Have you seen ‘Instant Family’?

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Foster care has been brought into the spotlight with the release of a new blockbuster movie from Paramount Pictures, ‘Instant Family’. The heart-warming drama-comedy gives viewers an insight into the challenges of foster care and adoption.

The film stars Mark Wahlburg and Rose Byrne as a couple who choose adoption to start their family and quickly find themselves adjusting to life with three children. The movie follows the heartbreaking lows and hilarious highs of their journey into foster care.

We asked one of our former foster children who was ‘adopted’ into permanent care what she thought of the movie.

“I identified with so much of the film, especially elements of the children’s characters. Juan is afraid of doing anything that might make the family unlove him while Lizzie is guarded to the point of being aggressive. The ‘I’m not good enough’ story really does replay on a loop when you’re in foster care even when you’re in an ‘instant family’. I think the movie showed that foster care and adoption isn’t about being perfect parents to broken children, it’s just about being there to help repair some of that damage”.

U.S Writer and Director Sean Anders wrote the story based on his own experience adopting three siblings. He says he wanted to shed light on foster care and adoption, as these stories are not often told in mainstream entertainment.

“When I got involved in adoption, and I went to the orientation, and I went to the classes, and support group and all that stuff, I was unfamiliar with every step of that process. I had never seen it depicted in anything. And when I would tell people about how it all worked, everybody had the same reaction: nobody knew anything about it. I just felt that people need to understand this whole system better.”

While the movie is based on the American system, and has been put through the Hollywood lens, the themes ring true for foster care in Australia, Jeanine Aughey – Foster Care worker explained.

‘The movie was surprisingly accurate. It made me laugh and it made me cry but it also showed foster care with total realness. The training and support looks slightly different at UMFC but we cover the same things.’

‘there is a line in the movie where one partner says they aren’t ‘special’ enough to be carers and we always say it’s not about being a superhero, it’s just about being there.’

Foster care in context

The movie portrays the American foster care system and adoption, which differs from the context in Victoria.

In Victoria, the most vulnerable children from our communities rely on kinship (family) and foster carers to provide safety and security. The goal of foster care is to ensure the needs of the child are at the centre and to support the family of origin to stay connected. When reunification is not possible, long-term foster care or permanent care is in the best interest of the child as permanency improves security and stability. However, foster care is also provided on emergency basis, for a few weeks or months or as ‘respite’ to support other ongoing placements.

There is an increased need for foster carers in our region as UMFC is receiving more referrals for children to be placed in home-based care. You can read more about becoming a UMFC foster carer here, or make an inquiry about what is involved.

Thinking about fostering?

Send us an email or call us on 02 6055 8000 for more information.

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