Saying goodbye to “The Fosters”

It’s not where you come from. It’s where you belong. Nothin’ I would trade. I wouldn’t have it any other way. You’re surrounded. By love and you’re wanted. So never feel alone. You are home with me. Right where you belong.” – The Fosters theme song, “Where You Belong” by Kari Kimmel

I’ve sung these words along with my wife before every episode of The Fosters because there was something about the flipping pancakes and the overwhelming love in even the opening theme that made our hearts sing too. When the show premiered on Freeform (then ABC Family) in 2013, it broke tremendous ground and has continued to present the issues of modern life ever since. The show features the Lena (Sherri Saum) and Stef  (Teri Polo) Adams Foster, a lesbian couple who are madly in love, and their brood of kids, including Callie (Maia Mitchell) and Jude (Hayden Byerly), who were initially brought in as foster children. Now, after five seasons, The Fosters is calling it quits after this season, and the television world will lose one of its best portrays of queer love and family. There will be a three episode arc to wrap up the current storylines this summer.

The show, known for pushing boundaries and embracing authentic story lines, won two GLAAD Awards for its positive portayl of lesbian, bi, and trans characters. Not only were Stef and Lena gay and married, but young Jude’s storylines over the years (coming out as queer and embarking on same-sex relationships) were heartfelt and beautifully handled.

The romance between Callie and Aaron (played by openly transgender actor Elliot Fletcher) was rare and important. When all is said and done, The Fosters has been a real gift when it comes to representation and stigmatization.

In the past couple of seasons, focus shifted to storylines that were a cause of frustration to some viewers (the endlessly chaotic Callie/Brandon situation, a queer teacher accused of inappropriate behavior, Stef and Lena forced to divorce), but the heart of the show always remained the love and devotion of the Adamas Foster family. It was something powerful that changed minds and made this world a better place through the medium of television. Callie and Mariana (Cierra Ramirez) are getting their own spin-off, which puts them five years into the future and is helmed by the same folks behind The Fosters. The original cast will all guest star, so we won’t be seeing the last of this family, and that’s a very good thing.

Thank you Adams Foster family for five years of love, pancakes, and letting your LGBTQ characters survive and thrive. Sing along with me?

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