December 23, 2008

A Home for the Holidays

Annual CBS adoption special has extra Faith (Hill) this time
Jay Bobbin

`A Home for the Holidays'' is more Faith-based than ever this year,
and appropriately so.
Music superstar Faith Hill is an adoptee, so she feels a strong
connection to ``A Home for the Holidays,'' the yearly CBS special that advocates
adoption through uplifting stories of children and their foster
families. A performer on past editions, Hill returns to host and sing on the 10th
annual program Tuesday, Dec. 23.

Also rendering songs during the hour are Melissa Etheridge, Jamie
Foxx, Gavin Rossdale and Hill's husband, Tim McGraw. Some youngsters
featured previously on ``A Home for the Holidays'' return to update their
stories; new tales are introduced by Rene Russo, Martin Short, Patricia Heaton
(``Everybody Loves Raymond'') and Kristin Chenoweth (``Pushing

``This is my this third time doing this show, and to perform on
something like this is just one part of it,'' Hill says. ``All the children
highlighted on it have been adopted. That's an average of 10 to 12
children each year, but the number of children adopted because of the show is
over 20,000, and that's remarkable. When you call the 800 number given on
the show, there's someone to speak to you who's in your city or your

Having such a personal tie to ``A Home for the Holidays'' made the
taping challenging for Hill at some points.
``I had a difficult moment in one of my songs,'' she admits.
``Everyone in that room had been affected by adoption in some way, and most of the
(celebrity) guests in the show either have adopted a child or have
been adopted. Jamie Foxx was adopted (he has quite an interesting story ~ his adoptive parents also adopted his natural mother, from what I've heard), and Martin Short and his wife have adopted.

``Just about everybody who works on the show has been there since the
first one,'' Hill adds of the special partially initiated by adoptee Dave
Thomas, the late founder of the Wendy's restaurant chain. ``It's a labor of
love. They are truly dedicated to these children and finding homes for
them, and I'm not sure I've ever been part of anything else that has such
dedication involved.''

Hill knows the potential results firsthand.

``As a baby, I was adopted into a wonderful family,'' she says.
``It's one of the truest testaments to unconditional love, and as long as you can
really show a child support, mountains can be moved. Babies are
adopted by the thousands on a daily basis, but children who have been taken out
of their homes because of abuse or neglect need a home as well.

``Let's take, for instance, an 18-year-old who has just graduated
from high school. He or she will be fine now, people might think, going off and
being on their own -- and they don't need to be adopted. Well, that's just
not true. That child needs someone to come home to, and when they start
having a family of their own, they'll want grandparents for those children.
That history is so important. A child is never too old to be shown love.''

Hill is never far from her own adoption history: It's right in her
name. She recalls her Mississippi-based foster parents, in pursuing a private
adoption, ``were on a long list of people wanting a girl. The doctor
had asked all these wannabe parents if they had any specific requests
like hair color, which is so ironic, because you know how kids change!

``When the doctor called my mom and dad in, they said, `We just want
to be blessed with a little girl.'' A few days later, Mom got the call that
there was a little girl waiting to be picked up, and she said, `We named
you Faith because we just kept praying that it was going to happen, and it
happened a lot sooner than we expected it to.' '' (Hill eventually located, and
established a relationship with, her biological mother.)

Having her fellow-musician spouse on ``A Home for the Holidays'' is
significant for Hill. Also featured in the current movie ``Four
Christmases,'' McGraw ``was not given up for adoption, but he had a
similar situation in that he met his father later in life,'' Hill says. ``Tim
has the biggest heart of anyone I know, and he understands the blessing
that comes from true, honest love and sacrifice.

``My parents were not wealthy people, but they worked hard to give
their children a strong, solid foundation. They've been married 52 years
this month. I wish my mom could teach a course on how to deal with life;
she knew how to stretch a penny into a dollar, and she still does.''

``A Home for the Holidays'' ends a busy television round for Hill,
who also appeared recently on NBC's ``Christmas in Rockefeller Center'' and
PBS' ``Soundstage'' to coincide with the release of her new holiday album,
``Joy to the World.'' Also still heard singing the theme for NBC's Sunday-
night football telecasts, she's looking forward to a yuletide at home in
Nashville with McGraw and their three daughters.

``The girls are in school now, so I'm a mom before I'm anything
else,'' Hillsays. ``I never enjoy working unless my family is taken care of, and
I want to be here to watch my children grow. It's been a great year, and as
long as my family is safe and healthy, I'm happy.''

I was able to catch most of this show tonight on CBS, with Faith Hill. The song by Melissa Etheridge (adoptive mother) in which she repeatedly screamed over and over ~ "Baby Come Home" ~ wasn't in the best taste in my opinion. It was hard to listen to. Where IS Home for an adoptee? To a reunited adult adoptee, it means something ALOT different than the inference she was strongly making. I saw visions of "Dear Burfmother" letters dance in my head and desperate housewives getting all upset and bothered when their potential baby-maker "changes her mind" and "disrupts" their dream adoption ~ the baby they are just SURE was made for them.

When Faith Hill beautifully sang "He rules the world with truth & grace" in her gracious rendition of "Joy to the World", I got chills as I watched the camera zoom around the child-filled room of little adoptees. Adoptees whose original birth certificates, names, identities, birth histories, medical & genealogical histories and families were SEALED permanently the day their adoptions were finalized. What part of TRUTH is protected for them and their children after them? Adoption is not the end-all cure, or win-win solution for these children, no matter how sticky-sweet the stories were engineered. It doesn't erase their histories, families, or life-long loss. TRUTH be told, there was much lacking in this advertisement about us "special" kids.

1 comment:

maybe said...

Boy, am I glad I missed that show!