Now that you've met the family, meet the Director.
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"A family with the passion to create and grow shares an unbreakable bond that lasts for an eternity."
~ Billy and Gail's eldest son James
- Imagine you are six years old.
- Imagine your home is not a safe place.
Imagine your mom chooses drugs or alcohol over you.
Imagine being dropped off at an orphanage.
Imagine realizing that nobody wants you.
of us the word "family" conjures up images of love and safety: a kiss on
the forehead, a hug when we need it, the fading memory of a parent
wiping a runny nose.
Now imagine growing up without one. Imagine a shifting collage of
absent parents, drugs or alcohol, group homes, residential treatment
centers, and foster caregivers. Many kind-hearted people who gave what
they could: but no family, no anchor, no identity.
This film tells the story of six children, most refugees from the foster
care system, some facing life-long challenges as a result of drug
exposure and neglect. It's the story of how one loving couple, two
men, with no children of their own, gathered these kids together and
gave them a foundation, a family and a future.
It's the story of the birth an American family.
Our goal is to make a feature film in which the viewers spend 80 minutes as members of this special family.
The foundation for the film has been laid. Pre-production is done. We've completed web
sites and trailers, secured nonprofit status, set up the project management and social media
infrastructures, formed a production team and built an extensive community of supporters. We've earned the trust of the family and discovered how to get the good footage (even with six kids bouncing off the walls). Everyone is ready and waiting for full scale filming to begin.
It's time for Phase Two: PRODUCTION!
Our production standards are very high. This will legitimize the film's message and open
doors during distribution. The pro
shooters and sound experts we require are willing to work at reduced
rates, but not for free. We
anticipate spending $250 to $750 per shoot for 30 shoots, $5000 for equipment and around $5000 for
cataloging, transcoding, editing, research, transportation, and other
miscellaneous expenses. Phase two will take six months.
will film the family at home, school, work, and play (including
their amazing family meetings). We'll catch their daily struggles and drama. We'll interview experts, extended
family members, birth family members, teachers, coaches and friends. Our research team will explore the
detailed history of family members, extended family members and the
kid's birth families, and acquire existing archival photos and
footage. Our technical support team will be busy transcoding and cataloging new, archival and home movie footage. And
as the body of footage grows, we'll be editing and sharing vignettes so you can see
Production is the goal; that's how we'll use your donation. If you're in alignment with
the values embodied in this project, make it happen! The director and the production team are chomping at the bit. Help us turn this beautiful film vision into a reality.
Jeremy, adopted at age 3, now age 7. Overflowing with questions, he strives to hold his own as the
youngest member of a lively crew of six.
Andrea, adopted at age 5, now age 9, is shy, sensitive, quiet, loves pets, music and dance. She gets along with everyone except when it comes to sharing a rhinestone jacket with her sisters.
Jolie, adopted at age 1, now age 9. Her most endearing trait and
greatest personal challenge is her impulsiveness. A total fashion
maven, she's an artist waiting to happen.
Julian, adopted at birth (Billy cut his umbilical cord), is now 10. Confident and ambitious, he won a gold medal at the
U.S. Regional gymnastics competition in vaulting. He has Olympic dreams.
Lexie, adopted at age 6, now age 11 still struggles with the shadows of her past. She loves makeup, fashion
and high heels (even if they're too large and give her blisters). She's an
extreme shopper always ready for an outing.
James, adopted at 2, now age 13. A budding engineer and film maker, he
figures out how to use new camera equipment faster then the director of
Billy (left) grew up in Southern California with frequently absent parents. Resourceful and optimistic, he took care of himself and developed his talent for hair-dressing. He always dreamed of being a parent. After building a successful career as a hair stylist, he married Gail and started a family with the intention of giving his children what he missed growing up.
Gail (right) grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. Gail is retired from United Airlines. He manages the chaotic demands of a bustling household of eight, be it endless laundry or morning chef duty for a family on-the-go.
For children in foster care, the stakes are high.
Where do you find the highest rate of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? No, it’s not combat veterans: it’s adults who grew up in foster care who have the highest rate of PTSD. Studies show that former foster kids exhibit dramatically higher rates of depression, obesity, homelessness, incarceration, poverty and suicide. Those are the stakes for the 420,000 children in the foster care system, of which 100,000 are currently eligible for adoption.
Yet in Billy and Gail's family, the contrast couldn't be more stark. The kids are happy, healthy, thriving and totally looking forward to life. They feel loved and secure and it shows.
Billy and Gail aren't unique. Alone and in couples, gays and lesbians have been stepping up for years to care for neglected or abandoned children. This is a story we need to hear, appreciate and understand.
The Social Mission
We're on a mission to inspire audiences to consider adoption as a way to grow their families. We want to acknowledge the contribution that thousands of GLBT parents make each year in fostering and adopting neglected and abandoned children. We desire to promote wider social awareness and acceptance of gay families and gay marriage through positive media images and quality story-telling.
Billy and Gail's story will educate and inspire members of the GLBT community who are already traveling their own adoption journey. And this film will support the thousands of existing gay families, who often feel isolated because they know few other families like themselves.
Sharing the experience of this successful family will dispel some of the myths of special needs adoption and demonstrate that the challenges of adopting special needs kids can be over come with creativity, persistence, structure and love.
While the film will not make overt political statements beyond the obvious, we are optimistic that the film will provide a means for bringing people of diverse attitudes and opinions together on the issues of special needs adoption and family equality.
We envision the film as an focal point for community discussions. We will reach out for showings at local libraries, schools, agencies, community centers and private homes. Adoption agencies, prospective families, GLBT community, activist and pride organizations will be able to obtain copies with outreach kits to mobilize their own and other groups, to mobilize individuals and families, and ultimately to change opinion and policy.
Mr. Billy's kids are growing up fast;
precious moments are slipping by un-filmed. Their story is unfolding
as you read this whether our cameras are rolling or not.
More importantly, there are other children out there, being shuffled from
one foster home to another. They’re also growing up fast—too fast—in a
hard, unstable world where the present is empty and the future is a grim
Please help us get this film funded by the deadline. Once we have our
funds in place, we can start filming the story of this “uniquely normal” family,
helping couples around to the nation understand how much they are
The concept of “family” doesn’t have to be limited by prejudices. In the words of Jane Howard: "Family, clan, tribe, network… whatever you call it, whoever
you are… you need one."
We all do.
/Copy by Tod Lancaster and Kai Daily/