If you don’t know, The Fosters is a brand new ABC drama about a contemporary family brimming with diversity. The family includes parents Lena and Stef, a lesbian couple; Brandon, Stef’s biological son (his father is Mike, Stef’s partner at work–she’s a police officer); Jesus and Mariana, twins adopted by Stef and Lena, Callie, a foster child, and Callie’s bio brother Luke, also a foster child. The executive producer is Jennifer Lopez.
As you would expect with a network drama featuring teens and children, the actors portraying the kids are adorably cute/beautiful/handsome. Their house is perfect for them. Their school is ideal (on the beach). The two moms are gorgeous. And they probably don’t get a lot of the stuff about foster care and adoption just right. It’s not a slice of life. It’s a drama with heightened plots, dialogue, and characterizations.
If you want to read thoughtful conjecture about what is wrong with the show’s presentation of the subject, you will want to catch Robyn’s review at The Chittister Family. In fact, I highly recommend it.
Nevertheless, I am going to give the show a recommendation. I have rarely seen a depiction of a foster child in the past that is positive. What I have seen are attempts to demonize foster children–to show them as somehow contaminated by the system and therefore “worth less” than a baby who has never been “in the system.” I’ve seen both adopted and foster children (and adoption and fostering) as joke punchlines.
What I haven’t seen before is a depiction of foster children as real children with real problems who are worthy of love and attention. That’s why I like this show: it reminds all of us that there are hundreds of thousands of foster children out there who need society to step forward and “claim” them as valuable members of this society.
I admit that I’m a sentimental person, and the show tugs on my heartstrings. I found myself weepy during both episodes. No excuses. It’s a sentimental show at times, but that’s ok with me because the whole idea is to capture the hearts of the audience for kids who need people like Stef and Lena in their lives.
If you haven’t yet started watching, you can watch the first two episodes for free at the following link. It will also give you a written overview of the show. Enjoy!