Theatrical Release Date: March 4, 2013
Rating: G
Genre: Documentary
Run Time: 90 minutes
Director: Thaddaeus Scheel

"More than 10 million are stuck in orphanages worldwide." These words scroll across the theater screen accompanied by some truly heartbreaking images of children in group homes around the world. In the ninety minutes that follow, the audience is educated on the current state of international adoption: how greed, ideology, and bureaucracy have made the uphill battle of adoption only more difficult. Ultimately, we're introduced to four real-life children all in the process of gaining new families: Erickson and Therline from Haiti, Tihun from Ethiopia and Nate from Vietnam.

Craig Juntunen, the founder of Both Ends Burning and the driving force behind STUCK, says it all began one day with a game of golf. The co-worker he’d been playing with mentioned that he and his wife were considering international adoption. The idea had so intrigued Craig that he and his wife decided to take a trip to Haiti and watch the adoption process in action. What they found there were countless children living in horrible conditions, with no hope of a future in sight. Craig said it was at that moment he knew something needed to be done.

From there, the documentary continues to explore the adoption process from all angles. Hopeful parents share stories of frustration as they navigate the difficult and costly process, only to be met with unexpected road blocks. Other segments interview adopted children, to see how they have adjusted since settling into their new homes. Doctors are consulted to elaborate on the conditions children face while living in group homes. Even notable figures like Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana make appearances to speak on the political side of adoption, explaining how international relations - and corruption within the adoption agencies themselves - have affected countless cases in the last decade.

Probably STUCK’s biggest strength as a film is the threefold approach it takes with its viewers. It first seeks to educate us on the adoption process, then inform us of current events that have affected these stages, and finally inspire us to take action and bring about change. Families considering adoption should definitely see the film, if only to get an idea of what they could be in for. The inspirational stories are also sure to touch the heart of the average viewer, and leave him or her reminded that there is more to life than the daily grind. The collage of stories can at times be hard to follow, but by the time the credits roll, STUCK has told a beautiful tale indeed.

That's because STUCK is more than a documentary, it is a call to action. As Juntunen says, "Change only happens when a group of people bands together to create social reform and change public policy. We must inspire the change we wish to create." Here's hoping STUCK accomplishes that and more for the world's orphaned children.

CAUTIONS:

  • Language: Clean and professional
  • Drugs/Alcohol: None
  • Violence: There are some fairly disturbing scenes of children living in abused or neglectful conditions. It becomes apparent that many of their children have suffered physically, mentally, and emotionally. There are also brief shots of the earthquake that hit Haiti.
  • Nudity: Some of the children are briefly shown with no clothing but their private areas are blurred out.
  • Religion/Spiritual Themes: Craig Juntunen hopes that churches will get behind the movement to change the adoption process. However, religion is also listed as one of the factors leading to decline in adoption.

Publication date: March 5, 2013

CrosswalkMovies.com: Touring America for Those “Stuck” in Adoption from crosswalkmovies on GodTube.