If anyone hasn’t seen the season finale of Parenthood yet, you don’t want to read this post. (But it’s been a week people. Come on!)
As I thought, Parenthood wrapped up their adoption story line with a neat little bow. All the worries about whether or not Joel & Julia would finalize the adoption were put to rest by one conversation between Crosby and Julia and one conversation between J&J and Victor.
Julia said that Victor hated her. Crosby told Julia that when he was 9, he hated their mother too. It was actually a touching, well-acted scene, but it completely ignored the adoption issues. Did anyone ever talk to Victor about how he could have and love two moms? Did anyone ever think of contacting Victor’s mom? As usual, all of the focus was on Julia.
After that conversation, Julia says to Victor, “Joel, your Dad, and I are going to talk to lawyer about finalizing your adoption next week.” Somehow, Victor is OK with this knowledge, although I’m not sure anyone had ever explained to him what adoption and finalization are. Later in the episode, Victor breaks a vase. He asks Julia, “So, you’re still going to adopt me?” Obviously, no one has had any conversations about adoption and finalization with him.
Finally, it’s Victor’s adoption finalization day. Because in Parenthood-land, you can file for finalization and get a court date a week later. (In real life, it takes about six months to get a court date in California. That’s after the six months it takes to be able to file for finalization.) All of the Braverman clan, plus Amber’s boyfriend Ryan, but minus Haddie, are on hand and squeeze into the judge’s chambers. Joel & Julia’s lawyer isn’t there, but no one seems to notice that. (Max said, “That was one thing they got right.” Haha, honey.) The actual finalization conversation was acceptable. The judge never swore J&J in, and there would be a few more questions asked, but they got the verbiage right. The judge starts to sign the adoption decree, but Zeek takes a moment to say something profound about being a grandparent. Then, each of the Bravermans makes his or her own unique promise to Victor. Sarah promises dating advice. Amber promises to repair everything Sarah’s dating advice screws up. Crosby promises to teach Victor to play and instrument and ride a motorcycle so he won’t need any dating advice. Max says Victor can touch his lizard. Jabbar says Victor can come sleep at his house and play Xbox. It’s actually really adorable, and made me a little sad that our families weren’t at our kids’ adoption finalization hearings. Of course, our families aren’t the type to spontaneously promise things to a judge, but a girl can dream.
At the end of the ceremony, Victor asks if he and Max can go get something from the vending machine. Julia says yes. Victor says, “Thanks Mom!” And Julia is beside herself with, “He called me Mom!!!!”
Yep. All it took to erase any feelings of inadequacy or disloyalty and any effects from years of living with a drug addict and being in the foster system was for the judge to sign that adoption decree and pound his gavel. Because, you know, that’s how it happens in real life, too.
Parenthood may not be back next season. As much as I like to malign certain story lines and characters, I think the show is high-quality. I truly hope it will be back for awhile.
By the way, here’s a good article about Parenthood and transracial adoption. However, I think the author is incorrect about the Zoe plot line.
And, as a complete non sequitur, the Bravermans have Adam, Sarah, Julia, … and Crosby. It’s like Camille said, “Here Zeek, you name this one.” Or, more likely, Zeek said, “But Millie, you got to name the other three.”