I am a female transracial adoptee with disabilities, happily committed in an interracial marriage. One might expect a minority ^5 (to the fifth degree) to have cemented and unflappable opinions on all topics relating to race, adoption and marriage. However the unique lens with which my world is filtered has lent me towards a greater acceptance and understanding that experiences lead to opinions as varied as the human race itself. My siblings - through foster care, birth family, adoption and biological to my parents all have different feelings about adoption - some vehemently oppose the decision to share private facts publicly, others are fearful of searching for their birthparents, some struggle with the loss of their birth culture, while others focus solely on birth family relationships. One commonality we share is that we love our parents, and love our family.
Closure was released to Netflix in February of this year and suddenly my personal story became available for anyone to dissect and use as a case study for adoption reunions. This development both excited and terrified me as I wondered how I would be able to let every Netflix subscriber know my main motivation for sharing my story in this way. How could I let every viewer know that my hope was that the film might allow another adoptee to feel less isolated and more understood in their struggle to make sense of their place in the world. At film screenings, I would sit in amazement watching the droves of people connect with my story, quietly wondering how empowering it may have been to watch a movie primarily focused on an adoptee when I was younger. While sitting at a screening, instead of watching Closure (and being re-triggered by events from my reunion), I would let me mind wander, imagining a teenage version of myself watching an adoptee movie on a Friday night with my parents, a bowl of popcorn snuggled up in my favorite blanket. I would then imagine that the film would conclude and the floor would be open for a deeply meaningful conversation about all the topics the film stirred up in me.
In the three years since the film has come out, I’ve heard too many adoptee stories to count, and I have loved hearing each and everyone of them. Hearing these stories solidified my choice to release my story to the public, as it provided the evidence I needed that adoptees were feeling more free to speak about their experiences. I especially loved hearing from tween and teen adoptees as every time I would meet one of them, I could see myself in the questions that they asked. I saw myself in their unquenchable curiosity and the longing to be heard and understood. Just a few minutes of speaking together connected us in a way that feels particular unique to adoptees. When speaking with these kiddos, I would occasionally ask if they felt they had safe places and people to share their feelings about adoption (other than their adoptive parents) most often the answer was, no.
I don’t feel that an adoptee should have to secure a Netflix deal in order for other adoptees to find a safe space to explore the complexity of the adopted life. I have decided to try to turn my fantasy dream into a reality and am creating The Adopted Life Episode series. The premise is simple; I'll direct an honest, free-flowing one-on-one conversation between myself and an adoptee, which will be edited into a short episode, filmed and edited by my husband, filmmaker Bryan Tucker. The open-source series will offer the general public the opportunity to listen these adoptees truths, providing space for private discussions afterwards. In order for this dream to come to fruition, I need to raise funds. I seek to tap into the mystical adoptee connection to provide youth an outlet for their voices to be heard and supported, to give young adoptees a platform so that they can find others more easily, while allowing our society to learn the value and power of their realities.
Every year in November we celebrate National Adoption Month, and every year media outlets rush to tell our stories and their default has been to ask adoptive parents to tell these stories. Typically, adoptive parents are introduced as the experts on adoption. This trend has been slowing changing over the last few years, with adult adoptees pushing back, declaring that we are the experts in adoptee experience, since we know what it feels like to live the adopted life. If you find value in my voice as an adoptee, please show your commitment by supporting The Adopted Life.
Angela and Bryan’s incredible campaign is in its final days - if not funded in full, the episodes cannot take place.