FOX premiered their new show, "Who's Your Daddy? I guess I mostly disagree with the title and packaging of this show. My adopted sister does not know her father, my best friend and her husband do not know their fathers. So for a show to be called, "Who's Your Daddy?" seems extremely low class and in poor taste. But out of journalistic responsibility, I watched.
In the 90 minute special, TJ Myers, who was adopted at 6 weeks, was reunited with her birth father, but first she had to select him out of 8 other "dads". What was on the line? One hundred thousand dollars. If TJ correctly chose her birth father she would win the money, if an imposter fooled her and she chose him as her father he would win the money.
TJ had to first whittle the number down from 8 men to 4. I was happy to see that she was not able to eliminate her birth father. TJ had to separate the men into two groups - most likely to be her birth dad and most likely not to be her birth dad. If she was wrong about the group that she had selected as most likely to be her birth dad, the amount of money she was to win would drop, but the group that held her birth father would remain. Her only penalty for being wrong was less winnings. TJ seemed to be very emotional when she had to select the men and then wait to see if she was right. She was very concerned with hurting feelings if she did choose incorrectly.
In the end the two men left standing were Scott and Charlie. In each elimination round TJ was correct, including the end when she correctly chose her birth father, Charlie. All of the men used fake names, including Charlie.
I asked my son, who is 16 and adopted, what he thought of the show. He simply said, "Well, TJ is hot." "Who's Your Daddy?" did look like one of those dating reality shows. TJ wore an evening gown, the men were all in suits, and the whole production took place in what seemed to be a mansion. FOX has already prepared six other episodes and that got me thinking; will the rest of the adopted adults seeking their birth fathers be as good looking? Is this show only for the beautiful? FOX wouldn't dare have average looking people on prime time, would they? Only the "hot" adoptee need apply?
"Who's Your Daddy?" did bring to light the deep loss issues surrounding adoption. Even though TJ loves her adoptive parents and feels very close to them, her first question to her father was "Why". Why was she placed for adoption? It was also extremely important to TJ to hear that her birth father, who was only 19 at the time of her birth, had been searching for her and thought of her daily. She was also emotional to learn that her birth mother, who was 17 when TJ was born, wanted to keep her as well. The birth parent's deep loss stayed with them for a life time.
I asked my neighbor, Aubrey, to watch the show. She had not heard of the show and didn't know any of the arguments against "Who's Your Daddy? as many in the adoption community have been fighting to keep it off the air saying that the show trivializes adoption and adoption issues. I wanted a fresh perspective as I had already formed an opinion based on the title and the news articles I had read. In the beginning Aubrey felt that "this was wrong that the show was almost teasing TJ. However, as the show progressed Aubrey noted that TJ seemed to be enjoying the process and felt that without the show this reunion wouldn't have happened as TJ had been searching for a long time. Aubrey felt that this would not be for every adopted person, but if that person was fine with it than it would be OK.
By the end of the show, if you had emotions you were in tears. TJ was reunited with her birth dad who then introduced her to her three half-sisters. He told her that she was now a part of this family as well. He also informed her that he had kept in contact with her birth mother. Birth mom was then brought out and TJ had another tearful reunion. I was concerned that TJ was over-whelmed with all of this, but very happy for her. I enjoyed watching the reunion.
It's sad that TJ had to go this route to find her birth parents; making it a very public display with writers putting words in her mouth; "I feel that you could be my father," and the tease of money, for her to find her birth family. FOX unknowingly has brought the open adoption records debate to light. If all states gave adopted persons access to their birth records there wouldnt be a need for a show like, "Who's Your Daddy?" Maybe that has made "Who's Your Daddy?" worth it.