Guest blog by artist & adult adoptee, April Morland,
on her experimental art film, “Abandon”
Growing up, adoption was something that I thought I should be ashamed of. It wasn’t because my parents hid my adoption from me, it wasn’t because they weren’t accepting or didn’t love me unconditionally. It was because of an incident that happened to me when I was in the first grade. As a beautifully-naive second grader, I told a classmate I was adopted from Colombia. She replied saying, “oh, you’re weird.” It was in that moment I began to hide my adoption from others. I was insecure for most of my childhood, even though I had an older brother who was also adopted to look up to. It took me until high school to realize that my adoption made me unique and was something to be celebrated. This acceptance came with lots of questions. I started to become more curious about my Colombian roots and about my birth mother. I am thankful my mom was so open about my adoption and for providing me with all the information she had about my birth mother. My adoption journey came with intrinsic struggles, but as I got older, I came to be proud of how adoption has shaped who I am and how I view the world.
“After reflecting on my experiences, I have come to realize that many of my insecurities are rooted in my adoption.”
As a young adult, I am discovering more about myself every day. Recently, I have gone through a difficult period in my life. After reflecting on my experiences, I have come to realize that many of my insecurities are rooted in my adoption. My first experience as a baby was heartbreak. I was “taken away” from the woman who carried me in her womb. This created a feeling of distrust and abandonment which I have carried with me throughout my life.
“This experimental film explores the internal struggles that come with being adopted…”
Coming to this realization was a big step in the direction of being able to start to heal from the pain my adoption caused me and was the inspiration for my film Abandon. I created this film during a difficult period in my life. This experimental film explores the internal struggles that come with being adopted, which manifests itself in the fear of abandonment and the confusion of possessing a dual identity. I use hand painted watercolor, archival home footage, and film photography to instill emotion in my viewers through color, textures, and my own spoken word poetry. As an artist and adoptee, this film gave me the ability to express to my audience how my adoption has impacted me all these years in a way words could not describe.
I would like other adopted children out there to know that it is okay to have lots of questions about where you come from and about who you are. It took me twenty-one years to start to put my pieces together. It is all a part of the acceptance and healing process. Further, you will always find your place in the world, even if it takes time. You are in charge of creating your own story and path. This process wouldn’t have been possible without the unconditional love and support of my parents. It is important to be open to your child’s questions. There will be times of closeness and times of distance. Know that it this too is a part of the larger process.
Family isn’t just DNA. It is love, connection, trust, and acceptance.
April is an adult adoptee and a 3rd year at Santa Clara University studying Communication with a Film emphasis and a minor in Urban Education. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering with her university chapter of Kesem, a non-profit that serves children through beyond their parent’s cancer. After graduation, she aspires to work in the children’s media industry.