MOVIES: Documentary - Adoption
Adopted
Directed by Barb Lee

Adopted reveals the grit rather than the glamor of transracial adoption. First-time director Barb Lee goes deep into the intimate lives of two well-meaning families and shows us the subtle challenges they face. One family is just beginning the process of adopting a baby from China and is filled with hope and possibility. The other family's adopted Korean daughter is now 32 years old. Prompted by her adoptive mother's terminal illness, she tries to create the bond they never had. The results are riveting, unpredictable and telling. While the two families are at opposite ends of the journey, their stories converge to show us that love isn't always enough.

Living on the fault line: where race and family meet
Directed by Jeff Farber

This film explores the intersection where family love meets racial injustice in the experience of transracial families created through adoption. An honest open-hearted look at race in America, it is an intimate portrait that reveals the challenges transracial families face as children of color grow up in communities where racial discrimination, stereotyping and white privilege are often unspoken and undeniable realities. It tells the untold story of transracial adoption, while revealing the complex and emotional story of institutional inequities and racial stereotyping intruding into the haven of family. Shot in a naturalistic style, the voices in this film are intimate and numerous. The film profiles nine transracial families. The circumstances of these families vary - from traditional family, to single parent, to alternative lifestyle - with the children ranging in age from toddlers to young adults. Within the film the voices include parents, whose loving impulse to adopt place them in the position of unexpectedly having to face the institutional and unconscious racism of society; children of color who, although loved by their parents, are often misunderstood and out of place in their families and communities; and those professionals who understand the damaging effects of racism and white privilege and are trying to unmask its debilitating and often tragic consequences.

My Flesh and Blood
Directed by Jonathan Karsh

Winner of the Audience and Director's Awards at the Sundance Film Festival, the deeply affecting MY FLESH AND BLOOD follows one remarkable family's most tumultuous year as it confronts a litany of daily routines, celebrates life's small pleasures, and copes with major crises. Who says you can't choose your family? "I think when I found that I could survive raising four kids, that it wasn't that far of a leap to add another one," says Susan Tom of Fairfield, California, who has done more than just that, adopting 11 special needs children. For a single mother who receives only limited help from the state, Susan gives her kids love, hope, and as close to a normal childhood has possible. Her limits are tested, however, when her angry teenage son threatens one of his siblings. And after another child's condition becomes erratic, the entire family learns that living for the moment is the keystone to happiness. Tenderly directed by Jonathan Karsh, MY FLESH AND BLOOD presents a family portrait like no other–a bittersweet and unforgettable experience filled with unexpected humor, stirring pathos, and an optimistic view towards morality.

First Person Plural
Directed by Deann Borshay Liem

In 1966, Deann Borshay Liem was adopted by an American family and sent from Korea to her new home in California. There the memory of her birth family was nearly obliterated, until recurring dreams led her to investigate her own past, and she discovered that her Korean mother was very much alive. Bravely uniting her biological and adoptive families, Borshay Liem embarks on a heartfelt journey in this acclaimed film that first premiered on POV in 2000. First Person Plural is a poignant essay on family, loss and the reconciling of two identities.

In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee
Directed by Deann Borshay Liem

Her passport said she was Cha Jung Hee. She knew she was not. So began a 40-year deception for a Korean adoptee who came to the United States in 1966. Told to keep her true identity secret from her new American family, the 8-year-old girl quickly forgot she had ever been anyone else. But why had her identity been switched? And who was the real Cha Jung Hee? In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee is the search to find the answers, as acclaimed filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem (First Person Plural, POV 2000) returns to her native Korea to find her “double,” the mysterious girl whose place she took in America.