Wednesday, 27 January 2021
DVD Review: My Flesh and Blood Print
Susan Tom and her husband have two biological children before they adopt their third child, a daughter born in Korea. Another child is adopted. The marriage crumbles and Susan goes on to parent 11 special needs children as a single mother. The children’s medical conditions range from life-threatening diseases to limb loss to severe burns. Susan constantly struggles with trying to meet her children’s needs—from physical to emotional. The story keys in on the experience of living with one son who struggles not only with a life-threatening illness, but with behaviors associated with attachment disorder. (Attachment issues are briefly mentioned in the movie, but attachment disorder is never named.) Susan attempts to get help for her son, but encounters difficulty when supporting agencies are unable to provide him with appropriate mental health services. Yet, through it all, Susan never contemplates giving the child up because, as she says, the children are “my flesh and blood.”

This true story raises a lot of questions. Can one parent meet so many emotional and physical needs? Can a parent keep other children safe from a very angry sibling? Why aren’t mental health services available for families struggling with angry children? When should one sacrifice the good of the whole for the sake of the one? What is love?

It’s a fascinating story that would be especially compelling for discussion in an adoption and/or special needs parenting group.

(Winner of Audience and Director’s Awards at the Sundance Film Festival)

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