Closure: A Documentary About Adoption
A Film by Bryan Tucker

Reviewed by Barbara Free

     This 76-minute documentary film tells the story of a young woman’s search for and reunion with her birth family. Angela is African-American, adopted and raised by a white family in western Washington State. She grew up in a multi-racial family, but a nearly all-white neighborhood in a University town. Born in Tennessee, she was diagnosed at birth as “never going to be able to walk.” Her initial foster family, who had her for only a year, did extensive physical therapy with her every day, and she eventually became a high school athlete. After marrying a fellow college student, who is white, she decided to search for her birth family. Although the state of Tennessee has accessible records for adult adoptees, she had little information to start with.
     In the course of the search, her husband decided not just to film it for their own personal records, which he had been doing, but to make a professional documentary of it, although he had no prior experience. The result is amazingly professional and personal at the same time, put together as well as any fictional novel of search and reunion. There are many twists and turns and unexpected happenings as Angela, her husband, her adoptive parents, and some of her adoptive siblings, travel to Tennessee twice to find and meet her birth family.
     The film was released in 2013, so it is very new. It is available through Amazon. It is a fine film to show anyone who is contemplating search, any adult who is adopted, anyone who has relinquished, and to any family who has adopted someone or who is contemplating doing so. The mixed feelings of everyone concerned are shown in straightforward ways, including the foster family and the adoption agency employee. One of the big surprises is that her birth father had never known of her existence, and had been told all his life that he was sterile. He is ecstatic to learn he has a daughter, and his family is excited as well. The birth mother’s long-standing grief at having had to relinquish her is a surprise, too, as Angela had been told she just didn’t care and had no maternal instinct.
     This excellent film will be shown at an O.I. movie night, probably in August, at a member’s home. If you want to see it before that, obtain it through Amazon, because you may want your own copy to keep and watch several times and share with others. It also features interviews with Angela’s husband about making the film, and has been selected by at least three film festivals as an official film selection. It is one of the most outstanding films on adoption we’ve ever seen.

Published in the July 2014 edition of the Operation Identity Newsletter
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