Adult Adoption: Searching for Connections

Growing up is hard to do, especially as an adult.

Directed by Karen Knox, Adult Adoption tells the story of Rosy (Ellie Moon), a young woman who spent her youth in foster care. Having never been adopted, Rosy aged out of the foster care system and now lives alone in her small apartment. However, the experience of growing up without parents has left a void in her heart that she yearns to fill. Then, when a co-worker suggests she enroll in an ?adult adoption? process, she finally believes she?s found what she was looking for. But childhood relationships look different as an adult?

With a title like?Adult Adoption, one might think that the film is setting you up for a night of comedy hijinx. But this could not be further from the case. While the concept may be high,?Adoption?takes until quite seriously for most of its run time.?Although it has its moments of levity, Knox keeps the focus firmly on the emotional complexity of Rosy?s journey. As she navigates her full-time job and pursues romantic relationships, Rosiey lives her life as an adult but she remains emotionally stunted. This sort of complexity automatically brings confusing results, blurring the lines between stages of life. (Interestingly, much of the film feels as though it exists with a hazy filter, as though Knox wanted to emphasis Rosy’s nostalgic lenses.)

Holding the film together though, is Moon herself. As the film?s writer, Moon clearly feels some form of connection with the character and puts that passion into bringing Rosy to life onscreen. The characters of Rosy could very easily have devolved into parody but, for the most part, Moon keeps her performance grounded and authentic. 

As much as the film may refer to adoption in its title, this is ultimately a film about connections. Rosy is a woman who has never had the encouragement (or the challenge) that come from having a parent. Now, she finds herself looking for that validation in every relationship she has. From coworkers to rental parents, Rosy finds herself searching for someone?anyone?who believes that she?s worthy enough to for them to pour their lives into her. Admittedly, this leads to some uncomfortable moments. (For example, a meet up with a potential father-figure that devolves into something else comes to mind.) Yet, there?s little doubt that this is done intentionally. Knox wants us to understand the needs of an adult are different than that of a child and responsibilities change.

But then, as much as Rosy has lacked parents, so too does she also lack a sense of self. Simply put, Rosy has no idea who she is and it has left her empty inside. What?s more, Rosy is not alone. Without giving any spoilers, her coworker is also feeling disconnected. Although her search for validation takes on a different form, the emptiness within her is the same. 

In this way, Adoption is a somewhat poignant exercise for a culture that is edging out of a pandemic. Still grappling with feelings of isolation, the very idea of reconnecting with others is a struggle for many. Loneliness runs rampant, and emotional needs remain on match. While obviously heightened, Rosy?s journey taps into those feelings that are felt by so many as we all look to rediscover what it means to find meaningful connections with one another once again. 

Adult Adoption?is available in theatres in Toronto on January 14th, 2023 and screens in Vancouver and London on January 20th, 2023.

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