Sunday, April 18, 2010

3 Cinematic Approaches to Adoption, Race, Separation, Loss, Pain, Grieving, Reunification and Resilience

Three adoption films.
(last updated 5/8/10)

Adopted: The Film

Do not miss an opportunity to view this intensely moving documentary by Barb Lee follows Jennifer, a 32-year-old Korean born adoptee as she deals with issues she has kept from the view of others all of her life: the painful side of being interracially adopted, interwoven with following a couple from their decision to adopt through bringing home their baby girl from China.

As its description states, it "reveals the grit rather than the glamour of transracial adoption" as Jennifer tries with all her might and her love to get the validation she longs from from her parents before they die. Though Jenn is the main character of the film the pain her questions cause her parents - as they cope with their imminent deaths - is likewise palpable.

Both Jennifer's parents - of "another generation" - and the couple in the process of adopting, pride themselves on not seeing color or race, though the younger couple is more aware of integrating and respecting the interracial aspect of their family. And therein lies the source of Jenn's pain. She wants her journey to know her heredity and genetic roots as a family issue. Her mother in father are able or willing to. Her father tells her it is her journey and clearly does not understand why she cannot be happy and needs to focus on being Korean.

Jennifer says: "Families adopt. Adoptees adapt....the adoption is celebration and the abandonment is ignored." She says "adoptees are chameleons because they don't want to be abandoned again." Her struggle was compelling and moved me to tears.

John Raible says: "The film captures beautifully what I refer to as the paradox of adoption, that is, adoption as both a blessing and a curse. I realize that it is not easy for many parents to accept this realization. Yet allowing adoption narratives (such as this film) into our hearts and consciousness gives us a chance to sit with difficult knowledge and to experience the world as many adoptees experience it."

The film is for sale for $59.99 for individual purchase OR, you can rent it on NETFLIX. The filmmakers have a companion pice entitled "We Can Do Better" which is clearly the goal of "Adopted: the film."

It is only by removing our rose-colored glasses and viewing adoption in its "gritty" truth and with the hindsight of those who have lived it that we can learn how to improve how we can help those who have experiences the grief and loss of separation live happier lives. The goal is to reduce the pain that love alone cannot heal.


I would also like to call your attention to a film I have not see, but look forward to: Resilience is documentary by Tammy Chu. It is a story of loss, separation and building broken ties following the journey of a Korean birthmother and her "American" son as they attempt to build a relationship after thirty years.

“If given the choice, I would never give up my child…losing my child is something I will not get over for as long as I live.” - Myung-Ja Noh, Birth Mother

Living on the FAULT LINE: Where race and family meet

I had the pleasure of meeting Jeff Farber, the award-winning film maker recently at the ACONE adoption conference. The film approaches race in America by looking intimately into the lives of seven interracial families who are foster, adoptive or prospective adopters. Jeff, who has focused his 25 year career in film-making on stories involving situations where societal norms create inequality and injustices. Reviewed here.


Von said...

Thanks for these.I'd like to post a link to my blog hope that's ok.

Mirah said...

Links are always OK!

Anonymous said...

Rent ADopted on Netflix! It is there!!!!

Anonymous said...

You could also buy Adopted for yourself here:

Mirah said...

Thank you - very good to know. I will update the post. And, I will also rent it and hold an adoption movie night at my UU church.

Anonymous said...

You can buy Adopted for Private, home use only.
for $59.99
from there website.

Anonymous said...

The name of the film is actually "Adopted," not "Adopted: the film." Just wanted you to know. Also, my friend is a filmmaker and he says that to show the film to a group, you should have an institutional version, not a private, home use version which is only what you can rent at Netflix!

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