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One Family: An Ethiopian Adoption

By Jim Ritvo and Dave Raizman 132 Main; $20



This documentary, about a Vermont family who adopts a 10-year-old girl, can be seen as a sweet story, an intimate portrait of Claudia, Rob, Eli, and, finally, Meskerem. But One Family: An Ethiopian Adoption (Jim Ritvo and Dave Raizman) has broader implications, too. People are beginning to speak about openness in international adoption, but almost always in adversarial terms—baby stealing, baby selling. So, the scenes in which Meskerem’s birth family—her adoring grandmother, big brothers, and aunts—entrust her to her new American parents are awe-inspiring, and a lesson for us all. This, you realize, is how it should be. Split by race, distance, poverty, disease, and grief, two families are connected by a delicate hinge, Meskerem, and they become one.

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Reviewed by Isolde Motley, editor of AF’s forthcoming You Can Adopt!

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