Reality television viewers can’t seem to get enough of unique relationships and drama, and A&E looks to be delivering a heavy dose of both with their new docu-series, Adults Adopting Adults, premiering Monday, January 31 at 10/9c.
Adult adoption is an unfamiliar concept to many. Why would an adult want or need to be adopted? And why would an adult be motivated to adopt someone else over the age of 18? Adults Adopting Adults will provide viewers with a half dozen answers to those questions.
From the network’s press release:
The laws regarding adult adoption vary by state, and the legitimate reasons the practice occurs across the United States range from establishing inheritance rights to formalizing established relationships. While some who participate are looking to make sincere familial bonds, others may have more deceptive or even sinister motivations.
“Adults Adopting Adults” features some of these jaw-dropping stories – from a woman who wants to leave her mother behind to be adopted by another couple that she found online; to a German prince seeking an adult son to care for him and carry on his title; to a married man who had an inappropriate relationship with a young woman he was previously trying to adopt and is now looking to adopt another adult daughter; and more.
A&E has been promoting the new series heavily, and they have released several preview clips. Thanks to those, I’ve been able to whip up brief bios on a few of the potential adopters and adoptees. First, let’s check out the preview trailer for the first season of Adults Adopting Adults.
That’s a lot to take in! This show looks like it will be inspiring quite a bit of chatter online and around the water cooler on Tuesday morning. I’m guessing the “married man who had an inappropriate relationship with a young woman he was previously trying to adopt and is now looking to adopt another adult daughter” will likely be the most talked about. So, I will start with them.
Danny, Christy and Ileana
Danny and Christy are a married couple from Ohio. Danny has a history of infidelity, and also a history of curiosity when it comes to adopting young women. The result is a cringe-worthy blurring of the lines that almost makes Danny and Christy a better fit for Seeking Sister Wife than Adults Adopting Adults.
Here’s the preview clip for Danny, Christy and Ileana:
The video starts with Danny providing some background. “Adult adoption came to my attention when a young 18-year-old girl came and bought a puppy from us.” He adds that the girl’s father had passed away, and he “felt a need to help her in some way.”
Danny says the young girl was interested in being adopted, but unlike the puppy, her adoption never happened. “Unfortunately, I could not pursue that first young lady because I actually started having feelings for her,” he admits. “She was a very beautiful young lady.”
Christy glares at Danny throughout his brief history lesson, and her glare seems to intensify with every word he says. “On top of that,” she adds when her husband is done, “he’s been unfaithful in the past. And it almost ended us.”
Christy says that Danny promised her that he would never be unfaithful again. “But then Ileana came along and I thought, ‘He’s really doing this! Again!'”
The potential adoption of Ileana appears to be putting a serious on strain on Danny and Christy’s marriage. But, the adoption may just be a single straw among many weighing heavily on Christy. “Danny really likes to downplay my concerns, and just brushes them off every time” she says. “He proceeds on no matter what I say.”
As Danny works on a poster welcoming Ileana to Ohio, he makes multiple sexual jokes. Christy is not amused. “My husband has crazy, outlandish thoughts and ideas,” she says. “And we’ve had a lot of friends and family that are just very perplexed.” Uh oh.
The series preview also includes a brief scene in which Danny is speaking to an attorney about Ileana. “She has to leave the United States here in about 70 days,” he says. I assume that means Ileana is from another country? Wow. And remember, this is just one of six stories!
Carol, Derek and Bianca
The relationship between Carol, Derek and their potential adoptee, Bianca, has something unfortunate in common with that of Danny, Christy and Ileana. Despite that similarity, I’m only getting very positive vibes from this trio!
Their preview clip was shared on Instagram and starts 30 seconds in:
Carol and Derek have both been married multiple times, but neither of them have a son or daughter of their own. However, Carol does have a stepdaughter named Brittany. There’s a bit of tension surrounding the potential adoption of Bianca because Brittany has an issue with it. That issue stems from the unfortunate similarity to Danny and Christy that I mentioned earlier.
Carol gets a bit emotional as she opens up about the reason for Brittany’s disapproval:
There has been only one naysayer, and that’s my stepdaughter Brittany from my first marriage. I always considered her God’s gift because I always wanted kids, and I always wanted a daughter. And it is very hard for her to come to grips with this whole adoption because Brittany has known me to be very close to students before. Because, when I was married to Brittany’s birth father, there was a young woman who went to Broward College that I brought into the house because she needed a home.
A producer asks Carol if she is still in communication with the student who moved in with her. “No, I do not communicate with her at this point. No.”
The producer follows up by asking why, and Carol requests a moment. She eventually regains her composure and continues.
“She was in a re–, she was messing with my husband, and I had no idea,” Carol reveals. “That’s what happened. Brittany remembers her birth father and the young woman that we brought in were in a relationship. ”
The video includes text that reveals Brittany “has cut off all communication with Carol because of her plans to Adult Adopt Bianca.”
Brittany’s aversion to Bianca’s adoption is unfortunate because it certainly seems to be an extremely positive thing for everyone involved. Bianca’s birth parents had drug issues, and she spent a lot of her childhood in foster care.
Despite having a lot of cards stacked against her, Bianca has worked extremely hard to achieve a lot of academic success. I’m sure having Carol as a mentor was a great inspiration for her. ‘
So why adoption? I will let Derek explain. Here is what he said to producers during an interview, and what he told to Bianca on camera:
To producers: Her family were really just plagued by drug addiction. And I realized that in the back of her mind she was probably, “OK, when is this going to end? When am I going to be abandoned again? When am I going to be rejected again?” I told Carol my concern, and my position was we had to adopt her.
To Bianca: When I invited you to join our family, it was because I wanted you to know that you’ll always have a home.
Vickie, Joe, Kim and… Joe?
Kim is a happily married mother of two living in Las Vegas. “I felt the need for getting adopted because the desire I always had to have grandparents in our lives,” Kim explains in her preview. She adds that her in-laws have not been very involved.
However, Kim may be motivated by more than just wanting to have grandparents for her children.
Kim was previously adopted, but she had a falling out with her mother. The two didn’t speak for eight years before starting to talk to each other again not long before filming for Adults Adopting Adults.
A producer asks Kim if her desire to get adopted is a way to get back at her mother. “No, not at all. That’s not my intention at all,” Kim replies.
Her husband Joe nearly pulls an ocular muscle giving Kim the side eye. He then performs an overly exaggerated shrug while inhaling deeply. It’s clear that Joe thinks that a large part of Kim’s motivation to be adopted is to get back at her mother. Judging from the preview, the result is going to be some serious fireworks!
I don’t have much information on the German prince, the young lady with a criminal record, or the sisters who are attempting to be adopted by woman who has let them down twice already. To get more on their stories, and to see what happens with the other families featured above, be sure to tune in to Adults Adopting Adults! The show premieres Monday, January 31 at 10/9c on A&E. It will be available on demand and to stream on the A&E app and aetv.com.
UPDATE – The German prince is Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt, the widower of actress Zsa Zsa Gabor! Get the scoop on him and his adult adoptee, 27-year-old Kevin Feucht, here!