May 4, 2013
As I write this post I am actually "stuck" in transit trying to get to Kazakhstan to work in an orphanage. Oh the irony....
The night before we left for Kaz I went to see the Cleveland premier of Stuck. Stuck is a film about international adoption that highlights the inefficiencies, obstacles and absurdity three adoptive families face while trying to adopt their children. Stuck was the brain child of Craig Juntunen who is also an adoptive father and the author of "Both Ends Burning". Craig attended the showing and spoke passionately about the movie and the BEB movement.
In the movie we hear about the crazy delays that result in the inhumane warehousing of children. We are told it takes 33 months and $28,000 to complete an "average" adoption. A doctor talks about brain development and how it is delayed in institutionalized children. We watch as a sweet baby boy grows from infant to preschooler as he waits in an orphanage for his adoptive parents; already a victim of poverty and relinquishment, now a victim of a broken adoption system. (As we all know...HE DOESN'T GET THOSE YEARS BACK)
Those of us already initiated in intentional adoption will simply nod our heads...we already understand all too personally the truth of the situation. Each of us can count the number of nights our children went to bed unloved, unparented. We suffer the consequences right beside them. The days, months, years lost due to bureaucracy seem even more insulting.
Unfortunately though I feel like Stuck is preaching to the choir. The half empty theater was filled with adoptive families and frankly it's hard for me to imagine a broad audience for this movie. Sadly if they are not already interested in the topic audiences probably wont flock to see Stuck.
For those of us already connected to IA and in the spirit of "misery loves company" Stuck offers validation...in our frustration.
The movies does not however offer a lot of concrete answers to fix the problems causing delays and we don't get more than a mere mention about things like trafficking or the root causes of orphandom. And while it would be easy to criticize that's simply not Stuck's focus. The movie...the "movement"... is focused on an immediate solution for the kids STUCK in a broken system. Kids STUCK in institutional care by a multinational system of dysfunction.
The STUCK/BEB movement does not accept that some children must be written off as collateral damage while we take our time fixing the process.
On that point, I agree.
Hopefully Stuck will reach an audience outside the immediate adoption community. If it does it could spark the large scale humanitarian response this crisis issue deserves.
Craig shared a story about a certain Senator...from Arizona...who once ran for President....apparently the Senator said to him basically that he would not champion the issues of IA because the "numbers" weren't there. There's some integrity for you. Gross.
Sadly the international adoptive community isn't big enough to force the changes needed...and we are growing smaller with each passing year. We need people to care about this issue, a lot of people, if we hope to garner the political will required to make real change. Somehow we need to make these children...these least of the least, matter.