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'The Odd Life of Timothy Green': Embrace the sobbing and enjoy

By Christine Anderson

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 15 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Warning: "The Odd of Life of Timothy Green" will cause viewers to laugh, cry and leave the theater with red eyes and a beautiful feeling.

When I say tears, I really mean sob. Embrace the sobbing and enjoy. No worry about anyone else seeing you cry. Your fellow audience members are sobbing too.

The Utah Adoption Council invited us to a special advanced screening of the new Disney movie "The Odd Life of Timothy Green." The theater was full of adoption friends.

This is a tender story about the Green family and their son, Timothy, starring Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton and newcomer CJ Adams.

After unsuccessful infertility treatments, the Greens decide to grieve their loss of a biological child. They write on pieces of paper the attributes they dream for their child to have. They cry and laugh. They place the papers in a wooden box and bury it outside in their garden. They say goodbye to their dream. Exhausted from this experience, they cuddle together and drift off to sleep.

The night the Greens have is a night with which we (my husband and I) as a couple can relate. I, too, have a box of dreams. It contains our hope for a child and the price we paid through infertility. As a family we had to grieve the loss of our biological child. Will he have my eyes, Brian's laugh, and share our love of music? After that dream ended, I gathered mementos and all the empty fertility medication bottles and tucked the box under the bookshelf.

The Greens say goodbye to their dream, then Timothy joins the Green family in a miraculous way.

I love when Timothy is introduced to the extended Green family. One of his aunts bluntly shares her opinion with Cindy Green. The comment she makes is what we, as adoptive parents, often hear. His aunt says, "I thought you wanted a real child, I mean a child of your own." To which Cindy replies, "He felt like mine since the first time I saw him."

The movie captures many of the issues of infertility, adoption and even foster care. It particularly emphasizes how the dream for a child remains the same but the dream of parenthood changes.

Later, Timothy discusses his story with other children. Timothy's observation is another of my favorites: "You grew in your mommy's tummy? How was that for you?"

Timothy is a unique child and there's just something special about him. Timothy has unique gifts and he willingly shares his gifts with others. He has the ability to help others see the joy in life, to love and to be loved, and he is honest. He also has a smile that melts your heart.

We see through the Green family that parents don't always have the answers but being a family is about loving each other and not being afraid to make mistakes. It's the journey together that matters.

Take a BIG box of tissues, wear waterproof mascara, laugh heartily at the joys experienced by this family and embrace the sobs from their sorrows. This movie is a wonderful story. Hopefully it will change your heart. It changed mine.

Movie Review: The Odd Life of Timothy Green

Christine B. Anderson is Ph.D. candidate, infertility survivor and adoptive mother of three.

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