Adopted

80 minutes 7.0/10 based on 8 votes

It was author Cheri Register who said, “The joy and the tragedy co-exist. That is the paradox of adoption and we are all caught up in it.”

Adopting a child seems a lot easier than it really is. Many families are erroneously led into thinking that the only thing that a child needs in order to adapt to the new environment is love. However, it’s not too long before the new parents realize that there’s a lot more to it than that.

Of the thousands of children that are adopted in the United States each year, international adoptees have become by far the fastest growing sector. While many of the stories we hear may satisfy the image we have of American compassion and mercy the reality is much more complicated, particularly when it comes to multiracial or intercultural adoptions.

Barb Lee delves into the private lives of two families and exposes the many challenges they encounter on a daily basis. On the one hand we have a young family that is just beginning the process of adopting a baby from China. They are blinded by optimism and hope.

The second family adopted a Korean baby in 1975. Driven by her adoptive mother’s terminal brain cancer, she tries to forge the emotional connection they never had. She describes what’s missing as a big ravine between them. And even though she is willing to do whatever is necessary to create that bond, it’s not as easy as it sounds. The results are riveting and revealing, especially because the concept of ‘not seeing racial differences’ even though the child is obviously unlike everybody else in the family, can actually cripple the child’s ability to reconcile those differences and heal.

Many people honestly believe that all they need to do is give the child a loving home and that will heal all the wounds and remove the feeling of abandonment. But the truth becomes shockingly evident when they have given all the love they know how to give and the child continues to struggle with the past; a past that might be unknown even to him or her.

The grief over the loss of the birth mother and the feeling of not really belonging anywhere is overwhelming and can even be crippling at times. Ironically, most families prefer to sweep these topics under the rug and pretend that everything’s all right. Overcompensation and sugarcoating the adoption story will never trump the fact that the child knows he or she was abandoned and this knowledge hurts. Watch this documentary now.

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Discuss This Documentary

  • Sandy

    Wow! I don’t even know what to say. This is one messed-up all about me adoptee. Looking at the adoptive family, just guessing that her myriad of psychological problems were genetically inherited. Not once did I hear her mention that there could have been any source of her issues other than the family she was raised in that loved her so much. How self-centered could a person be to torment dying parents with taunts that they did so much wrong in raising the girl they sought out to love? Let’s also accuse everyone of being racially motivated. Many of us just don’t look at people from a different perspective just because of their country of origin, the colour of their skin or the shape of their eyes!

  • Elm

    Highly likely that her birth parents were substance abusers, and mentally ill. All this talk about her biological background, and she never once considers what she has inherited other than her race? There’s your denial for ya. My parents were alcoholics, as am I (sober 7 years), so I hope I’m not just being judgmental. She is looking in the wrong place for the source of her troubles. It’s likely genetic, and why she was abandoned in the first place. Yes, in a better world she would not have had to contend with racism in the US. A white child in Korea would suffer, too,

  • Carolmaeray

    I was adopted at the age of eight from a Jacksonville orphanage in 1948, after 8 years of chaos and foster homes. I was told to forget my first life as I had a new one and my new parents were told nothing about me. WHAT A WHINER THIS GAL IS! I had to stop watching it. She needs to get into therapy. I had to learn that my character “flaws” were not always connected to being adopted.

  • Jūratė Ra

    Every child adopted into an interracial family should have a right to know their origins and be raised in an enviroment that celebrates diversity. The adoptee in the documentary was deprived of those rights. She was also deprived of the right to grieve over her abandonment by birth parents. I absolutely empathy with this young women over her pain and struggle.

  • Rikki Ferrier

    I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one that felt like this girl was incredibly self-centered. I understand that she would have hardships in the fact that she was adopted. I do see that that would be a hurdle for anyone to overcome, but come on! Where is her gratitude?? Would you rather have been tossed around from foster home to foster home (where sadly, often rape, abuse, drugs, molestation, neglect, etc happen) than to have been adopted at birth by an incredibly loving family? Get over yourself! We all have hurdles to overcome! Your mom is dying, and all you can think of is how she could’ve done better? Like I’m sorry, but you’re acting like a brat. I’m sorry that your race is difficult to cope with, and I can’t speak on how you were treated for being different because in my experience, race is usually praised over criticized (different colors are beautiful!), I’m still sorry that you had to deal with that, but you’re grown now, it’s time to build a bridge and get over it. Everyone has struggles. Divorced parents, rape, death of a child, death of a parent, abandonment, abuse, etc. I’m not denying that your struggle is real, but it is not your parents burden to carry like you want them to. It’s yours. Go to therapy, cry it out, and move forward.

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