“Sometimes a thing needed opening before closure was found.”

-Hugh Howey

Aside from my interest in adoption stories, I wanted to watch Closure as a non-demanding activity before I start my load of regular homework. I didn’t dive into it with the intention of analyzing every scene or every piece of dialogue, yet it happened so naturally. One minute in and I was already captivated by the perseverance and Angela’s never-ending hope.

Synopsis

Angela Tucker was adopted into a Caucasian family. She is one of eight children in the household, seven of whom were adopted. Without a doubt, her family loves Angela unconditionally and powerfully, but they cannot banish the lingering thoughts of loss of identity for her. This is her story of finding her closure through her adoption reunions.

Plot

Growing up, the family was aware of racial tensions and lack of diversity in their hometown of Bellingham, WA. In supermarkets, they would get comments from strangers such as “Where did these kids come from?” to which they would always answer, “They are from Bellingham, WA.” Such close-minded comments like those can do harm to adoptees as they try to feel normal and a sense of belonging in their new home. Although her family wanted to remain “colorblind” with their children, Angela couldn’t help but feel outcast when hearing comments of how Elena, the only biological child, looked so much like David, the father.

Angela began the journey by looking for her mother, which came to no success. Her husband, the director of the documentary, suggested looking for her father first. As if the world wanted them to have a faithful start, the two reconnected easily. There did not need to be a DNA test to tell that they were related. The interaction between Sandy, her birth father, and Angela kept a grin on my face and tears forming in my eyes.

Moments leading up to meeting her mother for the very first time, Angela was anxious, and she was turned away by Deborah (her birth mother). Despite that, she did not give up and the world had awarded her patience with the answers she was looking for. Another chance to reconnect with Deborah one year later. I was so glad to see that Deborah was open to the idea of meeting and was regretful about how she turned away Angela that first day.

The rest of the documentary continued with intimate scenes of Angela and Deborah bonding and making up for that lost time. She was able to have the best of both worlds.

Adoption Reunions 

At the very beginning of the film, Elena (Angela’s sister) had a fear similar to my thought process: why open up something when you don’t know the consequences? Why unravel a near-perfect thing? I won’t try to relate to Angela because our situations are outstandingly different. The only similarity I can think of is that we were both, in a way, taken from our birth parents at a young age.

I was born and raised in a developing city in Vietnam. Knowing that the future was uncertain in the city, my parents began the paperwork for them and my brother to immigrate to the U.S. Little did they know, I was on my way to surprise them. Once my mother found out about me, the paperwork had already been completed and approved, they had to leave. So one year after I was born, their stuff was gone from the house and I was left with my grandparents.

In both cases, Angela and I were not able to join our parents due to unfortunate circumstances. However, unlike Angela, I never had the desire to reconnect. Perhaps because I was too young to understand all the implications of being away from my parents, or it could’ve been the fear of disturbing the balance of nature that was already set. I like having routines and seeing familiar things. Changes are terrifying. Eventually, after 8 years, I was reunited with my family. But for the first couple of years, I felt like I was living with strangers while trying to go back to my old routines in Vietnam. Everything I saw and touch was foreign, and it made me feel small and alone.

This is why I was so awestruck by Angela’s fearlessness. Despite the length and agony of her journey, her smile never faltered. She had never met her birth family but loved them already. Of course she was nervous about meeting the woman who placed her for adoption, yet her desire to connect and willingness to learn resonated with me. Seeing her go through her journey helped me understand things about myself.

Somewhere deep in her mind, she wanted to know the people who gave her all of her traits. She wanted to hear, “Oh, you look like your dad.” She needed to know. Because I had already seen pictures of my parents, my curiosity for them dwindled. All I could think about was the lost time instead of the long-awaited future.

Almost similar to Angela, I thought about what kind of person my mother was. I think we both made our mothers into some sort of villain because that was the easiest explanation for ourselves. I am thankful that that is no longer the case for the two of us.

Adoption Choices Approved?

The documentary showcased perseverance and love at its finest. The story of Angela’s journey of opening up through her closure is one that is worth watching. Something else I found amazing was the support and love she received in return. I was aware, through word of mouth, that families will help their children find their biological parents. But seeing it with my own eyes was something I will never forget. It was not just her parents and husband, but also her siblings and brother-in-law.

One of my favorite scenes was Elena’s husband pulling Kyle (one of Angela’s brothers) away as he was beginning to feel overwhelmed with the situation. Witnessing those intertwined relationships made me think that the world is small and you can find alliances anywhere. Blood is a bridge, but it is not the vehicle in forming bonds.

Angela didn’t know what to expect from this experience, but now she has gained more family and more love. It was her closure, she has found the adoption reunions she’s been waiting for her whole life.

Adoption Choices of New York

For more information on adoption or if you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of New York.

Support Adoption Choices

CrowdriseAdoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.

However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.

About the Author

Lisa Truong

Lisa Truong is an undergraduate journalism major at the University of Denver. She is minoring in writing and Chemistry. She has been commended by professors for her news stories as well as creative writing.

During her freshman year, her essay “See Ya on the Other Side” was displayed at a writing exhibition sponsored by the University of Denver. That essay later went on to be published in Many Voices One DU, a book also sponsored by the university.

Lisa frequently volunteers to be a leader at the Daniels School of Business for their quarterly Ethics Boot Camp where students learn about the importance of character in business. In her free time, Lisa enjoys watching animated movies with her mother, listening to music, going for bike rides, and eating breakfast food.

 

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Sources:

Tubi, January 1, 2012. https://tubitv.com/movies/372430/closure?utm_source=google-feed&tracking=google-feed.

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