The Downton Abbey storyline bothered me. When Caitlyn Gallagher wrote her article, Is Lady Edith’s Marigold Adoption Legal On ‘Downton’? They’re Reunited But It Feels So Wrong | Bustle, I was glad to hear that I was not alone. If you have not read her article you should. It’s a very interesting piece regarding the laws of adoption during that particular period and sheds some light on why the script was written that way.
However, regardless of whether or not it was “okay” during that period of history I remain frustrated. I, of course, have seen the other side of this equation. I have listened, counseled and cried with my “Mrs. Drewe’s” and it just hurts more than any show can portray.
I don’t want anyone to misunderstand my frustration. I firmly believe that every mother has the right to raise her own child and I am supportive of those mothers who have. However, just as in Downton Abbey, we can get so wrapped up in the glory of the reunion that we miss the devastation of a love disrupted. If this show were a true story, I can’t imagine that Mrs. Drewe would ever be able to take on another orphan again without being terrified. I’ve seen the toll it can take in real life.
I would probably not have written a different script ending but I definitely would have added more compassion. If true to character, the ever compassionate Lady Edith would have seen how scary it would be for Mrs. Drewe to have her child taken. (Not to mention that she had no knowledge that Edith was even the birth mother!) Don’t you think Lady Edith should have apologized for all of the pressure to visit and the lies she conspired with Mrs. Drewe’s husband? At the very least, shouldn’t she have told her that she appreciated her for loving and raising Marigold as her own?
Today, if you know of one, reach out to an “almost” adoptive parent you know and ask them how they’re doing. Don’t brush it under the rug, as in this show, as if it never happened. A disrupted adoption can sometimes feel like the death of a child. At some point you can usually go on but you are not the same. You are suddenly cautious and less eager to trust. You are more wary and sometimes see shadows where there are none. You are afraid to believe. It is so helpful when others acknowledge that.