Facts of Life: Natalie’s Adoption

Natalie’s Adoption was broadcast in April 1980, the year the Carter administration was discussing unsealing records and the National Council for Adoption was founded specifically to coldcock the discussion. CUB was five years old and the American Adoption Congress was only two years old,. BJ Lifton had recently taken off, and Joanne Wolf Small was starting to publish her work on sealed records in professional journals. Only Jean Paton’s Orphan Voyage and Florence Fisher’s ALMA Society predated,but not by much. Although small political oriented search and support groups were springing up across the country,t here wasn’t anything that could be called a viable national movement operating. 1980 was also the year I got my OBC from the State of Ohio.. I’d never known anyone personally who had done that. much less searched and found.

For decades the portrayal of adoption on TV was limited to happy tales of legitimates adopted after the deaths of parents (Ernie on My Three Sons and Cissy, Buffy, and Jody on Family Affair for instance, or later Different Strokes and Webster.). A couple times Sterling Siliphant addressed bastard adoption (or child abandonment/orphan loss) realistically in his visionary scripts for Route 66 and Naked City. Usually serious dialogue on bastard adoption was exiled to soaps where it could do little harm..I’m not being factious. The only time I ever ever saw adoptees, even if they were just actors, was on soaps. Continue Reading →