Monday, September 13, 2010

Off and Running--a movie response

Off and Running is another adoption/finding identity movie filmed for Point of View, and I guess I shouldn't be surprised I don't find it the inspiring, beautiful story of finding self as others do.  Biblical worldview often does not line up with worldly opinions; and it seems like I don't agree with anyone!

This documentary shows a year or so in the life of an African American teenager whose family consists of two Jewish moms, one older adopted brother, and one younger adopted brother.  My husband felt like it was watching a train almost crash into a car, but the car just makes it across the tracks.  Avery, the struggling to find herself main character, really, really struggles to find her black identity, to heal from being rejected by her birth mom once again after beginning a correspondence, and seems to feel her family is falling apart and she is alone.  The documentary certainly made Avery's pain felt to all who watched.  She spirals down hill, leaving school and eventually leaving home as the tension at home becomes unbearable.

If you believe ignoring race issues and abandonment pain in your child is the best way to handle things, that it will never come back to bite you, then I can maybe agree with the majority and say you MUST WATCH this film.

If you want to see every adoptee's story in the hopes of finding one that matches yours or your child's, then maybe you SHOULD WATCH this film.

If you want to feel hope that your best efforts at finding diversity for your family and having open dialogue will be enough, then maybe you SHOULDN'T WATCH this film.  

Avery says frequently that the tension at home is because her parents don't like that she is trying to contact her birth family, and yet, the only scenes we see are her moms trying to have an open discussion, encouraging her to write, and offering to get her counseling.  Perhaps there were huge mistakes made in the past such as all Jewish elementary school, but her parents appeared to be really trying.  However, Avery's crisis was so personal and intense for her that she chose an abortion  during the time she was crashing at her boyfriends rather than give her baby up for adoption--no mention was made of choosing to parent the child which it seemed like her family may have been willing/able to help her do.

This choice and watching the movie hurt my soul.  I really feel for Avery and her parents.  I believe she was hurting a great deal.  She must have been to consider no life better than a life as an adoptee.  It appeared to me more like watching a train crash into a car, and the car is in little tiny, mangled pieces, then someone waves a wand and voila, perfect again.   The movie ends with Avery being able to run track for school even though missing most of the school year, getting her GED, getting into college, and deciding her family was loving and supportive after ?one? counseling session.  Tada!  All better!  (Current reports say she is doing well  and is in her second year of college).

Do I recommend this movie?   Well, it depends on where you are at and what you believe as an adoptive parent.  As far as my family and friends, No.  It'll just make you want to talk us out of adopting. 


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