe they were keyword pinging because, you know, celebrity adoption is such a popular thing these days? I dunno. Dumb. I sure as heck don't introduce my family as "my three sons and adopted daughter". Sheesh.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 7:50:00 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

I totally agree with you, I never refer to my daughter as my adopted daughter..... She is my daughter, heck half the time I forget she is adopted because it makes no difference to me how she became my daughter.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 7:53:00 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

I found it odd there was any reason to mention the "other kid" as well. it isn't her kid. Why mention that cruise has another kid?

And why oh why does EVERYTHING have to be "adopted". It just sucks.

Would our kids be...Jenny and Conor and adopted daughters Mia and Cammie? I mean come on. That is soo stupid. And acknowledging something that is not relevant.

And while maybe they didn't mean anything it is something that we need to get angry about more often. THEY ALWAYS say that about Brangelina's kids...the adopted ones and then the perfect spawn gerber baby. Meg Ryans kid is always referred to as adopted.

Just saying, it bugged me too!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 9:04:00 PM  
Blogger theghelertertwins.blogspot.com said...

I know I'm jumping in here, but what the heck does it have to do with anything? It is totally irrelavent! What are they implying? That our children are not as important? Loved?

I found you from Lala's blog..

Friday, September 07, 2007 10:45:00 PM  

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