Adding onto my last entry, I just wanted to write a little more about Adopted. For starters, I liked the movie very much and would recommend it to anyone interested in broadening their perspective on transracial and transnational adoption. It was released, wow, four years ago, so I’m sure it’s nothing new to many. It was the first film I have ever watched relating specifically to adoption. There was so much to latch onto, so I apologize if my writing loses cohesion.
For those not familiar, I promise not to spoil too much! The movie follows two adoptions stories; one of 32 year old Jennifer Fero, a KAD facing her identity struggle and confronting her parents, the other of John and Jacqui, a couple in the process of adopting a child from China. The latter is focused on less in the documentary, but I was touched by their story (not to mention they have the same names as my parents!). I can not at all claim to know what it is like to be a parent, not yet at least. This couple, like my parents, were unable to get pregnant. I see that some parents of transracial adoptees get flack for how they handled raising their children and I do not intend to excuse parents for being colorblind and making their childrens’ birth cultures secondary. However, the couple in Adopted reminded me of the pain many parents have gone through prior to making the decision to adopt. I feel that this pain should be validated. Everyone involved in adoption brings a perspective and deserves to be listened to and empathized with. John and Jacqui really struck a soft spot with me. Their joy was so visible as they interacted with their new daughter. Finally. After failed attempts to get pregnant, they had a child and could identify themselves as mom and dad.
Jennifer Fero’s story felt like a significant contrast to John and Jacqui’s. Hers was full of sadness as she sought identity and understanding from her parents, including one who was terminally ill. This was hard to watch, especially since my own mom has been in life-threatening condition a few times. Nevertheless, Jennifer spoke so openly and I admired her courage in confronting her parents about her feelings. It was hard listening to their responses, which were often mixed with sorrow and resistance. There was no doubt that they loved her, but she was telling them things they clearly didn’t want to hear. Of the many poignant observations Jennifer made, I most connected with her notion that adoptees work hard to protect their parents. Yes, yes and yes. This is me, absolutely. And I can only imagine how hard it was for Jennifer to actually tell her parents about the lack she felt when she protected them for so long. I’m not sure that Jennifer felt like a strong person in this movie, but I thought that she exhibited great strength.
So, I recommend Adopted if you haven’t seen it already! Of course, I also have to throw out a friendly suggestion not to overgeneralize. My mom connected with John and Jaqui’s experience in some ways and I connected with Jennifer’s in some ways, but these two stories do not represent every parent and adoptee story. Even so, very worth watching and not something I will forget.