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Adoption: A delicate legal issue deserving compassionate handling

One of the raging debates about television is whether it is art reflecting life or whether it shapes culture in a way such that life winds up reflecting the art. We don't know the answer. What we do know is that too often, things we see on television cast important aspects of everyday life in a bad light and that can be bad.

Adoption is one of those very positive undertakings. It is a proceeding in Minnesota that does require a certain amount of jumping through legal hoops, which is why it's always important to work with an attorney with experience in this area of law. But, when handled with compassion and care, the outcome is a family marked by love.

Adoptive parents take their roles and responsibilities seriously and so it should be no surprise that a recent TV ad floated by Priceline, the travel website, has sparked some outrage. What has raised hackles is what the parents consider to be a mocking attitude toward adoption. They fear that it could scare prospective parents from entering the process.

The ad features an adoptive couple who begs off the action after traveling to the country and finding that the adoptive child wasn't what they were led to expect. It suggests that if they hadn't made the trip, they could have ended up with a scruffy, beer-drinking adult on their hands.

While ostensibly humorous, the commercial rubs one very vocal adoptive mother in Illinois the wrong way. She says she knows what it's like to adopt a child that doesn't fit the description that had been provided. But that didn't stop her.

She says if she and her husband hadn't been willing to adjust their own expectations and practice unconditional love she thinks their son might have languished in an institution for the rest of his life. As it is, she says he has hope, love and safety. And she says she hopes that will inspire other adoptive parents to wade in, even where the waters are choppy.

Meanwhile, she has launched a petition effort to get Priceline to pull the commercial.

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