Season 1 revealed the story of one queer couple adopting from foster care in Oakland, CA. Season 2 continues their story while amplifying other voices in the foster care world: birth families, foster youth, adoptees, P.O.C. perspectives, and social entrepreneurs working to make things better.
Interview with Director/Producer: Nicole Opper
Congratulations! Why did you make your webseries and what do you hope to achieve in Season 2?
The F Word is a docu-series my wife and I created about our process of adopting a child through the foster care system. We made it because when we started on this journey we didn’t see it reflected anywhere, and we would have taken comfort in hearing other people's stories, especially other queer people, so we decided to turn the camera on ourselves to fill that void. My hope is that people interested in adoption will see themselves in our story and think “ok, wow, if those two can do it, I definitely can!” Ha. No, really though. Because it’s probably true. We hope that Season 2 (check out our crowdfunding campaign here: https://www.seedandspark.com/fund/the-f-word-a-foster-to-adopt-story#story) can continue the story while also amplifying other voices in the foster care world.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this web series?
I’m told that Season One will make you laugh and it will make you cry, and we're working in an emotional medium, so we like this. We tried to be as honest as possible, which made us feel vulnerable at times, but the outpouring of support we’ve received from nice people on the internet has been truly overwhelming. Then we got to thinking: we really just represent one voice in the system - the prospective adoptive parent’s voice - and frankly this is the voice that has held the most power historically, and the voice that’s framed the adoption narrative for too long.
On top of that we’re white, as are many (but not all) fost-adopt parents, and our white privilege is certainly part of why we get to make this creative work in the first place. We noticed that there aren’t a lot of platforms for the less-heard voices that truly deserve to be amplified - such as foster parents who do their work to help bio parents reunify, or bio/first/birth parents themselves who are working to bring their kid home or have successfully done so, or most importantly the adoptees and former foster youth themselves, especially those who are youth of color. Those are the voices we really need to hear from if we’re going to repair this broken system. OK, I know what you’re thinking. None of this sounds funny or entertaining. But just trust me, we can do it. Or watch Season One. It’s really a continuation of the same series.
How do personal and universal themes work in your web series?
This is the most personal story I have to offer - the creation of my family - but family is central to all our lives. We are all someone’s child, aunt, uncle, sibling, parent, cousin, or grandparent, whether by blood, or adoption, or choice.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
In the beginning, we just wanted to tell the story we so desperately wanted to see - what signing up for this road to family can look like. Over time we realized that the story of foster care is far too complex to stop there, so we decided to keep going, by looking outward at some of the other people touched by foster care, whose stories aren’t told often enough.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
The feedback has been really moving. Here’s an email I got this morning:
“We live in Michigan and I just wanted to let you know your series has given me some much needed hope, laughter and tears (the happy kind). I write to you because while we're super excited for this choice (and I didn't want to become a mother any other way), I've found it to be kind of lonely. I just haven't found too many people in our lives to be supportive, inquisitive and helpful. Because of this I've found some comfort in your story. Thank you.”
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
I expect to receive feedback that will surprise and challenge me, especially now that we’re moving into more controversial territory. The system can be incredibly divisive, and the more we open up spaces to speak with and hear from the voices too often silenced (youth who’ve aged out, parents who’ve reunified after being system-involved), the more compassion and empathy we’ll have for everyone involved. I think adoptive parents need this a lot more than they need strangers telling them they’re heroic. That savior rhetoric can be really damaging to adopted youth, and frankly, it’s just untrue. We are people who want to raise children. People have been doing it since the dawn of time and there’s nothing heroic about it.
What are you looking to achieve by having your webseries more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I’m looking for the opportunity to grow our community.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this web series’s message?
We are still very much recruiting and “casting” subjects for season two, so anyone who is touched by adoption and comes across our series - I would invite you to get in touch.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this webseries to have?
I want this series to impact the way we talk about adoption and particularly youth adopted through foster care. I want to fight the stigma many of these youth unfairly face, and create a platform to hear about this experience from their point of view.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this web series?
81.5 million Americans have considered adoption. If 1 in 500 of these adults adopted, every waiting child in foster care would have a permanent family. Let’s ask ourselves the question: what’s stopping us?
Would you like to add anything else?
I’m grateful to you for creating space for THE F WORD on your site. For more info please check out our site: www.thefwordseries.com and follow us on social media @thefwordseries.
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
My head is 100% in season two of THE F WORD and I will not rest until it is made.
Interview: November 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
The F Word: A Foster-to-Adopt Story
Logline: Season 1 revealed the story of one queer couple adopting from foster care in Oakland, CA. Season 2 continues their story while amplifying other voices in the foster care world: birth families, foster youth, adoptees, P.O.C. perspectives, and social entrepreneurs working to make things better.
Length: 30-60 min
Director: Nicole Opper
Producer: Nicole Opper & Kristan Cassady
About the writer, director and producer:
Nicole Opper is the Emmy®-nominated filmmaker of Off and Running (POV, 2010) and Visitor’s Day. Their work has screened at Tribeca, AFI Docs and Guadalajara, and has been supported by ITVS, Chicken & Egg Pictures, NYSCA, Black Public Media and a Fulbright Fellowship. They were one of Filmmaker Magazine’s annual “25 New Faces of Independent Film”.
Social media handles: @thefwordseries @nicoleopper
Made in association with: ITVS
Where will the web series screen in the next month?
On Storycast, a new channel of ITVS and PBS Digital Studios