“Instant Family” is a realistic full-length feature film about the ups and downs of fostering-to-adopt. To quote one reviewer: “We are foster parents and this movie touched every base and emotion about what foster parents go through.” The film story was written by a foster parent. The actors are excellent. And beyond all that, it is touching and funny and great entertainment.
Ellen and Pete, the featured couple, are childless and in their 40s. While working to renovate an old house, they decide to adopt a teen. With an unrealistic notion that they can bring a disadvantaged older child into their home smoothly, they begin an eight-week orientation class in foster parenting. There they meet with other like-minded couples and individuals who have their own differing personal motivations. Soon they learn that their choice of Liz, a 15-year-old girl, is a package deal. She comes with two smaller siblings. But when Ellen and Pete find themselves faced with the challenge of simultaneously hosting three young siblings with a tragic shared background, they quickly learn that parenting is not quite as simple as renovating a house. The “fun” begins.
“Instant Family” tackles all the major issues: A single foster parent, Christian parents, a gay couple, and our featured foster parents. Other typical scenes involve foster parent training with two delightful caseworkers, group support sessions, an adoption fair, court appearances, reunification, and more.
But the best part of all happens within the family as the honeymoon ends quickly. The little girl has a shout-out temper tantrum. The 15-year-old is defiant and runs away. An effervescent grandma arrives, bringing both chaos and delight. Relatives and friends are free with well-meaning but off-the-mark comments. And so much more. The foster kids are moody, changeable, and always surprising. And everything is laced with non-stop energy, with frustration, and constantly spiced with laugh-out loud moments.
“Instant Family” rivals “Parenthood,” my family’s all-time favorite movie, as a touching family comedy to please all audiences. Over thirty-six hundred Amazon reviewers awarded the film a 4.6 rating. It is available on Amazon Prime and Hulu. Worth viewing. And if you aren’t moved to tears by the picture’s ending, consult a physician--you don’t have a heart.