the most compelling element in this film is its nuanced treatment of adoption
- Stacy Long
You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family. And, in the case of Debra Wolf, you can’t choose your daughter’s biological mother either.
UPTV’s Mother’s Day special, Mothers of the Bride, premiering at 7p.m. EDT on Sunday, May 10, celebrates motherhood at its most complicated, funny, and heart tugging moments.
When Debra’s newly engaged daughter Jenna announces that she wants to find her birth mother, Debra supports her decision and arranges a meeting. Still, she worries that it might bring drama into Jenna’s life in an already busy time of wedding planning. But when Haley Snow comes on the scene, Debra finds the tension escalating for her, not for Jenna.
The woman who had once been a pregnant teen looking for someone to parent her child is now a successful, illustrious, got-it-all-together event planner who hobnobs with the rich and famous. She steps right into Jenna’s life without missing a stride and even volunteers to plan Jenna’s whole wedding. As Debra finds herself and her carefully made plans for the long anticipated event shoved to the side, she struggles with resentment for the woman who suddenly seems to be usurping her role as mother of the bride.
The unlikely situation leads to several mother-daughter conflicts, and even more conflicts between the two mothers. As the unwieldy triangle lurches closer to the wedding day, some heart-to-heart conversations about motherhood develop. The story reminds us of the sacrifice and tenacity with which mothers stand for their children and the tie that binds a daughter to her mother amid all the ins-and-outs of their relationship.
Furthermore, the most compelling element in this film is its nuanced treatment of adoption, with a close-up look at how it plays out in the lives of the three parties: birth parent, adoptive parents, and child. In one scene, the bubbly, unquenchable Haley opens her heart in a rare moment of genuine emotion, and we learn the other side of this adoption story.
“You were born on a Friday,” she tells Jenna. “When I handed you to your mother on that Sunday that was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. … You mourn the loss, you pick yourself up and you carry on, and you try to learn not to hate Sundays. … We interviewed 11 couples, and when the 12th couple walked in, Debra and Carl Wolf, I knew that they were the people to adopt my baby.”
“Thank you for choosing them,” Jenna tells her.
“I should be thanking them,” she responds. “I never had to spend a day worrying that you weren’t in great hands. … But I have to tell you, since meeting you, I’ve wondered what might have been.”
“I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but thank you for giving me to them,” Jenna says. “There has not been a day that I haven’t felt a 100% a part of them. They’re amazing. My dad, my sweet goofy dad, I could not have chosen a better man to show me the ways of the world. And my mom, she’s been more than a mom to me. She’s been a friend; she’s shared my successes and cried through my disappointments with me. I could not have done it without her. I don’t know if you realize the gift that you gave me in them. But it’s beyond anything that words can measure.”
Debra may not have chosen Haley, but Haley did choose Debra to be the mother of her baby. As they learn, each one of the three women has reason to give thanks for the other. Despite all the sorrows and difficulties that come along the way, there is tremendous joy for each of them because of each other and the adoption story they share.
Viewers will share in Jenna, Debra, and Haley’s emotions, as the story reawakens them on this Mother’s Day to the joy, the love, and the great blessing of their own unique mother-child relationship.