If you've seen adoption depicted on TV, they usually just hand over a baby (i.e. This is Us), or a couple waits an unnecessarily long time until a baby is left on their doorstep. Having gone through the process, it's actually a really wonderful and weird process and I want to share it with you.
100 Days of Optimism
Inclusion StatementMy wife and I are a young white couple raising a strong latina/african-american daughter. These stories are often depicted as the white couple "saving" the child. The truth is that we just wanted to start a family. I don't think there are enough stories of how/why trans-racial families are created.
About The Project
Think about what it takes to adopt a child.
You’re probably imagining something along the lines of this: you and your partner hold each other. There’s Coldplay or The Fray or Sarah McLachlan playing in the background. You make a phone call and for some unknown reason that’s never exactly explained, you have to wait 5 years until magically a baby is left on your doorstep in the pouring rain (I’ll even throw in a note pinned to the baby just for shits and giggles).
OR you’re Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU and you’re following the case of a baby whose mother became a prostitute and whose father was a drug dealer and/or human trafficker (because you’ve been dealing with so many drug dealers and human traffickers it’s hard to differentiate which is which) and when you’re in the back of the courtroom where a judge is deciding the baby’s fate, the judge says on a whim, “Sergeant Benson, you’ve been following this case. Why don’t you take the child?” and just like that, you’ve adopted a baby.
OR you visit an orphanage and pick out the cutest curly-haired red-headed kid and take her home and she rearranges your whole life for the better and for some reason, even though it’s the Great Depression, everyone bursts into song.
That’s what I thought too because that’s how adoption has been portrayed on TV and in the movies. Want a baby? Either wait unnecessarily or just show up and they hand you one (I’m looking at you This is Us). The truth is that the adoption process is messy, sad, absurd, wonderful, confusing and challenging all at the same time. And I think it’s time we see it accurately portrayed on TV with the show Adapting.
Oh, and it’s a comedy.
This is probably a good time to show you pictures of my little family because this is what adoption looks like, and because my kid is really effing cute.
We good? Cool. Let’s talk about Adapting.
Adapting is the (mostly) true story of an advertising copywriter and his life coach wife who, after dealing with infertility and breast cancer, begin the emotional, difficult and surprisingly ridiculous journey of adopting a baby. It's a journey that will test their wills, their love, and their ability to make sarcastic comments to each other without being heard by other people.
I know what you’re thinking--cancer and infertility? I’m laughing already! But now that your laughter has subsided, you’re wondering why anyone who hasn’t adopted a baby would watch this show. Well, based on statistics that I quickly Googled and didn’t double check, 135,000 babies were adopted in the U.S. in 2015, and according to the CDC, 70,354 babies were born from assisted reproductive technology in 2014.
My point here is that there are a whole lot of people affected by infertility and adoption and general adulted-ness, and without taking the 3 seconds it takes to Google how many families and friends are affected by their affected friends, we can assume from these numbers that there are a whole lot more people who know people who’ve gone through infertility and adoption and yet people still don’t know that much about it (I've made it more confusing, haven't I?)
But Adapting is more than just a show about adoption. It’s a show about two Gen-Xers (or early Millennials? I don’t know anymore) who went from being part of the Slacker Generation to dealing with major life hurdles in the blink of an eye. It’s not one of those shows where suddenly their life goes from beer bottles to baby bottles, but it is the story of two people adapting to what life throws at them, while still having a wink and a smile about it at the same time.
Breast cancer, infertility, adoption. This is not supposed to be how their life goes. But it is, and they manage to keep a sense of humor about it.
Which is why we're raising funds to shoot Adapting (I say "we" because I, writer/creator Luke Ward, can't do this alone). Fresh from her Sundance debut of Franchesca, our producer/director Kaitlin Fontana brings her unique vision and storytelling technique to Adapting, and we're proud to have a female director with a strong, feminist POV. With 3 pilots of his own under his belt, producer Sean Reidy brings his experience and comedic edge to Adapting. And the creator and co-host of A&E's Black&White, star of TBS's Are We There Yet? and Chapelle's Show, Christian Finnegan leads out our cast as, Luke.
Now is probably a good time for the elevator pitch:
Part Playing House (the quick-paced dialogue and silliness part) part Parenthood (the smiling while dealing with negativity part) and part Catastrophe (the adapting to a grown-up world part, but without all the weird European people), Adapting is a single-camera comedy that explores the real trials and tribulations of adopting a baby. Unlike the way it’s normally portrayed on TV, Adapting explores the down and dirty parts of adoption (but like, you know, without taking itself too seriously).
From having a frank, liberal and very uncomfortable discussion about the potential baby’s race, to trying to explain to their old-fashioned parents why you tell people your child “was adopted” instead of “is adopted” because one phrasing describes how a family came to be and the other negatively implies that the child is different and I don’t know why we keep having this conversation and I don’t care that your friend Bonnie calls her granddaughter their adopted Asian baby, this is what we want you to say when discussing our child, mom! (Sorry to put you in the middle of that.) Adapting shows how weird and wonderful adopting a baby can be.
It breaks down like this:
What it is:
- A show that tackles parenting, growing up, race, divorce, anger, frustration, and depression, with self-deprecation
- The off-the-cuff moments from “Parenthood”
- There may be a hug or lesson at the end. Or there might be a fart joke
What it’s not:
- A fish-out-of-water situation
- Wacky/Some sort of misunderstanding
- A “very special episode”
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About This Team
Christian Finnegan (actor) -
Christian Finnegan is a stand up comedian. He appears frequently on the television and also writes stuff. He is perhaps best known as one of the original panelists on VH1’s “Best Week Ever” and as Chad, the only white roommate in “Chappelle’s Show’s” infamous “Mad Real World” sketch. He played Martin on the popular syndicated sitcom “Are We There Yet?” and politics junkies will recognize Christian from his many appearances on “Countdown with Keith Olbermann”.
Over the past decade, Christian Finnegan has been a fixture on Comedy Central, having starred in his own one hour stand up special “Au Contraire!”, as well as “Comedy Central Presents”, “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn” and countless network interstitials. He’s also appeared on “Conan”, “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson”, “Good Afternoon America” and “The Today Show”.
Christian’s latest comedy special, “The Fun Part” was released on Netflix in April 2014. It’s available on iTunes and Amazon, along with his first two albums, “Two for Flinching” and “Au Contraire!”.
When he’s not on tour, Christian Finnegan lives in New York City with his wife, author Kambri Crews, their faithful pooch Griswold and two dumb parakeets.
Luke Ward (writer/producer) -
Writer, performer Luke Ward has written, performed and produced shows at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, The Peoples Improv Theater and the Magnet Theater in New York. He has won no awards for his work, but really, are we doing this for the statues or for the art? Most of these shows involve some form of television/pop culture basis because he didn't get off the couch much in his youth.
Kaitlin Fontana (director/producer) -
Kaitlin Fontana is a TV and film writer, director, and producer, and a National Magazine award-winning essayist. In a not-so-distant past life, she was a music journalist.
Kaitlin's directorial debut, Franchesca, is an official 2018 Sundance Film Festival selection. She was an inaugural 2017 WGA/Made in New York Writers Room Fellow, 2017 Showtime Tony Cox Award winner, and 2017 Bitch List Honoree, all for her pilot Casey Can’t, which is currently in development. She’s also the creator and host of The Box, a live intersectional feminist late night comedy show. Her work has been featured on/in MTV, A&E, VH1, CBC, CTV, VICE, Reductress.com, Vulture, Rolling Stone, Exclaim!, and SPIN, among others.
Sean Reidy (producer) -
Sean Reidy is a writer/performer that’s written for VH1, Disney, Above Average, Hollywood.com, Clients from Hell, and various other outlets. He was also recently named a semi-finalist in the Playstation Emerging Filmmakers Program. Sean currently writes and performs in the popular sketch show, Denied from New York, and performs improv in the shows Gas Station Horror, 90s Night, and is one half of the improv duo SEAM.