July 20, 2008

The Dreaded Adoption Video

Our final exercise to complete our adoption was to complete a 5 - 10 minute video that profiles my husband and I.

Through our agency, birthparents and adoptive parents that have profiles that are compatible (think match.com) are paired. The birthparents are given the first five families that meet their criteria to screen. This screening includes reading the letter we have prepared and watching our video. While the letter was intimidating, I would imagine that the video would be more critical in the decision making.

This process is truly excruciating. You want to do your best to honestly convey who you are as people; however, in the back of your mind you are always thinking "What does the birthparent want? What could I say to make them pick me?". My answer to both these questions is to be myself. I truly feel that we'll be connected with a mother and child who identify with some aspect of our personality, beliefs or lifestyle. I feel that the only way that we'll find the child meant for us is to be as honest as possible and to let our true genuine selves shine through. Of course we were diligent to highlight the positive and sweep over the negative - we're only human!

The process of making the video was difficult. Both my husband and I are creative but our processes are completely different. I help to produce videos for work that are documentary in nature and my husband has produced videos that are more informational in nature. Neither of us do this full time. You can already assume that this created some creative wrangling.

My husband wanted to write a script and create the video in that fashion. I understood where he was coming from as he had to edit it and going through 2 hours of misquotes and outtakes would be tedious; however, I felt that it would feel too canned. I, on the other hand, wanted to create an outline of basic themes we wanted to convey and then just speak naturally about each. I forgot that speaking naturally in front of a camera is completely unnatural to my husband.

We spent a few hours recording one video only to scrap it. My husband meticulously set up lights and sound but the video was horrible. We set up a potted plant next to the video camera that we both had to speak to (interview style). The plant did nothing to enhance my rambling dialogue or my husband's deer-in-the-headlights anxiety.

We ended up scraping the entire video and started over. We had a close friend come over and crafted questions for her to ask us. These covered everything from how we met and our roles in the marriage to our personalities, our philosophy on parenthood, our families, our view on faith and religion and our hopes for a child. It was such a blessing to have our friend there to prompt my husband to extrapolate on his answers and thoughts and to tell me when to shut it. I'll just say I'm not the queen of soundbites. There was at least a three minute clip on my views on religion that begins with "I most identify with the Jesuit tradition of Catholicism". It was all down hill from there. BORING and tedious! It was great to have someone there who knew us so well to make sure that we were truly staying on topic and portraying our true selves.

We ended up turning in our video to the agency two weeks late. But, we were still married after the process and I felt we sumbitted a very authentic video about ourselves and our life together.

I hope that it is watched soon!

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