Monday, December 9, 2013

Delivery Man Adoption Movie Guide

Years ago, David Wozniak made multiple donations to a sperm bank. He habitually has financial troubles, and his donations were among several other attempts at improving his financial situation. The bank to which he contributed used his sperm with every applicant over a set period of time. Wozniak recently learned that he has sired over 500 children, and that over 100 of them have filed a lawsuit to require him to reveal his identity. Wozniak begins to learn about his offspring, and starts to meet them. He tries to care for them and improve their lives, but he struggles with whether to reveal his identity. The case ultimately goes to trial.

How is This Relevant to Adoption?
David is more or less a birthfather, hidden behind legally-guaranteed secrecy. He isn’t sure if he wants to be known. His children (or at least some of them) want to know him. Even while debating his ongoing anonymity, David feels a strong desire to know his children.

Strong Points
David rather quickly begins to love his children, even though his lawyer advised him to keep distance.
Some of David’s children have special needs. David goes out of his way to be kind to them.
The film raises the question – whose rights take precedence? The case is made that a confidentiality agreement signed between David and an agency  impacts the children more than it impacts anyone else. They were not consulted and did not consent to having their history hidden from them, and they say it’s wrong. When the law affirms David’s right to confidentiality, his children express their disappointment, but note, (paraphrased quote) “Just because the court hasn’t required him to reveal himself, that doesn’t mean he can’t choose to do so out of his own free will. We hope he does the right thing.”
David is believable. Even while hidden behind a veil of secrecy, he longs to know his children.

Weak Points
Some of the characters’ motivations, reactions, and responses might be too idealistic.
One of David’s children discovers David’s identity fairly early in the movie. He more or less blackmails David – spend time with me, love me, and give me attention, and I won’t blow your cover to the others who are seeking you.

I was really surprised to like this as much as I did. Delivery Man is positive, uplifting, and a hopeful portrayal of what might happen if secrecy is removed from adoption. (Well, OK, it’s not technically about adoption, but wow, does it seem relevant and encouraging.) Not a good movie for kids. A great movie for adults.

Questions for Discussion After the Film

How has (or how does, or how might) secrecy impact your adoption? How does it hurt? What purpose does it serve?   What benefits do you see in openness? 


  1. Do you think it is appropriate for a donor-conceived 18 year old? 16 year old?

    1. Hi Beth - That's a good question. Whether it's appropriate for a particular 18-year-old and 16-year-old depends on the teens themselves, their own stories, their knowledge of their stories, and their feelings towards those stories. Delivery Man presents a somewhat fanciful but generally realistic explanation of why someone becomes a donor (they needed money). The donor is criticized as irresponsible, but ultimately acts very responsibly by reaching out to his children. I could see this being challenging for the 16- and 18-year-old if 1) the accusations of the donor's irresponsibility cause them pain or 2) if they really want to meet their donor and the film's story isn't attainable in their own life. On the flip side, I can see it being good for the teens if 1) they've wondered in general terms about their donor, and they'd benefit from a positive portrayal of the donor 2) the film would help normalize the fact that yes - many people are conceived in this way. You're probably the best judge of which of these ways the film would be likely to affect them. I'm glad you wrote and asked!

  2. An adoptive parent friend of mine called and recommended I see this movie. Thanks so much for the review.


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