Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Silences Adoption Movie Review

Octavio has been raised in a loving family; his mother, stepfather, grandmother, siblings and extended family embrace him, but he has never known his father. His mother has refused to say who Octavio’s biological father is, and she has told different stories to her own family and to her husband’s family. The one thing Octavio has been told in strong terms, is that his father isn’t Black. Octavio interviews his mother with the hope of learning the identity of his biological father.


The Adoption Connection

Octavio considers his stepfather his dad, but wants to know who his biological father is as well. His family insists to him that he is not black, and his mother at various times has said that his father is Puerto Rican or Native American. Finally, Octavio learns his father’s identity from his mother; he is Black. Octavio’s mother said that the lies she told were to keep conversations and people out of her house – and we do learn that her father had threatened to kick her out if she didn’t get her life in order. Also, it does appear that her family has some discomfort with the thought of Octavio having a Black father. Octavio meets his father and is warmly received, and he also meets his paternal half-siblings. When he returns to his mother, she affirms that she sees her face in him, but he leaves unanswered her question, of whether he sees his own face in hers. Octavio wonders, now that his mother’s silence “has no power” over him, how their relationship with each other will change.


Silences is a short, 20-minute film that is worth watching for foster and adoptive parents, and for those considering becoming foster or adoptive parents.

Questions for Discussion

What are some reasons that Octavio may have wanted to know the identity of his biological father?

What are the reasons his mother had for keeping it a secret?

Which reasons should take precedence, and why?

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