The fall of the Soviet Union left a segment of largely unknown victims in its wake: Romanian orphans. Now young adults, many of these orphans are heading back to their home countries to trace the steps of their troubled foundations and to track down the parents who gave them up.
In December of 1989, the Romanian people overthrew their brutal dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Following this monumental event, the media began to cover the horrors the dictator had left in his wake. He had banned contraception and dictated that Romanian women should birth at least five children. What resulted were thousands of unwanted babies, abandoned in cold and overpopulated care facilities.
News of this set off a spark of outrage across the world. British citizens began to flood into the country, and promptly adopted many of these children who had been tossed aside.
Now, decades later, these children have grown into sparkling young adults with promising futures. They do not feel shafted in life; in fact, the subjects featured in the film are grateful to have been raised in loving and compassionate domestic environments. They are splendidly well-adjusted. But a piece of them is missing, and the filmmakers travel with them as they seek to recover it.
Some of the children have only the faintest evidence of their birth parents' whereabouts. They're determined to find them, discover why they were abandoned, and perhaps learn more about themselves in the process of coming face to face with their enigmatic origins.
Many of them don't understand the language of their homeland, but they nevertheless recognize their close resemblance to the Romanian people.
They're not just interested in finding their birth parents. Many of them also had siblings they were separated from as infants. One of the film's subjects was born into a family of six children. How many of her brothers and sisters managed to survive the abuses they were forced to endure in the orphanages?
Without question, the film takes an emotional turn as the cameras capture moments of tearful and wrenching reunion. It's a tale of haunting regret and heartfelt acceptance.
Directed by: Charlie Russell