A Story of Your Own, a disturbing documentary about international adoption

The subjects of the film are between 25 and 52 years old, and come from Brazil, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, South Korea and Australia. Through their exchanges with Amandine Gay, they re-evaluate received ideas about their identities as adopted persons.

For the director, herself adopted in France and whose biological parents are from Morocco and Martinique, adoption is not a time-limited act. The racial question is central, because France is a country with a colonial, slavery history; it means something.

Placing children of Algerian origin in a family where the grandfather fought in the war in Algeria poses a problem. »

A quote from Amanda Gay

Amanda Gay

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jean-Baptiste Demouy

Deconstructing the savior-saved syndrome

One of the people interviewed in the film, Joohee, reveals that during her youth, she felt strong recognition towards his parents. She says she was convinced that they had saved her from a rotten life in South Korea. It is the myth of the savior that she internalized, and which, at the same time, nourished her with prejudices towards her country of origin.

We are in a society that has thought very little about adoption, argues Amandine Gay. So we have a moral vision, a humanitarian vision of the subject.

Even when your family is working very well, you go to the supermarket, and people come, you’re 6 years old, 7 years old, they come to see your mother and say: “Oh dear, that’s good, what you’ve done, what a good deed!”

For Amandine Gay, it is first necessary to look at socio-political questions in order to better understand the issues relating to the subject. What is at the root of the development of international adoption is the growth of infertility in the countries of the Global North, it is not a humanitarian desire.

A selfish gesture, according to Amandine Gay

According to the director, the demand for children and babies from developing countries increased in the West around the 1970s, when women began to integrate more into the labor market and had access to contraception.

In a desire to have a child of your own, the closest thing to a child that belongs only to you is a child who has “no history”she believes.

And so, it’s better to go find it in another country and finally have a whole narrative which, rather than starting from your own desire to have a child, makes you say that you left in a process humanitarian, when we first help ourselves.


The screenings on August 26, 27 and 30 at the Cinémathèque will be followed by question-and-answer sessions with the director. The latter expects strong exchanges, as was the case recently in France.

People can get angry. There were a few screenings-debates where there were people who were a little tensesays Amandine Gay.

When we work on these questions, what would have been terrible is for people at the end to say: “Ah well, that was interesting.” Me, I prefer a person to be agitated, animated, prickedshe says.

This text was written froman interview conducted by Pénélope McQuadecultural columnist on the show Penelope. Comments may have been edited for clarity or conciseness.

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