The other day a friend of mine tagged this post with “the adams women are amazing” and that really got me thinking. One of the most frustrating parts of this show/fandom for me is how often Lena’s maiden name gets erased, even now that the whole family has taken both names. I’ve ranted about it multiple times both in individual posts and in the tags of reblogs as well as on twitter. You can see my most in depth post about it here if you’re interested.
But this gifset that shows the parallels of Lena’s mothering of Mariana with Dana’s mothering of Lena, along with my friend’s tag, really made me think and allowed me to realize one of the ways in which erasing Lena’s name/identity when referring to her character is most damaging.
One of the most important themes of the show, and what Lena’s whole pregnancy story line was rooted in, was the idea that love is what makes a family, regardless of DNA. We see Lena tell this to Mariana and then we see Dana have to remind Lena of that when she has this heart wrenching decision to make. And so Lena makes one of the hardest sacrifices she’ll ever have to make for her children. One that takes an amazing amount of strength, that will change her forever, and one that, even though she knows is the right decision, will be one of the hardest she’ll ever make and will never leave her. But her decision to do so only showcases just how incredibly strong of a character she is.
Which brings me back to the tag “the adams women are amazing.” Because they are. They’re flawed, certainly. But they’re human and should be flawed. However, they are incredibly strong, thoughtful, very wise, and have enormous amounts of integrity. They are eloquent and often selfless, they prioritize their families above themselves. They are honest, sometimes brutally so, but never with the intention of hurting but of educating. They act as a conscience for those around them, a moral compass. We see these in both Lena and Dana. Their similarities are striking; although Lena tends to be a bit gentler because we are all shaped by our experiences and Lena’s and Dana’s life experiences I imagine have been vastly different. But the core of who they are is the same because Lena has been so shaped by the incredible force that is her mother, whether she likes it or not.
All of these traits, these core strengths, are what make the Adams women amazing. And Mariana is an Adams woman. It’s easy to forget this. Because she is adopted, because she doesn’t look like Lena or like Dana. And because she did not always have the name Adams. But those traits don’t come just by having the name. They come from being raised by an Adams woman and Mariana has spent the majority of her life under the wing of an Adams. Although Mariana is young and often selfish in that way that most teenagers are, when you give her character even a casual glance, it’s easy to find the similarities. She doesn’t have the years of life experience yet with which to see the outcomes of her own actions but you can already see that brutal honesty, that is rooted in the desire to guide others toward what is right, coming through. In her, we see all of the traits of an Adams woman but we see them at a developing stage. One where they are not yet cemented in hindsight but instead trying to flourish in naivety and insecurity. She is still learning to navigate in the world but these traits are ones that will get her through and help her find the way to whatever she wants in life. With time and experience those traits will solidify and she will be a strong, capable, honest Adams woman.
Of course, she is also a Foster (an Elkin, technically, but that’s not really the point.) Her life has been shaped just as much by Stef. We see her tendency to speak or act before thinking things through. We see her stubbornness, her determination. And we see the things that link Stef and Lena, that make them work as a couple and as parents. We see their kindness, their overflowing of love for their family, how much they care for other people. We see all of this in Mariana because she has been raised by them, influenced by them, taught and guided by their values. In Mariana (and both of her brothers) we see how we are shaped to be who we are by those around us and how our environment truly does help to make us who we are.
Mariana is an Adams and Mariana is a Foster. And having one or both names doesn’t change that. However, when you leave out the Adams - whether in Lena’s name or in Mariana’s - it erases the importance of Lena’s role as a mother. It ignores the incredible influence and contribution she has made to her family. It lessens the importance of her sacrifices and at this point, she has made one of the biggest, most difficult sacrifices that any parent could ever face. One that her children may never fully recognize as a choice she made for them. If, at this point, Lena Adams Foster has not earned her place of recognition as a leader of this family, I cannot begin to fathom what it will take.
The Adams women are amazing.
I have nothing to add do this. This as awesome. I will say that I can forgive people not being used to the kids having the Adams name, or even Stef. Ignoring Lena’s name is unforgivable and racist. The show has gotten its act together and is being more consistent in its use of Adams Foster. Stef’s name badge allows perfect strangers to call her Officer Adams Foster. It’s unfortunate that their social media has not. In canon, there is no Frankie Foster and I will never forgive ABCFamily for that one.
I think they chose their family name because they wanted both of their contributions to be reflected in their name. They are already reflected in the kids. You have addressed Mariana already. I see her and grandma enjoy Paris one day because they would be so alike. They’d have so much fun. You can’t argue against Jesus being a mini Stef. And you know Jude will be/is already a mini Lena. I love that Stef and Lena are egalitarian as well.
And at the risk of sounding militant, we have to make sure that the fandom doesn’t try to minimize Lena’s contribution.
Yeah there’s time but Ana didn’t return for that. That’s the wording of that spoiler. Anyway, if you think Mike is going to jail for this, you’ll be waiting a long time. It’s like thinking Mike had actually killed Ana. The show loves Mike even though, he’s a not a good guy.
And I am pretty sure leaky faucets says that Mike and Ana are trying to make amends.
Anyway, that’s a small sampling of the spoilers. You can keep believing that source if you want but I don’t and I don’t think they merit discussion beyond speculation.