Off and Running, which aired on PBS on September 7, is an exceptionally informative film for all members of the triad – adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents —and professionals. I really love the way it includes different adoption stories and reactions to adoption/birth family through the dialogue with Avery’s best friend and her older brother. So many films are able to present only one person’s experience or one type of adoption which provides a limited view into the world of adoption. This film provides an honest and realistic look at how the issues of loss and identity in adoption can become overwhelming and disrupt the life of a child who, otherwise, seems to be on the right track when adolescence hits. The impact of growing up in a transracial family and having two lesbian parents is also examined in a thoughtful manner. It is clear that her family perhaps could have helped Avery feel more connected to the African American community earlier in her life but that the strong love and respect they have for each other is what centers Avery and will see her through her struggles.
Nicole Opper’s Off and Running is insightful and thought provoking and I highly recommend it to anyone involved with adoption. I do suggest that it would be good for an adopted pre-teen or teen who watches to have someone who can help process questions and feelings that may arise for them.
Rita Taddonio, LCSW Director, Spence-Chapin’s Adoption Resource Center (ARC)