Classroom Study Guide

PBS documentaries can be recorded off-the-air and used for educational purposes for up to one year from their initial broadcasts. In addition, PBS and the filmmaker offer a lending library of DVDs  that you can borrow any time during the school year — FOR FREE!

ADOPTED: for the life of me provides a wonderful classroom dialogue on a variety of topics. 

For a Civics, Social Studies, or Political Science perspective, the film opens the door to discuss how complicated it can be to have laws keep pace with social change. Adoption laws written in 1917, when social mores were far different, continue to impact adult adopted citizens today. But it is difficult to effect change. When laws exist for a long period of time without evolving with the culture they impact, people often feel that ‘because its always been this way, it should stay this way.’ A class discussion about why people are more comfortable with the status quo rather than change provides a window to many aspects of life in America today.

The film can provide an opportunity for students to have group discussions about individual human rights, and how those rights sometimes can appear to be in conflict. If adoption laws are supposed to serve the needs of a child, do they stop serving those needs once a child is an adult? Should the state decide if people have a right to know each other? If a birth parent desires privacy, how does one balance that need with the needs of the adult adopted citizen seeking information about themselves?

These questions and others in the Study Guide above can provide for a rich class experience.