Melanie Chung Sherman is a gracious, insightful therapist specializing in adoption in the Dallas-Fort worth area. She is a Korean adoptee. Melanie and I met years ago and I continue to admire her thoughtful approach to children, therapy, life. Here are her thoughts about the movie “Stuck.” She wrote this review on Facebook last night and I am posting it here with her permission.
Last post for tonight because I am wide awake. Writing while this is still fresh. So, I viewed “Stuck” for the first time today. For what it is worth, I have been avoiding this film for several reasons that I will not go into here. It was everything I was expected–a lot of one-sided propaganda and not incredible substance on a very complex system. Flashy pictures of sad faces in abject poverty—all were children of color (some who looked like me, my brother, and friends at one point) and all of those who bring hope were White Americans—no one intervening looked like these children, represented their birth culture, or their birth families–some might not have been legal “orphans”. . .really?? How marginalizing. I felt alone in the theatre—and failed to see the humor in the collective mockery of social workers, the DOS, best practices, ethics, and the safeguards (like background checks!) that was supposed to be funny. It was not. It failed to offer solution-based focus on the complex issues that bring children into care in the first place—and perpetuated the overwhelming rescue mentality that continues to pervade adoption communities today. The scapegoating and incredulous demonization of the U.S. State Department, in particular Amb. Susan Jacobs, whom I have had the privilege of meeting (and find warm, friendly, and dedicated to child welfare issues). . .hmmm, Juntenen had an opportunity to dialogue with Jacobs and her team today (all of whom have committed their lives to serving children here and abroad). .as far as I know that did not happen. The film blasted The Hague, but none of the countries highlighted were Hague Convention countries —the countries that were featured were for a reason. The film minimizes our children’s narrative, the importance of universal accountability, and the complexities in adoption as if the ends justify the means. It does not. It never should. I felt stuck—and not in a positive way.I should clarify that I was impressed to see an African-American adoptive parent featured. My review is not meant to diminish the emotions expressed by the adoptive parents in the film, but the myopic perspective by the filmakers needed to be expanded. The Hague is not a panacea, but I disagree that it has not helped. I remember quite vividly what was happening prior to the ratification–and is still happening. Thus, the reason for universal accreditation.
- Here’s (slightly edited) information from LinkedIn about Melanie:
Melanie Chung Sherman has worked in child welfare-specifically adoption and foster care spanning international adoption, private/domestic adoption, kinship adoption, DFPS (CPS) foster care and matched-adoption for nearly 13 years.
In providing therapeutic counseling, I use adoption-centered understanding and awareness that is oftentimes misuderstood or overlooked in the therapeutic process. I am very sensitive to the unique dynamics that adoption brings after placement. Adoption can bring about unique issues that can impact an individual and family long after placement–and when these are addressed in a healthy, sensitive manner, tremendous healing, support and guidance an occur. I provide therapeutic counseling to all members of the adoption triad (adoptees, adoptive families and first families).