Recently I was contacted through my blog by Bryan Tucker. Bryan is the director of the documentary film, Closure. He simply asked if I would be willing to view the doc and do a review. I had heard about the movie and have been meaning to check it out but just hadn’t had the opportunity. I agreed to do so and below is more my response to the film than it is a review. For those that don’t know, Closure is the documentary about a transracial adoptee, Angela Burt-Tucker, who searches for her birth family. For information on how to purchase a copy just click on the link closuredocumentary.com
I cried more for Angela’s searching and reunion experience than I did my own. I sat in my quiet office with the door closed, tears racing down my cheeks, my nose running as if it was late for a train, and I wept. The connection that I never got with my search was there for hers. While watching her search I realized that often when you are the searcher, so much energy is expended in the chase. The focus becomes on the process instead of the product. I saw that focus in Angela. She was stoic and strong for most of the movie putting process before product and I saw myself in her. All throughout the movie I wondered if Angela heard and understood the weight of what her adoptive parents said or if she caught what Bryan, her husband, the director captured in a shot. I realized my need to pause the film for Angela was really my need to pause the film for myself, to understand and realize so much about this adoption journey. My concern became so much about what Angela was missing because it was what I missed during my process.
Interestingly, the movie called Closure brought me healing and closure. It gave me the opportunity to mourn the fact that my mother and I never met. It gave me permission to grieve the loss of a connection I never made. It allowed me the time to fantasize about meeting my biological father and his family and I needed that. This was my adoptee response and I enjoyed it and appreciated Angela’s courage in sharing her search.
The adoption trainer in me wanted to also keep pausing the film. I wanted to point out to the adoptive families how important the search can be to an adoptee. I thought Bryan did an amazing job of verbalizing his journey and growing understanding of the search as he watched his wife walk this path. I was struck by Bryan’s understanding and his humility to admit at times he didn’t know certain things yet he showed his desire to understand more. I wanted to highlight and underline when Angela’s mother shared that initially she was reluctant about the search but then confessed, “I realized that it wasn’t going to change my status of being her mom if she found her birth mother.” WOW! I wanted her to say that over and over so the adoptive parents could hear it clearly. IT DOESN’T CHANGE YOUR STATUS! As a trainer I would love to create a workshop around this film. This is a movie ALL adoptive parents and professionals should see to help address the many issues that come with adoption and searching.
I appreciated the humans that showed up behind the scary names of “birth mother and father.” So much concentration is often directed towards the past sins and mistakes of birth parents that we forget there are people behind those terms. I appreciated that the portrayal of Angela’s black relatives was real and common and calm and enlightening. As a person of color, I am sensitive to that and I found them to be engaging, wise, caring, and welcoming. I was thankful for that.
The transracial adoptee in me had to keep telling myself initially this is not a documentary on transracial adoption. I think it is important to understand that going in. This is a documentary on an adoptee’s journey to find her birth family. Oh and by the way she happens to be a transracial adoptee. Although race is a big part of life as a transracial adoptee we have other powerful stories that can be told and this is one worth hearing.
Towards the end of the movie…it happened. I saw Angela crying and I was relieved. Finally, the product was trumping the process and that made me smile.
The wonderful thing is that through our experiences others learn and grow and identify. So often I am the one sharing experiences so others can grow. Closure allowed me an hour and 16 minutes to grow and learn and identify. The movie showed the pain, the fear, the ups, the downs, the expected and the unexpected and it showed everything that searching is. It was through Angela’s story that I understood my own story, my adoptive parent’s story, and my birth parent’s story on a deeper level which created some closure for me.