This guest post is by Leah Outten, a birthmother.
It’s a beautiful thing when worlds collide for a purpose.
Much like a divine intervention can happen within an adoption relationship where a birth mom finds the perfect adoptive parents for her child, friendships happen over adoption, too.
In this case, three women came together with different stories, yet one passion at the core of their message to the world: Adoption.
“I wanted to make this film to show the world that open adoption can be a wonderful option for a mother and her child when the option of parenting has been exhausted.”
She adds that her message of this project was also for people to recognize the love and beauty of a birth mother’s decision.
As a birth mother herself, she knows both the heartaches and the beauty of open adoption and making the brave choice to let another mother raise her child.
“If I had not known about the option of open adoption, I would have gone in a different direction when I was pregnant with my son.”
Her own story is what sparked her passion to be an advocate for life, and to help other mothers in a crisis situation to form their own decision with emotional support and resources.
“Adoption also connected me to people I did not even know existed. I was unaware that there was this whole new community of powerful women who had been in a similar situation as I was when I faced an unplanned pregnancy,” which is how Callie met me, Leah.
Both being over ten years past our children’s placement, Callie and I met through Birthmom Buds where we also found out that we lived near each other and had children of similar ages that we parent.
A year after our friendship began, and learning each other’s stories while working together to help mentor local young women, she asked me to think about being a part of the story shown in the film she envisioned.
I, of course, said yes as soon as I checked with my birth daughter’s parents.
With a writers heart, who loves to share how open adoption has touched our lives and how open adoption can look years later when all sides mutually respect one another, I was eager to expand that message onto a film.
Furthermore, Callie needed someone to bring her vision to life. In fact, the America Adopts! website was a key instrumental piece in connecting Callie with Jennifer Kachler, whom she eventually hired for the project.
Finding Jennifer’s story about her Kennedy Hill film, which revolves around a story taking place 100 years ago inspired by her grandmother’s adoption, Callie felt Jennifer would be a great match to take the visions of her heart to the Internet screens.
As a descendant of adoption generations down the line, Jennifer says, “I was honored when Callie asked me to create a film featuring a birth mom and her story. I was so moved by the mission of Talk About Adoption™, that I knew this film would have an impact much greater than I could imagine.
“As a filmmaker, my goal is to reach a wide audience sharing a story that inspires change. Once I heard Leah’s story, my heart melted and I felt I had to create this story for the screen because it aligned so deeply with my own mission of advocating for adoption.”
In May of 2016, the three of us melded our stories and creativity, along with some extra crew hands and my birth daughter’s family who agreed to be in it as well, together for a weekend of filming.
With the film only being just a few minutes long, you would have never imagined it took two days of filming to accomplish it!
The film was fittingly shot on Dr. Matt Harrison’s property, the doctor who discovered the abortion pill reversal protocol.
Every detail of this film came together with the purpose of sharing life and hope, both in front of and behind the camera lens.
The words you hear in the film are all my own, specifically chosen to reflect our message and story. In the various scenes, you see our real relationship.
We celebrate birthdays together as one giant family. My kids, that I parent, play with Ana and her brother.
Ana and I create times for just us to talk so I can answer her questions as she grows older. And those tears? Those were very real.
Jennifer did an amazing job, as the director, to pull me back into those moments of being a scared, lonely, teenager just finding out she was pregnant.
I asked Jennifer how she knew how to make me cry real tears, because I certainly am no actress.
“With Leah, I spent time getting to know her, talking with her, sharing our experiences and sincerely caring about her and her story we were sharing with the world.
I knew how to tap into Leah’s heartstrings based on those many conversations, and placed her in a safe environment where she could express herself. Leah’s tears were real tears of love, sacrifice and hope.
It was an honor being with her in that moment and capturing it on screen. Those were the exact emotions that I wanted the camera to see; thus the world to see.
But it was all based on trust. Leah trusted me and I trusted her, that is why we allowed ourselves to be open completely with one another.
Those real life emotions were captured on camera and shared online with audiences who will be emotionally moved over and over again.”
So the film is now finished! What now?
Callie says, “I would love for people across the nation to watch the film, share it, implement it into their own workplace, or when interacting with a woman who is facing an unplanned pregnancy, or making a decision of open adoption.”
You heard the woman! Get out there and share what a beautiful option open adoption can be.
You may also want to pass the tissues, too. I hear people need them while watching the film.
Watch the film here.
Leah Outten is a proud birth mom of twelve years in an open adoption. She;s now a mom of going-on-five with her husband and is a freelance writer and speaker when she’s not knee deep in laundry piles. Her passion for open adoption and motherhood drive her daily in her work and life after placement. You can find more writing from Leah on her blog, The Grace Bond.
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