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Adopted

Point Made; $59.99; 2-disc set



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What is life like for a person adopted internationally? Adopted (Point Made; $59.99; 2-disc set) digs deep into the lives of two adoptive families to find out.

This 80-minute documentary makes it clear that adoption is an emotional journey for everyone. We watch as 32-year-old Jennifer Fero, born in Korea and raised in Oregon, struggles with  her identity and finding her place in her family. The conversations she has with her mother are heart-wrenching and wrought with tension, as Fero attempts to gain closure and form the bond they never had. She says she has no resentment toward her parents, but adds, "If people adopt today, I expect them to do better." Her story made me feel both happy and sad, but mostly grateful that Fero allowed us to peek into her life.

Director Barb Lee also introduces John and Jacqui Trainer, who are just beginning the process to adopt. Families will remember their own journeys as they watch the Trainers get their referral call and see them hold their daughter for the first time.

Adopted does not show all the mistakes that parents make in raising their children. Rather, it's a checklist of reminders. It asks us to figure out what our own story is, as adoptive parents, and what the story is of the children we love. And, most important, to think about how to unite these individual stories to make a family.

Are we really doing a better job these days? If we're not sure,  the DVD set includes a training video, with advice to help families gel and cope. (Experts include Jane Brown, MSW; Beth Hall, director of Pact, An Adoption Alliance; and a roundup of therapists, psychologists, advocates, adult adoptees, and adoptive parents.)

Adopted is a riveting film, especially for those in multiracial families. If you don't weep, ache, and nod your head while you watch it, you aren't paying attention.

Reviewed by Skila Brown, an adoptive mother of three Guatemalan-born sons, who lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

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