One Family: An Ethiopian Adoption

Jim Ritvo and Dave Raizman
One Family is a documentary that follows a Vermont couple as they travel to Ethiopia to adopt their daughter Meskerem , who was living at an orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Layla House. The viewer is struck by how beautiful, friendly and loving these children are despite their circumstances; yet, as the film's adoptive father profoundly points out, there is a slight feeling of consumerism as the couple goes in to select their child from the mass of orphans. Additionally, the film highlights the benefits of older adoptions (Meskerem is about 10 years old) and open adoptions. Meskerem's mother died when she was a small child, and she was placed in Layla House only because her family could not afford to keep her. A good portion of the film focuses on the merger of Meskerem's new family and her birth family (a large group, including 2 brothers and a grandmother, who are involved in her life and clearly love her dearly). The film wisely does periodic checks on Meskerem once she is at home in Vermont to monitor her progress.

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