Lifemark is a movie produced by The Kendrick Brothers and Kirk Cameron from Sherwood Pictures who often work with Fathom Events. Their intention is to produce films that honor Jesus Christ and show His truth and love among the nations. Some of their other movies include Fireproof, Mom’s Night Out, Courageous, and Facing the Giants.
Kirk Cameron made his debut as a child actor in the popular TV series, Growing Pains. He partners with Ray Comfort in an evangelical ministry, The Way of the Master. He often appears in starring roles in the movies he produces.
The movie, Lifemark, is based on a documentary titled, “I Lived on Parker Avenue.” As a 19-year-old, David Scotten embarks on a journey to find his birth parents. Having been adopted at birth, he has had a good life but always felt like something was missing. Kirk Cameron plays the part of David’s adoptive father as well as producing the film. Wanting to focus on the adoption option rather than abortion, they unite to film the journey together. In the film version, David’s best friend records everything David does with his video recorder directly in his face, catching every emotion as it happens. When he misses the immediate reaction of David receiving the news that his birth mother has agreed to meet him, he makes him reenact the moment.
In Indiana, David’s birth mother, Melissa, found out she was pregnant when she was 18 years old. She and her steady boyfriend didn’t feel like they were ready for a baby, barely able to feed themselves some days. Abortion seemed like their only answer. As they arrived at the abortion clinic, they were surrounded by protesters yelling at them. Melissa remembers hearing a voice say, “your baby has 10 fingers and 10 toes and you’re going to kill it.” Her head was covered as she entered so she didn’t see any of their faces. When she entered the room she was given some kind of pill and told to put on a gown. In the cold dreary room was a tray with unknown utensils on it. When the doctor came in, he didn’t say anything to her except to place her feet in the stirrups. Just as he was about to touch her leg, she told him to stop. As if with no feeling at all, he removed his gloves and left the room. Quietly she walked back across the parking lot while the protesters watching all assumed she had gone through with the abortion.
In Louisiana, there was a couple who were waiting to adopt a baby. Having lost two babies to a genetic defect, David’s adoptive mother had remarried and found herself in a healthy, new marriage. Together, they decided to adopt a baby. They left the hospital on a snowy, Christmas Eve day with their newborn, David, and began their lives together as a family.
At the age of 8, David began asking questions about his birth parents. He was so grateful for his adoptive parents that he didn’t want to hurt them. A few years later, Melissa was wanting to update her contact information with the attorney’s office. When David and his parents were approached, they agreed to go through with it. In the beginning, they connected via Facebook. Eventually, they agreed to meet. It was more difficult to get his birth father to agree to it, but he too consented to the meeting. David also discovers that he has a full biological sister. His birth parents were married and eventually divorced and each had remarried. Melissa did not have any more children but his birth father, Brian had more children.
Melissa was afraid that David would hate her for considering abortion. It was just the opposite. He was so grateful for the decision she made to place him for adoption. In the movie, Melissa asks David to meet her at an address. When they get to what is now a county health facility, she reveals that this is where she came to abort him nearly 20 years ago. The abortion clinic had shut down several years earlier. This was the culmination of the events surrounding this reunion. As the families unite in hugs and tears it is obvious that the right decision had been made for all involved in this adoption story.
When I saw this film advertised, all I knew was that it was s story of reunification. I wasn’t prepared for the other issues to be a part of it. I had originally planned on taking my adopted daughter with me but asked on short notice and she was busy. I tried one other friend but ultimately decided to go by myself. There was only one other woman in the theater with me. I wondered what had brought her to see it.
We both sat in silence as we watched the story unfold. For me, I relived the anxiety of waiting for the phone call with the exciting news that a baby had been born. Then, the emotions of holding that newborn for the first time came flooding back—the peace of finally knowing they are yours. After the movie, she approached me and asked me what I thought about it. I briefly told her that I had adopted two children. She explained that she had a sister who her mother had placed for adoption years ago. They now had plans of trying to find her.
This film and the documentary are designed to share what adoption is about and offer helpful options to those faced with an unplanned pregnancy. At the end of the film, the producers sit and discuss why they chose to make the film. One of the women involved had experienced an abortion early in life and had moved on. She wants others to know that you can still live a healthy, happy life and become a mother when you are ready. If you find yourself with an unexpected pregnancy, look at all of your options and remember to consider the adoption option. Someday, maybe there will be a “David” sharing his story with the world.