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Joanne Bamberger

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NBC and Teleflora Say Adoptive Mothers are "Non-Moms"

Posted: 05/14/08 05:51 PM ET

While I realize we are several days post-Mother's Day, NBC and Teleflora need a little tutorial on what a mother is, even though they apparently believed that by presenting a show titled "America's Favorite Mom," they were well-versed in all things maternal.

They were wrong.

They came up with a variety of categories so people could vote -- the military mom, the working mom, etc., and choose one to win this odd title of America's Favorite Mom.

But I am hoping that whoever came up with the title to describe me and so many other mothers by adoption has been fired from their job by the time you read this.

They say I am a "non-mom."

Not me personally , but mothers who are not biologically related to their children. Mothers by adoption (me), step-moms (me), foster moms.

NBC and Teleflora, when they were called out on this faux pas, quickly changed the category to "adoptive moms." Marginally better, but here's the thing -- I am not my daughter's adoptive mom.

I. AM. HER. MOM. Period.

What on earth could have possessed the brainiacs behind this show to think for a moment that calling any mother a "non-mom" would be an acceptable label? Sure, they "apologized," but it was pretty back-handed and dismissive, as well:

"Teleflora is immediately changing the name of our "Non-Mom" category to "Adopting Moms." After closer examination, we can see how this may have been offensive to moms who have adopted children -- moms who are indeed real moms to their children in every sense of the word."

May have been offensive? Real moms to their children, but not to the rest of the world? And they described the one mother by adoption as having "one child of her own and six meth babies."

Clearly, someone was "off their meds," as they say, when they were writing the copy for this event.

But you know, as a mom, I'm tough -- I've been called a lot of things in my life, both nice and not so nice. The bigger issue is what these continuing derogatory characterizations of "non-traditional" families say to our children. Do you think our children miss these slams?

If I'm a "non-mom," does that make my daughter, who was adopted from China, a "non-child?"

It doesn't stop there. The media does it all the time. There are plenty of references to Nicole Kidman "expecting her first child" and mentioning her "two adopted children." Uh, dudes, they are her children, and it's been many years since the adoptions, so you can stop calling them her "adopted children."

Plus there are the running jokes about Angelina Jolie adopting children and the put-downs of Madonna adopting a baby. My daughter is eight-years-old and soon enough these pop culture references are going to seep into her existence. It's bad enough we already have to deal with people asking her where her "real mom" is and wondering how much we paid for her. I don't need the mainstream media to keep feeding the unspoken insinuation that non-biological families are second best.

I hear that the PR company for Teleflora has been trying to do damage control on this. Funny, I've written about this a few different places, and I still haven't heard from anyone. But I can tell you this -- I've got lots of options when it comes to ordering flowers for Mother's Days and other occasions. And NBC, you've now got two strikes in the blogosphere, do you really want to go for a third?

You've both offended thousands upon thousands of families with this slip. You'd better get working on making sure you don't put that foot in your media mouth again. And since I'm a "non-mom" in your eyes, I expect you'll be sending someone over to my house to make dinner tonight and finish the laundry.

Joanne Bamberger blogs about the intersection of politics and motherhood at her personal blog, PunditMom. You can also find her at BlogHer, where she is a Contributing Editor for Politics & News, and at MOMocrats.

 

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