My son was stuck — stuck in an orphanage that had used to be a prison for three years longer than he should have been. He was matched with us when he was 6 months old, but didn’t come home until days before his 4th birthday. Spending his critical formative years in an orphanage shouldn’t have happened to him, and it should never happen to any children waiting for their families. But it does happen and it continues to happen, and little has been done to change it. Until now.

A phenomenal organization called Both Ends Burning, founded by Craig Juntunen, is advocating for international adoption reform through the beautifully heart-wrenching, yet hopeful documentary film that they produced called STUCK.

STUCK is an award-winning documentary that is now touring the country, visiting 60 cities nationwide, and will be in Indianapolis on Saturday, April 27. It details the terrible conditions in orphanages and highlights the travails, but also steadfast love and dedication of three families as they wind their way through the adoption process in Vietnam, Ethiopia and Haiti.

My husband, Nick, and I are featured in the film and it chronicles our struggle to bring our son, Nate, home from Vietnam. Many people have asked us why we allowed the film crew to follow us around and film such a personal and private time of our lives. We asked ourselves the same question when Craig and his team asked us if they could tell our story.

During our fight to bring Nate home, we and the 15 other families who formed the “Bac Lieu 16” as we called ourselves, tried to marshal every resource that was available. Selfishly, we were hopeful that this film could put pressure on officials of both countries to allow our adoption to proceed, but we also felt that even if our son never made it home, that telling our story would help to reform the system so that no other parent, no other innocent child, would have to go through this. We were fortunate that through the tireless efforts of our attorney Kelly Ensslin, the transformative intervention of Senator Richard Lugar, and the incredible advocacy to members of Congress by our greatest friend senior foreign relations expert William Keith Luse, who worked for Senator Lugar, we were able to encourage the US government to advocate on our behalf with Vietnam to bring our children home. Nate’s middle name is William, in honor of the man without whom none of this would have been possible.

As adoptive or perspective adoptive parents, you all understand that you’d do anything to save your child’s life. And all Nick and I did.

At its core, STUCK is a love story and has received accolades across the country for bringing the subject of international adoption to the forefront. It’s more than a film, it’s a movement focused on garnering support to change the system, calling on political leaders both in the US and abroad to make the process of bringing orphans into families a priority. After viewing the film, the most common comment is: “I never knew there could be so many obstacles and problems.” Hopefully your response will be, “What can I do to help fix this?”

One easy item is signing a petition to President Obama calling to make every child’s right to a family, a national priority. You can view the trailer at The Indianapolis screening is scheduled for Castleton Mall AMC at 7pm on Saturday, April 27– tickets are selling quickly – so get yours online today.

I won’t give away too much of the film, but we did get our happy ending – happier than we could have ever dreamed of being. However, many children and many families live in a constant nightmare, and we can be their voice. I hope you will join us at the screening and learn how you can help these innocent children become unstuck.

For more information about MLJ Adoptions’ international adoption programs, please click here.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.