As a mother of three, “Bullied” author and anti-bullying advocate Carrie Goldman is no stranger to the nuances of adoptive family life, and she feels CBS’ “Supergirl” has done an excellent job of depicting that dynamic. Goldman penned an open letter to the show and its stars Melissa Benoist and Chyler Leigh in order to thank them for their honest portrayal of adoption and shared the effect they have had on her daughters.
“‘Supergirl’ is the first show that our entire family watches together,” she explains on the parenting site, Portrait of An Adoption. “After dinner on Monday nights, the younger two girls always race upstairs to put on pajamas and brush teeth, so as not to be late for the opening credits.”
“But it’s our oldest daughter that has gained the most from ‘Supergirl,'” she continues. “She identifies strongly with Kara Danvers. Like Kara, our girl has long blonde hair; she wears glasses; she was adopted. And just as Kara does, our girl misses her first family, and she struggles with feeling alien at times.”
“During commercials, she loves to run across the room, pulling off her glasses and shouting, ‘I am Supergirl!’ while her younger sisters sit giggling in delight. She is proud to be adopted, just like Kara Danvers.”
“During the scenes in ‘Supergirl’ where Alex and Kara explore the painful aspects of their relationship as sisters through adoption, our whole family absorbs every word, every expression, because seeing this dynamic on mainstream television makes our family feel less alone. The fact that both Alex and Kara are kickass, strong, smart, flawed, beautiful women who work hard, cry, laugh, yell, fight, and make mistakes has been an incredible model for all of our girls,” she shares.
“When your family is built through adoption, you rarely see nuanced portrayals of adoptive families in the media,” she goes on to explain. “It’s all about extremes. Fairy tales and fantasy shows usually resort to the trope of the evil step-parents or the abusive adoptive parents, with the adoptees depicted as mistreated victims. On the other end, modern stories often present the adoptive parents as saviors who rescued abandoned orphans and gave them the perfect life. In reality, neither of these fits our adoptive family. Watching ‘Supergirl’ has normalized our experience, where some parts of adoption are amazing and other parts are really difficult, but what never changes is that we are family, and we love each other. Thank you for that.”
In her letter, Goldman also recounts the day her family met Benoist and Leigh at C2E2, including the way both stars lived up to her daughters’ expectations and how open they were to her bullying prevention nonprofit, the Pop Culture Hero Coalition. According to Goldman, “Merging fantasy with reality is always fraught with expectations, but you both were the heroines our girls have grown to love.”
“Supergirl” airs Mondays at 8 pm EST on CBS. Developed by producers Greg Berlanti, Ali Adler and Andrew Kreisberg, the series stars Melissa Benoist, Calista Flockhart, David Harewood and Chyler Leigh.