Archive for October, 2017

The Powerful Adoption Story in Lion Movie

Though there are a number of movies addressing the topic of adoption, very few give us an honest and accurate picture of the delicate adoption in lion movierelationships and obstacles that the adoption journey so often involves. Very rarely do films and the media portray adoption with a view from all sides. That is what makes the 2016 film LION so special and profound.

The LION Movie Adoption Story Recap:

LION tells the true story of Saroo Brierley, a young man who was born in India and accidentally separated from his family at the mere age of five. He was out with his brother, Guddu, when he got lost at a train station just a few miles from his home. Thinking he could navigate his way back, Saroo boarded a train only to be taken 1,000 miles further away to the big city of Calcutta. There, he asked for help; no one understood him due to a language barrier. Saroo became homeless for weeks, living off scraps of food, until someone helped him identify as a missing child.

From that point, well-meaning authorities tried to help Saroo find his family. They asked where he was from, but Saroo was unable to communicate the right location of his home. They asked for his mother’s name, but he had only ever known her as “Mum.” With little details to work with, they were unable to find his family. Because his birth family was poor and uneducated, they were unable to find Saroo.

Saroo was placed in a crowded orphanage where many children suffered. Soon after, he was adopted by an Australian couple. The unconditional love and devotion that Mr. and Mrs. Brierley have for Saroo from the very beginning of their relationship is one of the most powerful aspects of LION. Before Saroo fully learns English, Mrs. Brierley promises the child that she will always be there to listen to and support him. Someday, she says to Saroo, she wants to know all about his past. She wants him to know, too. One year later, they adopt a second son, Mantosh.

Flash forward twenty-five years later, Saroo discovers Google Earth, a new technology at the time, and uses it to find his birth home. Like many adoptees, Saroo has unanswered questions about his identity and his background. He yearns to fill the missing pieces, not out of disrespect for his adoptive family, but out of an inherent need to find himself. Most of all, he carries the silent, emotional anguish of having left his birth family behind. He firmly believes they are still looking for the boy they once lost.

Google Earth leads Saroo to the train station where he got lost as a boy. Then, it leads him back home.

At the end of the film, Saroo reunites with his birth mother, who embraces him with tears. She explains that she never stopped hoping for his return, but understands that he has another home and family now. She is ever-grateful to the Brierley’s, and is overjoyed to know Saroo is safe and well.

Saroo then calls his parents and assures, “I’m safe, and the questions have been answered. There are no more dead ends. I found my mother. She thanks you for raising me, and knows you’re my family. I found her, but it doesn’t change who you are. I love you, Mom and Dad, so much, and Mantosh.”

Adoption Themes in LION:

Search and Reunion: We recently had a conversation with a now-young adult adoptee, who was sharing his adoption story when the movie LION came up. Having an intercountry adoption, he related deeply to the movie’s main character, Saroo, and his need to search for his birth family. Overall, the young man explained, LION was “really close” – closer than most adoption portrayals we see on TV today – to getting the picture right. The main difference between his story and LION’s adoption story, though, was that “Saroo remembered.” Saroo remembered pieces of his history. Many adopted children do not.

Having been adopted at five, Saroo was able to recount some memories of his hometown, biological family, as well as train station landmarks from the day he got lost. These small fragments became key puzzle pieces in finding his birth mother and birthplace 25 years later. The search is not always this accessible, though there are more accessible resources today to guide the search and reunion process.

LION truly offers us a healthy perspective on search and reunion, from all sides of the adoption triad. From the adoptee perspective, it shows us that finding birth relatives can fill major gaps in a person’s identity, but it does not in any way replace the adoptive family’s role. The film also sheds light on many adoptive parents’ view of the adoption search. Mr. and Mrs. Brierley are consistently supportive of Saroo’s history and his search. They support his desire to know more, and rejoice when he finds his birth mother at last. Finally, LION honors the perspective of the birth mom, who always yearned for Saroo’s return. Upon reuniting, she celebrates his presence yet fully accepts that Saroo has another place in life.

Discovery: One thing LION really gets right is the notion that, even if history has been forgotten, it is still there to be rediscovered. Saroo may have forgotten where he came from, but his birth mother and childhood home remained there for him to find. He may have forgotten the train station near his home, but the water tower stood there for him to rediscover. In the final scenes of the movie, this theme of rediscovery transpires – As Saroo walks the streets of his hometown of Ganesh Talai, a name he could not remember as a child, the memories flood back to him. His past comes back to him, and he is finally able to rediscover and fulfill himself.

The Emotional Challenges of the Adoptee: Adoption is an emotional journey. As much love and gratitude Saroo has for his parents, he still struggles silently inside. Questions linger about his past. He does not want to betray his parents, but he also yearns for the truth. He withholds from searching until it nearly breaks him, bringing us to one of the most moving parts of LION: Saroo apologizes to his adoptive mother for not being a “blank slate.” He explains that by adopting he and his brother, she also adopted their past. He feels conflicted about searching, but his heart is telling him to do so.

Saroo resists his emotions quietly for some time, but his brother’s emotional challenges are brought forward throughout the film. Mantosh (also from India, where he was treated badly) experiences a breakdown on his first day at the Brierley home, and these trauma-related behaviors continue to the movie’s end. He also isolates himself as he grows older. The Brierley’s handle Mantosh’s behaviors as lovingly and calmly as any parent can, and continuously express their love and hope for their son. As they were for Saroo, they wanted to be there for Mantosh and his journey, whatever it might bring.

Family is Founded on Love: Perhaps the greatest theme of all in the LION movie adoption story is the fact that love is what makes a family “real.” There is no one-size-fits-all definition of family; families come in all shapes, sizes, and make-up. Mr. and Mrs. Brierley are Saroo’s parents, but they do not ignore the fact that his birth mother also plays an important role in his life. They are all connected through their love, respect, and admiration for one another. Saroo’s family is built on love.

What did you think about the adoption story in LION? Do you relate to Saroo, Mantosh, the Brierley’s, or Saroo’s birth mother? Adoptions With Love would be honored to hear your story!

For more information on adoption, or to learn about the Search & Reunion program at Adoptions With Love, please contact us at 1-800-722-7731. Amy, Nancy, Nellie, Claudia, or Amelia will be happy to arrange a time to meet or talk with you.


State by State: How to Place Your Baby for Adoption in New Hampshire

Are you facing an unplanned pregnancy and considering adoption in New Hampshire? You are in the right place. Adoptions With Love is a licensed, non-profit adoption agency helping expectant/birth parents make the most positive, informed decisions for their babies. Whether you just found out you are pregnant, are in your third trimester, or have already given birth, we extend our support to you.

For over 30 years, Adoptions With Love has been building lifelong relationships with young women like you. For the last three decades, we have also built good relationships with the best adoption professionals in your state. If you need help placing your baby for adoption in NH, know that you can always contact us. Our trusted New Hampshire adoption partner can help you explore your options, understand the adoption laws in your area, and make an adoption plan that is tailored to your needs.

This short guide outlines some of the many steps you can take if you decide to place your baby for adoption in New Hampshire.

  • Choose an adoption agency.

As you contemplate adoption, your first step will be to choose the right adoption professional to guide you through this unexpected journey. There are many New Hampshire adoption agencies that can help you, but it is important to find one you truly trust – one that will discuss all of your options with you, listen to your wishes, and respect any choice you make. Choose an adoption agency that will never pressure you, but rather stand by your side and support you as you make this important decision. The right agency will also be licensed and willing to provide the financial, emotional, and physical assistance you need and deserve – both now and after the adoption takes place.

  • Meet with an adoption counselor to begin your adoption plan.

After choosing an adoption agency, you will begin working with (and establishing a relationship with) one of their licensed, compassionate social workers. This person will become your shoulder to lean on, your teacher, and the helping hand to guide you through the entire adoption process. Together, you will discuss your hopes and needs as an expectant mother, and then create an adoption plan for your baby.

At Adoptions With Love, we feel the meetings with your adoption social worker are a crucial part of this journey. They will give you the opportunity to consider all of your choices, learn about all of your birth mother rights, and understand exactly what to expect before, during, and after an adoption takes place.

  • Understand the adoption laws in New Hampshire.

Adoption laws vary state to state. In New Hampshire, no parent can sign legal adoption documents until at least 72 hours after the baby is born. This will give you time to rest, think about your decision, and spend time with your baby (if you would like) before finalizing an adoption plan.

If you choose to make an adoption plan, it is important to work with an experienced adoption agency that has attorneys specifically trained in your state. Adoptions With Love, for example, has a team of compassionate and knowledgeable adoption attorneys who understand the laws of adoption in NH. Our attorneys can meet you – wherever you are – to help walk you through the legal process.

Rest assured that our legal services are always free of charge. In fact, there is never any cost for expectant or birth parent services at Adoptions With Love. New Hampshire law permits financial assistance for pregnancy-related expenses needed before, during, and after your baby’s adoption, such as transportation, counseling, uninsured medical expenses, living costs, and more.

  • Choose an adoptive family.

At Adoptions With Love, you will have the opportunity to choose an adoptive family for your baby. For many expectant/birth mothers making an adoption plan, this gives them peace of mind in being able to hand-pick a loving family for their child.

If you would like to select an adoptive family, Adoptions With Love will meet with you to discuss your wishes, your expectations, and your vision of the perfect family. Then, we will send you detailed photo albums and personal profiles of the waiting families that best meet your needs. Once you choose a family for your baby, you can speak to them through email, phone, or meet them in-person if you wish.

No matter what family you choose, rest assured your baby will be placed in a loving, safe and secure home. At Adoptions With Love, all potential adoptive families are thoroughly screened through a series of personal interviews and background checks. They have also undergone an extensive home study process to ensure the safety and stability of their home.

  • Make a post-placement plan.

Adoption does not have to mean goodbye. As an open adoption agency, Adoptions With Love gives you the option to establish ongoing and open communication with your child’s adoptive family. This means you can keep in touch with your child and see how he or she is growing over the years. This contact may be through emails, phone conversations, letters and pictures, or even mediated through an adoption counselor – this choice is yours to make. Whether you choose an open adoption, semi-open adoption, or closed adoption plan, our trained social workers will help you consider all of your options for post-adoption contact.

If you choose to make an adoption plan, we encourage you to attend counseling after your baby is placed. Adoption is a lifelong and often emotional journey, which is why Adoptions With Love offers ongoing, confidential counseling services that are available at no cost to you. We will be here to help you navigate emotions, communication, and any adoption relationships before and after your baby is placed. We will always be here for you.

Whether you just found out you are pregnant, are in your final trimester, or have already given birth to your baby, it is not too late to make an adoption plan. Contact Adoptions With Love toll-free at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072 for more information on adoption in NH.

This is our State by State Adoption blog series.  To learn about the different areas we service, or to find the specific steps of adoption in your state, please visit adoptionswithlove.org/areas-we-service.