It was a couple of weeks ago when my friend found out we were foster/adopting he said “Don’t go watch ‘The Blind Side’ you’ll be a mess…” I think it was in jest but once I found out the movie was about a foster boy (Michael Oher) who was taken in a home by a family headed by the outspoken, multi-tasking, involved and assertive mother (Leigh Ann Touhy by Sandra Bullock) and that it was a true story we had to go. I spoke with Alaina and she was on board.
The movie had plusses and minuses. I’m sure there will be plenty willing to critique the film because that’s what film critics do. They find what everyone has enjoyed and then criticize it so that we’re left thinking we should have paid more attention or we too would have seen the Marxist comments made throughout the script and how it leads to obvious hints of anti-feminist propaganda. When all along we thought it was about a girl dancing around with 7 dwarfs trying to marry a prince. However, as I’m watching this movie I appreciated that it was bringing attention to a conviction we have had in our life that seldom gets the attention it ought. Orphans, however we don’t call them that now. Today we call them foster children. Because, children are in foster care (wards of the state) till they’re adopted so to be an orphan is kind of an outdated term.
In the movie “ The Blind Side” Michael is a foster child who has gone through a rough life as a child. Details are left out but hints of it lead the observer to assume he is a foster child due to abuse through neglect. He has no where to sleep and his grades are suffering as a result. He’s a student who has a GPA beginning with 0 and he’s big. Real big. So he stands out and he’s known as “Big Mike”. Michael is a quiet kid who doesn’t ever open up about anything perhaps that’s how he has chosen to cope. Even when he gets mad or upset you’re expecting a volcanic outburst but it doesn’t happen. So the acting is almost convincing but not quite in regards to this aspect. Michael doesn’t look for attention and he doesn’t try to make excuses for himself. He doesn’t cheat or steal so he seems like a decent guy if he could just get a break in life.
In steps Sandra Bullock who sees him walking on a cold rainy night by himself. Sandra B plays Leigh Ann, a fast paced Interior Designer married to a successful franchise owner of Taco Bells and KFCs. They take Michael in and over time he opens Leigh Ann’s(Sandra B) eyes. You get to see some insight of the relationship between Michael and Leigh Ann. She doesn’t try to make foster children her soap box, so you ask why she did it to begin with. But it seems like she is only doing what she’s doing because it’s the right thing to do. She’s been blessed and here is a child with a need she can meet.
Unfortunately the dad (played by Tim McGraw) doesn’t get much of an opportunity to develop his relationship with Michael as most of the film focusses on Michael and his new mom. Props to Sandra B for carrying the film because I think she was actually the only one who had the acting talent to be convincing enough that made you forget you’re watching a movie.
I would contrast this movie to another which I found terribly disappointing. I remember being troubled by it because it was released during halloween so of it was aimed at the horror side of the house. Yet it was a film painting foster children in a dark and evil manner. It saddened me because it was as if foster children didn’t have a tough enough life already. Do they really need a film discouraging people from adopting or becoming foster parents? So I was glad to see with “The Blind Side” that though it glossed over some areas of the tougher areas of foster parenting, at least it brought to the forefront the issue of foster/adoption.
I understand that foster children are the kids we are so quick to forget about. It’s almost as if we have to be reminded and then we are sometimes surprised that they’re still there. The temptation is to be dismissive as to say “someone will take care of it.”, “This kid isn’t mine”, “They will need to be disciplined from the start”, “The head aches aren’t worth it”, “The emotional strain will be too much to bear”, “You never know what you’ll get” or my favorite “Don’t bring in someone else’s problem.”
For the Christian I only have one question. Have we forgotten where we came from? Were we any different before God adopted us? Adoption is the perfect analogy for us. Care for the orphans. I wish there were so many Christian homes waiting on that list, that when a child came up for adoption, the child went straight to a home who would love him/her.
Yes, you may end up with a child that is rebellious. But were we any different? I know I was. You may get a child who doesn’t love you always or instantly. Again did our parents always receive the best of our love? You don’t know what you are getting. But does anyone know what they’re getting when they have a child? These children are not there because they are bad kids but because they had parents who abused them. It’s almost unimaginable what they’ve been through because not many of us have. Imagine your father breaking your arm. Your mom putting cigarettes out on you because you’re hungry. Imagine step-dads taking advantage of little girls. We all have a love with our families that we’ve taken for granted and as a result no matter how bad things get we can trust our parents. We have hope because we chose who to spend Christmas with. We chose how to share time with loved ones. These children don’t even have that. They not only have no one who wants them. They don’t even have the option to chose. They have no hope.
When you adopt a child you may not get a future NFL player. But you will do what was done for you and you will give a foster child something they currently don’t have. Hope.