Do you want to see what gratitude looks like? Then David Scotton’s your man.
David Scotton is a 24-year-old law student with a little movie that has a big message. Adopted at birth, he allowed a filmmaker to follow him as he traveled from New Orleans to Indiana to meet the parents who’d given him up. The resulting short film, “I Lived on Parker Avenue,” tells some surprising truths.
One of the first things Scotton’s birth mother, Melissa Coles, wants to do is seek forgiveness from the son she’d never known. For so many years, Coles worried that the boy she gave birth to would be hurt by the fact that she’d chosen to “give him up for adoption,” as it is often termed. Our language around adoption seems to suggest abandonment, when it is, in fact, a loving sacrifice, a gift.
Melissa had the added guilt that she and her boyfriend considered abortion when she was pregnant with David; she actually went to the clinic, and describes the painful experience of that visit in the film. In one of the most liberating scenes I’ve ever watched on video, Melissa and David visit the spot where that clinic once stood (it’s a health clinic now that no longer does abortions). For him, it’s like the opposite of a memorial where something grave happened. It was there where he was given new life, even in the womb. Coles should feel no guilt. She gave life and love to David and his adoptive mom and dad.
The beauty of “I Lived on Parker Avenue” is that it isn’t primarily about abortion or even adoption, in some regards, though promotion of “the adoption option” is certainly part of the film’s mission. It’s about gratitude. One of the most compelling scenes of the 30-minute film occurs when David writes letters detailing what his adoptive family means to him. He wanted to assure his parents and extended family and friends that meeting his birth parents had nothing to do with finding his “true” parents and everything to do with saying “thank you.”
As he tells me, “With only two adoptions to every 100 abortions in the United States, and with the stigmas society still unfortunately shares about adoption, it is important to get this film out there. Even though I am adopted, I am no different than a biological child. Even though my parents are my ‘adoptive’ parents, they are my mom and dad. My ‘birth’ parents are exactly that: birth parents. Those distinctions are real and need to be shared.”
Scotton continues: “This documentary shows the power of one story and the impact one decision can make. It shows how my birth mother’s decision to leave the abortion clinic and choose the adoption option gave me the gift of life, gave my parents the gift of their only son and gave my grandparents the gift of their only grandchild.”
“I Lived on Parker Avenue” is produced by Joie De Vivre Media and will become available the evening of March 8 for free on the website ilivedonparkerave.com. Do yourself a favor and watch it, maybe even host a discussion about it. Adoption is one of these things that we can all afford to think a little more about and consider ways we can support it.
As Scotton puts it to me: “I hope it might at least help [people] see [that] adoption is a positive, loving option. It may be ‘different’ than having a biological child, but the love is still there the same way it is for a biological child. The best thing we can do to support adoption in concrete ways is to share this film and begin talking about it. Hopefully, this can help de-stigmatize the adoption option, and that’s the best way to support adoption. If it’s de-stigmatized and more of a viable option for individuals or couples, maybe they’ll be more likely to choose adoption and give children just like me, their forever homes.”
Be more welcoming. Be more grateful. It’s live-giving. Not bad messages for these times.
COPYRIGHT 2018 United Feature Syndicate