Adoption Documentary: “I Have Roots and Branches”

“I Have Roots and Branches” provides a detailed and personal window into the lives of people who have been touched by adoption; it focuses on the lives of twelve people including adoptees of all ages, adoption lawyers and birth parents. The film begins by introducing the adoptees while they participate in their favorite activities as well as engaging in traditions and everyday activities with their families. In fact, for the first part of the film, a viewer may not know these people were adopted, or why they are connected. I believe that it was director Flory Herman’s intention to show that adoption has touched more lives than we are aware of. This does a lot to address any unease that someone who is new to adoption might experience.

Against this background are monologues and interview segments depicting each perspective on the adoption process and its outcome.  The film examines the emotions related to adoption, such as the curiosity of an adopted child about their background and biological parents. The film also addresses how a child will often times feel love and appreciation for their birth parent because they gave them the opportunity for a better life than they felt they could provide at the time.

A reflection given by birth mother Joann, who made an adoption plan as a nineteen year-old college student, brings clarity to the potentially confusing mix of feelings involved in the decision to make an adoption plan. She said that there is a difference between what she gave her child and what his adoptive family gave him: she carried him, gave him life, and he is a piece of her, but that his adoptive family loves him as their child, and his place in the family is undeniably secure. She said that “[she] wanted him to have the life that [she] couldn’t create for him”.

“I Have Roots and Branches” is available in the Adoption STAR video library and serves as an excellent introduction to the adoption journey for those considering adoption as well as the people in their lives.