Thursday, November 14, 2013

Behind the Screen: Conceiving Family.

Note: To coincide with November's National Adoption Month, Moving Pictures presents Canadian filmmaker Amy Bohigian explaining the background to her film Conceiving Family, which follows five same-sex couples on their adoption journey.

When my partner made the initial call to Canada's Ministry of Family and Child Development to express our interest in starting the adoption process, one of the first questions the social worker had was “what is the name of your husband?” She didn’t have a husband. We are a same-sex couple, and this was our first impression of the adoption process. Backtracking, the social worker explained they don’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation when it comes to these matters.

Once we were firmly committed to adopting through British Columbia’s provincial system, we were given a more honest assessment from another social worker. She explained that in her experience, “heterosexual couples are the most sought after families for kids” she was looking to place in a home. Still, even as gays and lesbians were winning the right to marry in Canada and the United States, we were not the ideal family for adoptive children.

When my partner and I were in the running for a potential match with toddler twins, we felt fortunate to have a social worker with a social history in the feminism movement. She didn’t see our pending family unit as another liability for kids facing the adversity that adoption would inevitably bring. She perceived our life experience of being a minority as an asset, where, having faced prejudice and overcome discrimination, we would be well equipped to navigate our children through similar moments.

I made Conceiving Family to tell the story of families who all faced setbacks in the adoption process because of their sexual orientation, but who ultimately broke through people’s fears and opened new doors in society as a result. My hope is that social workers from all aspects of the profession will embrace and champion this film so that waiting children can find loving, permanent families without a moment’s hesitation.

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