Like many adoptive parents, I watch various movies and documentaries about adoption. I rarely recommend these films to the Blended audience because I feel that they don’t necessarily touch on new ground or give adoptive parents pause for new reflection. But I did see one film recently that gave me quite a lot to think about and consider. Off and Running is a documentary about Avery Klein-Cloud, a Brooklyn African-American adopted teen. The film itself has a great deal to offer in terms of her adoptive experience as the daughter of two Jewish women, with two adopted siblings. While they live in diverse Brooklyn, her school is mono-ethnic, and we have the privilege of watching her transition to a local multiethnic public high school. The reactions from her ‘old’ friends and the responses from her ‘new’ friends are birthed from each of their unique experiences with race and culture – both Jewish and African-American. Watching this transition take place on screen is challenging and there are great discussion points for Blended families.
But that is not all – the film is often painful to watch as she also negotiates a longing to know her birthmother, struggles through self-discovery, and grapples with new relationships and the decisions resulting from them. Avery Klein-Cloud travels a difficult road but one that Blended families can learn from.
Watch Off and Running Trailer on PBS. See more from POV.
While readers may find much to disagree with regarding lifestyle and this family’s choices, I encourage you to watch this film with an open mind and heart seeking to learn from this adoptive journey. Off and Running grapples with so many questions and issues that we as Blended families face and there are few points at which we get to watch another family travel through similar territory. I thoroughly recommend adding this documentary to your must see list.Tweet
I saw this a couple of years ago. What stuck with me was her adopted mom Travis’s reaction to Avery’s behavior after her birthmother wrote her once, then never again. Travis said something along the lines of, “She’s acting like this big tragic event happened, and I don’t think it did.” I can’t believe a mom wouldn’t see how traumatic this event really was.
I hope Avery and her family are doing better now.
Robyn, I too remember being surprised on more than one occasion by some of their comments and agree with you completely. It highlights the need for compassionate perspective with our children! Thanks for your comment!