Are celebrity gossip magazines and Web sites doing young people a favor by glamorizing the pregnancies of young showbiz stars? The April 2010 issue of In Touch Weekly questions whether actor Jennifer Garner has a baby bump (i.e., another on the way). She was photographed with one smiling baby in her arms and another laughing child holding her hand.
In the same issue People asks “Who’s Due Next?” and invites readers to “Track notable celebrity births . . . spot the latest maternity fashions in Bump Watch . . .”
On November 11, 2010, Josh Duggar made the “BIG” announcement on the Today show that he and his wife, Anna, are expecting their second child. Josh himself is of nineteen children. He, like his famous – or infamous – parents, wish to leave the ultimate number of his progeny up to God. The Duggars’ celebrity, in fact, emerges precisely from the number of kids in the family. And with the help of Today, People, and their own cable TV show, this is evidently a great thing.
Model and cable TV celeb Kendra Wilkinson Baskett holds her newborn boy with a dreamy look in her eyes (OK Weekly, January 2010), while extolling the virtues of being a mom. Dad, football player Hank Baskett, looks down at his namesake and claims that the babe recognizes his voice because he talked to baby Hank while the unborn child was in Kendra’s belly.
In our book, Enough of Us, we discuss that such romantic fictionalization about becoming parents isn’t healthy for young people who yearn to model themselves after celebrities or reality TV “stars” and to become pregnant years before they’re ready. And it’s generally not healthy for the children of these naïve young people either. The weekly reality show, Teen Mom, is proof of that. Yet, according to the October 18, 2010 issue of Us Weekly, 4 million viewers tune in to watch the chaotic and dramatic lives of four girls who became pregnant before graduating from high school.
At the same time, there’s a hopeful trend emerging from these magazines – the adoption option. Notably, actor Katherine Heigle adopted a little girl from China and Sandra Bullock adopted little Louis (famous now) from New Orleans. Most of us know about The Pitt-Jolie family. Credit is due to Brad and Angelina for their willingness to spend so much of their fortune in raising and supporting children from a variety of cultures. True, they also gave birth to three children. Much hoopla was made of Angelina being a beautiful pregnant woman. Photos romanticized Shiloh and the twins so much so that teenage girls swooned and wished that they could live the life of “Brangelina”.
That said, adoption is a noble act. It saves lives. It rescues children. Adoptive parents are open to bringing a person into their home who doesn’t carry their genes, and to commit fully to raising that child. “Adoption is the best kept secret,” said Lorna, whom we interviewed for Enough of Us. After unsuccessfully trying to bear their own children, Lorna and her husband finally asked an all-important question, “What are we doing?” This was couples’ speak for “there are so many children already born who could use a forever family; we’re going to help them out.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, families adopted more than 57,000 children through local government agencies in 2009. International Adoption Statistics and Trends shows that in 2009, just under 13,000 U.S. families brought children from all over the world into their families, which actually is quite a bit less than the previous eight-year average of 20,000.
So, listen up prospective parents. You can make 2011 a special year by looking into the numerous resources for adoption. There’s likely to be a deserving young person waiting somewhere out there for you. Even People magazine says so.
You’ll be rescuing a child, adding to your family, and not adding to the overpopulation that’s already wreaking havoc on the environment.