Six Weeks – Deciding on Adoption

Dawn Davenport


Stop what you are doing right now.  I mean it.  Stop and take 18 minutes to watch this powerful

adoption documentary

Six Weeks is a moving look at a Polish woman’s decision to place her child for adoption.

and evocative film/documentary—Six Weeks by filmmaker Marcin Krawczyk. Oh my, I was blown away.  Krawczyk is one gifted director, and this is one great film.

Six weeks is the length of time a birth mom in Poland has to decide for sure that she wants to relinquish her child for adoption.  Krawczyk movingly captures the emotions of one mother making this decision.  I so appreciated his deft direction and balanced approach.  He doesn’t tell the story so much as allow the story and emotions to tell themselves.

The film focusses on all three participants in the adoption triad.

I’m tempted to say that the film is “about” a birth mother making the decision of whether to place her child for adoption, since she had the most camera time, but in fact what appealed to me the most was how Krawczyk wove the stories of the birth mother, the adoptive parents, and the infant.  The director says the film is about “the most important six weeks in the life of a newborn baby who is not conscious of its fate but can feel what is happening.”  He evoked the baby’s life and feelings beautifully.  Although my heart broke for the mother, I never questioned her decision or her love for her child.  I came away all the more thankful for the practice of open adoption that we use in the US.  The adoptive parents are seen only in the last minute or two of the film.  A lesser director would have focused more on the over the top elation they were feeling, but their joy come through all the more powerful for its subtlety.

I am dying to talk about this film with someone, so please watch and share your thought below. You can also read an interview with Krawczyk.

Image Credit: polishdocs

26/08/2011 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 19 Comments

19 Responses to Six Weeks – Deciding on Adoption

  1. Avatar Jess says:

    Oh, boo. Can’t see it in Australia!

  2. Avatar Christina Powell says:

    to me this shows once again how important it is to have at least some openness in adoption. It just does not seem right to leave a birth mother, or birth parents out of the picture. They will resent it, the child might resent it later, and the adoptive parents could end up resenting not knowing things that could be important for the child’s future. This only strengthens my already strong resolve to keep the lines of communication as open as possible for my daughter, even though it is not quite clear yet if this will be possible.

  3. Avatar Anon says:

    This documentary, as an adopted person was absolutely heart wrenching. I recently read “The Primal Wound”, which I recommend to EVERYONE. Seriously. It will shake you. Watching this after reading that was a very hard thing to do. I think this film captures all three members of the triad very well. The absolute devastation of the mother, the irrevocable primal wound in the infant, and the oblivious joy shown by the birth parents was very well played. I wish so badly that love was always more important than money and living conditions. No child should ever have to be separated from their mother. Alas, the world is not all good as we very well know.

  4. Avatar Liza says:

    Yes on screaming for someone to pick up that poor baby! My heart just broke for the birth mother. All I can think is, the adoptive parents knew they were being filmed, they would have to watch the documentary. So maybe they will be sure to save the mementos for the baby. Maybe even keep the birth mother informed somehow. I will just have to think something like that will happen.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Liza, darn, I hate to be the one to burst your optimistic bubble, but the birth parents filmed were not actually the birth parents for the child of the birth mother who was filmed. At the end of the film, or maybe I read it someplace else, it was written that for privacy reasons they did not film the birth parents for this particular child. However, this film has been well received in Poland, so we can hope that lots of adoptive parents have seen it, including the family that adopted this beautiful baby.

  5. Avatar Paula says:

    Can’t watch it in Taiwan!! Anyone find it else where?

  6. Avatar Annissa says:

    I just wanted to reach through the screen and pick up the baby and love her 🙁

    Happy ICLW from # 86 <3

  7. Avatar AnonWP says:

    Thanks for sharing the link. Good god, I hope open adoption provides some piece of mind for parents who have made the decision to place their child for adoption. Nothing will ease the pain shown here, but in the face of her decision, the statement that her child (sorry, “The child” – even the language was cold) would not be allowed to read her letter for 18 years just felt like a slap. As if both her and her daughter are being being punished for her choice. I lost it entirely when the toys came out. Her family is feeling the hole left behind, and they will have to wait so very, very long to have a chance of knowing what happened to the baby, and her daughter will have to wait so very many years before knowing anything about the people who gave her such a loving goodbye. It’s unclear to me whether those items will also be held until she is 18 or if they will be given to the adoptive parents.

    Many, many half-formed ideas floating around in my brain after watching this. I imagine it will stay with me for a while.

  8. I agree that I was literally squirming and feeling ill wanting someone PICK UP the baby. It also made me sad because if that birthmother knew that baby was crying in an empty room, her heart would break right in half. It left me feeling really sad, especially when hearing the birthmother’s for relinquishing. She never said it was because she didn’t want to parent the child. It was because of her lack of finances and her undesirable living conditions. I wish that the only reason any woman had to give up babies was because they didn’t want to parent…..but that’s just not the world we live in.

    It was very well done and I will be sharing it. Thanks!

  9. Avatar Andy says:

    grrr. stupid Canadian government won’t let me watch the video! I’m off to see if I can find it elsewhere.

  10. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Something inside me was physically hurting until that baby was finally held (other than for transport) at the 8:33 mark – I’m guessing that was part of the filmmaker’s intent. And I’m still bawling now…makes me want to hug my daughter over and over and over just to make up for the cuddles I know she also missed being institutionalized (she’s napping now – I’m REALLY tempted to sneak in and huddle in her bed with her…). Wow, I think the short is excellent on many levels. May its influence go far in terms of getting more human-touch care for children as soon as possible as well as for people to really understand what is the story of so many birthmothers. Wonderfully done….I will be passing it on to many friends. Thanks for sharing it Dawn. Wonder when my tears will stop flowing!!

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Anonymous, I know exactly what you mean about it being painful to yearn so much for that baby to be held. I imagine that is what the director intended, which is more evidence that he knew what he was doing with the camera and especially in the editing room.

  11. Avatar Jeanne says:

    I had a stomach ache watching that. I’m not sure that it’s just so close to home with our own China adoption. I wonder every day about our daughter’s birth family. The stark coldness screamed the need that baby had for a family. I so empathize with the decision of a birth mother. On a side note….Strangers in the Night??………Really? Not sure about that mobile music.

  12. Avatar S says:

    I am truly in awe of any women who gives their child a better life then they can provide!!

    I feel it is the most selfless decision anyone can make.

    That video is very touching!!!

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