I'm Having Their Baby executive producer Michael Rourke was deeply affected by his experience working on Season 1. In this interview, he describes what he learned from the show not only as a producer, but as a father in a non-traditional family. He also describes catching up with Season 1 moms for unprecedented interviews, which will launch as digital shorts on Mother's Day. Read the interview below.
I'm Having Their Baby: What was it like to catch up with the Season 1 moms? Have you stayed in touch in general?
Michael Rourke:We stay in touch the best we can with the women who were on the first season. We were fortunate and lucky enough to be able follow five of these women as they went to visit their babies whom they placed in the families they're now in. It's an incredibly rare and special moment, because open adoption is such a a new concept, no one has done that kind of thing. I think it’s a really amazing and emotional moment to watch someone visit their birth child -- there's a mix of gratitude, happiness, and sure, some anxious moments.
Can you explain 'open adoption' vs. 'closed adoption'?
In the past, closed adoptions were more common and meant that once you placed your baby for adoption that you never spoke to them again. Open adoption means you have some degree of communication with the family that adopted their child -- whether it’s a call on their birthday, regular visits. Now, 90% of domestic adoptions are open, which is a revolutionary thing and it has really changed the face of adoption. There's a lot less secrecy.
What kinds of precautions do you have to take as a producer to remain sensitive to the mothers and non-invasive, but to capture the right moments?
Everyone we work with -- the crew, our entire team -- are really documentary filmmakers and producers. We know how to stand back and capture what's happening and fade into the background, so not only are we out of the way, but we allow them to have genuine moments. These are the most important moments of their lives.
We talk about the mothers but the fathers have to go through this too. What can you say about the fathers' experiences on the show?
The laws governing adoption very state by state. In some states, the birth father has as many rights as the mother, in some states that’s not required. It varies. Some of it complicates things, which you'll see in Season 2 as we captured a lot more fathers' stories during this season. It has been something we really endeavored to do: include the birth father and more of their point of view... as a father, there are some incredibly emotional scenes to watch.
As a father, what have you gotten out of working on this show?
Well, it’s been probably the most gratifying producing I've ever done. My family is directly impacted by adoption, My sister adopted two beautiful girls and they transformed my entire family. As for myself, my son was born through a surrogacy. To be able to tell this story has been incredibly gratifying and emotional, and I feel very privileged to tell these stories. I think it reflects the changing face of the American family, and how the notion of family is changing in a dramatic way. This show about adoptions and birth moms is a great cultural conversation.
Watch the promo for Season 2 if 'I'm Having Their Baby' premiering June 12