the official movie poster

So, Husbot and I went to see The Waiting City last night. I was a bit anxious about seeing it in the first place but I thought it’s out there people are seeing it – we may as well become part of the conversation.

For any who don’t know it is an Australian movie based entirely in India, about a young Australian couple who have been allocated their daughter and are there to take her home. *Spoiler alert* they have delays and things don’t go smoothly which exposes the cracks in their relationship etc.

Here is a review and trailer for anyone who is interested:

The proper website: http://www.thewaitingcity.com.au/

Some reviews:

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/the-waiting-city-20100716-10dpq.html

http://www.abc.net.au/atthemovies/txt/s2931070.htm

Husbot and I came away feeling pretty annoyed about the movie and that it was going to become a part of the ‘adoption discourse’.

Firstly: The couple seemed entirely self centred and ill prepared. We heard a lot about the wife’s lost baggage etc but aside from one toy rabbit there did not seem to be any preparations made for their daughter – did they have clothes? Nappies? Other supplies? What were they going to do when their daughter was in their care?
The only reference that was made to this was ‘a room full of toys and a tree house’ back home…..

BUT the biggest lack of preparedness was they did not seem to understand anything about their daughter’s emotional needs – um… attachment? Loss? Grief? the only reference that was made was when Fiona (the wife) was laying on the bed 2 days before they met their daughter reading from a book “apparently we can expect…..” like it was the first time they had considered that this journey was not just about them!!

Husbot and I just found that SO unrealistic – given that our bookshelf has 20 books already about adoption/ adoption parenting/ stories told from adult adoptee points of view etc. We have just had our file sent off to Thailand (yay!) so you bet by the time we are two days from meeting our child we will be about as well read as we can be.

Also: we were wondering how a couple like that could have made it through the state social services approval process.
They seemed to have no parental care plan…. who was going to take care of the baby when she was in their care? Fiona was working while they were there to meet the baby and the husband, Ben was talking about reviving his carrier as a recording artist.
She had unresolved issues from terminating a pregnancy (and keeping it a secret).
He was a recovering drug addict/ alcoholic.
Maybe they thought they had moved on and resolved those issues but they re-surfaced due to the pressure of the trip? Maybe they were lying to themselves and also the social workers? Who knows by it seemed pretty unlikely that a couple with such unresolved high-tension issues would have been approved and not told to work through them a bit more.

Then! Our next problem was that the couple seemed to have never been to India before. Um, ok? Maybe Ben had but Fiona was very obviously uncomfortable in India. They did not seem to be familiar with India in the slightest. What was up with that? They have the responsibility of trying to raise their child with an understanding of their cultural heritage, if they can’t muster a love for the culture then how about a respect for it? Fiona seemed to treat everything in India like an inconvenience, like it was dirty, disturbing and beneath her. Really worrying in my opinion.

Finally, their marriage seemed so tenuous. It was like they had not talked to each other before they set foot in India. Didn’t they share their hopes and dreams? Where was the love? The sharing? The commitment?

Anyway, Husbot and I were very disappointed. We felt that it portrayed an image that adoptive couples were self centred folk who were just desperately trying to fill a hole in their own lives and marriages with a child. And who gave little thought to the consequences of their actions and the emotional needs of their child.

Where as adoptive parents I have met through blogs and in ‘real life’ give their children’s emotional needs critical importance and understand that adoption is about building a family which takes preparation, thoughtfulness and care and I might add commitment and togetherness.

It is not just an ‘amazing two week journey in India’ it is a lifelong journey. What did others think of The Waiting City, I am keen to know if you what your opinion is if you have seen it?

Actors Radha Mitchell and Joel Edgerton in 'The Waiting City'

David Stratton mentions in his review another movie called Holy Lola which apparently is another movie about an Australian couple adopting from Cambodia – anyone seen that?

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