Brown Bread is a documentary about Sarah Gross’s childhood in a transracially adoptive family. When six children from entirely different backgrounds are given the same last name there are bound to be questions of integration, discussions of race, and moments of disconnection. But what is important to Sarah about her story
“I want to get past the details of my family. Of course I had a very strange and unique family, but actually all families are strange and unique. It matters because I think all families have crises and all families have to deal with identity issues. Certainly families that have adopted have to deal with more integration and identity issues and sharing and talking about it is the best way to start processing and thinking about how we want to be.
Sarah, who has lived in Berlin for many years, chose to show the film Brown Bread in Berlin for reasons beyond the convenience of staying within her own postal code:
“There is a lot of adoption going on here in Germany. There’s less domestic adoption, but there are a lot of international adoptions which immediately raises the issues of ethnic identity and what is a family anyway. Now I know quite a few people in Berlin who have adopted transracially and what that means for them. And is that normal? How do their kids feel in the schools? There’s certainly a very small minority compared to what you would find in an American society.”
It goes beyond questions of race and enters into the realm of learning to not just respect, but to understand those around us, and to redefine what we think of as a “traditional” family structure.
“Without wanting to wax too philosophical, I think the film is also about family in general and society in general. And we are all bumping up against people who are different from us in our cities and in our ways of defining who we are and where we belong. So I think it can also be a segue into that kind of a conversation as well.”
Members of the National Adoption and Foster Family Group in Germany will attend the screening of Brown Bread at the Taz. Sarah Gross will be there with the editor of the Taz newspaper. Sarah hopes that there will be a conversation about adoption across cultures
“I have a friend who is white and has some children who are dark skinned and I feel that she is trying really hard to make it normal. And of course it’s normal. Every family is normal. But every family is also abnormal. It is going to be important to her children as they grow up to develop an ethnic identity. Which is other than hers. It has to be. And the only way she can help them to become their full selves is to support that growth and development.”
Brown Bread is a film about family, about ethnic identity, and about how we define ourselves regardless of geographic locations or last names. Sarah uses the medium of film to challenge what cultures think of as normal family structure and to address the ways in which that structure can evolve and diversify alongside our nations.