Being a transracial adoptee myself, it’s nice to see movies that depict transracial adoptions (as best as they can, at the very least). Growing up, there were not a lot of movies that centered around transracial adoptions, therefore I didn’t have that kind of exposure until recent years. Very, Very recent years, to be exact.
But, since I have been able to look around for movies that I can relate to and understand, I have found some really great movies + documentaries that I am excited to share with you. So, here they are (in no particular order 😉) —
The Blind Side | 2009
If you have not seen The Blind Side yet, then you should. I have always been a big (well, huge…) Sandra Bullock fan and her performance, as well as the performances of all of the other cast members, is outstanding. Based on a true story, The Blind Side tells the heartwarming story of NFL player Michael Oher and how the loving Tuohy family came to not only love and adore Michael, but also adopt him, Michael. Though it came out in 2009, the movie never gets old, because it is just that good.
Unlocking the Heart of Adoption | 2002
Released in 20o2, filmmaker Shelia Ganz tells her story of how she was forced to give her baby up for adoption and how she was only allowed to hold her baby for approximately 10 minutes. The almost-hour-long documentary “bridges the gap between birth and adoptive families through diverse personal stories of adoptees, first/birth parents and adoptive parents in same race and transracial adoptions interwoven with the filmmaker’s story as a birthmother revealing the enormous complexities in their lives with illuminating historical background” | (unlocking the heart). This film is ideal for all adoptees, honestly, and is very informative and allows viewers to get a way better idea of all of what adoption entails and the emotions and experiences that go into it.
Black, White, and US | 2019
Released this year (2019), Black, White, and US is a documentary that “explores racism in the United States through the lives of four white Utah families who have adopted African-American children” | (daily herald: ticket). I loved this documentary, because I can completely relate and found it very easy to understand. The film delves into a lot of issues that transracial adoptees (and families, to be honest…) encounter and deal with on a regular basis. I, too, have struggled with identity issues, so I really love how relatable this doc is, because I feel less alone. If that makes sense? That said, I HIGHLY recommend watching this film, because it will allow you to better understand how transracial adoptees feel, think, struggle, and are treated.
Losing Isaiah | 1995
Released in theatres almost 23 years ago, Losing Isaiah, starring Halle Berry and Jessica Lange, tells the heartfelt (and heartbreaking) story of Isaiah, an innocent black baby born to a drug-addicted mom (Halle Berry) who lives in the Chicago projects and is so strung out on drugs that she abandons him in a nearby dumpster. Luckily, when the trash is being collected soon after, two workers notice the baby and bring him to the hospital where a social worker (played by Jessica Lange) sees the baby and ends up falling in love with him. She and her husband eventually adopt baby Isiah. I won’t spoil the rest of the movie for you, but it’s very good and definitely a must-see!
Also, my recent post on the Hart Family tragedy + its impact on how transracial adoptions are percieved loosely ties in with this film, by the way!
Off and Running | 2010
Off and Running, the 2010 documentary that “tells the story of Brooklyn teenager Avery, a track star with a bright future. She is the adopted African-American child of white Jewish lesbians. Her older brother is black and Puerto Rican and her younger brother is Korean. Though it may not look typical, Avery’s household is like most American homes — until Avery writes to her birth mother and the response throws her into crisis. She struggles over her “true” identity, the circumstances of her adoption and her estrangement from black culture” (pbs).
And there you have it — five movies every transracial adoptee should watch!
I plan on eventually making a master list of movies and TV shows that every adoptee, not just transracial adoptees, should watch, too! That said, stay tuned and please let me know if you have any questions, comments, and/or suggestions below.
And, Happy Mother’s Day to all of the amazing moms out there.
Thanks for reading and love to you all!