The Fosters revolves around a blended family. The two moms have a biological son, two adopted Latino foster kids, and two new foster kids. The characters and premise lend themselves to a lot of drama but always with a tone of compassion and acceptance. So, I watched the first six episodes of The Fosters before writing this article. The fifth is when I finally noticed Jennifer Lopez was the Executive Producer.
In interviews Jennifer stated the traditional family had changed, there is no perfect family. She candidly offers her own family as an example, she’s a single mom and her children have four step siblings from two moms. Jennifer was given credit for casting the twin characters as Latinos. This has already provided some interesting dynamics on the show. Discussion of the twins not knowing their culture, belonging, identity, and the pressure to host a Quinceanera are interwoven themes. One of the moms is bi-racial and discusses her challenges with identity.
While the show is entertainment, I wonder if it will raise awareness about the need and challenges of foster care. Since 1995, the number of Latino children in foster care has increased from 10 percent to 21.4 percent. The reasons referenced include drugs, incarceration, parenting skills which impacts some second and third generation Latinos. The number of foster children whose parents were deported wasn’t sited but anyone who follows the news knows this is a concern. In at least one episode the twin’s biological mother makes an appearance. The character is subtly scripted as troubled and most likely wouldn’t provide a stable home.
In interviews, Jennifer Lopez describes her desire for children from non-traditional families to feel acceptance. She also shared that her deceased Aunt was gay and couldn’t live freely, the show was an homage. The group, One Million Moms, has called for a boycott of the show because of the two moms. They are further contacting corporate sponsors to no longer sponsor the show.
Can I find areas to critique? Of course. My critical comments on the Quinceañera episode alone could fill this page. In terms of the two moms’ controversy, I think back to Nancy. She was physically and sexually abused in foster care. Her words, ‘I would have gladly taken two gay dads. I just wanted a safe home‘, highlight the fact there aren’t enough loving homes for all the kids. I’ve spoken with one person who is uncomfortable watching which is sad since her bi-racial children face some of the show dynamics.
In my opinion, The Fosters provides entertainment with a touch of enlightenment. What does traditional mean today? You still have some people saying the woman should be at home raising the children. Will they boycott shows with working moms?
Julia Perez is an electrical engineer and contributing writer for Being Latino