Instant Family - To See or Not to See? - Amara

Instant Family – To See or Not to See?

Instant Family is a new film in theaters now that chronicles one couple’s journey becoming foster parents in the hopes of adopting. The film is based on director Sean Anders’ personal experience adopting three siblings from foster care with his wife. It has received a warm welcome from online reviewers and has been lauded by adoption agencies as a great recruitment tool that realistically presents the joys and challenges of adopting from foster care.

This film is a must-see,” said National Association of Social Workers Chief Executive Officer Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW…“It will delight and entertain viewers while shining a spotlight on the joys and challenges of adopting foster youth. (

On the other hand, on the film’s Facebook page, a handful of people adamantly panned the film, citing their experiences having their children removed from them and treated poorly in foster care. They call the film “unrealistic” and a “fairy tale” in its portrayal.

One young reviewer at Kids First!, age 15, noted that some of the movies jokes – though funny – had negative, derogatory implications for the real-life struggles of kids in care.

And every reviewer connected to foster care noted that the film’s content had the potential to be triggering for those who have been involved in the foster care system.

I don’t recommend it for kids; I think there’s a lot of material that could be triggering for children touched by adoption because it’s so real – but for adoptive parents or people considering adoption, this is a perfect opportunity to explore many of the real-life aspects of foster care adoption. (

The Crazy Middles – a family who vlog about their daily life as a foster family, gave the film a solid thumbs up in their review noting how the film emphasized the importance of keeping siblings together and the very real “honeymoon period” that occurs when children first arrive. However, they also noted that the film contains many triggers and recommend that parents proceed with caution as viewing the movie could be traumatizing for kids in foster care or those adopted from foster care.

Many comments from the film’s Facebook page confirmed this:

It was a huge trigger for my daughter who is adopted from foster care. Lots of tears and anger on the drive home. I’m glad I took her. She enjoyed the movie. But I’m also grateful for the heads up from AUSK [AdoptUSKids]. I was able to give her the space she needed to grieve in those moments.

Others, however, felt it was a great movie to experience with their children adopted from foster care:

I took my 6 kids adopted from foster care to it on Saturday to celebrate national adoption day as a family. They loved it!

At Amara, we are glad to see attention being given to foster care from Instant Family and appreciate that this film is sparking conversation about how to best serve kids and families in foster care. We will continue to work hard every day to ensure that every child in foster care has the love and support of a committed family – as quickly as possible and for as long as each child needs.


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